Let me take you back to my early days in the Army, when I was a 1st Lieutenant at Ft. Hood, in charge of an MLRS Platoon in the 2nd Armored Division.
The Cold War was winding down, there was no clear threat (that we knew of at the time).
We all knew there was about as much of a chance of getting deployed to a combat zone as there was of the Yankees winning the American League East. (It was the 90s, remember – we had Mike Pagliarulo at 3B.)
Despite the non-combat posture, our unit trained. Relentlessly. For a peacetime Army, our “Op-Tempo” was very high.
We averaged 3 of 5 weekdays in the field. Our weekends were filled with FTXs (Field Training Exercises), and CALFEX’s (Combined Arms Live Fire Exercises).
My MLRS platoon drilled in the field at least once a week. Our “down time” was fixing and cleaning vehicles. A lot. Participating in parades. A lot. It was tedious.
One Saturday morning, one of my launcher crews stood in the motor pool, complaining about having to go out in the field – again.
Smoke – as we called our Battery’s First Sergeant – heard their complaints, and his words stuck with me ever since:
“You can bitch and complain about it, and get nowhere, or you can get your asses in the launcher and be the best you can be at what you can do. Your choice.”
Those words hold true even when the topic turns to the VA and the VA Claims Process.
It is True: the VBA IS a Mess.
Yes, the VBA side of the house is a clusterf**k.
(I have a different opinion about the VA Medical Centers, particularly the great improvements and changes happening here at the Dallas VAMC.)
But at the VBA – the Benefits side of the VA – decisions and rules and processes are archaic and erratic. At times, the written and spoken words coming out of the VA are insulting and marginalize Veterans’ service – and the injuries our troops sustained.
The delays border on the absurd – they are seemingly endless.
(Trust me when I tell you – there are good people inside the VA who are every bit as frustrated as you).
Bottom Line: the VA’s not getting ‘fixed’ anytime soon.
The VA can’t fix itself.
Congress is a joke: they are like nipples on a man – although we would look weird without them they are virtually worthless.
Frankly, I believe it’s in our national blood to deny Veteran’s benefits.
Even still – I don’t want to complain about all that. Why not?
Let me whip out an old “Lawyer” trick and answer a question with a question: Where does all that complaining get us?
If I could talk to “Smoke” today, I imagine he would say:
“You can moan and complain about the VA, and get nowhere. Or you can change your focus and change the way you experience the VA Claims Process.”
Breaking Free of our Own VA Experience.
There are patterns in the denial of VA Claims and the backlog of VA Claims. I have found them by looking at countless VA Claims Files.
But here’s the more intriguing conclusion I made after looking at thousands of C-Files: Veterans OWN a lot of the problems.
Veterans OWN the problems not because they are “to blame” for them – but because they are the solution to the problem. For example:
- We can write our appeals more clearly.
- We can have a better understanding of our claim.
- We can learn to critically analyze our claims and see them from the VA perspective.
- We can learn to make our claims “Direct. Concise. Easy”.
The Vision of the Veterans Law Blog.
The Veterans Law Blog wants to Change the Way that YOU Experience the VA Claims Process.
To fulfill that Vision, theVeterans Law Blog WILL provide MORE Information and MORE Power in MORE Ways to MORE Veterans.
The Attig Law Firm WILL be the Advance Guard of the Law Firm of the Future.
Here is WHAT that vision will look like to you:
The Veterans Law Blog.
The Veterans Law Blog is Ground Zero for our Vision: Through it, I will inform and educate Veterans about the VA Claim and Appeal Process, and will share my unique interpretation of that information and experience so that my brother and sister Veterans may benefit.
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Let me know what information you need or want – click on the green support button in the lower right corner
Veterans Law Blog Bookstore.
Veterans and Survivors have told us they are hungry – downright ravenous – for content that helps them better navigate the VA Claims Process and improving their ability to argue their own claims.
The Veterans Law Blog will provide a full array of email updates, eBooks, training videos, in-person instruction, and much more.
(Some of the Veterans Law Blog content is free, and some requires payment or a subscription; it costs money to produce this content, and I believe it is fair to ask Veterans to help support this project through their purchases and subscriptions. I’m not trying to get rich of selling content to Veterans – if I wanted to get rich, I’d run for Congress.)
A Conversation on Social Networking Sites.
Social Media is not about marketing the Blog or its products. Not at all.
Social Media is about a conversation among Veterans. Let me tell you a story.
Some time ago, I was in the Dallas VA Medical Center and passed through a common area where, literally, hundreds of Veterans had gathered. They sat in clusters of 2, 3, 5 Veterans.
They talked about their military experiences, trading war stories.
They talked of the difficulty of transitioning to Civilian life. They talked about family problems, and family blessings. They talked about their health, politics, news, and sports.
Mostly, it was a large conversation among Veterans.
This is what I envision for our social media platforms.
When a Veteran – or a non-Veteran – joins us on Facebook I want them to feel like they pulled up a chair and entered a conversation (admittedly a very public one) with a group of Veterans of diverse interests, experiences, and backgrounds.
It’s going to take some time to build this type of Conversation – but I am excited about starting! Won’t you join us on Facebook and join the conversation?
I’m looking forward to the path ahead. But I need one thing to help me fulfill my Vision – one thing I can’t provide.
What are YOU waiting for? Join the experience here.