I have been away this past weekend and now I am catching up reading the TIMES NEWS. It is nice to read about remembering 9/11 and all the church services and memorials being held all over the area honoring emergency personnel, firemen, etc. It is great these people should be honored for what they do for us. Statue, fountain being rededicated, class reunions, candidates running for office, pastor a wife killer, Silberline turns 65. Penn State loses to Alabama, Eagles lose to Green Bay. A lot more news of interest, but there is one thing missing. This day, Sept. 15, 1950: the Inchon Invasion in Korea. Everybody seems to forget that day.
I didn't. I was in that invasion and something happened that would change my life forever. My hearing was damaged due to all the shelling and gunfire, etc. I checked with a medic. He said don't worry about it, it will go away. Needless to say it has not. I did not know at that time how bad it was.
I first enlisted in the Army in 1948. I served three years before I was discharged on Sept. 8, 1951. I was told I had one year to file any claims about my health. Perhaps a year seems like a long time, but after returning home, getting a job, and getting married ... 13 months had passed. I was too late. I went to a doctor for my hearing loss, but he said I belong in a VA hospital. From there, I went to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre. They did nothing. I then traveled to a VA hospital in Philadelphia, again, nothing. I wrote countless letters to friends in the service who had returned home, but to no avail. I felt like I was running in circles. I even sent a picture to the government of the LST I was evacuated on at Inchon, they said there was no such ship in the U.S. Navy and "conveniently" never returned the photograph.
I fought with the government for seven years, trying desperately to get the help I needed. They were never there. Eventually, I scheduled a surgery at Geisinger Hospital that gave me back 20 percent of the hearing in my right ear. This percentage deteriorates daily. In my left ear, I have no hearing at all. Eventually, I will be totally deaf. I hate to say it, but that day is approaching quickly.
I love my country and served proudly among my fellow veterans. I was there for the government and my people when they needed me; however, at my time of need the government was nowhere to be found.
I never thought I would say this, but to put it nicely, the United States government sucks!
Louis M. Bales