Tags: America's Forum | Montel Williams | Veterans Administration

Montel Williams: VA Broken Even for Active Duty Soldiers

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 11:16 AM

Not only are retired military veterans having problems getting healthcare at the nation’s broken VA facilities, even active duty solider struggle with getting an appointment because of the sequester and budget cuts, television personality and decorated military officer Montel Williams said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”

“The country's at a really, really strange little turning point,” he said. “We can go the way we went right after Vietnam and allow our soldiers to wallow, be disrespected, and be ignored again or we can understand that right now, we sent them to fight, we told them they were doing God's work and this country's work and protecting this democracy and we will protect them when they came home. And now we have to do so and we're getting ready to team up to send them back to combat again. So we're going to have to really take a hard look at what we think we're doing with our military and what we're being told is being done.”

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A scandal erupted earlier this year when whistleblowers reported that a pattern of duplicity existed at the VA by employees falsifying records to cover up months- and years-long wait times to see doctors. VA officials received bonuses based on providing timely care, and kept secret waiting lists to keep vets out of the official computer system until appointments were 14 days out so that Washington would believe care was prompt.
The scandal led to the ouster of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Williams spent 22 years in the U.S. military, first as an enlisted soldier in the Marine Corps and later, following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, as a Navy officer.

At the Naval Academy, Williams was a Chinese linguist and later became a Russian linguist.

“So I served, I understand what it's like,” he said. “I was on Grenada when we invaded, I was in Panama before the invasion, I was in several places around this country. When asked to do my job, I went and did it and now I believe very strongly in us who wore the uniform need to be the ones backing up the guys who are putting their lives on the line right now to continue to defend this democracy.”

He wants to see action taken to correct the problems at the VA for the men and women who wear or have worn the uniform, he said.

“I'm tired of talking about the problems with the VA, I'm tired of talking about the problems of disrespecting our soldiers this way,” said Williams.

“It's time for us to start working at what we need to do to come up with solutions to stop this because folks, remember, less than one percent of this nation's population puts on a uniform to protect the other 99.9 percent. So maybe we ought to show a little extra respect for those who would do what we wouldn't have our own children do.”

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Not only are retired military veterans having problems getting healthcare at the nation’s broken VA facilities, even active duty solider struggle with getting an appointment, Montel Williams said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's “America’s Forum.”
Montel Williams, Veterans Administration
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2014-16-09
Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 11:16 AM
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