Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Disabled Soldier Redeployed Under Catch 22

How does a disabled US veteran turned down for an exemption to his redployment in Iraq, make a valid appeal of that decision --if no reasons are given for the denial?

Wellcome to 2005, and the latest Catch 22.

" Jason Cordova was among the 455,000 soldiers who received the anthrax inoculation. According to Cordova, infectious disease doctors speculate that the vaccination may have entered his lymphatic system—primarily affecting nodes in his groin. After completing nine years of active service, Cordova applied to the Veterans Administration for disability benefits in 2002 and is now officially a disabled veteran.

" Despite his service-related disability, Cordova received notice from the Army in June 2004 that he would soon be called back to duty for Operation Enduring Freedom, one of nearly 10,000 servicemembers who were recalled after successfully completing their active duty requirements. His ultimate destination? Afghanistan or Iraq.

" Earlier this year, Cordova’s request for exemption was denied. On Mar. 21, he received a simple letter that read, “I cannot grant you an exemption from this operation at this time. Report May 1, 2005.”

" The Army granted Cordova 14 days to file an appeal. But without any specifics regarding the Army’s refusal, Cordova had no grounds upon which to file. "They’re asking me in the appeal to answer something in the particular when they only gave me an answer in the abstract,” he says. Cordova’s appeal was subsequently denied.


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