How accurate is the DD Form 214? I have several that don't match with what I was told about the veterans' experiences.
I found this ProPublica-Seattle Times investigation article (ProPublica Nov. 9, 2021. 3:45 p.m. EST). It only talks about the desert wars. But, in my never to be humble, opinion it also applies to Vietnam Vets.A strange thing happened when Christopher DeLara filed for disability benefits after his tour in Iraq: The U.S. Army said it had no records showing he had ever been overseas. Sound familiar to Vietnam Vets? The Army has failed “to create and maintain the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since the Revolutionary War.”The military has also lost or destroyed records from Afghanistan (and previous military actions), according to officials and previously undisclosed documents.The loss of field records ‡ after-action write-ups, intelligence reports and other day-to-day accounts from the war zones ‡ has far-reaching implications. It has complicated efforts by soldiers like DeLara to claim benefits.“The Army says it has taken steps to improve handling of records ‡ including better training and more emphasis from top commanders. But officials familiar with the problem said the missing material may never be retrieved.”"I can't even start to describe the dimensions of the problem," said Conrad C. Crane, director of the U.S. Army's Military History Institute. "I fear we're never really going to know clearly what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan (or other war zones) because we don't have the records." The Army botched the record-keeping job. Despite new guidelines issued in 2021 to safeguard records, some units still purged them.You can go online to read the rest of this article but essentially it is saying that the Vet can’t get a correct DD-214 if his unit kept no records, was sloppy in record-keeping or just purged the records when they left the war zone. I believe that’s what happened to a lot of Vietnam Vets.I had one Company Commander who had my exact name and a slightly different SSN. It took me quite a while to separate our DD-214s. He had no interest in doing so because my decorations, awards, etc. looked a lot better than his. When finally got that mess straightened out.When I applied for PTSD benefits at my local VA, I was dismissed immediately out of hand. I had to have 3 people from my unit swear that I was where I say I was and my DD-214 had to mention the place where it occurred (it was left off my DD-214). Can anybody find 3 guys from their unit 30 years later? The Marine Corps didn’t enter the information. Then I remembered my USMC health records I had stored away. I got the out and sure enough, that documented my stay in a Navy hospital for a few months due to combat fatigue (today we call it PTSD). I took that back to the VA and got my disability. I guess the bottom line is to keep your own records for everything you do or is done to you.