For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
I am in Michigan, After boot camp sent to HT-8 (choppers,1966) in Pensacola waiting A-school. After A-school was sent to RVAH-3,1967 in prep for RVAH-14 in Sanford. In 1968 went to the new NAS in Albany Ga ahead of the big move.
Albany did NOT like our noisy vigilantes. Heavier as in pound per wheel than the B-52s, I recall a Vigi even sinking in asphalt where B-52s did not.. I did a lot of TAD, even was in JFK pre-com at Newport News shipyard, before Caribbean shakedown cruse. Half the ship got sea-sick on the way back, especially w/fall storm season around Cape Hatteris(?) coming back to Norfolk. For me the med cruise was a blast! Sad to say we lost a few shipmates in our squadron, on this cruise.
I loved the beautiful RA5c, it looked like it was flying high and fast sitting just still on the runway.
I went into Data Processing at Consumers after the Navy. I came down with full blown diabetes, had cancer surgery in '82 and survived against the odds. To top things off I was forced to go on SSDI in my 30s, due to multiple sclerosis. I did not know it at the time, but being sent to IMA and indoor (air conditioning) duty helped my MS and fewer problems / trips to sick bay.
I found an old shipmate, Larry that I was in A-school, RVAH-3 & RVAH-14 with living in Lakeland Fla a few years ago, but he avoids computers and the web.
Married now for over 40 years, 4 kids and 4 grandkids.
I have been fighting the VA here over several documented service related issues ever since. Michigan ranks dead last on taking care of us vets, behind all other states and territories. I am at long last getting treatment for my MS. The VA did put a wheel chair ramp on my house recently, but I am still awaiting for approval for a new properly fitted wheel chair to replace my old beat up used St Vincent De Paul special I got years ago for under $20.
I loved the Navy and what I did, but I also struggled trying to get medical care and that is WHY I did not make it my career. I was 1 of 2 selected (as a sure fire lifer) for a magazine interview in my shop while the JFK was cruising off the east coast before heading across the pond. The officer dropped his jaw nearly thru the deck when I said NO SIR. I noted I had 314 days left and was not shipping over. He asked why? I told him about lack of proper medical care and that he could check my records.
Funny how things change, yet some things or aspects never really change.
Welcome Aboard Joe....
Thanks for the welcome..
I now have 5 grand kids.
I am still here, not sure how much longer I can keep fighting just to survive, guess I am a glutton for punishment. I did get a strange phone call April Fool's day, saying they had a wheel chair to deliver the following day. Considering it was VA related I was suspicious but hopeful it was not a joke. Well NO Joke! the next day they actually delivered my first new proper wheel chair. (properly fitted for me even).
My VA claim has been held up / delayed for over 4 years already so far. I get (woopie) free membership in PVA thanks to having MS, but they have been almost useless and actually caused delay. Bank of America wants me to pay off my second mortgage in full last month.. left a message to call them but the number they left was not a legit number, so no way to call them back. I am lucky just to pay basic bills food and gas for my car. I tried to refinance our home (for the past 27 yrs) via HARP but told I do not have enough income to LOWER my house payments.....go figure? I have had to ration my medicines when needed just to keep my payments up.
I quit even going to monthly Michigan PVA meetings as I did not have a suitable wheel chair nor can not afford to do activities they have for vets anyway. By not going to meetings I avoid having to decline invitations when invited to some PVA vet activity. (kind of embarrassing for me). I am about ready to check out in sheer frustration with my country, and call it quits.
I wrote both my senators etc seeking help with my VA claims / issues........ All I got back was political propaganda, guess I was lucky to even get just that.
When my country needed me, I enlisted.
I served my country with pride.
But, when I needed my country I was abandoned,
and treated as lower than an beggar or illegal alien.
A pretty sad story , Joe ! And we are at an age that stuff falls apart even if we're semi strong , keep the faith its supposed to get better !? That's what the GOV.& VA TELL US ! [Just makes me sick of the stories I've heard ] But there are good VA places out there , hope you can hook up with one ! PETE
That is not even the tip of the iceberg. Yes there are a few GOOD VA docs etc. Under 2 yrs ago my VA MS doc and my VA PCP sent me to urology and renal clinics because of my kidney function and related issues. Got GOMER'd twice by BOTH. Not 2 weeks after the last urology clinic I ended up at another nearby hospital (St Jo in Ann Arbor) needing an emergency procedure for EXACTLY what the VA clinic refused to treat.
Took me over 40 years to find out I had suffered a hearing loss in the Navy. It was in my Navy records but the VA had insisted for decades my hearing was normal. Then a non-VA ENT I was sent to checked and oops! I did end up getting a nice pair of hearing aids from the VA. I had even forgotten birds sing, I live next to a woods.
I always wore proper hearing protection, so how or why beats me. I did fly as a chopper crewmember once in a while before I went to RVAH-3 & 14. I tried telling the VA something ELSE was wrong, so they sent me to their shrinks! Heck they did not even listen to their own shrinks who declared I was not nuts or even depressed, just "adamant" that something else was wrong. Took them only over 25 years to test and find out what that something else even was. (again only after a non-VA doc noted I had a neuro-muscle problem. (MS, Multiple Sclerosis). Funny thing is vets have much higher incidence of MS, when I say higher, I mean more than double non-vets). The VA knows this fact but not WHY??????
I guess I have been a ghost for over 1/4 century, survived cancer (DX & surgery in '82) beating the 10% chance of surviving 12 months.... The very rare form of C I had, has chemical exposure as the only known cause, but I was never boots on the ground in Nam so no VA service connections (AO) for either my weird diabetes or the C and no hazardous chem exposure post AD?
There is no shortage of VA horror stories, I am sure some are worse than mine. I have been falling apart since my 30s... never expected to see 40, let alone my 50s & 60s.
Is there anyone on here that was part of RVAH-14 when it first formed? I have one ole buddy from those days. He made fun on my new coke bottle glasses. He went back to Florida after the navy and I found him. He did a buddy letter about it but I looking to find someone else to back up this issue. I was top dog, the senior AE2 in the beginning. I dove a green corvair back then.
The Navy forgot to tell me when I finished fighting FOR my country I would end up fighting my country the rest of my life for bennies I earned.
PS I had a problem when I was at HT-8, ALF Ellison in Pensacola IN 1966 awaiting A-school. I worked out of the ASE shop doing check crew. Are there any groups that anyone might know about? I looking for member of the ASE shop.
Just came across this & see you spent some time at HT-8 - I was in AF shop in 65 to June 66 then spent to AMS A school after that RVAH 7 AF shop.
HT-8 still in Pensacola area even had lunch two years ago with the CO - had great time.
The old HT-8 base is long trashed. I was there a few decades ago. some buildings were still there, like the main small one with the control tower on top. The grand Spanish hotel had been replaced with an UGLY concrete bolder of a GOV/FED building. At least the P-cola beach sand was still WHITE as can be. The USO dntn looked vacant/trashed That USO was a really nice place to hang out.
I worked out of the ASE shop, part of the check crew, working on the avionics flight control sys.