Category Archives: Service

Veterans Health Care – My Experience

If you’re a U.S. military veteran. or a family member of a veteran, then this blog post is for you. Those whom are also interested in government managed health care, and haven’t first hand knowledge, this may help you.

Most of what I’m going to discuss is only one man’s opinion, but in a sea of opinions, I’m going to do my best to accurately inform anyone still reading past the opening paragraphs.

CH-46s on runway destined for Viet Nam

CH-46s on runway Kaneohe Hawaii, destined for Vietnam

I’m a Vietnam era veteran. That means something specific, and to anyone that has also served during a time of war, but wasn’t a directly involved participant, meaning they weren’t in the designated country, served in a non-combat role, their benefits may differ from those serving during peace time operations.

The VA has different designated levels of assistance, depending on the time someone has served. They provide service for all in some capacity, but you may need to pay more for services rendered, depending on your current income, and when you served. Those details are available online, and if you aren’t aware of them, please follow this link.

VA heath care and the Affordable Care Act.

If you read the information, don’t fully understand it, and need more help, you can drop a response at the bottom of this post, along with your real name and how to contact you. Nothing you send will be automatically posted. I have to review comments before yours goes public. If you send personal information, I’ll not publish it. Of course I’m hoping I won’t be deluged with questions or some scammer trying to take advantage of my willingness to help explain what the VA can provide. I may just post a link, if I see the answer already available for your specific question.

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Me standing outside of a TAC – 1975

I want to encourage any veteran or family member that hasn’t been involved with VA health care to not defer or postpone the services which you’ve earned. Of course, if you’re enlistment or your appointment with the military wasn’t based on what you might later receive, it’s natural to ignore your benefits.

I enrolled about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve been in for two annual physicals, and an eye examination and a new prescription with glasses.

I went into the Atlanta VA hospital yesterday on a scheduled surgery. It was a same day, recovery at home afterwards type of care. I went in at 9am and was out by 5pm. 0900 & 1700, military time.

I can tell you my experience was as positive as I’ve had. As it has not been my first or second hospital rodeo. I think my national and international health care provided experience gives me a basis from which I can make comparisons.

I’m at home recovering today. The surgery appears to be completed without complications. I’ve had two calls from the VA. The last one was from one of the doctors who assisted in the surgery. She left her pager number on the discharge sheet in case I have a problem.

All of that without copay or out of pocket expenses. That of course is based on my time, duration of service and current level of income. If you’re a veteran or a close family member, I urge you to become acquainted with the VA. Be sure you’re not missing out on health care services. If you’ve read or heard horror stories, which I’m not going to suggest aren’t based on fact, my experience doesn’t align with those concerns. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

Find a VA location near you.


May the Forces of Merry, Happy & Joy Visit You!

This is a season for happiness, joy, peace and family. That’s the fundamental message. This wish may not mean much to those whose lives are far from ideal. Many live in circumstances far removed from peace or joy. I hope & wish peace, comfort & healing, especially for those who have lost loved ones, who are lonely, sick, without adequate shelter, food, clothing, or are living in conditions of war.

I truly wish I had the capacity to change things for the better. Collectively we can make things better. Perhaps that’s the message we need, to create possibilities for improvement for those who have greater needs.

Christmas may signify more to those who can celebrate it, than those whose lives are miserable. Make this a year of joy and peace for others.

Atlanta_downtown_night_xmas_image

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What Military Service Means to Me

Marine Corps Semper FidelisToday is the celebrated birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The Second Continental Congress established the Continental Marines on 10 November 1775. Their original mission was to board enemy ships, provide shipboard security and enforce on board discipline.

Beginning in 1798, the Marine uniform consisted of a high stiff leather collar designed to deflect slashes to the throat. This collar became part of a slang term of ridicule by sailors, calling Marines, “leathernecks”. The term stuck and is synonymous with anyone that is a Marine.

I reach out today and wish my fellow Marines a happy birthday!

Tomorrow, 11 November, is remembered as Veterans Day, a day to celebrate those who were willing to risk everything they held dear, to serve and often fight to preserve liberty and aid others in the right to choose their own destiny. There isn’t a more noble cause than to recognize all who set aside their hopes and dreams in order to achieve some level of safety and security for other people. When U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for 11 November 1919, among the words he said were; “… it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

I’m devoting the rest of this blog post as a response to an article by David Masciotra on 9 November 2014, titled “You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.” I don’t know David, he may be a very nice person, but that doesn’t exclude him from my critiquing what he has to say in his Salon magazine post.

He goes on to say; It’s been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end.” “Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.

As you can see from the words I quoted from his article, he’s not bashful in expressing his opinion. My first thoughts after reading his article; what a simple, warped mind, and limited understanding of the world in which he lives.  It illustrates something many of us know about people who express opinions with a voice of authority but are empty rattling cans of foolish thought.

MCB Twentynine PalmsA strong military is one of necessity, just like a police force in a community. If everyone wanted to live in peaceful coexistence then we could either greatly reduce or eliminate these vocations. As it stands, people are indeed childish, selfish, manipulative and dangerous. Humans have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to go tribal and barbaric on each other to the point of creating and using what ever weapons they want to destroy or control other people. The U.S. military has been used in ways that may not always reflect the best human values but even in places he names, Iraq & Afghanistan, the goal has been to curtail regional violence and allow the local government to be selected by the will of the people.

In research conducted by David Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, he wrote an article titled “We Are All Confident Idiots“, describing this phenomenon in detail. “In many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

bookAfter reading what David Masciotra wrote, it clearly identifies a problem with his type of supposed expertise on the topic. His posted ramblings about not honoring men & women who have served honorably in the military, suggest that which is apparent, David Masciotra doesn’t know Jack Shit about people who serve in the military. Veterans Day is intended to thank veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country, not a statement on American foreign policy, or a tribute to those who have committed criminal or barbarous acts. He claims anyone willing to put their life on the line when they volunteer and serve in the military, belong to the same class of people who are mindless brutes who are looking to use this as an opportunity to sexually assault women. What he uses as his basis for theory, are the featured news items of atrocities committed by people in military and police uniform. What he doesn’t seem to get are the fact that these are outlying behaviors of humans. The same acts of violence, sexual assault and controlling others are found in the civilian world. Nothing justifies this behavior, but it shouldn’t diminish respect toward those who honorably serve.

American foreign policy can and should always be scrutinized for intention and conduct, but rather than use a generalized skepticism and maybe even hatred toward those who serve, Mr. Masciotra should turn his attentions to examining his own willingness to dedicate a substantial period of his life, serving others in conditions far less favorable than his routine living. I might even go so far as to say, what right does he have to criticize those who have or now actively serving based on some superficial mischaracterization of the behavior of the majority of good servicemen and servicewomen?

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.
– Arthur Ashe