What began as a routine call to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs soon became a veteran receiving awards and honors from his service and heroism during the Vietnam War in 1968.
Jerry Laney, information technology specialist with Marine Corps Logistics Command, served two tours in Vietnam in 1967 and 1969.
The awards included a Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars, an Air Medal with the numeral 22 to account for his 675 hours in the air, a second award Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation.
Four decades after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Laney sought medical compensation for his physical ailments.
“It is important for veterans to understand their rights and there is help for the younger guys who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
The calls began in 2005 after Laney was urged by an acquaintance to file the necessary claims to compensate him for diabetes.
As he went through the process at the Veteran Affairs hospital, there was a discrepancy with his paperwork on file and the information the hospital had was incomplete.
Armed with the original copies of his DD-214 and flight logs from 42 years ago, Laney worked with the VA to rectify the discrepancy. He began the process to receive the necessary medical care for his physical ailments, as well as awards he was not aware he rated.
“Veterans need to be persistent with the (VA) in getting diagnosed and treated with everything they need,” Laney said.
Laney, who served as a high speed Morse code interceptor with the U.S. Army Security Agency, was assigned to the 330th Radio Research Group while in country. His mission involved spending significant periods of time in the air during armed conflicts as he intercepted and transmitted Morse code.
Article by Sgt. Brandon L. Saunders, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany