Broken Marines Everywhere
I just finished making the post about the United States of Al episode about Riley’s VA disability claim, when I started episode #6 of the second season. This episode was about Veteran’s Day, and while I personally do not subscribe to the free food crawl that many veterans do, in this episode Riley and his Marine Corps buddies did just that. They had mapped out all the places that they wanted to go to that offered free food for veterans on Veteran’s Day. And I have to say that I really liked how they did it on the show. Riley and his friends made it an annual event and it was more about getting together and spending time together than it was about the free food. The free food just happened to be the event that brought them all together. Riley described it as Veteran’s Day is a day of celebrating their service, seeing old friends and eating until they are sick, “God bless America”.
The other plot in this episode was Riley receiving his letter from the VA, that contained his first disability rating. I noticed that the prop department had the template for an actual letter right, it looked very much like what a real VA disability letter looks like, but they got the envelope wrong. The letter that contains your rating usually comes in an 8.5″ x 11″ envelope, not a business envelope.
In the show, Riley got a 70% disability rating, which is a great start, but the rating really didn’t set well with Riley. He looks at it as being 30% able and 70% broken, which is how I looked at it as well, but after talking over with some of my Marine buddies and family, I now know that the Marine Corps broke me, and damn it they need to pay me for it. Riley got the three big ones, Hearing loss, arthritis in his knees and PTSD. Funny thing, I managed to somehow get out of the Corps with better hearing than I joined with, go figure, 10 years older, and 3 years working on the flight line. I didn’t serve during a time of war, so I don’t have a claim to PTSD, well at least what can be service connected.
Riley was very embarrassed about his disability rating and didn’t want his buddies to know, but in the end, he realized that it wasn’t what he thought it was and he eventually talked to his buddies about helping them get their disability rating from the VA. As Riley says, “I have a 70% disability rating. And saying it out loud makes me want to put a drill through my eye“.
The other part of the episode that they got right, was Marines referring to each other by putting them down, it is just how we deal with life. Riley called his buddy Todd, an ugly bastard. Todd’s response was “I’m ugly? You look like your face caught fire and someone put it out with a brick.“
In the end, Riley accepts the fact that he has a disability rating and is actively helping his brother Marines with theirs. Once a Marine, always a Marine!