Saturday, September 29, 2012

The damned VA ought to do something instead of

handing out checks.

A couple of months ago I ran into a former GI that went to Perry to shoot. He was still in the same wheelchair and looked like hell to be honest. He seemed to have lost the optimism he had when I first met him several years ago and I defended him from some jerk of a line officer that wanted him to shoot his Garand from a wheelchair.

The Garand ain't no little pop gun like the so-called assault rifles the do-gooders want to ban, it is a full sized Old School .30 caliber battle rifle and the blast and recoil would have likely upended the wheelchair he was on.

Back when I met this guy he was pretty optimistic about the future and now he looked uncomfortably comfortabe just sitting in a wheelchair and collecting a damned check.

You don't just buy a guys legs with a damned monthly check. A good GI deserves more. He deserves his dignity. He should have been working somewhere and doing something constructive. There are an awful lot of jobs out there that he could have been doing because there are a lot of things you do not need a set of legs to do.

Someone ought to take this guy, jerk him out of his wheelchair and give him a good swift kick in the ass and tell him to get his act together. Just because a guy lost a couple of legs doesn't mean squat in this day and age. There's a lot he could be doing instead of sitting in a damned wheelchair feeling sorry for himself.

This guy is fairly bright and could be doing something useful like, maybe running a company payroll or designing a bridge or something. There are an awful lot of things a person doesn't need a set of legs to do these days. We've changed and the percentage of people that work at desks has gone up.

When I was growing up the guy up the street who was a banker lost his eyesight in a car accident and he recovered and a couple of months after he was back at work. I suppose if he was like a lot of the other dads in the neighborhood that worked with their hands he might have had a harder time but the fact still remains that this guy raised three kids after the loss of his eyesight. The man had guts.

This is where sometimes I think the VA ought to show a little tough love and replace the softies that work there and simply hand out checks and go home feeling good with GOOD retired sergeants.

GOOD sergeants, not the supply daddy of Company B, 368th Dempsey Dumpster battalion, but the kind of guys that teach things like Ranger School. Pricks. Bastards. The kind of guys that will accept nothing whatsoever but success and turn them loose on a lot of our guys.

We're talking about the kind of guys who look at a group and say simply, "You WILL succeed!" and then step back and give these former NCOs a LOT of latitude because what is llikely to go on in the back room is not likely to be a very pretty sight.

Good NCOs are born teachers and surprise their students because with a simple glance the NCO just instinctively knows what a guy can and can't do. They generally don't force a guy to try and do something he can't but they sure make someone do what he can do. Often the student is shocked by the results because he has just found out that he is capable of something he didn't think he could do. This happens to a lot of youngsters in boot camp that have all their arms and legs. They leave boot camp astonished because they found out they can do more than they thought they could.

The loss of arms or legs is a terrible shock to go through and isn't to be taken lightly. While some recover quickly, others don't. Sometimes these that do not recover quickly simply need to be shown how capable they really are and getting over self-pity sometimes requires a bigger shock than the shock they got when they lost their limb in the first place.

The kind of NCO I am talking about isn't garden avriety, but isn't all that uncommon. He's the kind of guy that can administer a quick boot in the ass one moment and then hold a guy in his arms and let him cry his eyes out until the tears dry up and then throw him back into the program with a boot in the ass.

It's high time we stop fixing things with monthly checks and start fixing things right and get a lot of these guys back into the game. We owe it to them to give them their pride and sense of self worth back, but there's something a lot more than that.

Our society needs these guys badly because we need someone to look up to and show us all the meaning of guts.

It is a lesson I learned as a kid from the guy up the street. His terrible loss became my gain and I think that the general public could learn a lot from these guys.

They ought to jerk the whole VA out of it's place and put this entire issue right on the lap of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tell them, "You made these guys, and then you broke them. Now fix them because we sure the hell need them."

Let the services take care of their own.

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  1. Sir I work at the VA, the big issue is many HAVE no will to do much as a pt, let me be frank not all but many older at least veterans. You tell them to go to therpy, they refuse, , they would rather go off the ward and do what not. Many complain to their elected personal ," We're being unfair to ask them to do such and such." I agree take the checks away, but many ( not ALL) have the attitude, YOU OWE THIS TO ME! IM A VET. I get tired of hearing this, I tell them they are all Veterans and none are better then the other as they have ALL served. You can only talk so much, many actually cannot wait for "something" else to be wrong, and want their check raised. It goes both ways sir, some do great but others don't. Yes I'm also related to military. When they do complain, suddenly all the elected folks come running, looking for Press time and photo ops, and punish those of us who do work hard for them. I want the veterans whole and healed, but they have to want to do themselves and go on in society and be productive.

  2. This falls into part of my point.

    Sometimes tough love is a big part of the equation. Nobody really WANTS to go through therapy, you HAVE to go through therapy if you want to get better.

    Part of the reason I'd like to see the VA absorbed directly into the DoD as a part of the military is to make it a little more difficult for the politicians to get involved and abuse it for photo ops etc.

    As usual the pols don't give a damn about the guys, just themselves.

    "Hey, look what I did! I made it so some injured GI doesn't have to go through therapy and can sit on his ass in a wheelchair for the rest of his life instead of becoming a productive citizen. Aren't I wonderful?"

    When I meet the Walter Reed team at Perry I have a hard time not busting up. I want to hold them and cry with them but the truth is I know better. These guys have to be made to understand I expect no less of them but to overcome their handicaps and join the rest of us as equals.