A Vietnam vet’s letter from rural Vermont

I spent some time yesterday in an Urgent Care office about three miles from our house reading a local newspaper (LINK) while my old Marine was getting his broken toe tended to.  A letter authored by Al Walsky of Berkshire (VT) grabbed my attention. Mr Walsky is an involved citizen who attends legislative meetings to share his opinions.  He lives alone. It is not online so here are some excerpts:

“Although this veteran survived the devastating Tet Offensive in Vietnam my life nearly ended on my kitchen floor on July 6th as a “death of benign neglect” due to cuts in the veteran healthcare and social services. The cause of my near death experience was undiagnosed septic pneumonia.  I was so weak I couldn’t even sit up.”

The Rescue Squad got him to Northwestern Medical Center (not part of UVM’s monopoly) where he spent three inpatient days getting the care he needed.  Worried about finances, he left a day early.

The private regional hospital that saved this veteran’s life. General car and bus routes shown.

He blasted his state Rep. Murphy (Transportation Com. member) as “very cold and unresponsive” to his needs as a legally blind veteran and hopes she isn’t re-elected.

“Getting to necessary  medical appointments is problematic for veterans who have to depend on charity…

From what I can determine, the nearest VA clinic ( VISN 1) is about  37 miles (as those pesky crows fly?) away in Newport, and Burlington is about 53 miles away–so it’s possible he hasn’t been able to get non-VA “choice” appointments closer to his home.  Traveling these roads in winter is very risky.

He has a warning for everyone:  “During convalescence I’ve found the services of the Visiting Nurses, the home aid program, and Meals on Wheels program to be problematic.”  Why? Because he wasn’t deemed a falling risk, the nurses “refused” him.  The Home Aid told him his house was too messy and Meals on Wheels restricted him to their timetable. No haircuts were available through home aid either.

He makes a number of other salient points and ends with “I am documenting my health concerns so that should I die there will be an audit trail to prevent other deaths.”

There is one bus going through Berkshire to St. Albans–a large town for Vermont.  The bus makes several stops but does not go to the hospital and its doctor offices! Someone has to walk, according to G–maps, 19 minutes for health care–on a nice day with no disabilities to contend with.

My thoughts. Non-Va care is supposed to be much more available next year, but that’s next year.  Meals on Wheels is a good program but local grocery stores could fill in if they had home delivery services.  Computer access is not a given in the boonies but one could order food from Amazon.  Local stores, if you don’t want us to order online, show us that you want our business and deliver.  The Home Aid’s comment:  Well, when old folks are sick, and legally blind, the dusting doesn’t get done well.  That’s why you have a job.  If the pay was better, would the employee be more sensitive?  In these uncivil days…..hard to say.  Haircuts–yes, this is an issue and many nice retirement communities have onsite salons.  But the cost is prohibitive for many.  Occasionally a local church will hold a “free haircuts” day.

Then there are some folk who like their privacy and their walls. Although Robert Frost’s narrator questioned wall building in his poem, Mending Walls (LINK) his neighbor said, “Good fences make good neighbours.”  Rural isolation and beauty calms until it doesn’t because it gets too hard to cope with what used to be sheer pleasure.

VA transportation sometimes contracts with van services that are located miles away from where the actual need is instead of working with local transporters.

Rural transportation takes good neighbors and representatives that give a damn when times are tough.


Image from the book “A Journey Through Literary America” Robert Frost’s cabin in Ripton, VT

Posted in All about Veterans, Food for the soul, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Inspirational Veterans, non-va care, VA Health Care | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments


Some would be angry or disconsolate over a loss at the CAVC. I’m not. I screwed up and I thank Judge Bartley for her fastidious attention to ferreting out the kernels of truth and the error(s) of my Extraordinary Writ. It’s the same error as my prior submission several years ago in #16-2098. To be sure, I must exhaust all my avenues of appeal before I can legitimately approach the bench and ask for such a special dispensation.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t dispel the funk I’m in. 

Graham EX WRIT 18-938 final

Nevertheless, this will not dissuade me from your and my VR&E crusade for our Independent Living Program entitlements. I am taking quill in hand and filling out my new VAF 21-958 appealing my award of a 15 X 20 greenhouse in favor one larger. This time, I will also pull out the stops and purchase an IMO from a bulletproof source explaining why a 24 X 28 foot greenhouse  is necessary and vital. As for the $3,800 240 Volt, 30 ampere incinerating water closet and $700 for the two year subscription to the NVLSP Veterans Benefits Manual?  Mais oui. That, too, naturally.

This fall has been quite a whirlwind and I have an excuse for my being AWOL from the asknod pages. I have been occupied with four Veterans who are either terminally ill or whose claims have finally come to fruition due to their deteriorating health. Imagine drawing a poker hand like this. I have three (3) Travel Board hearings face-to-face here in Seattle on succeeding days-Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They are all going to be in front of the same VLJ- Judge Cherry Crawford. I hope I don’t wear out my welcome. Thank the good Lord none are identical claims. That might backfire if I merely brought the same copy and paste of an amended VA 9 Appeal brief.

Enough about me. I’m boring compared to the below.

Swift Boat Wayne’s World

One of my Vietnam combat Vets is a Montana resident whom I was forced to schedule here in Seattle. It turns out they’ve never heard of a Travel Board hearing in Fort Fumble– er, Harrison excuse me. I kid you not. I asked my new BFF DRO Jean K over there to schedule me one pronto as my client just got the six-month briefing from his oncologist. Apparently the Nivolumab™ isn’t cutting it as advertised. The three extra years promised just evaporated -it ain’t gonna happen. It’s very sad but if it were me, I’d drive all the way to DC to deep fry their ears before I died. Wayne did a tour on a Swift Boat north of Da Nang. It was rude, wet and stormy with lots of lead poisoning. It destroyed his back, gave him PTSD and now prostate cancer that is spreading like wildfire.

So… I called the White House Hotline Wednesday afternoon and bent some old boy’s ear for an hour to see if I could frag someone’s ass and get it moving. An interesting aside. When we were up in Laos, they had cases and cases of really keen Swedish hand grenades. Seems them Swedes would be pretty hunky Nordic types with big biceps. Maybe not. Those grenades were about 70% of our M-26s in weight and you felt like a NFL quarterback effortlessly throwing 100 yard Hail Marys  into the endzone from your own 20. Seems I tossed a daisy. Judge Cheryl Mason’s secretary Shahnikka (sp?)called me the next morning (0732 Hrs my Local) and assured me she had a September 18th slot open if she could just remember where in Sam Hill it was available at. Not expecting much in the near future, I half-heartedly tossed in I had two others I was arguing at the Emerald City Memorial VARO on the 19th and the 20th so I really couldn’t fly to Fort Fustercluck and be back in time for dinner.  I did let drop Old Wayne was amenable to a road trip west if that helped the schedule…

Last week Wayne had mentioned to me he would even consider driving all the way over here if he could get his hearing expedited. He didn’t want all this to fall on his wife’s shoulders after he’d punched out. I’d already half ass suggested it to his DRO Jean  a week ago Friday afternoon on the 7th, too. She had said she’d thump her coach’s melon and see what she could make happen at her end.

At 1o30 hrs, just three gongs of the clock after I’d talked to  Shahnikka (she of the misplaced TB hearing), the phone rang again with that quintessential anonymouse 800-827-1000 ID. It was my Travel Board Coordinator here in Seattle. Tammy said she just happened to have a slot open for Wayne on Tuesday the 18th-five days hence- assuming arguendo, he could make it over here. What a coincidence, huh?

Since Cupcake had the foresight to order me to make our Best Western ADA from stem to stern in 2005, we’re going to put Wayne and his wife up here.  We have an elevator to jack him up into the house and all the amenities. Besides, I can’t see Wayne being comfortable in a downtown Seattle hotel with more folks around him than trees. Remember, he lives on fifty acres with a river running through it. I’m guessing they’ll be far happier here sipping Chivas,  flipping 16 oz. bone-in Rib eyes on the barbie and feeding apples to the horses with me. Shucks, we can shoot trap (or deer) right off the back deck. What? You thought my skeet range wasn’t ADA approved? O ye of little faith.

Wayne has very bad IDS for 60%, PTSD for 100% and Prostate Cancer for 100%. On top of that, he has the 100% bone cancer going down into his legs. I’m going out on a limb here saying he has loss of use of his lower extremities because he tends to fall on his face when walking. VA says he won’t qualify until he gets an amputation or two and straps on matching, color-coordinated prostheses. I thought we fixed that twenty years ago with Tucker v. West.


Monkey Mountain Bob

In addition, on the 19th, we’re holding a VA Pity Party for I Corps Bob, the radioman who had the misfortune of brushing his teeth too many times with that orange-flavored toothpaste from Monsanto. Bob came down with a raging case of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) back in 2013. VA gave him a 100% temporary. After the bone marrow transplant, he came down with classic, predictable GVHD symptomatology and has been taking Tacrolimus ever since to prevent the rejection of the transplanted bone marrow. I say he was entitled to that 100% right on through until I got him his TDIU this June. VA told me to go suck an egg and reduced him to 10% faster than you could say Jack Robinson. I say “Yo. Mr. Wilkie. Read your regulations, dude:”

7703 Leukemia:

With active disease or during a treatment phase———100%

Note: The 100 percent rating shall continue beyond the cessation of  surgical, radiation, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedures. Six months after discontinuance of such treatment, the appropriate disability rating shall be determined by mandatory VA examination. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of § 3.105(e) of this chapter. If there has been no recurrence, rate on residuals.

Just to be sure, we went and bought a killer IMO saying Tacrolimus is a Therapeutic procedure. I would gladly spend $2 K today for $32 K next Thursday. Gee. Didn’t Wimpy say that about hamburgers once?

Funny thing is they plumb disremembered all the GVHD residuals like dry mouth, mega dry skin disease, phlebotomies and a few others like having trouble breathing when they did the follow up exam in 2016. I got him all decked out with TDIU- one disease by one- over the last 15 months. But, like Colonel (Brevet Maj. Gen.) Custer, they plan on dying on that DC 7703 hill.

LZ Cork -Finally

As most of you know, I began helping Butch and Barb in 2013 on his Purple Heart and CIB first.  He is finally getting his day in court on the 20th. This one is for all the marbles back to 1970 on a §3.156(c) claim. The rocket boys in Seattle forgot to go get his NPRC records in 1970 and there they sat for 45 years.  His DRO couldn’t even assemble a SSOC to rebut my SOC rebuttal. She had it for three months and finally ran the white flag up the pole and feebly offered a VA 8 in surrender and agreed to let it go to the Judge. I get that. Who wants to walk into the break room at 1000 Hrs and have everyone nod toward you and whisper “She’s the gal who cut a check to that 11 Bravo for a million.”? Nobody at any Fort Fumble ever wants that on their resume. Fuggit. Let the VLJ fall on that sword.

They say good things come in threes. We shall see. One thing is for sure. Whoever said VA can’t go to the bathroom without three signatures was funning you. What are the odds you could bag a VA 8, rustle up advancement on the docket in a week and then a Travel Board Hearing in five days? I must be in Heaven, man. It’s exhilarating when a plan comes together.

And lastly, it’s Mr. Buddy’s 50th Birthday today. He was born in 1968 in Ballard, Washington.


Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, BvA Decisions, DRO and BVA Hearings, Independent Living Program, Inspirational Veterans, KP Veterans, LZ Cork, SMC, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, Veterans Law, VR&E | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments


I received a shock this morning when I looked up at the stats and discovered the site is on the cusp of going over one million hits by you, my fellow Veterans. My enduring hope is that one million Veterans used the knowledge to win their claims or bludgeon their Veterans Service Officers representing them into doing a better job in assisting them.


A short history. Back in 2006, I discovered I was dying. Hepatitis C had been eating my liver, unbeknownst to me, for the last thirty six years since my transfusion at the Sam Thong Air America hospital/veterinary clinic (LS 20). Not wishing to leave my wife penniless, I once again armored up to do battle with the VA. I foolishly chose a VSO again- this time the Military Order of the Purple Heart- as my shield bearer. Fat chance. As I would eventually come to find out years later, VSOs work for the VA. It’s written into their Congressional Charters. “Veterans Service Organizations are chartered by Congress and tasked with the noble cause of helping the VA adjudicate Veterans’ claims.”

My good friend Lars Showalter, a Huey pilot in the Indochinese Olympics, claimed they were suuuuper good and had managed  to finally get him a 30% rating for his back with promises of much more. Unfortunately, he passed away from pancreatic cancer before he became a chicken dinner winner.  My experiences up to that point were 0% and 0% for hearing/tinnitus and a denial on my back issues. I’d been hornswoggled by DAV and AmVets into believing untold riches awaited me if I could just convince these folks I was telling the truth. Nothing was ever said about what kind of proof would suffice.

Up to then, I’d been too busy building houses to even learn how to turn on a computer. Being this sick, I had the rest of my soon-to-be-abbreviated life to learn how and see if there was something I was missing in the VA claims game. Cupcake refused to do any more than show me the on/off switch. She was too busy trying to make ends meet since I was now mega-incapacitated and unemployed. Like all of you, I found the search bar and began my quest for justice. I found the Board of Veterans Appeals website showing all their appeals from 1992 to the present. By simply entering the word ‘Hepatitis’, it disgorged a thousand or more claims that had been adjudicated-some wins but mostly losers. I read. And read. And read.

Eventually, I discerned a thread of wins that hinged-not on luck- but on simple doctors’ letters in support of the Veterans’ contentions. What’s more, it applied broadly to any claims -regardless of the etiology.  A Vet claimed he jumped out of perfectly airworthy airplanes while in the 81st Airborne and his doctor said that was what caused his knees to go south. The idea of a ‘cookie recipe’ began to form in my addled noggin. I read some more and began taking notes.

The Foghorn Leghorn briefing

Needless to say, my good buddy down at the MOPH had failed to alert me to this unique requirement. In fact, none of the earlier VSOs had mentioned the requirement either. On my next visit, I asked about how I was going to win without one (a nexus letter). That’s when I became the recipient of the Foghorn Leghorn speech. “Nexus letter! Nexus letter? Why, lands son, of course you need a nexus letter. I say, I say, you can’t win without one. Hoo-doggies. The boy doesn’t know about nexus letters. What are they teaching these youngsters nowadays?” When we left, Cupcake turned to me and said “That’s your legal help? Shit, oh dear. We have a better chance of winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.”  I sadly agreed.

On my next visit to my gastrodoc for the monthly “you’re dying more slowly than we anticipated” briefing, I broached the subject of a nexus letter. To my immense joy, he agreed and wrote a daisy. I dutifully carried this back to my MOPH minder who shoved it into the circular file. It never made it to the VARO. Being anal, I had taken the added step of sending it in directly to VA beforehand. It was not that I didn’t trust my VSO, mind you. I just had a few nagging doubts about how all this worked. When I informed him I had done so, I got the “I’m in charge and if you pull that stunt again, we’ll revoke your representation” speech. Several years later, after I discovered VA had claims files on all of us, I obtained mine. That’s when I discovered his perfidy. There was one-and only one-nexus letter in the file with a copy of the envelope I used to mail it in. Shocked. I was shocked, I tell you. To this day, I’m guessing he didn’t want to spoil his perfect denial record with a win.

By then, I’d discovered the Court of Veterans Appeals website and was avidly reading why I might finally win this time. I’d spotted Caluza v Brown and the discussion by the Justices of the three ingredients essential to winning at VA poker. When I subsequently won a year later, I began a blog for other Vets to teach them this. I was dumbfounded that no other Veterans website illuminated this essential ingredient. That was 2008. Here we are in 2018 and a million wiser Vets later.

Tan Son Nhut AB, RVN 1966

Helping others less fortunate was ingrained into me by my father. He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant General in 1973 and went to work for McDonnell Douglas helping develop the F-15. As most military buffs know, the Air Force, under Gen. Sweeney, had begun to adopt the concept of a fighter-bomber instead of a true air superiority fighter. Sadly, the last true fighter A/C, the F-86 was retired in 1957 with the advent of the F-100. The shortcomings multiplied when Republic came out with it’s improved big brother- the F-105 Thud. Dad advocated belligerently for a new fighter-the F 110-soon to be rechristened the F-4. Finally, a true fighter with an astounding thrust-to-weight ratio of 1.5:1. McNamara immediately wanted to know how many bombs it could carry. About that time, after the Air Force stripped the guns off the Phantom and put in 6 hardpoints, he began planning with Sandy McDonnell for the future F-15.  North Vietnam’s Mig 15s and 17s were a tremendous wakeup call for revealing the shortcomings of thinking we were always going to have in-theatre air superiority.

With the F-15’s future ensured, he retired from McDonnell Douglas to be a volunteer paramedic and eventually an animal welfare officer-again on a voluntary basis. This altruism infected me as well. Not satisfied to just adjudicate my own claims and help others, I decided to become street legal. Knowing VA’s penchant (and mantra) that ‘No good deed goes unpunished’, I could see the day when I would be stripped of my own ratings for helping others put a hole in the VA budget.

Yeppers. That’s me down in front in 1957.


In 2011, Cupcake induced me to begin asknod.org. Up to this point, asknod was a sideshow at the HCVets site. Patricia Lupole and Harry Hooks had done an admirable job of getting the word out about jetguns as the disease vector but the asknod forum was narrowly focused on Hepatitis C Veterans and not broadly based on the bigger picture of VA claims in general. Toward that end, asknod.org, in its present iteration, was born on Labor Day weekend seven years ago. If emulation is the sincerest form of flattery, my site might have been the platform that provoked many more on preaching the need for a nexus. Now, all manner of attorneys and Veterans have their own sites that discuss what we’ve been espousing for over ten years- how to succeed at this intractable conundrum. They act like they invented the concept.

The ‘cookie recipe’ analogy has finally borne fruit. More and more of you not only know what is needed to prevail, but more and more are doing so. The cat’s out of the bag on this one-finally. Imagine. VA has been funning us since the War of 1812 and depriving us of the recipe. I find it satisfying to see Congress finally made them divulge the information after one hundred and fifty years. In case you missed that, it was the Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCAA) around 2001 that ostensibly forced them to do so but even back then, the VA couldn’t bring themselves to say it in simplified DickandJanespeak for us. It took my blog and others like Hadit.com to drum it into Vets that they would never prevail without an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) also known as a nexus letter.

Proudly, in 2016, I became a VA agent. Knowing firsthand (after getting bushwhacked by a vindictive Veterans Law Judge in 2011) that you cannot win them all at the appellate level, I asked to be accepted to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Because I’m ignorant and have no Juris Doctorate, I require supervision-albeit little or none- to practice there. The proudest moment of my life was this February 8th, with my Juris Doctorate son Matthew, when Gregory Block swore me in at the Court before Judge Michael Allen.

Gregory Block administering my oath

JD, no JD, JD

I guess I was promoted because I’m now an “Officer of the Court” and a “nonattorney practitioner”. I reckon that’s a micro-step up from VA agent. Who cares? I’m equally as lethal now as any VA leagle beagle with a JD after their name. The only difference is I don’t have a $225,000 Pell grant to retire for the college degree. I feel like I’m cheating somehow.

I strongly advocate for, and encourage others to do what I did. What do you have to lose? There are 350-odd VA agents out there kicking ass and taking names. Hell, I’ve even increased their numbers by two so far with several more hopefully in the wings.  The Court has granted 33 of us the right to practice there at the Federal level. Sadly, there are far too many Veterans who need good legal help from Agents/attorneys. To plagiarize a famous line from Star Trek… “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

The National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) has excellent lawyers (and Agents) but our numbers are dwarfed by the immense numbers of unrepresented Veterans with complex cases requiring a bit more than a VSO degree in licking envelopes or filling out 526s. How many of you sit on your asses and complain (as did I) that you can’t get an attorney to take your case? A journey of this magnitude begins with the first step. I took that step, unbeknownst to me, when Cupcake showed me the on/off switch. Surely I can’t be that unique. We all held up our right hand and swore an oath when we joined. I could die happy if I knew every Veteran had an able advocate. And, if I only succeed in getting America to capitalize the word Veteran, I would really die happy. I feel competent in saying Churchill might have forgiven me bogarting his famous line-

“Never have so many owed so much to so few”

And to think we weren’t even allowed to charge more than $10 for doing this before 2007. Talk about VSOs disenfranchising America’s Sons of War…

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

P.S. Well, actually that was all I was going to say about this, but I received this from Bruce Almighty-our East Coast asknod CEO as I pushed print. It’s very touching and the below  is the most apropos pour les Vétérans Militaire. Indeed. Why haven’t more of us done something to help disabled Veterans fight and win their claims?


P.P.S. I lied. It’s only been seven years to reach 1,000,000 hits. Cupcake pointed out the error. Sorry about that, folks.


Posted in ASKNOD BOOK, KP Veterans, NOVA Attorneys, VA Agents, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments


We’re going to have a radio show with John and Jerrell tomorrow @ 1630 Hrs on the Left Coast which is almost always 1900 Hrs back on the East Coast. I would have done it last week but I had a VLJ Hearing in Seattle last Friday and was busy preparing for it.

We’ll discuss VA’s propensity to disremember to tell you about suddenly finding your Service Air Evac records to CONUS recently associated with your claims file on _____ of 19__  or 20__and how that just might be a due process violation by depriving you of some serious pocket change based on §3.156(c)(1)(i)(ii),(3),(4) and how it tends to seriously impact your bank account. Shucks. I’ll even tell you how to spot them in the VBMS or your claims file.

Or, we’ll talk about how I’ve found four of these staring me right in the eye in VBMS with little or no attempt to even camouflage the introduction of those STRs/SMRs. No one can deny VA isn’t transparent after this.

Or, we could talk about why I never will do another Videoconference Hearing even if it means flying to San Juan Puerto Rico or Manila for my client the next time. As it is, I have two Travel Board Hearings back-to back on 9/19 and 9/20 at the Seattle Puzzle Palace coming up. I wonder how that’s going to play out when I show up on the 20th and the VLJ says “What the hey? You again?”

We can even talk about my ILP Extraordinary Writ (#18-938) which is now at day 92 and counting since the last rebuttal filing on May 29th. Remember, it takes a Panel to grant an ER and about six months to schedule oral arguments ad nauseum.

That will be a first for me and maybe even the Judge. God, I hope I don’t draw Marcus ‘Hang ’em High”Hinden. That’s like five miles of bad judicial road. Twice is two times too many. That’s worse than drawing Kasold and going 0/4 at the Court. We don’t get no respect. I drew VLJ Vito Clementi the last time. As Justice Emeritus around 810 Vermin Ave. NW, he ought to be able to pick and choose his Travel Board vacations. I get along with him like peaches and creme. And best of all, he’s a Veteran too.

Come join us at our usual all-about-VA chat

Be there or be square.

The call in number is 


(push #1 if you wish to talk to us)

Posted in 3.156(c), KP Veterans, NOVA Attorneys, SVR Radio on hadit.com, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, vA news, VBMS Tricks, Veterans Law, VR&E | 2 Comments


Rarely do you come across a true Advocate for your cause. Veterans find themselves on this slippery slope no matter what surfaces in the news. We discover that a lot of women (and some men, no doubt) got shortchanged on their Major Sexual Trauma (MST) claims by the VA’s much touted National Work Queue (NWQ). The media, instead, go bonkers over the President’s former attorney’s shenanigans or the conviction of his former campaign manager. As Rodney Dangerfield so eloquently said ” We don’t get no respect.” Read on.

An Advocate should be strident. An Advocate should be vociferous and arouse support like a prairie fire in a high wind. You want that Advocate to splash this all over Twitter and beyond… like someone we all know. You don’t want your advocate to pontificate. You want him at a high state of agitation that so perfectly sums up your plight; in a word, such that the invocation he or she paints engenders a veritable firestorm of support.

Well, thank Ed D., one of my clients and an old 11 Bravo LRRP (with a Silver Star, no less) from I Corps (68) for bringing to my attention what might be the perfect candidate to incite support from Patriotic Americans regarding our shoddy treatment at the hands of Congress and the NFL. Ladies and Gentlemen Vets, I give you Schuler King, raconteur extraordinaire. I submit this man might be the perfect panacea for our predicament. Gotta love that onomatopoeia, huh? Relax. It was an accident. I just happened to look up from my hunt-and-punch typing technique and see it. Back to our new spokesman.

Mr. King, in this clip, eloquently opines on the pros and cons of transporting illegal items through airports but is on point with his ability to create that “ick” factor we associate with giving you them little willies that run up that back of your neck. I submit his invective may be that intangible, integral, innate irritant that will work in our favor. It seems talking about 47 Vets in Phoenix who got hornswoggled into room temperature because VA kept canceling their medical appointments didn’t elicit much of a response. Inasmuch as it didn’t, I propose we try this dude out. I think he could really speak to the recent MST scandal by delving into the NWQ technique whereby every GS-08 VSR is now a quasi-psychologist-with power to deny based on that presumption. Considering Colvin v. Derwinski is established precedence, how this development came to pass is anyone’s guess. Ah, yes. I disremembered the old M 21…

Ladies and Gentlemen Vets, meet a silver-tongued devil that can paint a picture in less than 1000 words… Mr. Schuler King. He’s kinda the X-rated version of Jesse Watters.


Posted in Humor, KP Veterans, vA news, Vietnam War history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


As a lot of you law dogs and agents know, VBMS can be berry berry goot to you. This will be the third fourth Vet I’ve encountered on this. I don’t get it. Well, I get it that VA has been very active in the shredding or circular filing of lots of important documents since the War of 1812. However, with the recent introduction of truly independent contractors -i.e. privately contracted from 3M® or Unisys™- the contractors don’t have a dog in this fight. They copy eeeeeeeeverything- front, back, envelopes-you name it. It’s also chronologically entered oldest to newest. 

Gone are the good old days of having to hire a paralegal for $1,500 to MS.doc a 3,000-page c-file with a chronological page-by-page inspection. Many of you who do this can testify you’ll find 1972 STRs cheek-and-jowl with 2016 confirmed rating decisions.

But wait. We’re in 2018 now. As you’re putzing along reading all the documents filed in your client’s e- file- yep, you know, the dude whose records got burnt up in 1973 at the St. Louis Barbecue, lo and behold—-there they are in glorious color. That’s one of the cool bean things about VBMS. Color documents. One entry right after another already chronologically arranged and just waiting for you.

Click on this to enlarge it


In this case, it looks like when he filed in ’71 they went back to Naval Air Station Key West looking for his hospital records. Negatory. They were long gone—back to the NPRC. Numerous times after that, requests were made to higher ups with the constant reply of no such number, no such phone. Finally, our boy wins in 2016 but they plumb disremembered to tell him they could reconsider (not reopen) his 1971 claim under the auspices of 38 CFR §3.156(c)(1)(i),(ii) (3),(4). Seems mighty peculiar that a pile of money that big and the belated entry of the STRs/MTRs didn’t set off klaxon horns in the San Juan P.I. M-21 mainframe.

If you were due for a c&p at 19 years and 9 months- three months shy of a protected 20-year rating,-I’m guessing that same M 21 would have that VES DBQ in the print queue six months in advance. So, why is this innovative computerized behemoth so balky when it comes to gargantuan payouts? Trust me, folks. This is not a “rare” Fugo-like error. We have to regularly file for SMCs at the S level all the way to R2 because VA is remarkably myopic when it comes to realizing your ratings add up to waaaaay more than 100 +60.

Squidly, one of our original founding members here, discovered last fall that the rocket boys at the Sioux Falls Fort Fumble did the same exact thing in 2013.  Squidly happened to mention to his nurse about a certain inpatient stay during active duty and she entered it into the VHA VistA (CAPRI). The rater calls her up and says “Say all after Yokosuka NAS Hospital?” She rogers that and bingo-§3.156(c) records pop up in the file  four working days later And, just like Roberto, they decided to fun Squidly and keep it a secret as to why they finally decided to acquiesce and grant SC 26 years later.

Most of you know about the LZ Cork Series with Butch Long. Same gig. We send back for his NPRC stuff from St. Louis and 156 pages of dustoff, the 312th Air Evac at Chu Lai, the records of debridement and eye surgery at the 95th Air Evac at Da Nang, his recup at  Camp Zama before the  evac out of  theatre to CONUS  all showed up.  They forgot to put the medrecs on his stretcher… along with his Purple Heart and CIB.   The whole shiteree from the Officer’s Daily Log to Letterman Hospital that went up in the ’73 fire showed up at Butch’s. We decided to share them with the VA. They were adamant they would not read §3.156(c) correctly so we’re all set for the sit down Travel Board face-to-face with  the VLJ next month.

Back in May, down at the David Koresh Memorial Regional Office in Fort Whacko, Texas, we had the exact same thing come to pass. In 1971, Chris listed William Beaumont Army Hospital (now the Wm. Beaumont Medical Center) on his 26-page VA Form 21-526 as having his inpatient records after his CONUS evac from An Khe. Yep. They never sent out for them. Shocked. I am shocked. He mentioned it again around May 5th, 2018. By May 15th, the records were belatedly uploaded into VBMS and annotated as “medical records-government facility”. No STRs boldly emblazoned on the entry. No “Holy Shit, Batman- this guys is going to clean up” entry. No VA 27-0820 Report of Information to Veteran saying “Time to begin shopping for a Lamborghini, sir”. Nothing. Silence. I bet you all wondered how it got to be called a 526 huh? They’ve shrunk it down a few pages since but that original document was a 45-minute construction project back then.

In Fugo v. Brown, we were treated to the admonition that CUE was a rare error and occurred about as frequently as Halley’s Comet. Thank goodness. Halley’s has made several rare and frequent appearances in my neighborhood in the past year.  The intriguing thing was I always had to tackle these types of claims as CUE because nobody at VA was dumb enough to let the STRs get into the c-file fifty years later. They’d shit can them. The reason we know this is the odds of one chucklehead nonattorney practitioner with no legal training (me) uncovering four of these in less than a year are pheeeeee-nominal. Shoo doggies, I’m going to lay $20 dollars down on the next big Powerball Lotto if I’m that dang lucky.

So, when they put your POA into the VBMS and your client pops up, check out his or her files with a fine tooth comb. Don’t buy that crap about something you just sent them is a    duplicate CAPRI record.  If they don’t have it, it’s a pretty good indication of spoliation of your claims file. That would be a matter of first impression if I had to fight it up at the big house on Indiana Ave. NW. but with the Village Idiots in charge of the claims file, you’ll find even easier ways to put a can opener into this project.

Click on this to enlarge it.





Here’s how we’re going to approach this Friday.

Redacted for asknod

Today’s post is brought to you by the numbers three, one, five, six and the letter C.


Posted in 3.156(c), C-Files and RBAs, KP Veterans, Tips and Tricks, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, VBMS Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


Our Secret Squirrel officer from  security was recently down at Mar-A-Lago. S/he knows a certain paparazzi who snaps stuff for the tabloids. He managed to get these closeups with his drone of the purported secret cabal arriving at the servants entrance who are now running the VA behind our new VASEC’s back. Please don’t tell everyone we were the Vets who spilled the beans. We’re just passing this on…really. 

The head of the triumvirate nicknamed Dearth who insists on anonymity

Head of Covert Ops known as “Bozo”

Public Relations Chief “Fred”

Many of you may recognize these folks from their extensive work in Washington on other VA IT and HR projects over the last several decades. In fact, these are the folks who brought us VBMS, Virtual VA, VACOLS, WARMS and the new DoD/VA interface computer costing $13 billion that still is on training wheels.

Posted in Humor, vA news, VA Secretaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments