There’s nothing like having your Congressman invested in his Veterans. Luckily for me, my good friends in that local department have more Veterans per square mile than the average bear. If we take Representative Derek Kilmer’s area of congressional coverage, we find his district #4 in the nation. Taken together with Representative Denny Heck’s just south of us in Puyallup (pronounced Pew-al -up), we’re number 1. We have McChord Airpatch, Fort Lewis, the Bangor Sub base and a bunch of other defense-oriented outfits that attract Veterans when they retire. As you can imagine, Veterans vote. I hear it’s as high as 70%. We don’t all vote alike or with a specific party but I can tell you we all stand firmly behind Derek. In fact, he’s only the first Democrat I’ve ever voted for since George McGovern in 72. That tells you something.
Rep. Kilmer, you may remember, is the driving force behind my quest for Butch Long’s medals and his service connection for that little dust up ten days before 1969 Tet at Duc Pho ( LZ Cork). His VA liaison, Nick Carr, is the secret weapon. Ever since, I’ve been putting cc: Rep. Kilmer under all my VA submissions and it’s had a lethal effect. In military parlance, we’d call him a force multiplier.
Anyway, the no-so-good news here is pretty much a carbon copy of what’s afoot down in Phoenix-waiting months for VA appointments when VA is doing their Monty Hall imitation with “Johnny Vet, Come oooooon down”. You know if they had a good ‘delay,deny/until we die’ program going in Phoenix, the word would soon get out to other VAMCs across the VA’s fruited plain. It did. Representative Kilmer was probably reading my blurbs here and decided to check it out. And boy howdy did he.
It’s always nice to know you have a real Vet friend looking out for you in this day and age. Far too many Congressmen and Senators just blow bubbles and pretend to care. Not so Derek. I’ve had him over to my house and he’s the real McCoy in this game. Oddly, he isn’t even on the House Veterans Affairs Committee which makes him even more awesome for what he does. I’ve received more help from this gentleman than in all the years Sen. Patty Murray was head of the Senate Vet’s committee. Go figure. He sure doesn’t look very prepossessing, huh?
Here’s the report he forced them to produce and it’s ugly. We all knew as much but the truth hurts more when you actually read it.
As a P.S. I would add that under most of these “reviews” we’d hear nebulous answers of “While it was not sustained that the managers were purposefully carrying a different written set of appointment books around with them everywhere like the President’s Nuclear Football, the appearance of such made the practice look unnecessarily suspicious. In the future, VHA Managers above GS-12/10 will take remedial training on the subject per 38 CFR §27.356(c)(iii)(4) (D) and recertify annually thereafter. We were also unable to sustain the contentions of Mrs. ….”. This tells us we got an honest report when they find something amiss. Chances are we got 35-45% of what really happened and the rest retired a minute before they had to ask for immunity.