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Served in the military? Record your DD-214 before you lose proof of service

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Ever wonder why you hear of so many veterans being denied treatment at their local VA? Or why there are so many homeless veterans? Certainly if you fight for your country, put your life in danger multiple times for their freedom, you should automatically be set the rest of your life.

Well, in a way that’s true. When I got separated from the Army one of the last things my platoon sergeant told me to do was to bring all my medical records and DD-214 to the local courthouse when I get back home. He informed me on how important all the information was.

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“If you lose those records, it’ll be like you were never in the military,” My sergeant said, ” You’ll have no record of going to war, no record of fighting on the front lines. So when you get out you go there immediately, its in your best interest”

I thanked him for the advice. I never knew that there was such a gap between the military and civilian world. I always thought everything I did was recorded somewhere in a computer, filed away forever for whenever I wanted to request them. I thought I just had copies. No one else had said a word to me about it, I guess my sergeant was the only one that cared.

I listened to him and filed my records with the county and I brought my medical files to the local VA Hospital where, still this day, I receive free treatment for the multitude of problems that keep popping up physically and mentally from the war. If I didn’t have those files when my chronic pain and flashbacks started, I would have never been seen at the hospital.

To take it even further, I would have never been able to receive compensation from the VA and I would for sure be homeless. I have been medically retired from work about three years now and I’m living off my compensation. I’m the backbone of my family now, my wife and daughter depend on me for food and shelter and I wouldn’t be able to provide for them if I didn’t have record of being a medic in Iraq.

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So if you didn’t know how important it was, now you do. Spread the word to your friends and family to let them know to go file their records with their local veteran service office and VA hospital because they never know what could happen to them down the road. They just might lose out on the benefits that are due to them and slip through the cracks like many veterans do.

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Author of Combat Medic : A soldier's story of the Iraq war and PTSD.Served as a combat medic on the front lines in operation Iraqi freedom/ enduring freedom. Medically retired from the Army in 2006 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, retired from the VA hospital since 2013. After struggling with PTSD and suicide for twelve years I have made it my priority to share my story with as meany people as I can to help America understand what it's like being a combat veteran back home from war. It is my hope that other veterans can relate to my life and take use the same tools as me to live a better life with PTSD.

1 comment on “Served in the military? Record your DD-214 before you lose proof of service

  1. I’ll bet a lot of people don’t have that information and end up not being able to get the services they earned. Hopefully a lot of people who need this will read your post.

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