American Legion Still Relevant

Is American Legion Relevant? Veterans Are Divided On NY Times Op Ed

The NY Times published an opinion article by the national commander of the American Legion this weekend that raised some eyebrows, and it was not for the obvious reason.

For the past two decades, older veterans groups like the American Legion have fought declining membership and appeal to younger populations of veterans. The decline was noticed in the early 2000’s, and today, the debate on the relevance of older veteran groups has accelerated.

A few weeks ago, NY Times published a story about new veterans groups like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Team Red, White, and Blue, and how they elbowed their way into roundtables previously dominated by the Big Six who “are seeing their influence diluted, as newer, smaller organizations focused on post-9/11 veterans compete for money, political influence and relevance.”

American Legion Response

The Legion certainly did not want its “relevance” questioned, so the group responded with its own opinion article titled, The American Legion, Still Relevant. As you can imagine, you can summarize the article in one sentence. Something like, ‘American Legion is still relevant because it is involved in current policymaking, processes claims for veterans, and sucks all the oxygen out of the room from any newcomer group.’

The article was very light on rhetoric, which made me wonder why the Legion even bothered writing it. Veterans went back and forth on the topic, and I include that commentary below to keep the conversation going.

But that was not what I noticed.

All VSOs Look The Same To NY Times

American LegionIf you take a quick look at the top image of the NY Times post, you will notice something that resulted in a few veterans questioning the authenticity of the article that may reveal what NY Times really thinks on relevance.

Old veterans groups all look the same. So much so that NY Times did not bother using a photo of the American Legion at all. Instead, they simply reposted the VFW image. Again, it’s not a major issue, but it struck me as being off.

As to the question, is the Legion relevant?

Yes. Each veteran group serves a purpose. The Big Six did themselves a huge disservice when they failed to include Concerned Veterans For America and other newer groups, and they are now playing catch up.

There is no question the Big Six provide an invaluable service to veterans nationwide in filling out necessary forms for initial claims. As a veterans rights attorney, I can assure you I could not keep my doors open if I had to process the volume of claims veteran service officers fill out on a regular basis.

Feedback From Veterans On American Legion

Here are some comments from veterans about the Legion and what some of us have to say about it. Some of the names were changed to John Smith and Jane Smith for veterans who requested anonymity.

Rodney G. Skinner Why would you put a photo of VFW members & ask that question?

Meri Arc Newspaper goofed that up maybe.

Rodney G. Skinner Meri Arc I am a Life Member of both, just wondering?

Meri Arc Rodney G. Skinner, I wondered, also, but looks like paper placed another group’s picture on the article about another group.

Ben Krause You’ll have to take up the photo foible with NY Times editors. It’s connected with the Legion story… I guess it goes to show you what civilians think of these VSOs… they all look the same.

Curtiss Powers VFW and American Legion are useless in today’s world. The members and leaders say they are here to help, but they only helpline there own pickets and don’t do shit for is Vets. Both should be ashamed

John Smith There are volunteers that help-I have a very good friend that does his best to help other vets through the DAV. Other VSO’s/DSO’s are VFW and AL members doing it through posts, respectfully do not paint with a broad brush.

Kerry Cooper Curtiss Powers, I asked the three SOs that I belong to with help to get the VA to stop BS’ing around with my replacement power wheelchair and lift. All three told me to contact the VA Patient Advocate and social worker and health care team that I’d written weren’t able to help. I stopped paying dues this year for AL and would request my money returned from VFW and DAV if that was doable.

John Smith Sorry to hear that Kerry. They are limited to what they can do with the VA. Wilmington, DE’s patient advocate does not even call back and not the first time. The VA is not even nice to my friend who is the Post Commander for DAV and he, of course, is a volunteer.

Ian J Hudson American legion is among the best VA watchdogs out there with VARO site audits.

Meri Arc My thought is that for claims, anyway, it may depend on the specific certified service officers, not necessarily the service org. We reached out to at least two and they both were wasting space in their office, but others may have had better results…jmo.

Frank Gutierrez VFW and the American Legion are two of the greatest organizations fighting for veterans rights. Younger generations need to get involved or else they will lose their biggest voice.

Curtiss Powers Frank Gutierrez sadly I disagree. Both here are only out to help there friends and buddies. Needs A complete overhaul

Frank Gutierrez Curtiss Powers it’s not getting better if more people don’t get involved. Plenty of Commanders out there that should be voted out but because of the lack of participation, they can’t get voted out and replaced by people that can facilitate change.

Frank Gutierrez People are complaining but not doing anything themselves to change it.

Curtiss Powers Frank Gutierrez I have tried pushed out by the buddy system

Frank Gutierrez Curtiss Powers because the younger veterans that could back you and vote you in aren’t getting involved. God forbid their GI Bill goes unpaid. Guess what? The American Legion fought for that and more.

Curtiss Powers Frank Gutierrez look guy both organizations are nothing but shit shows so just stop trying to change my mind won’t happen.

John Smith I am not into drinking, smoking, telling war stories, and playing Bingo. Veterans are better off spending their money elsewhere.

Curtiss Powers Jane Smith EXACTLY.

John Smith I like my local AL/VFW post for cold cheap beer and being with other members.

Jane Smith John Smith that’s awesome. But as a service organization, the VFW is irrelevant.

Pauline Ali’itasi White They have their place yet are they RELEVANT (or should I say do they RESONATE) with younger Veterans…what makes them appealing to younger Veterans…

Ashley C Hubbard Pauline Ali’itasi White as a younger veteran I don’t see a use for them. The service officers are mostly horrible and mess up most of the claims they touch. (In my area anyway). The bars contribute to alcoholism and poor choices. Nationally they lobby Congress for questionable bills where often the veterans lose. I cannot think of one thing this group is good for. BTW I am a combat veteran that has been a member for several years.

Curtiss Powers Jane Smith no way in hell I will stay a member when they are not helping the ones who need it.

John Smith Curtiss Powers that is the challenge. In Texas, there are much better places to turn for support.

John Smith Jane Smith My question is are you doing anything to make it better or just complaining about the VFW? Why are you a member if you do not think well of it? Sure service officers often mess up claims from all organizations and that is what happens when you cannot charge for claims help in an initial filing. You could become a DVO/VSO and make a difference-I’ve found that the must disgruntled people with an organization could become their best asset implementing changes.

Curtiss Powers John Smith changes? It will never change till the buddy system it has done away with, and that will never happen. So its a shit storm of fuck-ups running the place.

John Smith Curtiss Powers You can get involved to make changes, otherwise, it is armchair quarterbacking no matter what the subject. it is easy to throw stones at things we are not involved in critiquing organizations and we as individuals can be the impetus for changes-especially when we are advocating for causes we believe in. Food for thought and I like helping vets and do so on a regular basis.

Jane Smith John Smith yes I am working to make it better. I work with my local community service officers helping veterans get in contact with the right people. I work with the Texas Veterans Commission to help underserved rural veterans get services. I also coordinate and host clean and sober events for veterans and their families. I am also a facilitator for a PTSD support group for incarcerated veterans.

I am not disgruntled with the VFW. The question posted are they relevant to younger veterans. In my experience helping veterans. The VFW needs to update their platform and stuck in the old ways mentality.

John Smith AWESOME JANE! Terrific response!

Pauline Ali’itasi White Jane Smith John Smith our dads (hubby n I) are with VFW. Mr. Boring who repped me works out of VA Hospital. My aunt works out of Hawaii and us other great folks in their chain of command so they are Aces for us.

Curtiss Powers no armchair quarterbacking I gave my opinion and you keep trying to come at me with more bullshit

Jane Smith Pauline Ali’itasi White that is awesome. I’m glad that some areas have great people in charge.

Frank Gutierrez Jane Smith that’s only part of it. A post is responsible for providing services to veterans and improving the communities that they touch. I think many of these posts have gotten comfortable for way too long but there are quite a few that improve the lives of many.

Jane Smith Frank Gutierrez I am not disputing that at all. For younger veterans, that is not what they are looking for. The rapid growth of organizations like Mission Continues and Team Rubicon shows that today’s veterans want something different than the old school VFW and American Legion can provide.

I would be lying if I said that I don’t work with the VFW in my area from time to time. They are just not what the younger vets want. This making them functionally irrelevant to the younger veterans.

Arlie Hammons Need something that can help the disabled National ADAPT (non-military) and they can help us. I was working trying to get a local veteran elected in Arlington VA. He supported the Disability Integration Act which I support. Disabled here fighting with the paratransit service in Arlington Va. The VA is not here helping with issues like this. So yes something different. Disabled veteran here with a traumatic brain injury.

Curtiss Powers Arlie Hammons complete reconstruction. Get rid of everyone start over. The only way to try to fix the problems

Brian Lewis Pass legislation getting VSO’s out of being the only ones who, as a practical matter, can do initial claims work and let’s see how relevant they stay.

Jane Smith Brian Lewis VSOs are an awesome advocate for claims. Without their help many more claims would be denied.

Brian Lewis Or, you could seek out service from actual attorneys if such legislation was passed.

Frank Gutierrez Brian Lewis you already can seek legal assistance once you are denied and in most cases, get turned around.

Brian Lewis Exactly. You have to wait until you are initially denied.

Frank Gutierrez Brian Lewis I imagine that initiating claims is not that popular to want to practice or else lawyers would have figured out a way to do it. There’s money to be made in contesting denials. That’s why there are firms that practice it.

Jane Smith Brian Lewis attorneys charge fees. That takes money out of the veterans Pockets. County veteran service officers provide services for free.

Brian Lewis Better 80 percent of something than all of nothing. Remember also that the fee only comes out of back pay, which would be limited in an initial claims context.

Actually, Frank, it’s a rule that lawyers cannot charge for initial claims work.

Frank Gutierrez Brian Lewis that’s why it’s not done.

Brian Lewis Exactly. Change the rule via statute and see how relevant the VSO stays.

Frank Gutierrez Brian Lewis or provide them better training. I know a few VSOs that can work some magic.

Glenn Watts Brian Lewis way too many vets don’t understand the 80% of something vs 100% of nothing. Veterans turning to attorneys don’t have money in their pockets as many seem to think. You been denied, get an attorney and get your life in order or go ahead fight with the VA. I got nothing but denied with VSO, same evidence went to 100% with an attorney.

Ben Krause Good debate here. Of most organizations and corporations, a failure to attract new members/ employees is generally a failure of leadership. In the civilian sector, you would get fired immediately for not keeping an organization relevant.

It is interesting that the general focus of VSO leadership has consistently been on younger veterans choosing to not join (it’s the lazy youngsters) rather than on leadership failing to attract new members.

Laura Harding It doesn’t help when you walk into a VFW post to join as a veteran and their first question is “do you want to join Ladies’ Auxiliary or as a social member?”

Mac Zeff Am Legion, yes, VFW NO.

John Smith They are sharing resources and posts, for example, my post in particular. So not only synergies for missions, but resources too.

Kevin Michael Phelps Disagree. Sold out long ago in my opinion.

Norman Walters All they are is a hangout for alcoholics.

AJ Erich They are a waste of time.

Janet Woodworth Jennings It’s nothing more than a “good ol’ boys” club.

John Smith A bit off topic, I am an X-sailor, was at the VFW/American Legion and there was another guy there who is also a member and we were at the bar having a beer together… I said, “you a squid too?”: and he responded “I am a Chief Petty Officer, United States Navy” and I nearly laughed my ass off. He was the post Commander, I didn’t know, but I guess he thinks he is still in the Navy – to me I thought it was hilarious. If I was a civilian saying that, I get it, but damn we were all squids and at the VFW/Legion bar so I thought it was, well ?????

Timothy Lee Coffey my take is they were able to identify contaminated Veterans as well as VA, but nobody said a word all these years about Benzene, TCE and PCE until Camp Lejeune class action. they all knew from Reagan’s billion-dollar EPA Super Fund Clean up. I don’t trust any of them due to this issue. They all sold out Veterans. We still have many sick contaminated veterans, and still, nobody is talking as it was all a big cover-up.

Kerry Cooper It is? I dropped out last year is the last time I’m paying dues.

Mike Vaughn BS! Remember, they fully support the VA HEALTH CARE KILLING MACHINE. That’s a clear demonstration of how much they care about our veterans. Lots of $$$$$ to be made from killing vets.

Timothy Lee Coffey When you have as much of a budget as VA has had for so many years, people find ways to rip it off, some legal ways, and some illegal, but most of the money American taxpayers pay for Veterans, never makes it to the veterans. Groups like this all have ways of squeezing the money out of VA, so many cons from all directions. Can’t trust people with that type of money, not even Senators, Governors, Lawyers or Judges, as they go in with one thing in mind, and that is to cut off their piece like a pack of hyena’s scrounging for a meal. If they were in it to maximize Veterans benefits it would be different. But Americans don’t even think that way anymore. 90% of the population is not to be trusted with other peoples money. That is why you must force disclosure, and why every dime must be accounted for and shown to all Americans, so nobody gets greedy and bits off more of the carcass than they should have.

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  1. I dont know enough about this topic to really comment on but the legion help me with all my paper problem requests and at a good speed too so I dont see what the problem is, maybe ya are talking about a different legion lol

  2. Relevancy? Another very deep subject with all the springboards to other connected issues and problems. Relevant to what? Two subjects mentioned are VSO organizations/outreach stuff, and a so-called community. Both are all about politics, the facade, nepotism, power, egos, cliques, covering-up, the quid pro quo, money, self-service, prestige, to the symbiotic relationships they may have. Throw in some deep seated harmful pride. We all should know by now the public nor the phony claims of happy perfect, all loving, tolerant, and caring communities is a load of bull. They sure show their true colors by attacking some of us, all the censoring happening, ignoring us completely, to what let’s say to what college towns/some metro area want versus what veterans need or the mere wants that the locals demand. And to hell with us. Ahem, why are so many communities claiming low turn-outs on vet day parades especially in college towns or more liberal global villages?

    Why focus on veterans when there be poor animal shelters out there needing more attention than some nasty hard case human with issues? Runs or activities that are more for the community PC-ness and boot licking rather than some life saving priorities or keeping focus on vets. Cough.

    They all do the good game of reporting doing something for homeless and hungry vets to helping them with paper-work, passing out hygiene stuff, etc. More serious issues out-side of what they all claim to be about… forget it. (And be about only they all claim.) Like VA and other forms of retaliation, misconduct to lacks of ethics and on it goes. Not to forget in the VSOs/clubs/cliques also have families connected to the VA, local CBOCs, along with all the other associations, in politics, media, activist and clubs. Those who we are not supposed to ‘offend’ or mention any negatives about or where they may work and such connections. Then it boils down to politics and who are we to dare speak ill of someone close to them or of another member’s family member or friends.

    It’s also difficult to herd cats. Like attracting new or younger members to something due to all the divisions going on today. Or the division between the services, ranks, etc. To the ‘my war was more ugly or more fun than your wars crap. And if listening to why so many are calling for old men to just “die off,” go “silent” or “just go away.” We hinder the new culture and society coming our way the youth want today.

    So relevant? Yes to some degrees.
    Needful? Yes for many and those who’ve depended on them or a part of for all their lives for whatever reasons. Bar, bingo, socializing, being a small part of something, etc. If some just get fed up with society, turn to isolation, having to try the younger minus the respect or commaraderies is not a good thing either. Damn those generation gaps and loss of manners and etiquette.

    Are the new groups any better or with those led by the younger? Nope. If any and all of them did justice instead of giving lip-service and wanting money for something (five star hotels for leadership) things would have been different today. But they play the same games as the old, with high tech twists and marketing.

  3. I guess that I am in the minority compared to the previous comments. Yes the Big 6 probably need a come to Jesus meeting, concerning veteran’s benefits and how they have become too comfortable with the V.A. and congress.

    However, Instead of complaining, GET INVOLVED. Change starts from within an organization. Community involvement is important…Boys State, Oratorical, Boy/Girl Scouts and other activities give young people a sense of direction of being a citizen of the U.S.A..

    Here In Butte, Montana A.L. Post One we have several individuals involved in driving the DAV van, Helping homeless vets, Getting funding for a Rest Home for Veterans, The list is endless.

    It is easier to bitch, than get involved and take action.

    1. 01/21/2019

      Dear Dave H.,

      After being burned by the Government, many citizens refuse to look deeper into the problem, let alone find a solution to the problem.

      And there are some who bury their heads deep in the sands and wait it out [Torrance, CA/1988], or give a helping hand.

      It is a matter of Faith in the “System” and “the Leadership” and “The People” all doing the right thing.

      It is too easy to throw your hands up and call it impossible to correct—as you can see from the comments above.

      Having Faith is what made Patton. The VA Bad Management will crumble overnight if every Governor does an Audit of their Hospitals and clinics.


      Don Karg

  4. 01/21/2019

    Dear Benjamin Krause,

    “Is the Legion relevant?” It is easy to say No. The fact is that it is still an organization, with members, with the correct management–could pose a serious threat to the VA stalemate since 2014 [National Scandal] or since the MOFO lawsuit in 2007. The answer is Yes.

    One must not forget “the Big Six” [Vietnam Veterans of America, VFW, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans (DAV)] were silent during the 2000-2008, extremely cautious until 2015, and tippy toed around— up until now 01/21/2019.

    Over the past 10 years Americans and the Veterans spoke out —the Big Six dug in for the battle.

    Now, after decades of shared-monopolies with the DOD/VA/HHS/Government these organizations have picked the Government over the Veterans —-by their non-actions on major issues.

    Now the American Citizens/Veterans must correct the wrongs—especially after what the Supreme Court just did on 01/14/2019 [Military contractor Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out multiple lawsuits filed by veterans who were Burn Pit Victims].

    “Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed an executive order to do more to ensure the health, safety and security of residents and workers at all of Illinois Veterans’ Homes.
    ‘The state of Illinois must provide a safe, healthy environment where veterans and their spouses receive quality care,’ said Governor Pritzker. ‘This executive order will hold state agencies accountable to the people and ensure the state is delivering quality care to our nation’s heroes – and take action where the state has fallen short in the past. Veterans served us. Now it’s our turn to serve them,’” (WGEM) 01/18/2019.

    Our Governor Ducey in Arizona has egg on his face dealing with an un-licensed/”non-profit”/out of controlled Phoenix business entity called Hacienda de Los Angeles Healthcare Unit that was spending $400,000.00 per patient a year, which had little to no patient control and staff/personnel/and management control. These same State/County/City officials all stated that this VA problem was up to the Feds back in 09/11/2014.

    Years [nearly Five] later we all are finding out how wrong they [the officials] were.

    The time is to act now!


    Don Karg

  5. MOst of these Tired Dudes should have got out 20 fkn Years ago im an state advocate and talk to these VSO and they have some of the Most Outdated techniques of filing and advising a vet for his services. They are frustrating to work with cause they wont fkn listen and update their skills. Most are too Worried where they will get the Next free photo op and meal from a Politician when its Voting Time….

  6. None of it matters if the VA hires worthless untrained workers, who won’t follow the laws when deciding your claims, or Doctors who have the knowledge to understand chemical contamination’s, and basic diseases. they can give us all the song and dance we can handle, but we need action that is positive. We need results, and they just are not coming. VA has thugs that will send your claims to Never never land if you speak out, I have heard many mention it, and it has happen to me for years. Don’t matter what you prove or show them, it is up to the guy the hire off the street who has very little training, and can’t handle complex claims, so they just deny them. And same with the DRO who should be the main person at VA who has all the answers. So the groups are useless, and every time I go to one, it is usually they don’t know, post commander is out, in between them knocking back a few, I leave with no help. not every time, but most. I only use Lawyers to fight lawyers, not nice people who want to help, but still have little pull. It is really all up to that 20-30 yer old claims person who has never been in the military, and won’t even check your DD214 before they deny the claim to get a bonus, their bonus is much more important than your life.

  7. All VSOs were worthless and did not help me with my claim. I did it myself and won. However it would have been nice to have guidance and support available. I think they should do away with these organization as they are just self-serving cliques and instead use the money for lawyers that actual help with the claim. Legislation should be passed that allow Veterans the option to seek out services from actual attorneys.

    Peace OUt

    1. Same here. Did my own and got my 100% . My VSO didn’t do shit except that he was quiting and going to become a male nurse. Jeeeeze.

  8. The Legion where I live is more concerned with Boys State and Oratorical than helping vets. My district just rotates leadership among a few. I was giving huge amounts of time to try to make it better. Became homeless. Told the members at a district meeting. Got nothing but crickets.

  9. You all may not like my comments but I really don’t care. None of the “Big 6” have done anything for the vets who were seconded to the CIA and then when they got using them, throwing them to the dogs. When you consider that the CIA ran the Vietnam War from Laos you soon see that Laos vets can’t get benefits unless they are exceptionally lucky and know someone’s real name and get buddy letters but if they don’t they’re screwed just like my husband was. When you go into a country with only a nickname and a made up ID number there is no way that you can get buddy letters or find morning reports or anything like that so it falls upon the “Bid 6” to fight for those vets and force the VA into using the existing rules and approving them. Have I seen anything forth coming from any of those guys Nope and you won’t. It’s beneath their dignity to help us.

    1. Ms. Dunagan,
      It isn’t just Vietnam; it took Bill Clinton, as one his last acts, to force the US Government to recognise that soldiers wounded while in combat “in support of a nation whose interests and existence are of vital importance to the National Security of the United States”, against an enemy of that nation with whom the US is not at war, nor officially engaged in combat operations against. In other words, helping folks like Laotians, Malaysians, Indonesians, Philippinoes, and (more recently) various states or non-state “actors” in Africa—under the not-too-watchful eye of the CIA.
      I could not find ANY organisation willing to help me. Part of the problem, though is that there are far more claims for combat injury than people who saw combat. That makes the presumption that we are BSing the Man, and that means we have to work much harder to get recognition.
      The oft-reviled Barack Obama actually made our life somewhat easier. The “benefit of the doubt” rules his administration restructured and then re-restructured—to out manoeuver the VA’s effective “claims denial process”—make it easier for us to get that BOD. You still need help, and you won’t get it from any Veteran’s organisation because they are all oriented towards Big Wars or Official Wars or, for the post-9/11 vets, Our War (OIF OEF, etc…). But if you can manage to prove you were in Some Place, you could (back in the Obama Admin, anyway) get the BOD. Or if you have a kickass Congressperson, like I did (until he was gerrymandered away and we got a placeholding “yes” vote), you can maybe get the DoD and “other government agencies” to indicate to a Veteran’s Law Judge (not a real judge, of course) that your record is sealed “for National Security reasons”. That helps. Otherwise, you just have to stick it out.
      But no, you won’t get any help from the Clubs…er, VSOs. No matter what age group is sitting around spinning war stories and drinking beer.


  11. I tried getting into both the vfw and the legion but was very disappointed. The legion I signed up for one year and lasted only 2 months before resigning with a letter. The v.f.w. I joined for 1 year but only stayed 4 months due to their attitudes being so UGLY!!!

    The legion, I was insulted by a member when he tried to pull rank on me even pulling out his wallet and showing me his retired id stating that he retired as an e-8 a.f. so he was better than me. I didn’t dare tell him that I could kill him in one blow from my training as . . . . a killer (u.s. trained killers is what some of us are – hand to hand combat) It takes the strength of the Gods to not kill. It is easy for me to not because I fear God and will always obey His commandments. I feel a little sorry for their evil asses.

    The v.f.w. insisted that I drink while there or leave. I NEVER drink and drive because . . . I’m not as stupid as them. I value what little money I have after suffering a severe head wound while active duty and therefore being disabled and unemployed at age 40. What little, small, tiny checks I get from our ungrateful government are of extreme value to me and have no budget for attorneys or corrupt courts and evil cops.

    I refuse to join any of them because of their behavior. They act like I owe them or something stupid along those lines.

    Why isn’t someone doing something about our EVIL government?!!!!!! (not a rhetorical question)

    1. You make excellent points. I have very mixed reactions as to VSO’s. There absolutely has been good they have done. But I have also watched tactics that I absolutely disagreed with and crossed the line. I established my own nonprofit – we identified GWI with independent medical researchers before the DoD and VA did and were on standby to help force the issue. There are a lot of insidious activities within the VA – I have attacked them both head on and obliquely. I used my independence to move at will when it was appropriate – in short, using my military background in a positive way. I am a CPA by trade and spent many years conducting forensic investigations. The IRS gave me an MOU to install tax programs for the benefits of veterans at the VA – but Mary Carstensen, the newly appointed Special Assistant to Secretary Shinseki, ignored our MOU, instigated at a White House conference with the knowledge and approval of the VA General Counsel. Turns out she was taking money from outside sources in violation of Executive compensation and conduct rules and left before being charged by DoJ. So a two year program, developed completely at my expense, was tossed out by corruption – with two years of outstanding response to what we were doing. Just one example. And now she is an officer on an NGO helping veterans. Just one tiny example. No other NGO’s got involved. The people hired are often from the NGO’s and enjoy incestuous relationships. There are tons of contracts that have been initiated with known relationships. The VBA precedents are rooted in fraud when one of the first directors embezzled $200 million while denying 85% of WW1 veteran claims. There are many challenges that should have been made over the years – but were never done. Why? I can only guess. So – I stand up, with my cane, and I continue to build challenges that should have been done ages ago. But circumstances were different then. And the allusion to drinking? I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s – there was a lot of drinking done by the greatest generation that tore apart families. So the “cure” back then is completely different from what we look at now. My biggest problem has been ongoing fraud and corruption at every level. That covers up the massive amounts of evil out there.

  12. They all have run their use. When it turned from helping veterans to people getting paid and receiving good benefits it changed. It’s extremely easy to see what is more important and relevant, it’s there jobs, benefits, trips and conventions which cost big money. I have got it hard from most trying to find help, while most don’t give a crap or me know nothing, but there are some good out there and if find? They make life easier, if can find. People don’t realize that the VA has their own counseling for benefits and probably the best place to go for help. I can write experiences from VSOs that would find had to believe and more hurt than help. Once was getting the run around bad and the VA benefit counselor looked computer, seen I was right and went back finding my folder on put on the correct desk leaving a note to please take of. Was done in 3 days. Vet organizations make it easier to file, drive the benefit wagon over to make even easier, unfortunately doesn’t mean they know best. Take the ride to the regional office and ask to be assigned a counselor, big difference. If want to drink cheap can beer while listening to a couple drunks arguing over something 50yrs ago where everyone in the place is a navy seal or ranger paratrooper in special ops, that’s your place. No being a jerk, just honest

  13. In the late 80s I wandered into an American Legion hall in Stockton, CA and hung out – not long. I felt I was in 18th Century Dixie after the fall of the Confederacy. It’s as if black men lost Vietnam all by themselves. I left. In the early 90s, I went to a VFW in Western WI and I thought I was listening to a George Carlin album – something about commie fag junkies – losing the war in Vietnam, all by themselves. I went to VVA in the 2000s and I felt I walked into Rush Limbaugh’s studio – yap yap yap.

    Sure, these are probably unfair characterizations of the larger institutions. Local management matters. The larger question of relevance at the national level is really immaterial if one looks at the obvious history of the VA’s shortcomings. Team Red and IAVoA may, for now, represent the legitimate special interests of Iraq/Afghan veterans. But, sooner or later, it will succumb to being just another beltway lobby, competing for money, power and position, feeding a corrupt political machine. Sides will be taken, money will move in all directions, flags will be waved, solemnity appropriately displayed, and the mantra of all beltway institutions will be religiously adhered to with the echoed chant “don’t make waves in Washington”.

    Leadership and staff of all these groups have become their own subset in American society. Access to power will be preserved at all costs. Citizens and soldiers and veterans will be sacrificed for the greater good of those groups serving a small group of paymasters. They all sleep well at night and assuage their long faded guilt with “it’s just politics”.

  14. I’m a lifetime member of Post 448 and they’ve been a big help to me. Yes im a senior but younger veterans can take advantage of our knowledge and vice versa.

  15. All of this that is going on. Is a national security threat. This is Russia at work, with traitors helping.

    Bone spurs, secret meetings. Presidential staff going to jail. The news asked Trump which foot had bone spurs ?.

    He faltered, and someone near him, said out loud, Both feet and Trump, repeated what he heard.

    Someone gave him an out and he took it.

    People see this and know something is very wrong and know, someone is doing everything they can to distroy America.

    Drain the Swamp or prepare to have American’s fighting each other. Or is that the plan and Russian soldiers be secretly placed in certain positions to prepare for martial law.

    When that happens martial law. That’s when the murder will begin. Once this begins, real Americans will pick up arms and will fight back.

    We will not go quietly to the gallows, gas chambers. Toys are being hidden and people are preparing for all out war.

    Nazi’s will never, never, bring the American people to their knees.

    Does anyone believe this is normal.

    Took an oath to protect America from foreign and domestic threats. This Guy could care less whom or how many people he harms. He is a menace and a Traitor.

    Bone Spurs my !!!. Russia comrade.

    Some people can’t handle the truth. He is doing this on purpose and at the order of a murder. Putin eat shit. Step foot on American soil and you will wish you were never born. I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would care.

    Putin did this very thing right outside the Kremlin and no one cared in Russia. Why ?.
    Because they are afraid if they speak out, they will be Arrested or murdered by Putin.

    Our elected officials better take immediate action to stop this Traitor or traitors.

  16. …..and then there is the Wounded Warrior group that became a business. Corrupt, deviant, misleading, and literally BUYING its way into the market(s) of the many “veterans advocacy” groups.

    I am a career Soldier in the United States Army. 1981 – 2007 and veteran of war and peace. A non-hyphenated republican and Trump supporter. I alter my politics: pro 2A but anti-NRA and gun groups; pro-Israel and anti-Islamic; animal rights to the core and of the realization that the environment is essential to preserve…… Well educated from B.S. to Masters degree and a certified polygraph examiner.. THAT IS ME AND LIKE MANY VETERANS, WD HAVE MULTIPLE TALENTS AND ATTRIBUTES UNLIKE MOST CIVILIANS.

    The level of disrespect towards the older veteran generation WW2, Korea, Vietnam, etc… is pathetic and lethargic. Granted, yes, the veterans groups and organizations like the VFW, American Legion, and DAV have lead the way when it comes to having connections in DC and elsewhere. However, it stops there because that have become politically “modified”. When veterans separate themselves based on race, I ignore their intent and existence, after all, “does not the field of battle enjoy all of our blood”? My respect has boundaries, as if…..

    I have heard many negative things coming from veterans and their families regarding appeal presentations and congressional interaction. The representatives from any of the above are not fortified when it comes to Board of Veterans Appeals. They are just there. So, when I present myself to the BoVA in the coming decades, I will be solo. Between my research and the help of Mr. Benjamin Krause, I am very confident in my victory to receiving the rest of my guaranteed benefit of Vocational Rehab of which they pulled from under me as I was going into my last year.

    All of that said, while I don’t have ANY confidence in the post modern veteran resources including some of the veterans themselves, I do have the confidence in those veterans, not the service organizations, who lead the way through WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.

    The younger generation of veterans has a lazy, politically correct, “I am god” syndrome that has abandoned the steadfast loyalty to country and honor. When Navy Seals murder a Green Beret and when O grades mock and manipulate the CiC. When officers kiss all the ass to get into a “hotseat” in DC.. When VA employees from top to bottom, manipulate, humiliate, deceive, and dishonor the value of a veteran, for without the veteran and his pain, the VA would not have a payroll nor would they have the opportunity to launder money and benefits.

    NO VETERANS GROUP, NEW OR OLD, WILL EVER COMPLY WITH THE NEEDS OF A VETERAN OR HIS FAMILY.. Tis the veterans themselves who will remain steadfast and loyal to their purpose, accomplishments, and sacrifice, for no politician or civilian can administer due process without coffers or personal gain and noteriety.

  17. I watched a town hall meeting with the sec.of VA Friday and one of the bureaucrats said that the claims process will change again the 19th of February. So will this be another failure or will the claims come out of the dark ages! They are now working on 2015 claims! So much for the millions of dollars theVA have taken from the congress and the American
    People. The vfw has had nothing to say about abuse of the VA or the 10 million dollars they have in reserve.
    This is all public record.

    1. I hear alllll Claims will be put on the Rapid Claims Process now in the coming weeks, which will fk a lot of vets because their Claims they have been working on for so many months and years will get denied in a few weeks.

  18. I my opinion, ALL VSO’s have lost their way.
    The worst one of them is the DAV. Don’t believe me. Go to *”DAVReform”* for an in-depth analysis!
    I feel they, the “big six”, started losing their way and membership back in the early to mid 1990’s!
    It would be at this time, where they would help a small amount of vets each year just to stay relevant in today’s world! Look at ALL the commercials out there wanting civilians to donate $19 each month. If they were relevant today, why beg for money?

    That’s all I can say at this point!

    1. They beg so they can pay themselves. Top folks get salaries. They work against Vets when they are threatened by Washington to lose a seat at the table. Each individual Post and member is a potential paycheck. But, at the Post level, most of the Vets just want to help other Vets.

      1. LP agreed! Although I would change a little of what you said. The top absolutely get salaries AND know where their bread is buttered. The are for themselves and the vets are an after-though for sure but I don’t think that they are threatened by Washington, I think that they are put in check by Washington, by the Committee members who can say “listen, if you give up most of your effort for this bill and act like this for this other bill, we will allow you to speak at the committee hearing and actually give you mic time”. If you map out how reality plays out for us veterans, the politicians on the committee demand things change, VA agrees but never does anything. Now, Why would that be? Could it be they want to be re-elected and need funding? Could it be that they make it look like they have the vets in mind and get passionate towards the VA? The videos of the committee hearings are an eye opener on how much influence the VA has over the politicians, then how much power the politicians have over the VSOs, who then make sure they keep the ‘king’ happy so they can keep making their fat paychecks. The VSOs are definitely no better than the VA itself. I was a Post Commander for the VFW and wanted to help as much as I can but the ‘leadership’ (I use that term weakly) wanted “more members, more members, more members” and were not concerned with helping veterans nor the community. I decided I could be more help helping veterans by myself and leave the BS to those in the Post who couldn’t gain the respect of others while serving so get into a position where they can DEMAND respect in a VSO. Sad, so very sad.

      2. “at the post level they only want to help vets” my ass! In my exps w VSO’s:
        –DAV: {I got nothing but put downs, laughed at, ignored, never even got a meeting}
        –AMVETS: {a local big wig set me up with apt in Federal bldg, where at a VA employee entered the empty office cubicled room, sat behind a participant, never introduced herself, but chimed in on my private conversation multiple times w comments to my VSO, saying things like “we can’t do that”, that’s not in the regs, that’s not how that works, we can’t do that, the law doesn’t work that way. When I demanded to know her name, and said either introduce yourself and come join this conversation face to face, she refused both, leaving me no choice but to leave…
        –AMERICAN LEGION: they only want to help you when there is something in it for them, if your not one of their drinking buddies (alcohol is horrible for those w PTSD), if your not part of their good old boys network, or your not of their religious beliefs, you get shit on and shoved in it with more put downs, inexcusable behavior, no help, no follow up…
        In other words where these VSO’s are concerned, I got nowhere w filing very needed medical claims, I got no help at all w apeal denied PTSD claim they botched to begin with and now won’t return my calls, I got zero advocacy for needed medical care, discrimination issues, no help against the false disruptive behavior flagging, i got no advocacy for the multiple forms of abusive (some highly) treatment from my “local” VA hosp (50 miles one way), lots of my time uterly wasted, I got many nasty put downs, made fun of, discriminated against, stigmatized, Lied too, told they can’t help me no matter how bad the VA has been screwing me over under their disruptive behavioral flagging where you don’t get due process under the law, if your even notified you were flagged, I was not [★thank you Ben for that heads up].
        Help w filing claims: when you do ask for help, bcuz you can not do the claim work yourself exactly bcuz of your impairments (severe PTSD, comorbid Maj Depression, blast wave TBI they refuse too evaluate, multiple forms of chronic spine pain), you get one “meeting” with the VSO if your lucky, they tell you they will do this or do that and then uterly fail to follow up or follow thru, while your phone calls don’t get returned, and eventually your window too file a claim/apeal closes with out ever getting the dam help they promised, leaving you in the same shit show situation w the VA. And you still can’t get adequate, timely, appropriate medical or psych care, all while you continue living inpoverty bcuz you can’t work and VA denied the piss poor claim the VSO managed too fill out for you but failed to send any support documents you gave them, obtain records you couldn’t, or they failed to attempt to obtain your medical documents for your PTSD claim, they refuse to advocate for you w the VA hosp to send you to appropriate Drs for eval/diagnosis.
        I think it’s just so they can keep you at 50% disability or less, for which your financial benefits for the 50% rating you got 10 years ago only for maj depression btw, that only pays out one/third of what the 100% rating pays.
        Plus at 50% rating you might learn that your not eligible for certain types of medical care that those at 100% recieve.
        When you demand non va care after 2 decades of getting treated like road kill by VA “doctors” w their never ending hateful treatment of the mentally ill, the non va care Dept continues to make your situation worse thru their incompetence, unnecessary long delays & denials, of/for authorizations for months on end, bcuz the doctor behind the curtain in the non VA care dept, that your never allowed to see, speak with, or get evaluated by, is 70+ yrs old, doesn’t have or use a computer in their office, can not use one, does all his work using paper records, takes months to get too your requests for care given you by far more competent civilian doctors, only to be denied the authorization you desperately need…
        Then they try to coerse and convince you into thinking VA care is better than civy care using poor coersion tactics, barely veiled, because of the delays and denials that they caused in the first place…
        When you go to the patient advocate they fail utterly to address the problem, claiming their hands are tied, don’t return your calls, fail to follow up and you never hear from them again.
        So then you go to the Chief of staff, who calls you a lier about your needs, medical status, and your lousy VA experiences, and then tells you to call their secretary to schedule an apt with them, but your calls are never returned there either, your problems never get addressed, so you continue to spiral into the deepest depths of depression, chronic pain bcuz VA botched your care for years, delay deny MRIs,and treatment requests by civy provider, and forced to cope and deal with all that and a ton more ALONE!
        While lazy VSO’s that are in lock step w the VA madness, continue to get their fat paychecks for doing nothing substantive, constructive, or helpful, and generally is only a lot of hot stinky air…
        Third world refugees get better medical care, benefits and gov handouts than severly disabled veterans.
        Perhaps if our politicians were not far bigger Advocates/Lobyists For Big Pharma, Big oil, Big industry, whatever… (insert your fav, they all apply) instead of Advocates/Lobyists FOR Veterans, then maybe we could get the medical care and appropriate benifits we have suposedly “earned and deserve”…

  19. Perhaps these groups need to have a “come to Jesus moment” and identify the ONE thing they do the best as individual entities, and then combine and each one focuses on that ONE thing. If the AL is good at advocacy with Congress and policy makers, let it do that. If the VFW is good a good liaison with the public, let it do that. These groups better get it together. This isn’t the 1960s or the 1980s anymore. I’m 38 and a veteran of OIF, but I still can’t find common ground with these groups. I’m also a Life Member of the Marine Corps League, but with work and three kids, it’s very hard for me to attend meetings. I don’t know the answer, but I know that something needs to be done.

  20. Hi I just wanted to let you know that I am a life time member of the DAV and thanks to my last commander and his lack of keeping the faith of his personal under him or lack of asking for my side of a story he lost a person who would do anything for the country, and state, him personally and the people of our troop in SC. I was training on being a VSO for him at the VA clinic in Greenville SC and I was very good at having the vet’s ready for the DAV VSO and made his job better for them and the vet’s who gave all for the country they now had to fight with for the country not willing to give them what they promised all vets with a show of good and loyal time in service for the country and getting hurt in the duty of their service. I still don’t understand why the DAV has such a proud understanding for over 100 years of fighting for vet’s rights and still nothing to show for it. Yes I feel that if a commander of a army fought for a long time to win a battle like the DAV is likely to bragging about I would replace the leadership and find a person who could do the job in one month or less and I would be really happy for the country and people who fought for the country. So far as any thing that has to be in a war for over a 100 years to get the anything a country has said it will do for those who risk it all just to be told you have to provide a great deal of paperwork for you to get what we said we your country would do for your service to the country. Now the people who are using the system to inform you that you have no right to have the benefit you have been processed and will not be able to get the best of services you were promised and get the worst of the country has to offer in a place far from your home and get the worst of treatment from the people who have a job because of you and your service to the country but they couldn’t be more discussed with you in their office and interrupting their day or coffee break which last all day. If I had my way with the 168 Billion dollars in the year budgets and give it to all the Vet’s who served with honer and faith to the country and the people of the country should be able to be in the states that they live in and some died for should never be homeless, hungry and living with out a good life for them and their family. Just like to let you know that as a servent of the people who they are keeping our country in hostage by causing the southern border open to let anyone who wants to cross it with out a challenge to cross it and make no mistake about it most likely those people who cross with out the okay from our country are going to do harm to the country in anyway they can. Thanks for your time and God bless you all and God Bless America. James M Hanrahan

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