Sgt HAAK. I remeber you from the Rock. I came into C-TRP in July 77 as a radar team leader. SSG Henry Hurst was my SEC SGT and passed away from a heart attack after morning PT in OCT/NOV 77. I'm one of the guys who pulled multiple border tours in both Pitman and Gates. Glad to see you are still around!
Do you remember a guy everybody called 'Hog'? You mentioned the black gut pickin' up the rear of a Jeep. Hog pulled a sign out of the ground and was trying to take it to his room at camp Pittman. he was drunk and had the sign and the cement attached to the bottom. I was gate guard that night, fresh from AIT and scared to death and this giant E4 was cussin' me out because I wouldn't let him take that sign to his room. Those were the days. Top miller has posted on old timers. Drop him a line. I'm sure he will remember you.
As for SSI, I can't get it. Been trying since about 1992 and keep getting turned down. Can't even get a lawyer to help me.
Sticking point is, I haven't worked since 1989 but didn't "become disabled" until 2002. Since there was a 10+ year gap, I get no SSI, period.
Tried to convince them I have been disabled since 1974, and just didn't file a claim until 2002, but that doesn't seem to matter. Didn't even matter that I had been trying to get SSI since 1992, just 3 years after the last time I worked and well within the 10 year period, because I was so devastated when I was denied that I never filed an appeal and there was no longer any record of the original claim.
Top Miller is the one who told me about Paul Garcia passing away. I guess the two of them got to be good friends over the years. Paul stayed in the Army and retired Sergeant Major. Remained in Germany.
As of 2002 I have an 80% service connected rating, but get 100% benefits due to total/permanent unemployable classification. 30% for several bone graft surgeries and finally total fusion of my right wrist from when I slipped and fell of my Sheridan in the tank park, breaking my wrist; and 70% for PTSD stemming from a tank explosion we had in July 1974.
I had to fight for the 30% from '75 to '93 or so, getting it bumped up a little every time I had surgery.
The 70% in 2002 was easy. Already been going through therapy at the VAH for a few years and had an established history. Counselor convinced me to file, so I did. Instead of doing it myself, I got the American Legion service officer there at the hospital, a gruff old retired sergeant major, to file for me. She didn't seem to like me very much until she found out my dad had been a retired SGM also, then she was sweet as honey after that. One short interview at the VA Regional Office, and my claim went right through.
First thing I did when I got that first 100% check (after paying off all my back property taxes) was to get a life membership in both the American Legion and DAV.