Jeff? hell no I am not Jeff. Oh, Deaf, well...

It all started in Basic Training in 1966.   I loved the M-14, but it was one loud Mother.  We would put cigarette butts in our ears when we shot because the Government didn't think ear plugs and an ear plug case was something they could afford to issue.  I shot the M-14 all the way to expert and by Christmas of my first year in the Military, I felt like I had been listening to Hard Rock all my life.  I wasn't deaf, but on the way.

The next step in the cycle was my times on the guns in OCS.  Again, we had no Military issued hearing and those damn guns, even the smallest 105mm Howitzer would hurt your ears if you got caught unawares.  For our Field Problem we spent four days with 155mm Howitzers and they were more than just loud.  The concussion was hard on you.

I went to Vietnam and after the first week in the field, I was damn near deaf and both my ears had bled.  When I tried to be an Aerial Observer for pay, they weren't sure I could hear well enough. I went back to the guns and lost a lot of what was left.  

I went back in the National Guard after Active Duty and wouldn't you know it would be the Field Artillery.  By then, the Government had figured out that a few ear plugs would be a lot better than a lot of deaf soldiers.  I try to carry some all the time then and now.  It is a little like a little too late for me.  Those damned cows are not only out of the barn, but they are out eating the horses feed.  (Mixed that metaphor big time) 

When I got out of the Service, I went to the VA and had my hearing tested.  The guy said by the time I reach middle age I would probably need something but I'm not sure of what he said.  Because it was in the audiology lab, I assume he said hearing aids.  Now, I am doing battle with the VA.  Little did I assume it would be a paper war to even get a hearing test.  The VA also said I should go over to the DAV and file for a disability.  Let me share that with you.

I spent a few minutes visiting with a counselor and he started the paper work for their files.  He indicated that if I hear a ringing in my ears (I Do) that was a 10% Disability and deafness was another 10%.  If it was the money only that is about $250 a month.  I explained to him that I wasn't out for more money and he kind of laughed.  He said that it's a good thing, because I wouldn't get any money.  The best I could hope for is to have the disability declared and some of the retirement income in a Tax free basis.  Good enough for me.  I am already on the Government dole and don't need more taxable income.  In fact even a little bit in a non tax basis wouldn't be bad.

Oh well, I guess I'll just muddle along in life.  Oh - Do you know how to tell an old Artilleryman?   Real Loud...


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