Last week in the San Francisco U.S District Court, three WWll Filipino veterans filed a class lawsuit claiming the Department of Veterans Affairs has unjustly denied benefits to veterans whose archived records were destroyed in a 1973 fire. One of the plaintiffs is a 91 year old blind veteran who survived the Bataan Death March.
The storied life of at least 250,000 Filipinos who fought valiantly side by side with our soldiers and Marines is well documented, yet remains a tender issue.
The Unit Diaries alone corroborate the military operations and levels of service of these men. It astounds me that this need be a litigious affair.
As for that damn fire in St. Louis in 73′… we all know, as does the Supreme Court, that it can no longer be used as an excuse for denial of benefits. Testimony alone from comrades will now suffice. Why waste the money on a weak and futile defense? Why? Because Congress passed a law denying them their promised benefits one year after the Japanese surrendered.
What the hell, we denied our own World War l veterans their benefits too. They had to march on Washington to get paid! And they were even shot at by our own National Guard! But they got the loot. Out of that experience was the birth of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
To this day, they still have to fight for their due. God speed.