As proud as I am to be a disabled veteran. There are things that have negatively affected me due to my service that I believe all men and women who are deciding to serve or not should know.
- My first major battle I lost a friend
- I was married 4 months and when the war started in 1951, I joined the Navy. While in boot camp, my wife went AWOL and received 50% of my pay for 4 years
- I passed the Petty Officer test but never received the rank or pay because President Eisenhower had put a budget freeze due to country hardship.
I am however happily married for 61 years now.
In 1952, while on duty with the Shore Patrol, a riot broke out in a bar in Manila. We were outnumbered 15 to 1, trying to help my Navy and Marine buddies. Local citizens severely injured my body and broke my jaw. I was taken back to the ship that did not have a doctor or a dentist. My body was treated by a corpsman who read how to do it from a book (there was supposed to be a doctor on board of the ship). Months later, my jaw was reset by a dentist. I’m still having pain while I chew and at night, while I dream; I kick, yell, and at times fall out of bed.
I received a letter after applying 67 years later for all my benefits for being injured. The letter said some of my records were lost and also said any benefits would not be retroactive, which I understood why.
I was helping veterans for about 30 years. In 2017, I was at lunch with a Service Officer who asked what was my story being in the service. I told him and he said I should be applying for all my past benefits. I did so in 2017 and now I’m receiving 70% thanks to Gary Colletti.