It's no secret that veterans trying to receive medical treatment and benefits through the Veterans Administration had been extremely difficult in past years. They are making gains however, so all veterans should not give up hope!
There is one case that I have been following which involves a Navy sailor with a Top Secret cryptographic security clearance, working in a highly classified department, whose duty stations were never recorded in his service record. Similar to the super secret locations of our SEAL teams and the jobs they are sent to do.
The problem with this sailor is he was sent on a mission to Vietnam, and came in direct contact with Agent Orange. He is now battling a stage 4 cancer which is listed as one of the cancers connected with AO.
The dilemma: When he was sent on his various missions, he was only given travel vouchers which were handed over to those who provided the transportation, and no entry was ever made in his DD-214 or other service records. Therefore, his missions in Vietnam and elsewhere cannot be verified, and as such, the VA cannot grant benefits... and sadly, the Navy Department hasn't been much help either.
Missing records for sailors on Temporary Duty (TAD or TDY) is not unusual, especially within the cryptologic community, where they are routinely rotated in, on, and out of different countries, surface ships, subsurface vessels, and surveillance aircraft.
It is my hope that the Navy will begin a better job of accounting for sailors who are assigned additional duties somewhere other than their permanent duty station - and I will continue to follow this sailor's story.
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