MADISONVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee couple is getting tired of fighting with the Veterans Administration, but they say they’re not giving up because so much is at stake.
The veteran has been trying to verify an incident for 18 months, which has caused a lot of stress. He has a 10% disability for hearing loss, but he’s seeking 100% for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
So far, the VA has denied U.S. Army veteran Billy Queen’s claim.
Even though the government doctor says the former solider has PTSD, the veteran says he was injured in 1986 during a training mission overseas, when an ordinance on the tank he was in exploded.
Recently, Queen’s health has deteriorated. Government doctors believe he has Parkinson’s and multi-system atrophy. His wife, Rose, believes there are psychological problems as well.
“Several years ago, Billy started having nightmares where he would wake up and start hitting me. I really couldn’t understand what was going on,” Rose Queen said.
Billy Queen says a traumatic incident while in the Army 33 years ago still haunts him.
In Germany, while riding in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle a live round went off inside the tank during a training mission.
“The round went off, everybody started screaming. We didn’t know if we were hurt or anything,” he said. “I was like, am I hurt? Am I shot? You get up, check yourself and ask are my legs there?”
He was a Private First Class.
At the time, statements were filled out for the record about the incident in 1986.
“Thirty years later, I’m tearing up the bedroom, waking up because — I had a waking dream that it had happened, it kept coming back. I’m taking drugs now to keep me from having nightmares,” he said.
For nearly a year and a half, Rose Queen filed papers to get her husband diagnosed by the VA. Then, a few months ago, he was sent to the VA hospital in Nashville.
“The doctor, the psychiatrist, says he has PTSD, as well as Bi-Polar disorder, anxiety disorder. He has several things that are really affecting him. But no one seems to communicate and he’s the one suffering. We’re suffering this together,” Rose Queen said.
Billy Queen was diagnosed with a hearing loss from that 1986 incident in Germany. He gets a small disability check from the VA.
“They gave him that 10 percent due to his hearing loss which happened when he was in the tank. So, it doesn’t make sense that they have only disabled him for the hearing loss and not the PTSD,” Rose Queen said.
Billy Queen said his request to receive disability for Post Traumatic Stress was rejected. He was told no one can find the records. As a result, it’s not service-connected.
“He has served this country. He should be disabled and that way he can feel himself that he is worthy,” Rose said of her husband.
“I just don’t have a solid quality of life that I would like to have so that I could be more independent, and feel more like a husband. Instead of my wife taking care of me,” Billy said. “I’ve got to jump though all these hoops to do their work. I know there are probably plenty of other soldiers having the same problem. If they are out there, I think they are.”
The VA in Nashville writes to 6 On Your Side, “Mr. Queen has a pending appeal with our office. And, a Decision Review Officer is reviewing the claim.”
Last weekend, Billy and Rose turned to social media for help. They’ve been in touch with some of Billy’s army buddies who served with him in Germany and they’re hoping to gather some outside, first-hand evidence about the incident aboard that Bradley Fighting Vehicle so long ago.