This is a novel, a piece of fiction. It uses some real people in real positions of authority in our government to make the book realistic and give it impact. It does not pretend to be a history relative to what these people think, say or relative to what actions they take. It is a novel and should be read that way.
This book was written out of my own personal experiences with fellow veterans. I am a retired Coast Guard warrant officer with over twenty four years active service and I am a totally disabled individually unemployable veteran. This is normally termed an IU disabled veteran in the jargon of veteran’s disability adjudication prevalent in the early part of the 21st Century. It means that I am too disabled to find fulltime, steady and meaningful work. So I write. It fills the time and gives my life context (there is that word again!).
Above all else, veterans and especially disabled veterans want to be understood. They may or may not be able to fully communicate their Service experience to someone else. That all depends on the mind set of the veteran and on whether that experience was mundane or horrific. Service life is often both of these. In any event, no veteran of the armed forces wants to be seen as a whiner, slacker or ward of the State. That is especially true of those who have seen combat or intense hostile action as in Coast Guard units in a drug interdiction at sea that has gone bad. (I have personal experience with that last scenario.)
At the same time, these men and women do not want to be ignored when they have legitimate needs that are frustrated by a government bureaucracy ferociously attempting to keep costs down and therefore keep pensions and benefits minimal at the expense of the individual veteran’s quality of life. Veterans constantly find themselves fighting with their own government to have benefits delivered in a timely fashion with fair adjudication by professional staffers. The fight can be hellish, especially if the veteran is disabled. It is not a pleasant experience to be a disabled veteran. Ask anyone who is dealing with that situation.
This novel is an attempt by one disabled veteran to get the reader inside the mind of the American disabled veteran. His complexion and his mind set might have changed from one time period to the next in our history. But his need to be understood by the government that placed him or her in harm’s way remains a constant variable that must always stay in the forefront of the interaction between the two parties, i.e. veteran and government.