SGT. SHAFT: Vet with renal failure seeks military medical retirement

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Dear Sgt Shaft:

I was a reservist ( E-7) activated after 9/11 for almost four years to support my units flyers. Prior to activation I was put on orders for 30 to 60 days at a time and then the orders were renewed, time and time again and sometimes I would be on orders Monday through Friday, so the Air Force wouldn’t have to pay me for weekends I was off.

I had high blood pressure, diabetes and gout and still passed my annual physical exam and was activated. During the first few weeks of activation, we started packing medical boxes to be sent with a flight doc and a few other medical technicians to Iraq, but were kept stateside to process our flying crews for war. While activated, I was referred to a renal doctor in Alabama and after a battery of tests was told that I had stage 1 renal failure that was later identified as stage 2.

I was put on medical hold, told my renal failure was line of duty and sent to a medical review board, I was also sent to a renal specialist at Keesler AFB, who thought I should be medically boarded out. The line of duty determination was overturned, because the medical board stated that my (kidney failure was pre-existing and I was taken off of active duty and told by my Reserve Commander that I was no longer worldwide qualified and there were no non-worldwide qualified positions in my Reserve unit, so I retired in 2005.

My question is, if my renal failure was pre-existing and my unit still activated me for 3 to 4 years, I strongly feel that I should have received a military medical retirement. I am receiving 70 percent disability through the Veteran's Administration for my medical problems found while I was on active duty.

Robert D, MSgt, USAFR, Retired
Via the Internet

Dear Robert:

I suggest that you appeal this decision. Even if the condition pre-existed your service, it was more than likely aggravated beyond the normal progression. You may wish to contact one of the Veterans Service Organizations or a private attorney for assistance in developing your claim.

Dear Sgt Shaft:

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All the best,
Jessica Fuller
On behalf of Pitney Bowes

Shaft notes

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