To establish my creditability to write these articles I avidly volunteered to join the US Navy reserve when I turned 17. Shortly after I requested and was accepted for active duty service that lasted nearly three and a half years before and during the Korean War. I was honorably discharged the day before my 22 birthday in 1952.
My only brother accepted his commission to serve in the US Army after he graduated from the University of Texas. He served twenty four years and was honorably retired as a Lt. Colonel. Unfortunately he never recovered from the harassment of drug crazy obsessed Americans blaming the Viet Nam War on those who served in Viet Nam instead of the politicians that created the wars. He passed away at 55. He served two miserable tours in Viet Nam and was driven to his early death by vicious and vile American protesters like the Clintons, John Kerry and Jane Fonda.
Statistics of the Census Bureau reported that there were 21.8 million Veterans of the U.S. Armed forces as of 2014. Ten percent of these veterans were women. To put this into context they reported that there were 319.2 million Americans in 2014.
The point I intend to prove is that our veterans represent a sizeable group of Americans. Sadly we have no central voice or leadership to take advantage of this segment of our society. We have three large service organizations, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). These three have a visible presence in probably every county, multiple chapters in our large cities in every state in the Union. I would guess there are thousands but I have not located any factual number.
Each of these groups have power and they have done a great job demanding the attention of the politicians. The American Legion reports they have 2,700,000 members. The VFW reports that they have 1,700,000 members. The DAV reports they have 1,300,000 members. Sadly these 5,700,000 only represent 25% of the veterans and no one has ever really stepped up to organize the power of the entire elite group of Americans, called veterans.
There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the census folks on Nov 10, 2014.
There are 55 Veteran Service Organizations chartered by congress. Military.com states there are 400,000 military charity organizations in existence. With so many charities to choose between can you imagine how much money is collected and the masses of people and expenses that are required to manage and fill out the necessary paper work required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Many charities spend as much as 90% of the donations on operating cost and 10% actually helping a veteran.
What puzzles me is if the government is responsible to provide services, especially medical care to eligible veterans, why do we need 400,000 military service organizations. Especially if they operate within the laws.
The biggest debacle in history is the way veterans receive medical treatment. I have previously written articles you can read on my blog. The saddest thing I have watched happen is an illegal alien can go to an emergency room (ER) anywhere in the country and get treatment for a common cold but a veteran can’t. No one should be allowed to go to an ER unless it is an actual emergency. The goofy reason we have this drain on the budgets in small town America is the illegals can’t get free service at a Doctor’s office.
VA medical facilities and Vet Centers are run by the Veterans Health Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, while community-based outpatient clinics are run by civilian medical practitioners within a community and serve the veterans of those communities in partnership with the VA. Vet Centers focus on post-war adjustment, counseling and outreach services for veterans and their families. There are currently 152 VA Medical Centers and approximately 1400 community-based outpatient clinics in the US. Obviously small towns have no services or allocated funds to treat veterans or illegals.
March 10, 2015 – CNN reports that more than 1,600 veterans waited between 60 and 90 days for appointments at facilities operated by the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. About 400 veterans waited six months for an appointment, according to documents provided to CNN. The average wait time, according to documents dated January 15, 2015, was 48 days. This is unacceptable but no one cares and the existing three large veterans groups mentioned earlier have screamed but nothing happens.
September 2, 2015 – The VA Inspector General releases a review of alleged mismanagement at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center. According to the review, more than 307,000 deceased veterans were listed as enrollees with pending VA applications. The inspector general calculated that about 35% of all pending records were for deceased veterans. CNN reports that many of the deceased veterans may have died while awaiting treatment.
The main reason we read about these inhuman ways we treat Americans that were either drafted in the past or freely enlisted like I did is because of several reasons. One reason is the military is rigidly structured with officers and enlisted personnel. Serving in the military or receiving benefits is not the same for officers and enlisted personnel. This imbalance could be the primary reason we have the horrible medical care for the enlisted folks I have shared in this article. Because we have a two tiered system in the military is why we do not have the power of over nearly 22 million veterans but we only have some 5.7 million organized veterans screaming for help who were mostly enlisted personnel.
Someone of power either serving or retired needs to start an effort to organize all of the nearly 22 million veterans to have one voice. Congress does not care, the administrations don’t care, and the judicial system does not care. Why, because there is not enough pressure to make them fix a broken Veterans Administration that primarily only penalizes the enlisted class of veterans. I can’t believe we can’t find a General or Admiral that would organize all veterans into a group that would get more attention. Officers deserve to be treated adequately but they are sworn to protect their troops too. Any veteran that has to wait 48 days or longer to just see a doctor is inhuman. I will shortly repost an article that describes what the local people in the area where I live have to endure which actually is worse than what is described in this article.
My primary reason to write this article is to see if enough American and veterans get involved to fix what’s broke and enhance the power of our veterans. Let me also explain that not all veterans are involved using myself as an example. I have never received any medical services since I was discharged nearly 64 years ago. I was an enlisted man but my success in the business world exempts me as my income exceeds the level that provides any service by the VA.
What makes my blood boil is the way other veterans receive worse medical treatment than an illegal alien. We recently buried a great friend and veteran, Bob Klosterman, who died at 66 years old while waiting for the VA to provide necessary treatment. This tragedy is being repeated every day and no one in the race for President but Donald Trump even seems to care. Even worse, every Congress and President since Reagan does not care. The saddest thing I never thought I would see in my 86 years is the media also does not care. Folks this is an issue that must be fixed. Trump has made this an objective to fix, if Hillary wins it is just four more years of incompetence. I wonder how many thousand will die waiting for someone to care in the next four years?
C Brewer July 28, 2016