Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Still messing with the VA

I continue my saga with the VA...I decided to involve my congressman Charlie Dent... I sent him this note in my attempt to get a physical completed...

Mr. Dent,

I am writing to you to ask your assistance.

I am a retired Army Reserve Soldier. I served in Iraq from Sep 2004 to August 2005. I retired from the Army Reserve in July 2006 after 24 years active and Reserve Service.

I recived no physical upon my departure from Iraq nor when I retired from the Army Reserve. Within the first year back I attempted to get a physical at the Veteran's Administration Clinic in Allentown, PA. During the course of my initial physical I was scheduled for a blood draw. During that appointment I was manhandles by a phlebotomist and shoved to the front desk for rescheduling of blood work. Embarrased, I did not return.

In January 2009 having a change of heart I requested assistance from the veteran's administration to start process once again. I inquired what I needed to do to the Veteran's administration's Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS). That request was forwarded to Philadelphia office in Feb 2009 without resolve.

It is now 4 years since my return and today I called the listed number for the Allentown Clinic. I was told today that I should wait for a letter from the Allentown Clinic with an appointment - scheduling would be done by them without input from me.

This brings up two issues for me:
1. I have never been able to address or express dis-satisfaction with the employee at the VA that caused the disruption to my health care to start. The VA has never responded to my inquiry via their system with assistance.
2. As a working individual, I must coordinate my schedule for appointments thus a mailed appointment letter is an inefficent vehicle to plan care

All that I'm seeking at this point is the opportunity to speak with someone at the VA to schedule the appropriate physical events.
Thanks in advance for whatever assistance you may provide,

We'll see if he can assist

'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

Monday, July 06, 2009

50 Years ago - first Vietnam Combat Casualties

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first two American combat casualties of the Vietnam War with a special ceremony and wreath laying at The Wall on Wednesday, July 8, beginning at 10:30 a.m., said Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Memorial Fund.

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Chester Ovnand and Maj. Dale Buis died on July 8, 1959, when their compound was attacked by North Vietnamese communists. Theirs are the first two names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, occupying panel 1E, Row 1, at the apex of The Wall.

Lest we forget

Here is the Link

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Unique Army Summer Hire

It’s that time of year again when the summer hire programs are in progress. Many aspiring students are given the opportunity to experience the workplace at Military Installations or organizations working temporartily as Army civilian employees. The Summer Hire program or more correctly Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) is a temporary employment program for student employment during the summer months.

Recently this program at my installation had a new first. For the first time a combat Veteran has been accepted into the program. A soldier serving as a Reserve Specialist with a local Army Reserve MP Battalion is currently working as a STEP employee with one organization's Human Capital Management Office.

For this soldier, the transition since high school has been a little different than many of her peers in the STEP Program. She graduated High School in June 2007. Following graduation she went through the Army’s basic training and advanced individual training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO as a military policeman. Upon completion of her training she returned to home in preparation to attend spring 2008 College courses. Those plans were changed in January 2008 when she was called up to deploy with her unit to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She trained with her Reserve unit at Ft Dix, deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and worked at Camp Cropper which is a high security detainment facility. Kim returned home in Dec 2008 and was finally able to start her College education in January 2009.

“Having experienced military deployment and living the soldier’s life immediately after high school was a real change to me”, the soldier said of her experience. “I’m excited about getting my education underway and participating in the STEP program will help me grow. “

The soldier recently was able to apply some of her unique experience to the Tactics, Weapons Employment Course (TWEC) conducted by her organization. She participated as an assistant instructor in several courses within the POI and contributed to student understanding of what being a soldier is all about. She notes that she has been working a number of other assignments within the Summer hire program that have challenged her capabilities, but have also given her new insight into the work done by Army Civilians.

That soldier is my daughter... I could tell you of the trials getting her into the program... unfortunately the Army does not yet have really effective means of offering internships to soldiers that are in her situation. In fact after her summer hire program is over she will go back to the ranks of un-employed... but it is a start.