- Request Personnel and/or Medical Records Online
- More ways to get service records
- Learn about military service records (e.g. DD Form 214)
- Recently separated veteran?
- Request DD 214/Separation Document Online
- What’s available online?
- Locate older (pre-WW I) military service records
- Using military records for genealogical research
- Other military and veterans records
Replace Lost Medals and Awards Learn how to replace lost or damaged medals and awards.
Browse WWII Photos View a sample of their extensive collection of photographs from World War II.
Alternate Records Resources
Alternate Sources of Military Service Data. When proof of military service is needed,NPRC (MPR) attempts to reconstruct certain basic service data from alternate sources.NPRC (MPR) has identified many of these sources, but each contains only limited military service information. They are utilized to piece together (reconstruct) basic service data.NA Form 13075, Questionnaire About Military Service
Medical-Related Alternate Records.
In 1988, a collection of computer tapes containing ten million hospital/treatment facility admission records was transferred to NPRC (MPR). These records, originally created by the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s Office (SGO), were discovered by the National Academy of Sciences and offered to the National Archives for use by NPRC (MPR). The source records existed in a computer code format and required extensive analysis to interpret the code into English. Between 1988-1990, NPRC (MPR) was able to salvage 7.8 million records of individual admissions for use as a major supplement to other smaller sources of medical information.
Personnel-Related Alternate Sources.
A primary source of alternate data is a collection of 19 million final pay vouchers. These records provide name, service number, dates of service, and character of service. These are the most critical service data elements needed for the reconstruction process. With these and other organizational records (enlistment ledgers, service number indexes, etc.), NPRC (MPR) personnel can usually verify military service and provide a Certification of Military Service. This Certification can be used for any purpose for which the original discharge document was used, including the application for veterans benefits.
The 1973 Fire at NPRC
On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at NPRC (MPR) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files. The affected record collections are described below. No duplicate copies of the records that were destroyed in the fire were maintained, nor was a microfilm copy ever produced. There were no indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. Nevertheless, NPRC (MPR) uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests.
Personnel and Period Affected
Personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960
Personnel discharged, September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)
The first requirement for a grant of service-connected disability compensation is competent evidence that the veteran currently has a particular disability.
A veteran is not eligible for compensation simply because he or she contracted a disease or suffered an injury while on active duty. (See Brammer v. Derwinski)
Many veterans experience illnesses or injuries that leave no lasting symptoms.
These medical conditions are considered acute and transitory, and they provide no basis for compensation benefits.
To be entitled to compensation, a veteran must prove that he or she has a current disability or current disabling residuals from a disease or injury.
If a veteran cannot first show this, any compensation claim by that veteran will fail. (See Wamhoff v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 517, 521 (1996) (“In order for a claimant to be awarded service connection there must be evidence of current disability.”); Brammer, 3 Vet. App. at 225 (“In the absence of proof of a present disability there can be no valid claim.”); Rabideau v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 141, 143-44 (1992) (denying service connection for hypertension in part for lack of any evidence that veteran currently has hypertension)
In a recent case, (McClain (Ray A.) v. Nicholson) a veteran had filed a claim for service connection for a disability that was diagnosed and in existence at the time he filed his claim for disability compensation; however, while the claim was pending, his condition improved and his claim was denied on the grounds that he did not have medical evidence of a “current” disability.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims reversed the denial and awarded service connection, stating, “[W]ith regard to the requirement that a claimant have a current disability before service connection may be awarded for the disability . . . this requirement is satisfied when a claimant has a disability at the time a claim for VA disability compensation is filed or during the pendency of that claim and that a claimant may be granted service connection even though the disability resolves prior to the Secretary’s adjudication of the claim.”
The authors of this Manual believe that a medical diagnosis – identifying what the current disability is – will almost always be required for a grant of benefits.
One major exception is compensation for undiagnosed illnesses experienced by veterans of the Persian Gulf War, discussed in Section 3.7.
The question has also arisen as to whether a veteran who is suffering pain, but whose pain has not been attributed to any particular diagnosis, is nonetheless suffering from a compensable disability.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims held in Sanchez-Benitez v. West, (JOSE A. SANCHEZ-BENITEZ, APPELLANT, v. TOGO D. WEST, JR., SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
13 Vet App 28213 Vet. App. 282; 1999 US App Vet Claims LEXIS 13961999 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1396 NO. 97-1948 December 29, 1999, Decided UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS) that “pain alone, without a diagnosed or identifiable underlying malady or condition, does not in and of itself constitute a disability for which service connection may be granted.”
On appeal, a majority of the three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit called the issue “an interesting, indeed perplexing question,” but declined to decide it because the issue was not properly presented for appellate review. (Benitez v. Principi, 259 F.3d 1356, 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2001), vacating in part sub nom. Sanchez-Benitez v. Principi, 13 Vet. App. 282 (1999). )
The Court did note that a “pain alone” claim “must fail when there is no sufficient factual showing that the pain derives from an in-service disease or injury.”
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals has taken the position in one case that “the veteran’s subjective complaints alone, without a diagnosed or identifiable underlying malady or condition, does not in and of itself constitute a disability for which service connection may be granted.” (BVA Docket No. 02-21 100 (Nov. 25, 2003). This decision may be accessed through the Board of Veterans’ Appeals web site, found at http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/bva.html. See also BVA Docket No. 99-17363 (Aug. 4, 2003) (“Without an underlying diagnosis or pathology the complained of symptoms . . . cannot in and of themselves constitute disabilities for which service connection may be granted.”). A decision of the Board is not binding on the Board or the VA regional offices in other cases. )
To avoid this potential pitfall, veterans and their advocates should make every effort to obtain a medical diagnosis that encompasses the disabling symptoms.
As a diagnosis of a current disability almost always involves medical issues, competent medical evidence is almost always needed to satisfy this first requirement for a grant of compensation. (See Grottveit v. Brown, 5 Vet. App. 91, 93 (1993) (“[W]here the determinative issue involves medical causation or a medical diagnosis, competent medical evidence . . . is required.”). In the new regulations enacted to implement the VCAA, the VA defined the meaning of the phrase “competent medical evidence” as the following:
Competent medical evidence means evidence provided by a person who is qualified through education, training, or experience to offer medical diagnoses, statements, or opinions. Competent medical evidence may also mean statements conveying sound medical principles found in medical treatises. It would also include statements contained in authoritative writings such as medical and scientific articles and research reports or analyses. 38 C.F.R. § 3.159(a)(1) (2008). )
Evidence that a veteran has a “knee condition,” a “back injury,” or a “mental disorder” is not enough.
More precision is needed.
This means that the diagnosis of current disability must be made by a medical professional or some other person with specialized knowledge, education, experience, or training that qualifies the person to give a diagnosis. (See Espiritu v. Derwinski)
The type of person who is competent to provide a diagnosis will depend on the particular disability being claimed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has accepted diagnoses from a variety of professionals including doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, chiropractors, social workers, and professional counselors among others. (See e.g., Cox v. Nicholson, 20 Vet. App. 563, 568-69 (2007) (nurse practitioner); Goss v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 109, 114-15 (1996) (nurse); Smith (Wilfred) v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 255, 258 (1994) (chiropractor); Williams (Willie) v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 270, 273 (1993) (psychologist and registered nurse therapist). )
The DSM-5 was published in May 2013 and it appears the GAF Scale is no longer being used in DSM-5.
Below I’ve quoted from dsm5.org website. After that quote I have also included the GAF Scale from the DSM-IV for reference purposes.
“With the removal of the multiaxial system in DSM-5, how will disability and functioning be assessed? The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale, recommended for Axis V in the DSM-IV, was used for determinations of medical necessity for treatment by many payers, and eligibility for short- and long-term disability compensation. Clinician-researchers at the APA have conceptualized need for treatment as based on diagnosis, severity of symptoms and diagnosis, dangerousness to self or others, and disability in social and self-care spheres. We do not believe that a single score from a global assessment, such as the GAF, conveys information to adequately assess each of these components, which are likely to vary independently over time.
Therefore, we are recommending that clinicians continue to assess the risk of suicidal and homicidal behavior and use available standardized assessments for symptom severity, diagnostic severity, and disability such as the measures in Section III of DSM-5 (online at http://www.psychiatry.org/practice/dsm/dsm5/online-assessment-measures). For those who relied on the use of a GAF number, we expect there will be a transitional period from the GAF to the use of separate assessments of severity and disability.
The World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS 2.0) was judged by the DSM-5 Disability Study Group to be the best current measure of disability for routine clinical use. The WHODAS 2.0 is based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) and is applicable to patients with any health condition. The scale, as well as scoring information is included in Section III of DSM-5.” Frequently Asked Questions about DSM-5 Implementation- For Clinicians UPDATED 8/1/13
For Reference the GAF Scale below is from the DSM-IV
The GAF is a 100-point tool rating overall psychological, social and occupational functioning of people over 18 years of age and older. It excludes physical and environmental impairment. The GAF is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) in the section on multi-axial assessments.
100 – 91 Superior functioning in a wide range of activities, life’s problems never seem to get out of hand, is sought out by others because of his or her many positive qualities. No symptoms.
90 – 81 Absent or minimal symptoms (e.g. mild anxiety before an exam), good functioning in all areas, interested and involved in a wide range of activities, socially effective, generally satisfied with life, no more than everyday problems or concerns (e.g., an occasional argument with family members).
80 – 71 If symptoms are present, they are transient and expectable reactions to psychosocial stressors (e.g., difficulty concentrating after family argument); no more than slight impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning (e.g., temporarily falling behind in schoolwork).
70 – 61 Some mild symptoms (e.g., depressed mood and mild insomnia) OR some difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning (e.g., occasional truancy, or theft within the household), but generally functioning pretty well, has some meaningful interpersonal relationships.
60 – 51 Moderate symptoms (e.g., flat affect and circumstantial speech, occasional panic attacks) OR moderate difficulty in social, occupational, or school functioning (e.g., few friends, conflicts with peers or co-workers).
50 – 41 Serious symptoms (e.g., suicidal ideation, severe obsessional rituals, frequent shoplifting) OR any serious impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning (e.g., no friends, unable to keep a job).
40 – 31 Some impairment in reality testing or communication (e.g., speech is at times illogical, obscure, or irrelevant) OR major impairment in several areas, such as work or school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood (e.g., depressed man avoids friends, neglects family, and is unable to work: child frequently beats up younger children, is defiant at home, and is failing at school).
30 – 21 Behavior is considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations OR serious impairment in communication or judgment (e.g., sometimes incoherent, acts grossly inappropriately, suicidal preoccupation)OR inability to function in almost all areas (e.g., stays in bed all day; no job, home, or friends).
20 – 11 Some danger of hurting self or others (e.g., suicide attempts without clear expectation of death, frequently violent; manic excitement) OR occasionally fails to maintain minimal personal hygiene (e.g., smears feces) OR gross impairment in communication (e.g., largely incoherent or mute.
10 – 1 Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others (e.g., recurrent violence) OR persistent inability to maintain minimal personal hygiene OR serious suicidal act with clear expectation of death.
0 Inadequate information
From the State Department
The United States has made a long-term commitment to help Afghanistan rebuild itself after years of war. The U.S., along with others in the international community, currently provides resources and expertise to Afghanistan in a variety of areas, including humanitarian relief and assistance, capacity-building, security needs, counter-narcotic programs, and infrastructure projects. The U.S. also supports the Afghan Government in its efforts to establish a framework for a vibrant civil society, one that emphasizes democratic principles through a rule of law and creates accountable and transparent forms of government.
The United States and its international partners remain committed to helping Afghans realize their vision for a country that is stable, democratic, and economically successful, and to an Afghan government committed to the protection of women’s rights, human rights, and religious tolerance.
VA has brochures and other information for veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom available on the Web:
|Veterans Benefits Information||http://www.vba.va.gov/|
|Information for Iraqi Freedom Veterans||http://www.va.gov/gulfwar/|
|Afghanistan Service Information||http://www.va.gov/environagents/|
|PTSD and Iraq Veterans||http://www.ncptsd.org/topics/war.html|
|VA Health Care Enrollment Information||http://www.va.gov/elig/|
|Brochures and Publications, Including:|
* A Summary of VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Personnel
* Health Care and Assistance for U.S. Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Online Benefits Applications||http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/|
|Women Veterans Health and Benefits Information||http://www.va.gov/wvhp/|
The Medsearch site contains Gulf-War research-related information. Medsearch is a collaborative effort of three departments-the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Health and Human Services. It is designed to help both veterans and researchers, by enabling veterans to go to one location to access medical information and research, and allowing researchers an easier way to keep track of the research being done throughout the federal government.
Internet Medical Research Printouts
The VARO likes to say (if they in fact acknowledge any ineternet abstracts or treatises you have sent in support of claim) that the information, while factual, is general in nature and not specific to the claimed disability of the veteran. (or some BS like that)
Often this can be overcome say the vet has diabetes which VA rates but fails to sc and rate his secondary cataracts.
I would use the phrase that -The enclosed medical information from the internet proves that the standard medical community is fully aware of the association of diabetes to cataracts. While this information is not specific to this veteran’s claim, it fully supports that her service connected diabetes caused her secondary cataracts and she requests proper service connection award to reflect that additional documented disability.or example: in order to support Sec 1151 claim for misdiagnosed diabetes, the veteran’s medical records reveal ,within 3 VAMC ER trips,and within annual VA physicals, documentation of the following symptoms: dizziness, nausea,confusion, blurred vision, hot pepper taste in mouth, 5 abnormal high glucose readings, high creatinine, high Bun.
The veteran had a heart attack recently which he also claims is due to the undiagnosed diabetes.
The enclosed VA medical records have been supported with internet printouts showing the symptoms this veteran exhibited are highly likely due to undiagnosed diabetes, symptoms that are well known in the standard medical community as well as within VA training letter itself for diabetes. Also the enclosed print out from the American Diabetes Assoc clearly shows that diabetes as a cause of CAD must be medically considered, as it is consistent with normal well known medical knowledge than untreated diabetes can cause heart disease and stroke.
OK- 2 examples- my point is to get the printouts of medical abstracts as close to association with the claim as possible. Also- Use statements that are decisive. I recently prepared a Response to a denial for a veteran. I stated just like this- FACT: the veteran’s SMRs reveal ________conditions.
FACT: the veteran is diagnosed with a disability that these are highly prevalent symptoms of. Fact:The VA’s own training letter on this disability clearly states that the inservice documentation is consistent with not only the time span of full blown ramifications of this disorder but also it specifically mentions these inservice symptoms. Fact: the veteran had provided an IMO from an Expert in this field. Fact: The VARO in recent SOC failed to address not only a specific part of the IMO, highly probative to this claim and the inservice nexus, but also failed to list and address much of the veteran’s evidence. (sometimes you have to be tough in wording this stuff so it gets their full attention.)
You finally decided to file a VA claim for disability, so now what do you do? Maybe you already have started the paperwork yourself or have been helped by a veteran rep filling out the required VA Forms and are now one of many waiting to hear from the VA about your claims status.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s time to realize that you are involved in a giant paper shuffle and this IS NOT a spectator sport.
You must be actively involved with your claim. No one else has an interest in the outcome of your claim as much as you do. You are dealing with the Government, even though recent changes in law favoring the veteran have been enacted, it is still up to you to provide supportive evidence for your claim and become familiar with the rules and regulations the VA plays by.
1. Get competent representation, don’t go it alone. Be picky, interview several reps until you locate one that you feel confident with.
2. Send the required SF-180 form to request COMPLETE copies of military service files (including medical & personnel), a 2nd SF-180 form to request updating of Awards & Decorations, and a 3rd SF-180 form requesting a DD-214 if needed. TIP: When filing out forms it’s helpful to fill the form completely out and before you sign it make a few copies in case you have to fill it out again. It also contains valuable information if you keep a copy of the form you can use for a reference.
3. Make a list and request copies of all Medical files from private physicians and hospitals ( available to you under the Freedom of Information Act) You can click here for a sample letter you can use.
4. Request a copy of your Units History & lineage from the appropriate archive.
5. Keep a file of all correspondence (make sure to staple the envelope to the letter for postmark date) with the VA; note received date in your logbook with a brief description.
6. Keep copies of everything you send to the VA, do not send originals unless required.
7. Never send documentation or requests directly to the VA. Always route through your rep as he/she should be keeping a log of information received and sent to VA dates. ( this is a back up source when the VA says they lost or did not receive a document from you) Also, your rep should be going over everything you submit checking for, and eliminating, items that would be detrimental to your claim.
8. Use the sources of information and links from this website. Use our discussion forum it’s very active you can post your question in the any section that is pertinent to your question. It may take a day or so but there’s usually at least one veteran out there that can lend some assistance. Use references, access to the laws and rules governing VA Benefits, tips, suggestions, and aids in helping you become knowledgeable.
9. There are no stupid questions, check the FAQ’s first, then ask for help.
10. Follow the guidelines laid out on the website and follow through with backup for everything.
Expect to continue learning as you go, education is ongoing, share with your brother and sister veterans whenever possible, knowledge is power, we can learn from each others mistakes and avoid problems others have overcome. Welcome Home !! Thank you for your service.
Can a Veteran Receive Additional Payments for Serious Disabilities?
VA can pay additional compensation to a veteran who, as a result of military service, incurred the loss or loss of use of specific organs or extremities.
What Is Considered Loss or Loss of Use?
Loss, or loss of use, is described as either an amputation or, having no effective remaining function of an extremity or organ. The disabilities VA can consider for SMC include:
loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot
immobility of a joint or paralysis
loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception)
loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ
complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks
deafness of both ears (having absence of air and bone conduction)
inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia)
loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment
SMC = Special Monthly Compensation
Paid either in addition to (SMC K), or in place of regular ratings (all others). There are several different levels of SMC, and several different combinations of them as well. The most common are Housebound and Aid and Attendance, both typically paid at the rate of SMC L. Higher levels of Aid and Attendance are allowed, depending on the amount of care needed by the vet. They are typically paid at the rate of either SMC R1, or R2. If you are rated at 100% for a single disability, and have another single disability that is ratable at 50%, or 100%, then you are entitled to the next higher rate of SMC. This is in addition to the addtional 60% (single or combined) disabilities that jbasser spoke of. SMC is a complicated beast that is very hard to understand. If you want to learn more about it, it is governed by 38 USC 1114, and regulated by 38 CFR 3.350
How Can You Apply?
You should contact you local VA regional office for information about applying for SMC. In determining qualifications for SMC, the VA must review the medical evidence regarding the loss or loss of use and then make a decision regarding the level of SMC to be paid.
Call Toll-Free 1-800-827-1000
or Visit Our Web Site athttp://www.va.gov.
What if I Have a Combination of These Disabilities?
The VA will pay higher rates for combinations of these disabilities such as loss or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands, and arms, in specific monetary increments, based on the particular combination of the disabilities. There are also higher payments for various combinations of severe deafness with bilateral blindness.
Additional SMC is available if a veteran is service connected for paraplegia, with complete loss of bowel and bladder control.
In addition, if you have other service-connected disabilities that, in combination with the above special monthly compensation, meet certain criteria, a higher amount of SMC can also be considered.
Can VA Pay SMC for Being Bedridden, Housebound, or in Need of the Aid and Attendance of Another Person?
If a veteran is service connected at the 100% rate and is housebound, bedridden, or is so helpless to need the aid and attendance of another person, then consideration of payment of additional SMC can be considered. The amount of SMC will v
What does ETS stand for in the Army?
Posted 27 November 2007 – [11:24] PM
I wonder if the Vietnam vets who believe it means “Estimated Time of Separation” as opposed to “Expiration of Time of Service” aren’t correct for their time in service during a war with the draft in place where Uncle Sam could decide when you left so your ETS was an “estimate” vs the younger troops (like myself who served right afterwards – hey, almost 50 and in the “younger” group for a change!!) who joined the volunteer Army and had a contract end date, hence, Expiration of Time of Service, which, for us, may be equally correct. Doesn’t much matter anyway since hip pocket orders have always been Uncle’s option.
Again, thanks to all who replied. I appreciate the help. I figure if we can’t come to a consensus here on hadit then the VA won’t know the difference if I spell it out wrong and my civie shrink surely doesn’t have a clue so I’ll just flip a coin.
- 10 replies
- 64584 views
From our Veterans Affairs Claims Research forums tag cloud, clicking on any of these will take you to a list of forum posts, topics relating to that term.
- fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia in Gulf War Veterans – Gulf War Veterans who develop fibromyalgia do not have to prove a connection between their illnesses and service to be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. Fibromyalgia must have emerged during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling. – See more
- tinnitus – How Tinnitus Affects Our Military Personnel – Tinnitus is a potentially devastating condition; its relentless noise is often an unwelcome reminder of war for many vets. The facts are disturbing:
- Tinnitus is currently the number-one service-connected disability for veterans from all periods of service.
- Since 2005, the number of veterans receiving service-connected disability for tinnitus has increased by at least 15 percent each year.
- The total number of vets awarded disability compensation for tinnitus at the end of 2010 surpassed 744,000.
- At this alarming rate, 2014 will see 1.5 million vets receiving military compensation for tinnitus, at a cost to American taxpayers of over $2.26 billion.
Tinnitus is a growing problem for America’s military personnel. It threatens their futures with potential long-term sleep disruption, changes in cognitive ability, stress in relationships and employability challenges. These changes can be a blow to a vet’s self-worth.
- service connected
- Voc Rehab
- Mental Health
- va claim
- C&P Exam
- sleep apnea
- gulf war
- agent orange
There are eight distinct steps that most claims for disability compensation follow. These phases may vary in time depending on the complexity of the claim, the amount of evidence that must be gathered to support the claims, and the type of evidence. You are strongly encouraged to submit as much evidence as possible with your claim to help minimize processing time. The eight steps of claims processing are as follows:
Step 1. Claim Received
Your claim has been received by the VA. If you applied online with VONAPP Direct Connect, you should see receipt in your list of Open Claims within one hour. If you applied through the U.S. mail, please allow mailing time plus one week for us to process and record receipt of your claim.
Step 2. Under Review
Your claim has been assigned to a Veterans Service Representative and is being reviewed to determine if additional evidence is needed. If we do not need any additional information, your claim will move directly to the Preparation for Decision phase.
Step 3. Gathering of Evidence
The Veterans Service Representative will request evidence from the required sources. Requests for evidence may be made of you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. It is common for claims to return to this phase, should additional evidence be required.
Step 4. Review of Evidence
We have received all needed evidence. If, upon review, it is determined that more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to the Gathering of Evidence phase.
Step 5. Preparation for Decision
The Veterans Service Representative has recommended a decision, and is preparing required documents detailing that decision. If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.
Step 6. Pending Decision Approval
The recommended decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. If it is determined that more evidence or information is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.
Step7. Preparation for Notification
Your entire claim decision packet is prepared for mailing.
Step 8. Complete
The VA has sent a decision packet to you by U.S. mail. The packet includes details of the decision or award. Please allow standard mailing time for your packet to arrive before contacting a VA call center.
How Long Will This Process Take?
The length of time it takes to complete a claim depends on several factors, such as the type of claim filed, complexity of your disability(ies), the number of disabilities you claim, and the availability of evidence needed to decide your claim.
You can track the status of your claim by registering for eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov. You can also visit VA’s ASPIRE web site. Here you can find the average processing days for the regional office that is working on your claim. To find the average processing days for your state:
- Find your state on the map, place your cursor within the state and click
- This will open the Veterans Benefits Administration Aspire • Benefits site. Click “Enter”
- You should see a split table. On the left table click on “Compensation”
- This will expand the table. Approximately five rows down is “Rating Claims Processing Time”
- Follow that row to the right until you locate the cell located within the column of your regional office.
The number you see is the average processing days to complete a claim that requires a disability rating. The average is based on completed claims since October 1 in a given fiscal year.
One possible model for future combat aircraft can take off and land vertically, and then fly like a traditional airplane.
Bell’s V-280, which combines a combat helicopter’s fuselage with tilt-rotors, would basically be a Black Hawk that can adjust its thrust to fly like a fixed-wing aircraft once it’s airborne.
One possible model for future combat aircraft can take off and land vertically, and then fly like a traditional airplane.
Bell’s V-280, which combines a combat helicopter’s fuselage with tilt-rotors, would basically be a Black Hawk that can adjust its thrust to fly like a fixed-wing aircraft once it’s airborne.
This is a PDF document scroll down to browse the pages. Mouse over the top right hand corner there is an icon click to pop out the PDF in full screen.
I will not take my own life by my own hand until I talk to my battle buddy first.
My mission is to find a mission to help my warfighter family.
VA Secretary Robert McDonald says the nation’s VA health care crisis could resurface as veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan grow older.
This is kind of a no brainer veterans like everyone else get older, well some of us do. As we get older we have all the same complications, illnesses and disorders that other senior citizens have. Some of those are service connected disabilities that age exacerbates.
It’s not rocket science if you send folks to war you are going to have disabled veterans and they will stay disabled for decades to come. So when funding time comes around you have to fund and train raters years ahead of time, you have to hire more docs and nurses, and prepare for the aging population of your customers. VA has the demographics, the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of today will be the Vietnam veterans of the future and please God let us not be having this same conversation then.
There will be dragons to slay and monsters to confront throughout this process real and imagined, inside and outside of yourself. You will be helped by some of the kindest and most compassionate people you could hope to find and other times you will be left to ponder “WTF?, over.”
It is exasperating, but it is what it is. So in my small way through my website HadIt.com I try to provide a place for you to talk Veterans Affairs Claims 24/7 on our forums or read through articles and posts about whatever Veterans Affairs claims or benefits questions you have.
Remember you are not alone we have each other, share the knowledge.
To expand: click the button in the top left of the pdf below (square with an arrow in the corner).
To expand: click the button in the top left of the pdf below (square with an arrow in the corner). Department of Veterans Affairs, America’s Wars, Office of Public Affairs. Washington, DC 20420. (202) 461-7600. May 2013. American Revolution (1775-1783).
Department of Veterans Affairs, America’s Wars, Office of Public Affairs.
Washington, DC 20420. (202) 461-7600. May 2013. American Revolution (1775-1783).
To expand: click the button in the top left of the pdf below (square with an arrow in the corner).
Department of Veterans Affairs, America’s Wars, Office of Public Affairs.
Washington, DC 20420. (202) 461-7600. May 2013. American Revolution (1775-1783).
A Research Brief from The Mission Continues Research & Evaluation Team By Oliver Gould and Olivia Obicheta
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops. Source: Army.mil
The Normandy landings (codenamed Operation Neptune) were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
Planning for the operation began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the main Allied landings. The weather on D-Day was far from ideal, but postponing would have meant a delay of at least two weeks, as the invasion planners had requirements for the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that meant only a few days in each month were deemed suitable. Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces and of developing fortifications along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault—the landing of 24,000 British, US, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France at 06:30. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword Beach. Strong winds blew the landing craft east of their intended positions, particularly at Utah and Omaha. The men landed under heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire, making the work of the beach clearing teams difficult and dangerous. Casualties were heaviest at Omaha, with its high cliffs. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks.
The Allies failed to achieve all of their goals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lô, and Bayeux remained in German hands, andCaen, a major objective, was not captured until 21 July. Only two of the beaches (Juno and Gold) were linked on the first day, and all five bridgeheads were not connected until 12 June. However, the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day were around 1,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. Museums, memorials, and war cemeteries in the area host many visitors each year.
Between 27 May and 4 June 1940, over 338,000 troops of the British Expeditionary Force and the French Army, trapped along the northern coast of France, were evacuated in the Dunkirk evacuation. After the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin began pressing for the creation of a second front in western Europe. In late May 1942 the Soviet Union and United States made a joint announcement that a “… full understanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a second front in Europe in 1942.” However, Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to postpone the promised invasion as, even with American help, the Allies did not have adequate forces for such a strike.
Instead of an immediate return to France, the Western Allies staged offensives in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, where British troops were already stationed. By mid-1943, the North African Campaign had been won. The Allies then launched the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, and Italy in September 1943. By then, Soviet forces were on the offensive and had won a major victory at the Battle of Stalingrad. The decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion within the next year was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. Initial planning was constrained by the number of available landing craft, most of which were already committed in the Mediterranean and Pacific. At the Tehran Conference in November 1943, Roosevelt and Churchill promised Stalin that they would open the long-delayed second front in May 1944.
Four sites were considered for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, and Pas de Calais. As Brittany and Cotentin are peninsulas, it would have been possible for the Germans to cut off the Allied advance at a relatively narrow isthmus, so these sites were rejected. As the Pas de Calais is the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, the Germans considered it to be the most likely initial landing zone, so it was the most heavily fortified region. But it offered few opportunities for expansion, as the area is bounded by numerous rivers and canals, whereas landings on a broad front in Normandy would permit simultaneous threats against the port of Cherbourg, coastal ports further west in Brittany, and an overland attack towards Paris and eventually into Germany. Normandy was hence chosen as the landing site. The most serious drawback of the Normandy coast—the lack of port facilities—would be overcome through the development of artificial Mulberry harbours. A series of specialized tanks, nicknamed Hobart’s Funnies, were created to deal with conditions expected during the Normandy campaign, such as scaling sea walls and providing close support on the beach.
The Allies planned to launch the invasion on 1 May 1944. The initial draft of the plan was accepted at the Quebec Conference in August 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF). General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all of the land forces involved in the invasion. On 31 December 1943, Eisenhower and Montgomery first saw the plan, which proposed amphibious landings by three divisions with two more divisions in support. The two generals immediately insisted that the scale of the initial invasion be expanded to five divisions, with airborne descents by three additional divisions, to allow operations on a wider front and speed up the capture of the port at Cherbourg. The need to acquire or produce extra landing craft for the expanded operation meant that the invasion had to be delayed to June. Eventually, thirty-nine Allied divisions would be committed to the Battle of Normandy: twenty-two American, twelve British, three Canadian, one Polish, and one French, totalling over a million troops all under overall British command.
Operation Overlord was the name assigned to the establishment of a large-scale lodgement on the Continent. The first phase, the amphibious invasion and establishment of a secure foothold, was codenamed Operation Neptune. To gain the air superiority needed to ensure a successful invasion, the Allies undertook a bombing campaign (codenamed Operation Pointblank) that targeted German aircraft production, fuel supplies, and airfields. Elaborate deceptions, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, were undertaken in the months leading up to the invasion to prevent the Germans from learning the timing and location of the invasion.
The landings were to be preceded by airborne landings near Caen on the eastern flank to secure the Orne River bridges and north of Carentan on the western flank. The Americans, assigned to land at Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, were to attempt to capture Carentan and St. Lô the first day, then cut off the Cotentin Peninsula and eventually capture the port facilities at Cherbourg. The British at Sword Beach and Gold Beach and Canadians at Juno Beach would protect the American flank and attempt to establish airfields near Caen. A secure lodgement would be established and an attempt made to hold all territory north of the Avranches–Falaise line within the first three weeks.Montgomery envisaged a ninety-day battle, lasting until all Allied forces reached the Seine.
Under the overall umbrella of Operation Bodyguard, the Allies conducted several subsidiary operations designed to mislead the Germans as to the date and location of the Allied landings. Operation Fortitude included Fortitude North, a misinformation campaign using fake radio traffic to lead the Germans into expecting an attack on Norway, and Fortitude South, a major deception involving the creation of a fictitious First United States Army Group under Lieutenant General George S. Patton, supposedly located in Kent andSussex. Fortitude South was intended to deceive the Germans into believing that the main attack would take place at Calais.Genuine radio messages from 21st Army Group were first routed to Kent via landline and then broadcast, to give Germans the impression that most of the Allied troops were stationed there. Patton was stationed in England until 6 July, thus continuing to deceive the Germans into believing a second attack would take place at Calais.
Many of the German radar stations on the French coast were destroyed in preparation for the landings. In addition, on the night before the invasion, a small group of Special Air Service (SAS) operators deployed dummy paratroopers over Le Havre and Isigny. These dummies led the Germans to believe that an additional airborne landing had occurred. On that same night, in Operation Taxable,No. 617 Squadron RAF dropped strips of “window”, metal foil that caused a radar return which was mistakenly interpreted by German radar operators as a naval convoy near Le Havre. The illusion was bolstered by a group of small craft towing barrage balloons. A similar deception was undertaken near Boulogne-sur-Mer in the Pas de Calais area by No. 218 Squadron RAF in Operation Glimmer.
The invasion planners determined a set of conditions involving the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that would be satisfied on only a few days in each month. A full moon was desirable, as it would provide illumination for aircraft pilots and have the highest tides. The Allies wanted to schedule the landings for shortly before dawn, midway between low and high tide, with the tide coming in. This would improve the visibility of obstacles on the beach, while minimizing the amount of time the men would be exposed in the open. Eisenhower had tentatively selected 5 June as the date for the assault. However, on 4 June, conditions were unsuitable for a landing; high winds and heavy seas made it impossible to launch landing craft, and low clouds would prevent aircraft from finding their targets.
Group Captain James Stagg of the Royal Air Force (RAF) met with Eisenhower on the evening of 4 June. He and his meteorological team predicted that the weather would improve sufficiently that the invasion could proceed on 6 June. The next available dates with the needed tidal conditions (but without the desirable full moon) would be two weeks later, from 18 to 20 June. Postponement of the invasion would have required recalling men and ships already in position to cross the Channel, and have increased chances the invasion plans would be detected. After much discussion with the other senior commanders, Eisenhower decided the invasion should go ahead on the 6th.Subsequently a major storm battered the Normandy coast from 19 to 22 June, which would have made the beach landings impossible to undertake at that time.
Allied control of the Atlantic meant German meteorologists did not have as much information as the Allies on incoming weather patterns. As the Luftwaffe meteorological centre in Paris was predicting two weeks of stormy weather, many Wehrmacht commanders left their posts to attend war games in Rennes, and men in many units were given leave. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel returned to Germany for his wife’s birthday and to meet with Hitler to try to obtain more Panzers.
German order of battle
Nazi Germany had at its disposal fifty divisions in France and the Low Countries, with another eighteen stationed in Denmark and Norway. Fifteen divisions were in the process of formation in Germany. Combat losses throughout the war, particularly on the Eastern Front, meant that the Germans no longer had a pool of able young men from which to draw. German soldiers were now on average six years older than their Allied counterparts. Many in the Normandy area were Ostlegionen (eastern legions) – conscripts and volunteers from Russia, Mongolia, and elsewhere. They were provided mainly with unreliable captured equipment and lacked motorized transport. Many German units were understrength.
German Supreme commander: Adolf Hitler
- Oberbefehlshaber West (Supreme Commander West; OB West): Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt
709th Infantry Division (Cotentin Peninsula)
Allied forces attacking Utah Beach faced the following German units stationed on the Cotentin Peninsula:
- 709th Static Infantry Division under Generalleutnant Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben numbered 12,320 men, many of them Ostlegionen (non-German conscripts recruited from Soviet prisoners of war, Georgians, and Poles).
352nd Infantry Division (Grandcamps Sector)
Americans assaulting Omaha Beach were faced with troops of the 352nd Infantry Division under Generalleutnant Dietrich Kraiss, a full-strength unit of around 12,000 brought in by Rommel on 15 March and reinforced by two additional regiments.
- 914th Grenadier Regiment
- 915th Grenadier Regiment (as reserves)
- 916th Grenadier Regiment
- 726th Infantry Regiment (from 716th Infantry Division)
- 352nd Artillery Regiment
Allied forces at Gold and Juno faced the following elements of the 352nd Infantry Division:
- 914th Grenadier Regiment
- 915th Grenadier Regiment
- 916th Grenadier Regiment
- 352nd Artillery Regiment
716th Infantry Division (near Caen)
Allied forces attacking Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches faced the following German units:
- 716th Static Infantry Division under Generalleutnant Wilhelm Richter. At 7,000 troops, the division was significantly understrength.
21st Panzer Division (south of Caen)
- 21st Panzer Division under Generalmajor Edgar Feuchtinger included 146 tanks and 50 assault guns, plus supporting infantry and artillery.
Alarmed by the raids on St Nazaire and Dieppe in 1942, Hitler had ordered the construction of fortifications all along the Atlantic coast, from Spain to Norway, to protect against an expected Allied invasion. He envisioned 15,000 emplacements manned by 300,000 troops, but shortages, particularly of concrete and manpower, meant that most of the strongpoints were never built. As it was expected to be the site of the invasion, the Pas de Calais was heavily defended. In the Normandy area, the best fortifications were concentrated at the port facilities at Cherbourg and Saint-Malo. Rommel was assigned to oversee the construction of further fortifications along the expected invasion front, which stretched from the Netherlands to Cherbourg, and was given command of the newly re-formed Army Group B, which included the 7th Army, the 15th Army, and the forces guarding the Netherlands. Reserves for this group included the 2nd, 21st, and 116th Panzer divisions.
Rommel believed that the Normandy coast could be a possible landing point for the invasion, so he ordered the construction of extensive defensive works along that shore. In addition to concrete gun emplacements at strategic points along the coast, he ordered wooden stakes, metal tripods, mines, and large anti-tank obstacles to be placed on the beach to delay the approach of landing craft and impede the movement of tanks. Expecting the Allies to land at high tide so that the infantry would spend less time exposed on the beach, he ordered many of these obstacles to be placed at the high tide mark. Tangles of barbed wire, booby traps, and the removal of ground cover made the approach hazardous for infantry. On Rommel’s order, the number of mines along the coast was tripled.The Allied air offensive over Germany had crippled the Luftwaffe and established air supremacy over western Europe, so Rommel knew he could not expect effective air support. The Luftwaffe could muster only 815 aircraft over Normandy in comparison to the Allies’ 9,543. Rommel arranged for booby-trapped stakes known as Rommelspargel (Rommel’s asparagus) to be installed in meadows and fields to deter airborne landings.
Rommel believed that Germany’s best chance was to stop the invasion at the shore and requested that the mobile reserves, especially tanks, be stationed as close to the coast as possible. Rundstedt, Geyr, and other senior commanders objected. They believed that the invasion could not be stopped on the beaches. Geyr argued for a conventional doctrine: keeping the Panzer formations concentrated in a central position around Paris and Rouen and deploying them only when the main Allied beachhead had been identified. He also noted that, in the Italian Campaign, the armoured units stationed near the coast had been damaged by naval bombardment. Rommel’s opinion was that, because of Allied air supremacy, the large-scale movement of tanks would not be possible once the invasion was underway. Hitler made the final decision, which was to leave three Panzer divisions under Geyr’s command and give Rommel operational control of three more as reserves. Hitler took personal control of four divisions as strategic reserves, not to be used without his direct orders.
Allied order of battle
Commander, SHAEF: General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Commander, 21st Army Group: General Bernard Montgomery
The First Army contingent totalled approximately 73,000 men, including 15,600 from the airborne divisions.
- Utah Beach
- VII Corps, commanded by Major General J. Lawton Collins
- Omaha Beach
- V Corps, commanded by Major General Leonard T. Gerow, making up 34,250 men
British and Canadian zones
Overall, the Second Army contingent consisted of 83,115 men, 61,715 of them British. The nominally British air and naval support units included a large number of personnel from Allied nations, including several RAF squadrons manned almost exclusively by overseas air crew. For example, the Australian contribution to the operation included a regular Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadron, nine Article XV squadrons, and hundreds of personnel posted to RAF units and RN warships. The RAF supplied two-thirds of the aircraft involved in the invasion.
- Gold Beach
- British XXX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Gerard Bucknall
- Juno Beach
- British I Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General John Crocker
- Sword Beach
- British I Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General John Crocker
Coordination with the French Resistance
Through the London-based État-major des Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur (French Forces of the Interior), the British Special Operations Executive orchestrated a massive campaign of sabotage to be implemented by the French Resistance. The Allies developed four plans for the Resistance to execute on D-Day and the following days:
- Plan Vert was a 15-day operation to sabotage the rail system.
- Plan Bleu dealt with destroying electrical facilities.
- Plan Tortue was a delaying operation aimed at the enemy forces that would potentially reinforce Axis forces at Normandy.
- Plan Violet dealt with cutting underground telephone and teleprinter cables.
The resistance was alerted to carry out these tasks by messages personnels transmitted by the BBC’s French service from London. Several hundred of these messages, which might be snatches of poetry, quotations from literature, or random sentences, were regularly transmitted, masking the few that were actually significant. In the weeks preceding the landings, lists of messages and their meanings were distributed to resistance groups. An increase in radio activity on 5 June was correctly interpreted by German intelligence to mean that an invasion was imminent or underway. However, because of the barrage of previous false warnings and misinformation, most units ignored their warning.
A 1965 report from the Counter-insurgency Information Analysis Center details the results of the French Resistance’s sabotage efforts: “In the southeast, 52 locomotives were destroyed on 6 June and the railway line cut in more than 500 places. Normandy was isolated as of 7 June.”
Naval operations for the invasion were described by historian Correlli Barnett as a “never surpassed masterpiece of planning”. In overall command was British Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, who had served as Flag officer at Dover during the Dunkirk evacuation four years earlier. He had also been responsible for the naval planning of the invasion of North Africa in 1942, and one of the two fleets carrying troops for the invasion of Sicily the following year.
The invasion fleet was drawn from eight different navies, comprising 6,939 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,126 landing craft of various types, 736 ancillary craft, and 864 merchant vessels. The majority of the fleet was supplied by the UK and Canada, who provided 892 warships and 3,261 landing craft. There were 195,700 naval personnel involved. The invasion fleet was split into the Western Naval Task Force (under Admiral Alan G Kirk) supporting the American sectors and the Eastern Naval Task Force (under Admiral SirPhilip Vian) in the British and Canadian sectors. Available to the fleet were five battleships, twenty cruisers, sixty-five destroyers, and two monitors. German ships in the area on D-Day included three torpedo boats, twenty-nine fast attack craft, thirty-six R boats, and thirty-six minesweepers and patrol boats. The Germans also had several U-boats available, and all the approaches had been heavily mined.
At 05:10, four German torpedo boats reached the Eastern Task Force and launched fifteen torpedoes, sinking the Norwegian destroyer HNoMS Svenner off Sword beach but missing the battleships HMS Warspite and Ramillies. After firing, the German vessels turned away and fled east into a smoke screen that had been laid by the RAF to shield the fleet from the long-range battery at Le Havre. Allied losses to mines included USS Corry off Utah and USS PC-1261, a 173-foot patrol craft. In addition, many landing craft were lost.
Bombing of Normandy began around midnight with over 2,200 British and American bombers attacking targets along the coast and further inland. The coastal bombing attack was largely ineffective at Omaha, because low cloud cover made the assigned targets difficult to see. Concerned about inflicting casualties on their own troops, many bombers delayed their attacks too long and failed to hit the beach defences. The Germans had 570 aircraft stationed in Normandy and the Low Countries on D-Day, and another 964 in Germany.
Minesweepers began clearing channels for the invasion fleet shortly after midnight and finished just after dawn without encountering the enemy. The Western Task Force included the battleships Arkansas, Nevada, and Texas, plus eight cruisers, twenty-eight destroyers, and one monitor. The Eastern Task Force included the battleships HMS Ramillies and Warspite and the monitor HMS Roberts, twelve cruisers, and thirty-seven destroyers. Naval bombardment of areas behind the beach commenced at 05:45, while it was still dark, with the gunners switching to pre-assigned targets on the beach as soon as it was light enough to see, at 05:50. Since troops were scheduled to land at Utah and Omaha starting at 06:30 (an hour earlier than the British beaches), these areas received only about 40 minutes of naval bombardment before the assault troops began to land on the shore. Some of the landing craft had been modified to provide close support fire, and self-propelled amphibious Duplex-Drive tanks (DD tanks), specially designed for the Normandy landings, were to land shortly before the infantry to provide covering fire. However, few arrived in advance of the infantry, and many sank before reaching the shore, especially at Omaha.
The success of the amphibious landings depended on the establishment of a secure lodgement from which to expand the beachhead to allow the buildup of a well-supplied force capable of breaking out. The amphibious forces were especially vulnerable to strong enemy counter-attacks before the buildup of sufficient forces in the beachhead could be accomplished. To slow or eliminate the enemy’s ability to organise and launch counter-attacks during this critical period, airborne operations were used to seize key objectives such as bridges, road crossings, and terrain features, particularly on the eastern and western flanks of the landing areas. The airborne landings some distance behind the beaches were also intended to ease the egress of the amphibious forces off the beaches, and in some cases to neutralise German coastal defence batteries and more quickly expand the area of the beachhead.
The US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions were assigned to objectives west of Utah Beach, where they hoped to capture and control the few narrow causeways through terrain that had been intentionally flooded by the Germans. Reports from Allied intelligence in mid-May of the arrival of the German 91st Infantry Division meant the intended drop zones had to be shifted eastward and to the south. The British 6th Airborne Division, on the eastern flank, was assigned to capture intact the bridges over the Caen Canaland River Orne, destroy five bridges over the Dives 6 miles (9.7 km) to the east, and destroy the Merville Gun Battery overlooking Sword Beach. Free French paratroopers from the British SAS Brigade were assigned to objectives in Brittany from 5 June through August in Operations Dingson, Samwest, and Cooney.
BBC war correspondent Robert Barr described the scene as paratroopers prepared to board their aircraft:
Their faces were darkened with cocoa; sheathed knives were strapped to their ankles; tommy guns strapped to their waists; bandoliers and hand grenades, coils of rope, pick handles, spades, rubber dinghies hung around them, and a few personal oddments, like the lad who was taking a newspaper to read on the plane … There was an easy familiar touch about the way they were getting ready, as though they had done it often before. Well, yes, they had kitted up and climbed aboard often just like this – twenty, thirty, forty times some of them, but it had never been quite like this before. This was the first combat jump for every one of them.
American airborne landings
The American airborne landings began with the arrival of pathfinders at 00:15. Navigation was difficult because of a bank of thick cloud, and as a result only one of the five paratrooper drop zones was accurately marked with radar signals and Aldis lamps. Paratroopers of the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, numbering over 13,000 men, were delivered by Douglas C-47 Skytrains of the IX Troop Carrier Command. To avoid flying over the invasion fleet, the planes arrived from the west over the Cotentin Peninsula and exited over Utah Beach.
Paratroops from 101st Airborne were dropped beginning around 01:30, tasked with controlling the causeways behind Utah Beach and destroying road and rail bridges over the Douve River. The C-47s could not fly in a tight formation because of thick cloud cover, and many paratroopers were dropped far from their intended landing zones. Many planes came in so low that they were under fire from bothflak and machine gun fire. Some paratroopers were killed on impact when their parachutes did not have time to open, and others drowned in the flooded fields. Gathering together into fighting units was made difficult by a shortage of radios and by the bocageterrain, with its hedgerows, stone walls, and marshes. Some units did not arrive at their targets until afternoon, by which time several of the causeways had already been cleared by members of the 4th Infantry Division moving up from the beach.
Troops of the 82nd Airborne began arriving around 02:30, with the primary objective of capturing two bridges over the River Merderetand destroying two bridges over the Douve. On the east side of the river, 75 per cent of the paratroopers landed in or near their drop zone, and within two hours they captured the important crossroads at Sainte-Mère-Église (the first town liberated in the invasion) and began working to protect the western flank. Because of the failure of the pathfinders to accurately mark their drop zone, the two regiments dropped on the west side of the Merderet were extremely scattered, with only four per cent landing in the target area.Many landed in nearby swamps, with much loss of life. Paratroopers consolidated into small groups, usually a combination of men of various ranks from different units, and attempted to concentrate on nearby objectives. They captured but failed to hold the Merderet River bridge at La Fière, and fighting for the crossing continued for several days.
Reinforcements arrived by glider around 04:00 (Mission Chicago and Mission Detroit), and 21:00 (Mission Keokuk and Mission Elmira), bringing additional troops and heavy equipment. Like the paratroopers, many landed far from their drop zones. Even those that landed on target experienced difficulty, with heavy cargo such as Jeeps shifting during landing, crashing through the wooden fuselage, and in some cases crushing personnel on board.
After 24 hours, only 2,500 men of the 101st and 2,000 of the 82nd Airborne were under the control of their divisions, approximately a third of the force dropped. This wide dispersal had the effect of confusing the Germans and fragmenting their response. The 7th Army received notification of the parachute drops at 01:20, but Rundstedt did not initially believe that a major invasion was underway. The destruction of radar stations along the Normandy coast in the week before the invasion meant that the Germans did not detect the approaching fleet until 02:00.
British and Canadian airborne landings
The first Allied action of D-Day was Operation Deadstick, a glider assault at 00:16 at Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal and the bridge (since renamed Horsa Bridge) over the Orne, half a mile (800 metres) to the east. Both bridges were quickly captured intact, with light casualties, by members of the 5th Parachute Brigade and the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion. The five bridges over the Dives were destroyed with minimal difficulty by the 3rd Parachute Brigade. Meanwhile, the pathfinders tasked with setting up radar beacons and lights for further paratroopers (scheduled to begin arriving at 00:50 to clear the landing zone north of Ranville) were blown off course, and had to set up the navigation aids too far east. Many paratroopers, also blown too far east, landed far from their intended drop zones; some took hours or even days to be reunited with their units. Major General Richard Gale arrived in the third wave of gliders at 03:30, along with equipment, such as antitank guns and jeeps, and more troops to help secure the area from counter-attacks, which were initially staged only by troops in the immediate vicinity of the landings. At 02:00, the commander of the German 716th Infantry Division ordered Feuchtinger to move his 21st Panzer Division into position to counter-attack. However, as the division was part of the armoured reserve, Feuchtinger was obliged to seek clearance from OKW before he could commit his formation. Feuchtinger did not receive orders until nearly 09:00, but in the meantime on his own initiative he put together a battle group (including tanks) to fight the British forces east of the Orne.
Only 160 men out of the 600 members of the 9th Battalion tasked with eliminating the enemy battery at Merville arrived at the rendezvous point. Lieutenant Colonel Terence Otway, in charge of the operation, decided to proceed regardless, as the emplacement had to be destroyed by 06:00 to prevent it firing on the invasion fleet and the troops arriving on Sword Beach. In the Battle of Merville Gun Battery, Allied forces disabled the guns at a cost of 75 casualties. The emplacement was found to contain 75 mm guns rather than the expected 150 mm heavy coastal artillery.
With this action, the last of the D-Day goals of the British 6th Airborne Division was achieved. They were reinforced at 12:00 by commandos of the 1st Special Service Brigade, who landed on Sword Beach, and by the 6th Airlanding Brigade, who arrived in gliders at 21:00 in Operation Mallard.
Utah Beach was in the area defended by two battalions of the 919th Grenadier Regiment. Members of the 8th Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division were the first to land, arriving at 06:30. Their landing craft were pushed to the south by strong currents, and they found themselves about 2,000 yards (1.8 km) from their intended landing zone. This site turned out to be better, as there was only one strongpoint nearby rather than two, and bombers of IX Bomber Command had bombed the defences from lower than their prescribed altitude, inflicting considerable damage. In addition, the strong currents had washed ashore many of the underwater obstacles. The assistant commander of the 4th Infantry Division, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the first senior officer ashore, made the decision to “start the war from right here”, and ordered further landings to be re-routed.
The initial assault battalions were quickly followed by 28 DD tanks and several waves of engineer and demolition teams to remove beach obstacles and clear the area directly behind the beach of obstacles and mines. Gaps were blown in the sea wall to allow quicker access for troops and tanks. Combat teams began to exit the beach at around 09:00, with some infantry wading through the flooded fields rather than travelling on the single road. They skirmished throughout the day with elements of the 919th Grenadier Regiment, who were armed with antitank guns and rifles. The main strongpoint in the area and another 1,300 yards (1.2 km) to the south were disabled by noon. The 4th Infantry Division did not meet all of their D-Day objectives at Utah Beach, partly because they had arrived too far to the south, but they landed 21,000 troops at the cost of only 197 casualties.
Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc, a prominent headland situated between Utah and Omaha, was assigned to two hundred men of 2nd Ranger Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder. Their task was to scale the 30-metre (98 ft) cliffs with grappling hooks, ropes, and ladders to destroy the coastal gun battery located at the top. While under fire from above, the men scaled the cliff, only to discover that the guns had already been withdrawn. The Rangers located the weapons, unguarded but ready to use, in an orchard some 550 metres (600 yd) south of the point, and disabled them with explosives. Under attack, the men at the point became isolated, and some were captured. By dawn on D+1, Rudder had only 90 men able to fight. Relief did not arrive until D+2, when members of the 743rd Tank Battalion and others arrived. By then, Rudder’s men had run out of ammunition and were using captured German weapons. Several men were killed as a result, because the German weapons made a distinctive noise, and the men were mistaken for the enemy.
Omaha, the most heavily defended beach, was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division and 29th Infantry Division. They faced the 352nd Infantry Division rather than the expected single regiment. Strong currents forced many landing craft east of their intended position or caused them to be delayed. For fear of hitting the landing craft, American bombers delayed releasing their loads and, as a result, most of the beach obstacles at Omaha remained undamaged when the men came ashore. Many of the landing craft ran aground on sandbars and the men had to wade 50 to 100 yards (46 to 91 m) in water up to their necks while under fire to get to the beach. In spite of the rough seas, DD tanks of two companies of the 741st Tank Battalion were dropped 5,000 yards (4,600 m) from shore, and 27 of the 32 flooded and sank, with the loss of 33 crew. Some tanks, disabled on the beach, continued to provide covering fire until their ammunition ran out or they were swamped by the rising tide.
Casualties were around 2,000, as the men were subjected to fire from the cliffs above. Problems clearing the beach of obstructions led to the beachmaster calling a halt to further landings of vehicles at 08:30. A group of destroyers arrived around this time to provide fire support so landings could resume. Exit from the beach was possible only via five heavily defended gullies, and by late morning barely 600 men had reached the higher ground. By noon, as the artillery fire took its toll and the Germans started to run out of ammunition, the Americans were able to clear some lanes on the beaches. They also started clearing the gullies of enemy defences so that vehicles could move off the beach. The tenuous beachhead was expanded over the following days, and the D-Day objectives for Omaha were accomplished by D+3.
At Gold, high winds made conditions difficult for the landing craft, and the amphibious DD tanks were released close to shore or directly on the beach instead of further out as planned. Three of the four guns in a large emplacement at the Longues-sur-Mer battery were disabled by direct hits from the cruisers Ajax and Argonaut at 06:20. The fourth gun resumed firing intermittently in the afternoon, and its garrison surrendered on 7 June. Aerial attacks had failed to hit the Le Hamel strongpoint, which had its embrasure facing east to provide enfilade fire along the beach and had a thick concrete wall on the seaward side. Its 75 mm gun continued to do damage until 16:00, when a modified Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVRE) tank fired a large petard charge into its rear entrance. A second casemated emplacement at La Rivière containing an 88 mm gun was neutralised by a tank at 07:30.
Meanwhile, infantry began clearing the heavily fortified houses along the shore and advanced on targets further inland. The No. 47 (Royal Marine) Commando moved toward the small port at Port-en-Bessin and captured it the following day in the Battle of Port-en-Bessin. Company Sergeant Major Stanley Hollis received the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day for his actions while attacking two pillboxes at the Mont Fleury high point. On the western flank, the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment captured Arromanches(future site of Mulberry “B”), and contact was made on the eastern flank with the Canadian forces at Juno. Bayeux was not captured the first day due to stiff resistance from the 352nd Infantry Division. Allied casualties at Gold Beach are estimated at 1,000.
The landing at Juno was delayed because of choppy seas, and the men arrived ahead of their supporting armour, suffering many casualties while disembarking. Most of the offshore bombardment had missed the German defences. Several exits from the beach were created, but not without difficulty. At Mike Beach on the western flank, a large crater was filled using an abandoned AVRE tank and several rolls of fascine, which were then covered by a temporary bridge. The tank remained in place until 1972, when it was removed and restored by members of the Royal Engineers. The beach and nearby streets were clogged with traffic for most of the day, making it difficult to move inland.
Major German strongpoints with 75 mm guns, machine-gun nests, concrete fortifications, barbed wire, and mines were located atCourseulles-sur-Mer, St Aubin-sur-Mer, and Bernières-sur-Mer. The towns themselves also had to be cleared in house-to-house fighting. Soldiers on their way to Bény-sur-Mer, 3 miles (5 km) inland, discovered that the road was well covered by machine gun emplacements that had to be outflanked before the advance could proceed. Elements of the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigadeadvanced to within sight of the Carpiquet airfield late in the afternoon, but by this time their supporting armour was low on ammunition so the Canadians dug in for the night. The airfield was not captured until a month later as the area became the scene of fierce fighting.By nightfall, the contiguous Juno and Gold beachheads covered an area 12 miles (19 km) wide and 7 miles (10 km) deep.Casualties at Juno were 961 men.
On Sword, 21 of 25 DD tanks of the first wave made it safely ashore to provide cover for the infantry, who began disembarking at 07:30. The beach was heavily mined and peppered with obstacles, making the work of the beach clearing teams difficult and dangerous. In the windy conditions, the tide came in more quickly than expected, so manoeuvring the armour was difficult. The beach quickly became congested. Brigadier Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat and his 1st Special Service Brigade arrived in the second wave, piped ashore by Private Bill Millin, Lovat’s personal piper. Members of No. 4 Commando moved through Ouistrehamto attack from the rear a German gun battery on the shore. A concrete observation and control tower at this emplacement had to be bypassed and was not captured until several days later. French forces under Commander Philippe Kieffer (the first French soldiers to arrive in Normandy) attacked and cleared the heavily fortified strongpoint at the casino at Riva Bella, with the aid of one of the DD tanks.
The ‘Morris’ strongpoint near Colleville-sur-Mer was captured after about an hour of fighting. The nearby ‘Hillman’ strongpoint, headquarters of the 736th Infantry Regiment, was a large complex defensive work that had come through the morning’s bombardment essentially undamaged. It was not captured until 20:15. The 2nd Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry began advancing to Caen on foot, coming within a few kilometres of the town, but had to withdraw due to lack of armour support. At 16:00, the 21st Panzer Division mounted a counter-attack between Sword and Juno and nearly succeeded in reaching the Channel. It met stiff resistance from the British 3rd Division and was soon recalled to assist in the area between Caen and Bayeux. Estimates of Allied casualties on Sword Beach are as high as 1,000.
The Normandy landings were the largest seaborne invasion in history, with nearly 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on D-Day, with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June. Allied casualties on the first day were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead. The Germans lost 1,000 men. The Allied invasion plans had called for the capture of Carentan, St. Lô, Caen, and Bayeux on the first day, with all the beaches (other than Utah) linked with a front line 10 to 16 kilometres (6 to 10 mi) from the beaches; none of these objectives were achieved. The five bridgeheads were not connected until 12 June, by which time the Allies held a front around 97 kilometres (60 mi) long and 24 kilometres (15 mi) deep. Caen, a major objective, was still in German hands at the end of D-Day and would not be completely captured until 21 July. The Germans had ordered French civilians, other than those deemed essential to the war effort, to leave potential combat zones in Normandy. Civilian casualties on D-Day and D+1 are estimated at 3,000 people.
Victory in Normandy stemmed from several factors. German preparations along the Atlantic Wall were only partially finished; shortly before D-Day Rommel reported that construction was only 18 per cent complete in some areas as resources were diverted elsewhere. The deceptions undertaken in Operation Fortitude were successful, leaving the Germans obligated to defend a huge stretch of coastline. The Allies achieved and maintained air superiority, which meant that the Germans were unable to make observations of the preparations underway in Britain and were unable to interfere via bomber attacks. Transportation infrastructure in France was severely disrupted by Allied bombers and the French Resistance, making it difficult for the Germans to bring up reinforcements and supplies. Some of the opening bombardment was off-target or not concentrated enough to have any impact, but the specialised armour worked well except on Omaha, providing close artillery support for the troops as they disembarked onto the beaches. Indecisiveness and an overly complicated command structure on the part of the German high command was also a factor in the Allied success.
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Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families
IN SERVICE TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED
The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Through our focus on veteran-facing programming, research and policy, employment and employer support, and community engagement, the institute provides in-depth analysis of the challenges facing the veteran community, captures best practices and serves as a forum to facilitate new partnerships and strong relationships between the individuals and organizations committed to making a difference for veterans and military families.
AMERICA’S GREATEST ASSETS: How Military Veterans Are Strengthening Our Communities Source: GotYour6.org
Everything Veterans Affairs does with your service connected disability compensation claim, is governed by law. You may want to bookmark this page as a reference as you proceed with your claim.
It can be a bit daunting. Just remember the U.S.C. is the law, the C.F.R. is how they interpret the law and last but certainly not least is the V.A. adjudication manuals that is how they apply the law. The section of the law that covers the veterans benefits is Title 38 in the U.S.C. in the C.F.R. is usually written 38 C.F.R. or something similar.
It’s helpful to understand how statutes, regulations, and VA directives such as the VA’s Adjudication Procedures Manual, the M21-1MR (Manual M21-1MR.) are related. Of these three sources of law, the statute, written by Congress, is the highest form. The statute that governs veterans’ benefits is found in Title 38 of the United States Code (U.S.C.). The VA writes regulations to carry out the laws written by Congress; these are found in Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.). The VA’s internal instructions for adjudicating claims are contained in the Manual M21-1MR. VA regulations may not conflict with any statute; the manual’s provisions may not conflict with either statute or regulations. If they do, the Court has the power to invalidate them.
- U.S.C. United States Code United States Code is the law and the U.S.C. is the governments official copy of the code.
- U.S.C.A. United States Code Annotated U.S.C.A. contain everything that is printed in the official U.S. Code but also include annotations to case law relevant to the particular statute.
- C.F.R. Code of Federal Regulations The C.F.R. is the interpretation of the law
- VA M-21 Compensation and Pension Manual
- VA M-21-4 C & P Procedures
- VA M28-3 Vocational Rehabilitation
- VA M29-1 VBA Insurance Manual
Related VA Law Articles and Cases
Ascension President and CEO Anthony Tersigni is among those being considered to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, sources close to the matter say.
Other potential candidates include acting Secretary Robert Wilkie and former Cleveland Clinic CEO Dr. Toby Cosgrove. House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and former congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) should also be considered.
Tersigni’s experience and knowledge of issues affecting not just the VA, but healthcare overall may give him a decided advantage.
“This is a guy who knows how to run a large medical system, and the people who have the president’s ear know he is conversant and well-informed in issues that are important to the VA, and that checks a box,” said a well-placed GOP consultant who has worked in the White House. “Tersigni has a paper trail in a very good way.”
For the past 13 years, Tersigni has lead the nation’s largest Catholic health system. Ascension has also been the most prominent participant in the VA Choice program, the government’s effort to expand access for veterans by paying for healthcare provided by the private sector.
Ascension’s VA Choice participation resulted in about 10,000 veterans receiving mostly primary-care, mental health and behavioral health services over the past 18 months. It also gave Ascension officials a chance to become familiar with leaders at the VA and grassroots veterans organizations. The Choice program has raised concerns from advocacy groups about the government privatizing care for veterans.
Debate over how to expand the VA Choice program was likely a factor in former Secretary Dr. David Shulkin being terminated via Twitter by President Donald Trump. The president’s first nominee to replace Shulkin, Dr. Ronny Jackson, took his name out of consideration last week after uncorroborated allegations of misconduct arose.
Shulkin came under fire in February after an Office of Inspector General report found he had improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and his staff had doctored emails to justify his wife traveling to Europe with him at taxpayer expense. Another OIG report detailed poor treatment of patients in VA health clinics due to lack of proper equipment.
At the time, lawmakers were debating changes to the VA Choice program and Shulkin’s stance against the perceived privatization of the program placed him at very public odds with the president and some members of Congress.
The House VA Committee last week was supposed to debate the bipartisan agreement reached last month, but that has been postponed until early May, and not all parts of the deal are set in stone, according to aides close to talks.
Tersigni, a registered Republican who worked on President Gerald Ford’s campaign, last year wrote a commentary stating he believed in “public-private partnerships” like VA Choice, understanding that there were limits to how private providers might be able to treat the often significant transplant and limb repairs needed by some veterans returning from war. He also spoke about the sensitivity needed to properly care for veterans at the 2016 VA Healthcare Conference.
Similar to the VA, Ascension is also upgrading and standardizing its electronic health record system, a massive task. Ascension’s project stretches across 150 hospitals and 2,600 sites of care and is intended, among other things, to boost digital and telemedicine services. Shulkin last year awarded Cerner Corp. a no-bid contract to overhaul the VA’s EHR system. The contract, which is now estimated at $16 billion, has been put on hold while the organizations struggle to iron out issues around interoperability.
“Our veterans are simply looking for a competent, proven and dynamic leader with integrity that can lead our nation forward out of this storm of darkness and into a brighter future,” Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said in a statement after Jackson withdrew his name from consideration.
Ascension has 165,000 employees and is the second-largest system after for-profit HCA in size of hospitals and revenue. It reported $552.69 million in income from operations on revenue of $22.63 billion in 2017, down 27% from $753.2 million in operating income on revenue of $21.9 billion in 2016. Its total operating expenses before impairment, restructuring and nonrecurring losses increased to $21.89 billion, up 5% from $20.9 billion in 2016, according to Modern Healthcare’s financial database.
Tersigni served in the National Guard for six years and his father was a decorated World War II veteran who became disabled in the battle of Anzio in Italy. He won Bronze and Silver stars and the Purple Heart.
Tersigni is known for his tight management style, something that VA insiders say the sprawling $200 billion department that cares for 9 million veterans desperately needs after four leaders in as many years. He has been on Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list 13 times. His most recent appearance placed him at #5.
If Tersigni is chosen, Ascension will likely be prepared. The system’s board of directors and Tersigni himself are very open about leadership development and having a strong succession plan. His potential replacement would likely be someone already in line for the top office. Among those; Patricia Maryland, the president and CEO of Ascension Healthcare, and Anthony Speranzo, the system’s chief financial officer. The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, the current executive vice president and chief operations officer of the Ascension Solutions Division subsidiaries of Ascension Information Services and the Ascension Ministry Service Center, could also be in the running.
Cosgrove, who retired in 2017 after 13 years at the helm of the Cleveland Clinic, has been in position to accept the VA nomination before. In fact, he turned down President Barack Obama in 2014. “This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision, but I have decided to withdraw from consideration [for] this position and remain at the Cleveland Clinic due to the commitment I have made to the organization, our patients and the work that still needs to be done here,” he said at the time.