John Marshall died last week...at the tender age of 31. He died of soft tissue sarcoma. John was a highly decorated combat veteran who served in the Iraq War. When John wasn't busy fighting the bad guys he was assigned additional duty as a burn pit monitor.
Burn pits are what the military use to dispose of the refuse that 10,000 folks generate during the business of living and working in a military camp in the field. John spent hours breathing the noxious fumes of all that refuse.
So, when John came home, and developed that nasty, nasty form of cancer, he sought out the VA for help. The VA, despite thousands of similar complaints from other "burn pit victims", declared John not eligible for VA medical care, saying burn pits are not "combat related".
We vets know that "combat related" stuff well. We were told that Agent Orange wasn't toxic either...even as tens of thousands of Vietnam vets began dying of various cancers and organ shutdowns decades before their time. It would be nearly 30 years before the VA would admit Agent Orange was the cause.
John Marshall has spent his last months fighting cancer, as fiercely as he fought for his country a few years ago. Sadly, he was fighting the VA too.
The VA won. John lost. He died last week. He leaves behind a wife and two young children, now destitute and on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars for medical treatment because the VA once again denied a vet the medical care he earned and should have received.