Too often we forget that our military is an all-volunteer force. Our men and women in uniform actively choose to be our surrogates in warfare—to fight and defend the rights and freedoms we enjoy every day of our lives. But with military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, and other conflict zones, many of our Warriors are returning with physical, mental and financial issues. Most embrace a positive outlook and are hailed as heroes. Nevertheless, this new generation of veterans remains saddled with needs that overwhelm and often times, devastate their families.
Still, in the shadows of our society are the Vietnam era Veterans. Approximately 9,000,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975). Of that number, 2,709,918 Americans served (in-country) in Vietnam. Less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the youngest Vietnam veteran’s age approximated to be 60 years old. This segment of our population still anguishes with mental, physical and homeless issues that are carryovers from their years of service.
Veterans and their families may fail to take full advantage of the benefits they earned for their service, thanks to a maze of veteran programs that even experts say can be daunting. The VA has an extensive website, but it can be a little complex to navigate. However, there are multiple places for veterans and their survivors to turn to for free help in pursuing benefits they should receive. SoCal Family Support Services is dedicated to serving those that served our great nation.