Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day

May 28, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

A view across Arlington Cemetery…we must NEVER forget the sacrifices of those who fought and died for our freedoms!

My home computer is down…so this is brief-a time limit,thanks to the public library!

Please visit a fallen soldiers grave-thank him or her for the service and sacrifice!

Pray for Peace

if you have filed an MST disability claim-this info will be helpful

May 24, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

1.3. Establishing Eligibility For Service ConnectionEligibility for VA disability compensation generally requires the satisfaction of three fundamental requirements.
1. A medical diagnosis of a current disease or disorder.
2. Medical, or sometimes non-medical (called “lay”), evidence that a disease or disorder had its onset during active military service or that a pre-existing disease or disorder was aggravated during such service.

3. Medical evidence of a linkage (called a “nexus”) between military service and a current disease or disorder. The standard that the VA uses to determine whether the medical nexus requirement has been satisfied is whether the medical evidence of record demonstrates that it is “as likely as not” that the current disability is related to the veteran’s military service.
What constitutes medical evidence?
1. Medical records that reflect a diagnosis of a current disease or disorder (e.g., hospital records, doctor’s office or medical clinic records, or a statement or opinion from a doctor).
2. A notation in the veteran’s military service medical records that reflects complaints, treatment, diagnostic test results (such as x-rays or MRIs) or diagnoses that relate to that disease or disorder.

3. There must be a doctor’s statement or opinion to the effect that it is at least as likely as not that a current disease or disorder is related to an injury, the onset of a disease or disorder, or the aggravation of a pre-service disease or disorder, during military service.
If there is evidence that satisfies all three elements of service connection, the VA must award service connection for the claimed disability.

———— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ——— ———

Willful misconduct / New Material Evidence

Title 38

(n) Willful misconduct means an act involving conscious wrongdoing or known prohibited action. A service department finding that injury, disease or death was not due to misconduct will be binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs unless it is patently inconsistent with the facts and the requirements of laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(1) It involves deliberate or intentional wrongdoing with knowledge of or wanton and reckless disregard of its probable consequences.

Read more: http://cfr.vlex. com/vid/3- 1-definitions- 19776106# ixzz0omi2ojyu

VA Can Define Alcoholism as `Willful Misconduct’; Supreme Court Rules Agency Need Not Consider Condition a Disease When Determining Benefits
The Washington Post | April 21, 1988

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the authority of the Veterans Administration to define alcoholism as the result of “willful misconduct” rather than as a disease in determining eligibility for certain benefits.

The court, in a 4-to-3 ruling over a relatively narrow issue, concluded that the VA’s definition does not necessarily conflict with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires that federal programs not discriminate against the handicapped solely because of their handicap.

New Material Evidence

5. New and Material Evidence

Introduction This topic contains information on new and material evidence, including

· reopening denied claims

· the definition of the term new evidence

· cumulative evidence

· the definition of the term material evidence

· requirement for reopening a claim

· handling cases in which VA has requested new and material evidence, and

· notifying the claimant that the reopened claim remains denied

Change Date December 29, 2007

a. Reopening Denied Claims Once a claim has been finally denied, it cannot be reopened unless new and material evidence is received.

Reference: For more information on new and material evidence, see

· 38 U.S.C. 5108, and

· 38 CFR 3.156.

b. Definition: New Evidence New evidence is evidence that has not previously been considered. New and material evidence must

· not be cumulative of evidence of record at the time of the last final denial, and

· prove the merits of the claim relating to each essential element that was a specified basis for the last final denial.

New evidence may be in the form of either written or sworn testimony.

Reference: For more information on what is considered new evidence, see

· Cuevas v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 542 (1992), and

· Barnett v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 542 (1995).

c. Cumulative Evidence Evidence is merely cumulative and is not to be considered new evidence if it

· reinforces a previously well-established point

· provides additional details to support previous statements, or

· rehashes previously submitted statements.

d. Definition: Material Evidence Material evidence is evidence that by itself, or when considered with previous evidence of record,

the program

May 23, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I can’t say very much today…except that the confusion of HONOR in serving our country has me befuddled!

I grew up in the shadow of World War Two and the Korean War-and I am old enough to remember the veterans of World War One…my grandfather was a veteran of that!

We were brought up to know we needed to defend and protect-to honor our President and the Constitution of the United States….HONOR,which is key part of the serving under HONORABLE conditions!

The link:

The link will lead you to the confusion!

Our military has a shortfall of volunteers….somewere we lost the honor of serving-or the desire…or the care…what ever the excuse-and here we need to enlist convicted felons?

HONOR? Will they serve with honor? I do not understand…HONOR does not equate with FELON!

Read the article-a 43 page description of how the Army has had to take those from being convicts to those who should just step forward and serve this country!

It is a shame…we are fighting MST (military sexual trauma) and yet the battle is mixed and uncertain-we have mixed convicted felons that have sexually assaulted as the crime-yes,along with thieves and robbers-but sexual offenders? Is this what we want? And share with ‘HONOR’?

I am confused!


better is little than great treasure…

May 18, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Another Proverb?  No…this is not a bible study…it is understanding what truth is!

A week ago I was in Washington DC-my trip was intended to speak  on behalf of veterans of military service who have suffered at the hands of fellow service members because of sexual trauma.

My fears of large buildings and public restrooms had to be put aside but my anxiety prevented that from happening…that is up until I found the dime in my suitcase when prepping for the trip.

The dime-as many know-has become a symbol to me from an experience some years ago. The symbol of safety and almost as if it were a miniature shield.

The sign of the dime was not perfectly clear until the end of my trip.

I had gone to DC to hopefully draw attention to our SILENT WOUNDED with those who can make a difference-our legislatures. I learned quickly the person I had partnered with was not who I felt very comfortable with-and I departed ways.

The feeling I had been that this was not right and the conversations we were having were not fully in the interest of MST survivors. I could hear the other man speak but my ears were going into a mumble-my heart said to exit this place swiftly and to separate from this other messenger as fast as I can.

Following me to the street was the photojournalist that is documenting several MST survivors, she asked if I felt I had made the right decision? I had and told her I made my decision because of Spiritual guidance and instinct…better is little than great treasure,was my explanation!

That is not hard to understand! It meant to me right then that it was better to cut and run before any more of these meetings took place. I held in my hands the responsibility of the words in statements from other survivors-and I was not going to mingle them in with this individuals agenda!

But…what about DC and seeing the Senators? Or seeing members of Congress? wasn’t this trip about seeking the hope of change?

The DIME! There was a significance in finding that dime! Great significance-which took the shingles from my eyes so I could see the purpose.

Some of the veterans who wrote statements for this trip are also men and woman who I have telephone contact with. I promised I would keep each step of my trip up to date with them. One of the veterans I spoke to mentioned the name of an attorney-her office was right there in the city!

One only needs to do a ‘google’ on the name Susan Burke PLLC to learn the power in what took place! The dime began to shine! is seeking the written statements from Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors. Susan Burke is writing a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense (and hopefully the Veterans Administration) to force them to be accountable for every MST survivors case-properly!

I am invited to sit at round table discussions as to how to express every detail. This will require many more trips to our Nations Capital.

The dime? Ah yes…this was the reason I found the dime! Remember how my story went about finding my first spiritual dime? I explained that when as a boy visiting my grandparents in Washington DC (my grandparents are now buried in Arlington Cemetery) my grandmother would give us ‘car fare’…which was a small hand full of dimes. That is what it cost for streetcars then-and we would catch a car to the museums and travel all around the city. Peculiar to me…Susan Burkes office is directly behind the old street car barn on K Street NW ! Another good sign to me!

Why is this better? Why better is little? Why not the great treasure? Better is little than great treasure!

I could have continued my trip to Washington and The Hart Senate Building and the buildings that house Congress and canvassed through the halls-making unannounced entry to the many offices. It is our right-these are our elected officials, as they say-our employees!  I was also invited to speak at the Congressional hearings-just two days away!

I learned more-just yesterday! I learned more about better is little than great treasure!

In anticipation of being expected to travel back to DC I telephoned Susan Burke and asked if my money was better spent by attending her round table planning sessions-for the lawsuit…or should I come to the hearings? The answer was perfectly easy to understand!

She responded by saying more good is going to come from her firm rattling the very cage that holds the answers for MST survivors-the Department of Defense. Her opinion is that the hearings will be political-she plans to attend but told me that there should be no expectations that any changes will come from them-she said none has come from the previous hearings. Why? Because many of those who sit on these committees are seeking re-election or have other reasons NOT to rattle the cage of the Department of Defense.

I had lunch yesterday with a retired professor from the University of Florida. He is interested in my quest for MST survivors hopes and I told him all about the trip-beginning to end. He affirmed the power in better is little than great treasure! He agreed that trying to sway the politicians will be a long trail to travel…his feelings agreed with what Susan Burke told me-they may listen,but the hope for change from them will be a long way away! Because…they may not want to step on many toes, but Ms.Burke makes it her practice to do so!

She has sued and won settlements for the Abu Garib torture survivors-against Haliburton and Blackwater. No small task there! Yes…yes yes I see the clearer picture now! I see the dime in Susan Brurke-I see the message of better is little than great treasure…I see exactly what is the truth!

I believe ALL of us who have survived MST will agree that monetary payments will never suffice to return our lives and our piece of mind and spirit…no payment can ever heal the trauma my mind endures each day from an event 40 years ago,so I know it most likely can’t heal yours.

What will make a difference is if WE can create a movement to change the values of the Department of Defense and the policies that have shoveled our cases aside into a corner-if we can change the way MST veterans are responded to through the Veterans Administration-if we can change this for future survivors! Yes,sadly human nature and the deviance of others will never really ever change. There is no way our society will ever see an end to these crimes…even in our military. But we can change the way MST survivors are responded to!  We can force the Department of Defense to handle every MST case with sensitive care for the victim-and we can force the Veterans Administration to uphold its end too…we suvivors have a legal right to permanent treatment-they do not give us that,and WE CAN change this!

 Write Susan Burke-add your statements in testimony and believe me-this IS the correct path to follow! Be a WITNESS against this crime and be a part of the change!

Proverbs 15:16

– Proverbs 15:21 –

May 16, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The poet Maya Angelou wrote something like this…people will forget what you said-people will forget what you did-but people will never forget how you made them feel…

I once worked in a funeral home in Washington DC. The owner had these special coins crafted-he would hand you one when ever he had a point to share with you,or a lesson he wished to teach-the coins had one word on each side! SILENT and LISTEN!

The man would hand you one his coins and he would always say “These two words have the same letters of the alphabet and although spelled differently they mean the same thing” and then he would go into the lesson he was trying to share with you.

His lessons were always valuable-he was particular in the lesson of the tongue! Not from a morticians standpoint-but from the standpoint of what should be said…and what should not! The tongue can be a mighty sword…and yet can be  a  dangerous tool. He would hand you one of his coins and say things like “profanity is the effort of a feeble mind trying to express itself forcibly”!

In a mortuary you need extreme caution as to what should be said. To be discrete is the foremost rule-you never say more than needs to be!

One of the things from my military past-the past which is the always present…always present thank you to post traumatic stress disorder-one of the key things that stick out is the ship-mate named Billy that spoke out the morning I was unable to make roll call. I was snowed in at the Greyhound Bus Station on New York Avenue in Washington DC. Billy saw fit to suggest to our division leader why I may not be there…his suggestion was based on a conversation he over heard-but not enough so he could base a fact. Somehow he was able to formulate a reason…which had no reason,because his own conclusion was not a fact! His conclusion was told to my older brother (who I was stationed with-and who was not happy about that being so) and my older brother made it worse!

So…I am talking about truths and facts and cussing and the quote from a poem-which says “people will never forget how you make them feel”.

I am also trying to tell about the trip to Washington DC!

Ever since Billy spoke his words that ended up putting me in a detention barracks I have exercised a caution of whom I say what to-or how it is said. I have raised a barrier-a gate-to prevent myself from become close to others,or trusting them with any involvement of my life what so ever! One trys to trust…one trys!

My day on Monday May 10 began looking out the window of a high dollar hotel on DuPont Circle. I was on the telephone with a young man-the man who arranged the meetings for the day,meetings with officers of a Senators staff. Our agenda was to speak about the crime of Military Sexual Trauma-and how there needs to be a change of how veterans who survive such must be treated.

My conversation-shall I say,the things I listened to while being the first to speak with this young man…he was lost while trying to return a rental car! He was trying to formulate sentences but each attempt was filled with the forcible language of a feeble mind! The F words intermingled with words damning God that were mixed with any other foul word that could be brought in-and associated with his anger and tirades immediately affected my post traumatic triggers. This was first thing in the morning (not that after noon the language could be understood any better).

I was shut down from that point on!

Benefit of the doubt-I followed as we trekked across the city by Metro car.

You will find that I am having difficulty in writing what I want to say.

I was most of my life a long distance trucker! Many many meals in truck stops all across America. I always hated when another driver wanted to sit at a table with me…I always hated when ever the waitress would come and another would speak to her as if she had been waiting all of her life to have him come in and call her “darling” or “sweetheart” or “where have you been all my life”. It was offensive at any time to hear about the “ass on her” or other descriptions of sexual matter of some persons body.

My companions on this day May 10 were two young men-one a ‘military sexual trauma’ survivor and the other his friend from home,an aspiring politician running for a seat on a local commission. Along also a photo-journalist. The young men were gay-which is not any reason to concern one,except that when we approached the security check points at the Hart Senate Building the comments regarding “the ass on him” were not at all appropriate for the somber mission we had ahead of us. I felt in the presence of some gutter mouth trucker.

Yes…I began by saying Maya Angelou said “people will never forget how you made them feel”!

Rape is a subject no one is comfortable talking about. Rape is a subject which very word itself musters up a vision in any intelligent persons mind-RAPE is not a pleasant subject,and any can get a clear picture as to how horrendous the act is.  In the funeral business we make a death call to notify a family with such discretion-not by saying we are sorry to notify you that the automobile accident was so full of blood and destruction…you pretty much can understand that telling a person their loved one died in an accident-they know the picture! One can leave out the horror of the details.

That was the trouble my companion in the visits we had at each meeting could not seem to understand. He was unable to see past himself to be able to see any reasoning!

During our second meeting of the day-we met with Congressman Michael Turner (Ohio) Military Legislative Assistant. She was joined in the conversation with the Congressman’s Military Fellow.  We entered the office building (I am thinking it was the Cannon Building) as we did the Hart Senate Building-a security checkpoint. There were more comments from the two young men-the “asses on them” comments-remarks about the police!

It was in the Congressman’s office when I began to feel the most discomfort with the two I had teamed with. The young veteran went into his story-the young Military Legislative Assistant  halted him in mid conversation….his details were too graphic,and she was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable too!

Then a change in his details.

Our first meeting he told of his attack experience with a very key point! He described how his attacker came to his bunk and kissed him on his lips. At our second meeting-his second telling of the story-he explained how his attacker came to his bunk and pushed his tongue in his mouth. Why wasn’t this detail the same in his earlier telling? It IS a prime detail?

It hit me then! I was uncomfortable…the Military Legislative Assistant was too! This young veteran was not seeing it clear enough. He was seeing what he wanted to see….but could not see the others!

I took a move of swift separation!

I went to Washington DC believing in the words of another-we were going there to fight for the rights of the entire platoon of the SILENT WOUNDED! All I heard from this young veteran was “I lost this-I lost that-I wanted to be-I ….I…I..” ? Hello…? Hello…?

I DID NOT feel this young veteran had any other agenda! I felt by his NOT hearing the young female assistant saying she was uncomfortable would have swayed his conversation to a more beneficial path-he heard nothing,it appeared,and he kept on with his descriptions! I felt that all of a sudden-THIS IS A SINKING SHIP! and he was working the hole bigger so the ship could sink faster! I felt NOTHING positive was going to come from these meetings…as a matter of fact-I felt the participants from the legislatures being turned off! Only listening politely!


Last night I received a telephone message from the young veteran. He announced he will be attending and giving testimony at the Congressional hearings next week regarding MST. How sad a representative this man is! I am sad-there is no doubt-NO DOUBT- that this is a tragically injured individual…and I will not take away from what he has endured,but…it will be a shame if his actions and words are exactly the same content as he used in front of the people we met! His ability to discern discretion is destitute as it says in the Proverbs-his ability to stand up for others lacks any quality of integrity.

I am sorry that I trusted this man.

To end this long piece of the journey…let me say-the journey is still underway! I TOO have been invited to testify…although my ability to travel there to DC in just days short of a week may deter that! I HOPE for the means to come my way.

I want to speak for a hope! The hope that one day men and woman come to understand that RAPE is not at all…AT ALL connected with sexual behavior-straight,gay,up or down or any shape and form of sexual preference! Sexual contact is not even remotely a part of sexual trauma! I want to speak of hope that MST survivors are soon given a right path to follow to seek out medical and financial benefit-one path which has no bigots…only RIGHTS!

I DO NOT need to explain the day after day of abuses I experienced while in barracks D-the things I was made to do! The picture is clear enough to ANY intelligent mind!

I humble myself before my readers and before those that entrusted me with their messages to the Senators!  I will write-hopefully Tuesday-about the way my path went after I separated from the un-wise and went on my own search for the ears to hear! I FOUND THEM! And I will bring that information to you quickly as soon as I am confirmed it is fact!

Proverbs 15:21 Folly is Joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walkth uprightly

the signs of the dimes and squawks of the hawks!!

May 8, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I had an experience-it could be called “powerful medicine”!

12 year ago I was to attend a hearing. I was nervous and anxious-very stressed because everything was a huddle of unknowns…the place where the hearing was to be held,for one-but the fact that I had no idea who my attorney was,only that he was from Washington DC!

I find the only real way to calm down inside is with prayer and meditation-I usually walk in the State Forest which borders my place to do that.

The day before the hearing I was doing just that! I walked around the section we call Bailey’s Mine and I was thinking of this attorney holding the key to the rest of my life (my Social Security hearing-when I had my stroke) and because he was from Washington DC my thoughts turned to my boy hood there-my grandparents,and spending summers there!

During those visits there was nothing to my grandmother giving us a hand full of dimes-back then the city still had street cars,it only cost a dime to ride!

While I was walking and praying out in the woods-praying about meeting a stranger and the way he connected through Washington DC-and me thinking of those dimes….there on the ground I found a shiny new dime! Not easy-I was in the middle of 2000 acres of wooded forest then. It was a sign-a sign that all I need to do is trust,the rest will follow.

I ‘ve always regarded that moment as special-everything did work out!

I also have this certain feeling about birds…the big birds-like ravens,to me,are spiritual. It almost never misses-if I am concerned or troubled…the raven-or a hawk will show up. These sightings are not usually in the woods…although many are-but in places of the most craziest locations for such a bird.

Sometimes I feel God is sending the bird-as if I am lost in some vast sea and the bird is sent to lead me to shore and safety. Absolutely no doubt in my mind-a sign!

Well-the trip to Washington DC is on me now!

I leave here later this afternoon to head to the airport. Everything is calmer now for me than was the other days. I was outside the other evening-cleaning out my suitcase…troubled to the bone about the travel…and while cleaning the variety of pockets in the suitcase-I FOUND A DIME!!

I looked at thing in awe! I held it up as if it was a shield of armour-held it straight towards the sky saying thank you-thank you-thank you and tears flowed down my cheeks….tears of JOY-because there above was a HAWK! Strength!

The message? Calm down old man….the trip to Washington DC is covered by the hands of One more powerful…and the signs in dimes kept flowing!

Yesterday I emailed the story about finding the dime to the friend-a therapist-who attended my VA hearing with me! My email went out an hour before daylight. She responded moments later…on picking up her things for work-she found a dime sitting on the seat of her chair! Late yesterday she emailed again! In the 5th grade elementary school class she was visiting yesterday-the students were using the date on dimes to relate something about their birthdays….the shield keeps on covering!

Upon my finding the dime I found my fears lightened up-the power in what I had found overcame me-my tears flowed as I realized the significance of the DIME…the sign-the strength-saying this trip is all too important to allow myself to be afraid!

I am hand delivering 50 packets of statements from MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA survivors to Washington DC. My packets will go into the hands of Senators and Congress with my message that these are statements written by men and woman who wanted to serve their country-honorably and with dignity and instead were injured and abused in such a way the only return is shame and a feeling of dishonor!

There are TOO MANY Silent Wounded! This journey is in hope that a mission will be accomplished-and we will be heard and our silence will be gone and we will be impossible to ignore any longer!

on the wire

May 2, 2010

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Now the countdown begins. Already my anxiety has kicked in-it began the moment PayPal accepted my payment for the airplane tickets. I am so stressed from thinking about it-Washington DC…and the buildings and the fear of  public restrooms-the worse.

I have these past postings place my personal address and email contact-I am wanting for MST survivors to write in their own words what this life is like for them-being assaulted,most likely being told to get used to it (like I was told) and the troubles with stigma and more so-the troubles with the VA (Veterans Administration) and the disabilty-claim process…especialy with how the process is set up for the veteran to proceed.

Last week I received a contact-from a reader…but I sense the writer has only read snippets of what I have been saying over the years. The writer expressed disappointment seeming that I am only about male MST survivors…which is incorrect.

My journey to Washington DC has been inspired by a young veteran who I have never met-except by telephone conversations. This young veteran was raped while serving boot camp-this young veteran read a post I wrote in 2008 regarding the arrest of an ROTC instructor in Sarasota Florida. This man was arrested for the rape of a student in his charge-an ROTC recruit. My young veteran was raped by the ROTC instructor during boot camp-the rapist was this veterans drill instructor!

There are too many sexual assault cases where ROTC instructors have stepped out-of-bounds.

My fellow veteran and I began our conversations several weeks ago-his calls to me encouraged me to take this trip.

I began writing this journal because the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs officer who took my statement as a rape survivor…a ‘military sexual trauma’ survivor (MST) looked at me in total amazement and said “Gee…you never think homosexuals have a need to rape each other”- and he could not get over the fact that he was wrong to assume the men who raped were not black men. I became disgusted then.

I became more disgusted learning about the ROTC arrests-do a GOOGLE search and learn for yourselves…the numbers in 2008 alone were staggering.

I suffer from PTSD directly resulting MST. My life has been affected by this-my family has been affected…I am a troubled person-as my anxiety shows,and it is directly connected to the rapes. I was a kid then-and I think about it…I was not much older than the ROTC students assaulted by the instructors. Who helps these kids? The Veterans Administration has nothing for them…after all,they are only prepping to be leaders-but are civilians otherwise!

My journey to Washington DC has come. In one more week I WILL be sharing thoughts about how the VA disability claim process must be changed for the ease of MST survivors to appeal for VA benefits. There must be an end to require MST veterans to appeal at the local DVA…and being heard by n advocate that has no understanding about MST-o being a survivor. No more having to report to those who are unable to grasp-sexual assault is not fun.

We also intend to present the need to change legislation for ROTC recruits. Some VA rights should cover these young students…most especially if there is an MST case involved.

We? The young veteran who read my piece about Lt.Busby-the ROTC rapist,and began to agree with me…who helps these students? Included in our small group will be two photo-journalist (they have been covering my story and the stories of 11 other MST survivors) who are independantly working on a documentary about MST.

We? We are scheduled to meet two Senators-Specter and Lieberman…as I said the other day-it will be believed fully when I witness this myself,but-I have faith.

Why? Because it is time the men and woman who serve our country and met with the dishonor of MST deserve the freedom to be able to come forward and appeal for a disability as freely as a legitimately injured soldier with out concern the VA advocate will not be making bigoted remarks.

And-what else? To express deep concern for he ROTC-MST survivors. We need to see they receive help too.

Man or Woman-if you served in the United State Armed Forces-you are a veteran.

Man or Woman-if you have suffered as result of MST -we are going to Washington DC for you!!

I had hoped for more response to my ‘write and say it in your own words’ campaign! The need to express your thoughts regarding your being a survivor-the need is so important.

Please write-please permit me to hand deliver your words to hope we can make a change!