Letter From a Vietnam Veteran


Sunday April 1, 2007

I read your web site information about the Anti War Demonstration in Pittsburgh.  I was at the demonstration and would like to share a personal reflection about the treatment war veterans have been receiving. I will share a few thoughts from my personal experience. I share these thoughts as a Vietnam Combat Veteran, Radical Biblical Christian, a Marxist Christian Socialist or Social Democrat.

I finally put in a claim for PTSD in May 2002 and was turned down three times in the Pittsburgh PA VA Regional Office and once by the Federal Board of Veterans Appeals.  Their reasoning was that my flashbacks, anxiety, depression, anger, rage etc. was based on growing up in an alcoholic low income home in North Carolina.

This despite the fact that before I joined the Marine Corps in 1968 and served in Vietnam during 1969, I had served in the US Navy straight from High School in 1964. I provided letters from two people who knew me while in the Navy and several who knew me after serving in the Marines.  The Regional Office was furnished with 19 letters of reference discussing my emotional and physical condition after serving in the Marine Corps.

I also had a VA registered Nurse and VA staff psychologist state their belief that my PTSD was due to serving in combat while in Vietnam.  Their decision was ignored by both the Regional Office and the Federal Board.

Even the Social Security Administration made a positive decision of my condition in June 2004 when I was awarded benefits due to having social security disability.  Their finding stated the following:The medical evidence establishes that the claimant has the following "severe" impairments: post traumatic stress disorder, a genealized anxiety disorder, degenerative joint disease of an ankle and a hearing loss.

This just goes to prove the present Bush Administration and its Cabinet level appointees are completely unconcerned with the challenges and difficulities of war veterans and their families.  I am presently awaiting a decision from the United States Court for Veterans Appeals in Washington DC.

The law firm that is representing me before the Court does not know when my case will be heard.  I have been weating since May 2002 for a positive decision in my claim.  I am at present 60 years old, I do not know if my claim will be decided before I die.  In any case I am going to tell my story and the story of all other war veterans and their families face with the political blindness of our present White House and Republican and Conservative Congressional political leaders.

Solidarity Forever,

Woody Holland

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