Peter Nolan of St. Petersburg, Florida served as a Marine for 17 years. He was in the Reserves when he was called up to fight in Iraq in 2003. As a gunnery sergeant, he was driving a 26-ton amphibious assault vehicle when it was hit by a massive explosion, knocking him unconscious.WFLA reports, Sgt. Nolan suffered nausea, vomiting and headaches for days. He came home later that year a different person, but brought the same medical issues and more.
He tried to work through his health issues for a decade, and finally, in 2015, the VA determined Nolan had suffered a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as back, neck, shoulder, knee and ear injuries. He was declared 100 percent disabled.Unable to serve, Nolan was discharged by the Marine Corps in February.
However, a Department of Defense Physical Evaluation Board claimed he was only 10 percent disabled and therefore fit to serve — cancelling out his VA benefits. He lost his income and insurance benefits.His attorney says since he was in the Reserves when he was called to active duty in Iraq, a different set of rules applies.
Sounds like a crazy set of rules.
This tragedy illustrates the breakdown between the Department of Defense bureaucracy and the VA. How will anyone ever volunteer to serve this nation if they’re kicked to the curb when they return?Remember the recent fiasco of bonuses paid to the California National Guard —which the government years later tried to claw back?
We have a VA secretary who’s never served in uniform and a Department of Defense with 43 unfilled key positions.
The National Review reports, The Partnership for Public Service identified 553 key positions in the federal government that require Senate confirmation: cabinet secretaries, assistant secretaries, administrators, ambassadors, chief counsels, directors, and so on. As of March 28, Trump had named 61 people to these positions, 21 of whom had been confirmed by the Senate. That figure doesn’t reflect well on the Senate, but it still leaves an astonishing 492 key government positions awaiting a nominee. In the meantime, all of those jobs are being done by holdover appointees of the previous administration or acting officials from the civil service.
And in the meantime, 23 veterans commit suicide every day.it’s horrific to think the chances of death are higher at home than they are on the battlefield.
The Trump administration has some work to do.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]