"We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose." - President Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address
" . . .[A]ny man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"
An administrator at the College of Charleston [Charleston, South Carolina] told me on Veteran's Day 2005 that she " ... never thought of thanking a veteran for anything." In that same conversation she was trying to justify not renewing my adjunct instructor contract because my opinions about the Iraq War [against] did not fit in with the college. So much for my service to preserve our freedoms. Things have not improved since then for most. Americans in general only want freedom for themselves and not so much for others. As a culture, we love freedom until someone actually exercises it in a way we disagree with. I appreciate the rare and occasional thank you but it would be more genuine if that thanks were more tangible as was my service to country. I left the service without body parts I went in with. Since that time back in 2005, I have been fighting a new battle against the Veteran's Administration over nuclear radiation [Bikini Atoll] and Agent Orange [Vietnam] exposure which manifested in later health issues. Denied once for "lack of evidence that I had served in Vietnam" despite service record proof that I had, I refiled in 2010 with addition, undeniable evidence, and eleven months later, I still wait. If they ever approve the claim, any monetary gain will be taken out of my Voluntary Separation Allowance given to me in 1994 as a incentive to reduce the number of personnel in my specialty. Nice trick, give with one hand and take with the other. All the rhetoric aside, the real value of a veteran is as a tool of the powerful and has nothing to do with freedom. Their actions demonstrate this over and over again while the platitudes are pronounced at the top of their lungs. I have come to the conclusion that the Veteran's Administration does not serve veteran's as much as it serves the government.To the United States Government I say this: Please, honor my service by honoring your promises to us back when we were young and gullible.Thanks for the sounding board ...MShaw"Mustang" LCDR, USN
First, your service was not to generate personal thanks for you. The freedom you defended includes the right of administrators at the College of Charleston to disagree with your opinions. Otherwise, it wouldn't be freedom.If things are as your report, you need to get a hold of a lawyer who specializes in VA matters.By the way, Bikini Atoll tests last occurred in 1958 - are you saying you left the service in 1994, 36 years after the tests? Are you receiving retirement pay and Tricare? My understanding has been that LCDRs are allowed to complete 20, especially Mustangs.So, pardon my doubts, and thanks for you service, but there seem to be some other issues at work here.Get a lawyer. You don't need a sounding board, you need representation.
Happy Armistice Day. Happy Veterans Day.