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Sgt. Shaft: Archives

January 22, 2013: Vet's Wife Seeks Doctor

January 15, 2013: Vietnam Vet Seeks AO Benefits

January 08, 2013: Vet Asks About Benefits

January 02, 2013: Reader Offers Dog Tag Help

December 27, 2012: Thankful Veteran Spouse

December 18, 2012: Veteran Spouse Needs to Renew ID

December 11, 2012: Agent Orange-Related Illness?

December 04, 2012: Eight-Year Vet looks for Benefits

November 27, 2012: TRICARE Supplement Plans for Vets

November 20, 2012: Whose Dog Tags Are These?

November 13, 2012: Meds for Disabled Vets

November 06, 2012: Talking Prescription System

October 31, 2012: Vet's Widow Seeks More Benefits

October 23, 2012: Veteran's Ex Seeks Benefits

October 16, 2012: Vet Seeks Info About Agent Orange

October 09, 2012: Severance Pay Can Be Taxed

October 02, 2012: Separated Vet's Widow Burial Benefits

September 25, 2012: Looking for Dog Tag Owners

September 18, 2012: VA Comes Through for Veteran

September 11, 2012: Burial Benefits for Separated Vet's Widow

September 04, 2012: Are There Burial Benefits for Widows?

August 28, 2012: Woman Seeks Help for Vet Father

August 21, 2012: ALS Vet Wife Seeks Benefits

August 07, 2012: A.O. Widow Makes Claim

July 31, 2012: Vet Gets Benefits for Spouse

July 24, 2012: Back Pay for Tuition

July 17, 2012: 'Dead Veteran's Tax'

July 10, 2012: Spouse Seeks Help for Injuries

July 03, 2012: Widow's Benefits after Divorce?

June 26, 2012: Vet's Widow with No Benefits

June 19, 2012: Vet Not Able to Visit Memorial

June 12, 2012: Hearing Injury Claim Denied

June 06, 2012: PTSD Claim Update

May 29, 2012: Vet's Wife Burial

May 22, 2012: Widow Needs to Renew ID

May 15, 2012: Prostate Cancer Claim Info

May 08, 2012: Vet Seeks Root Canal Help

May 01, 2012: Widow Seeks Citizenship Info

April 24, 2012: No Education Benefits for Siblings

April 17, 2012: Wife's Insurance Troubles

April 10, 2012: Navy Ships and Agent Orange?

April 03, 2012: TRICARE Fee Increases Still in Flux

March 27, 2012: Retired Vet Seeks Benefits Clarification

March 20, 2012: Vet Seeks Agent Orange Info

March 13, 2012: Vet Seeks TRICARE Insurance Info

March 06, 2012: More Vets Eligible for Compensation

February 28, 2012: Spouse Plots in National Cemeteries

February 21, 2012: Property Tax Exemption for Vets

February 14, 2012: VA's 800 Number Lacks Personal Touch

February 07, 2012: Vets Former Spouse Asks About Benefits

January 31, 2012: Will Going to Nursing Home Diminish Benefits?

January 24, 2012: Do Widows Retain Military ID Card Privileges?

January 18, 2012: Vet's Wife Found Lost Dog Tags

January 10, 2012: Vet's Widow Learns Presumptive Diseases Too Late

January 03, 2012: Marine Seeks Help For Fellow Homeless Vets

December 27, 2011: All 'Assured Victory' Print Proceeds go to Wounded Veterans

December 20, 2011: Medals From Active Duty

December 13, 2011: Am I Eligible for Agent Orange Compensation?

December 06, 2011: Blind Veteran Seeks Help From VA

November 29, 2011: How To Get Missing Medals

November 22, 2011: Agent Orange Compensation

November 15, 2011: Are All Vets Entitled to VA Cemetary Burial?

November 08, 2011: Who Presents The Flag?

November 03, 2011: Does ROTC Count Toward Retirement?

October 25, 2011: Vet With Renal Failure Seeks Retirement

October 18, 2011: Widow Can Remarry at 57

October 11, 2011: Wife Worries Agent Orange Effects

October 04, 2011: Need to Prove Service in Vietnam

September 27, 2011: Vet Seeks Benefits for Disabled Son

September 20, 2011: Vet Wife Seeks Survivor Plan Benefit

September 15, 2011: Units Exposed to Agent Orange

September 06, 2011: Vets Lose on Divorce Settlement

August 30, 2011: Spouse Asks About Husband's Retirement Benefits

August 23, 2011: Foreign Vet Benefits

August 17, 2011: Vet Widow Retains Benefits

August 09, 2011: Disability Payments to Former Spouse?

August 02, 2011: Mom Makes The Grades

July 26, 2011: How to Download Forms from the DoD Site

July 21, 2011: Dog Tag Tracked to Deceased Veteran

July 12, 2011: Is British Vet's Spouse Eligible for a Pension?

July 06, 2011: Did Agent Orange Kill Vet?

June 29, 2011: Widow's Benefit From Husband's Hepatitis C?

June 22, 2011: Dog Tags Have Varied Over Time

June 15, 2011: Widow Proves Vet's Exposure

June 08, 2011: Who can be buried at Arlington?

June 01, 2011: Retirement Pay After Divorce

May 24, 2011: Did Red Hat Mission Cause Illnesses?

May 17, 2011: Any Help for Caregivers?

May 10, 2011: Retired Veterans Create VetSignias

May 04, 2011: Disability Pay Tax

April 27, 2011: Divorced Wife of Vet Get Agent Orange Payout?

April 19, 2011: Will TRICARE cover my medical testing?

April 13, 2011: Can Wife Be Buried in a VA Cemetery?

April 05, 2011: Keeping Military Insurance?

March 29, 2011: Was My Ship Exposed to Agent Orange

March 22, 2011: What Are The Health Care Requirements?

March 15, 2011: How to Help Jailed Veteran

March 08, 2011: Who Can Be Buried in Arlington?

March 01, 2011: Painting Sales Help Blind

February 22, 2011: Why Did Retirement Checks Stop?

February 15, 2011: Widow Upset At Benefits Removal

February 09, 2011: What Would Widow Be Entitled To?

February 02, 2011: Widow wants to check benefits

January 26, 2011: New Addition to Agent Orange List

January 18, 2011: Nurse Seeks Info About Seniority Rules

January 12, 2011: Vet Seeks Info on Lung Disorders

January 05, 2011: WWII Vet's Benefit Restored

December 29, 2010: Disabled Vet Seeks Education

December 22, 2010: Merchant Marine Seeks Help for Cancer

December 15, 2010: Too Late for TERA?

December 10, 2010: When Are New Spouses Eligible For Survivor Benefits?

December 01, 2010: Was I Affected By Agent Orange?

November 23, 2010: Induction during WWII

November 17, 2010: Widow's Benefits

November 10, 2010: Proof of 'Boots on the Ground'

November 03, 2010: Free Patriot eGames For Vets

October 27, 2010: No Increase in VA Benefits

October 20, 2010: Need Braille Business Cards

October 13, 2010: Agent Orange Victim Denied Benefits

October 06, 2010: VA Denied IPF Claim

September 29, 2010: Is Flag Burning Okay?

September 22, 2010: Remarriage Puts Benefits at Risk

September 15, 2010: Fear of Agent Orange Exposure

September 08, 2010: Recouping Payment From a Vet

September 01, 2010: Benefits With Pregnancy Discharge?

August 25, 2010: Benefits Sought For Widowed Mother

August 18, 2010: Too Late for Benefits?

August 11, 2010: Pending Separation Pay Review

August 03, 2010: Airman Misses Early Retirement Eligibility

July 30, 2010: Troop's Surgery Now Expedited

July 21, 2010: Agent Orange Illness List Expanded

July 14, 2010: Benefits Unlikely for Marine Reservist's Widow

July 07, 2010: Surgery Delays Puts Life on Hold

June 30, 2010: Sick Son Needs Better Benefits

June 23, 2010: Decoding Dog Tags

June 16, 2010: Caregiver Assistance for Vets

June 09, 2010: Veterans Exposed to Asbestos

June 02, 2010: 9/11 Memorial Available

May 26, 2010: Verifying Cause of PTSD

May 19, 2010: Widow May Qualify for Purple Heart Benefits

May 12, 2010: Bias in Federal Jobs?

May 05, 2010: Being Buried Next to Vet

April 28, 2010: GI Bill Benefits Extension

April 21, 2010: Mail Service for Military Retirees

April 14, 2010: Retirement From Reserves

March 31, 2010: WAVES Eligible for VA Benefits

March 24, 2010: President Urged to Honor the Fallen

March 17, 2010: Renaming Dept. Navy & Marine Corps.

March 11, 2010: Vets Preference on Fed Jobs Limited

March 04, 2010: Widows Keeps ID Card if Not Remarry

February 25, 2010: Making Info Accessible to Blind

February 18, 2010: A Long Wait for Military Records

February 11, 2010: Benefits With Less Than 20 Years Service

February 04, 2010: Divorcee Tapping Vet's Disability Pay

January 28, 2010: No Cost to Provide Personnel Records

January 21, 2010: Getting My Savings Bond

January 14, 2010: Social Security and Disability?

January 07, 2010: Frustrating Wait for Military Records

December 31, 2009: Adaptations Need Updating

December 24, 2009: Vietnam Service Disputed Despite Records

December 17, 2009: Determining Health Coverage in Divorce

December 10, 2009: Ode to a Lonely Warrior on Christmas Eve

December 03, 2009: Vietnam Plaque Needs Care

November 27, 2009: Wounded Warriors Rally for Recovery

November 19, 2009: VA Reviews Asbestos Claims

November 12, 2009: VA Claims Advantageous

November 05, 2009: VA Home Loan Open To Spouses

October 29, 2009: One VA Gravesite Reserved Per Vet

October 22, 2009: Aid, Attendance Help Some Veterans

October 15, 2009: Siblings not Covered by Benefits

October 08, 2009: Agent Orange Contact Must Be Direct

October 01, 2009: Agent Orange-Parkinson's Link Debated

September 24, 2009: VA Benefits Available Online

September 17, 2009: Offsets Phase Out

September 10, 2009: Brain Injury Therapy Available

September 03, 2009: More Aid for Caregivers Likely

August 27, 2009: Severity of Disability Taken Into Account

August 20, 2009: Claiming Service-related Death Benefit

August 13, 2009: Spouse Benefits have Limitations

August 06, 2009: How to Obtain Earned Medals

July 30, 2009: Agent Orange Fallout Real

July 23, 2009: File Benefits Claims Within A Year

July 16, 2009: Widow Eligible for Benefits

July 09, 2009: Dog Tag Comes From Ex-Sailor

July 02, 2009: Sierra Club Funds Camps for Military Families

June 25, 2009: Separation Pay Review Pending

June 18, 2009: A Long-Overdue Thank-You

June 11, 2009: VEAP Conversion to MGIB Limited

June 04, 2009: Severance-pay Tax Refunds

May 28, 2009: Widow Eligible for Benefits

May 21, 2009: Guarding Military Access

May 14, 2009: Armed Services YMCA nears 150th

May 07, 2009: Navy Cut Fingerprints on Tags

April 30, 2009: VA Can Assist Homeowners

April 23, 2009: Spouse's Refunds Automatic

April 16, 2009: Law Requires Recoup of SSB

April 09, 2009: Disability Pay Uniform

April 02, 2009: Death Pension Option For Spouses

March 26, 2009: May Celebrates Military

March 19, 2009: Service-linked Disability Key to Aid

March 12, 2009: Visit US War Dead Overseas

March 05, 2009: Benefits on Inactive Duty

February 26, 2009: Time Works Against Widow

February 19, 2009: Divorce Decrees Inert

February 12, 2009: Divorce Risks Benefits

February 05, 2009: FRA Eyes Possible Health Cuts

January 29, 2009: How ALS Listing Affects Benefits

January 22, 2009: GI Bill Benefit to be Increased

January 15, 2009: Army Offers Health Tuition

January 08, 2009: Move to Streamline Absentee Voting

January 05, 2009: Updated Insurance not Tied to Combat

December 29, 2008: Medical Retirement System is Complex

December 18, 2008: VA Retired Pay Still Taxable

December 11, 2008: Exposure Rule Omits Thailand

December 04, 2008: Survivor Status for Ex-Spouse

November 29, 2008: Make GI Bill Extension Retroactive

November 20, 2008: Care Available for Blind Vets

November 13, 2008: Law Covers More Care Costs

October 30, 2008: No ALS Link to Get VA Benefit

October 23, 2008: Pay, Benefits for Retirement

October 16, 2008: Accident Victim Gets Aid

October 09, 2008: TRICARE Covers Spouses in the Gap

October 02, 2008: Disability Pay Applications

September 25, 2008: Increase for Unemployable

September 18, 2008: National Programs Help Vets

September 11, 2008: Family Gives to Widow's Burial Costs

September 06, 2008: Forum for Wounded Soldiers

August 28, 2008: Disease's Ties to Herbicide

August 21, 2008: Initiative Supports Veterans

August 14, 2008: Medal Info is Available Online

August 07, 2008: Retirees: Caution when Choosing Health Care

July 31, 2008: Veterans' Tax Benefits

July 24, 2008: Retirement Offers Insurance Choices

July 17, 2008: VA Claims Process

July 10, 2008: Stuck with SBP

July 03, 2008: TRICARE and Burial Benefits

June 26, 2008: TRICARE, OHI Reimbursement

June 19, 2008: Support a Day for the Children

June 09, 2008: Agent Orange Compensation Won't Offset Retirement Pay

June 02, 2008: TRICARE Acts as 'Medigap'

May 27, 2008: Navy Dog-tag Decoded

May 19, 2008: Medicaid a Supplement

May 12, 2008: Wii Gifts to Vets Fall Short

May 05, 2008: Improved Pension has Limits

April 28, 2008: Be Wary of Caller Soliciting for 'VA'

April 21, 2008: VA Benefit 'Error' Written Into System

April 14, 2008: New GI Bill Called Test of Commitment

April 07, 2008: 'Forgotten Widows' Offered an Annuity

March 31, 2008: Defense Renews Attempt to Raise Health Care Fees

March 24, 2008: Realities Beg G.I. Bill Revision

March 17, 2008: Status Merits Inurnment

March 10, 2008: Arlington Cemetery Eligibility Online

March 03, 2008: VEAP Vets Deserve a Chance

February 25, 2008: Arlington Allows Urns

February 18, 2008: Disability Benefits Don't Vary by State

February 11, 2008: Veterans Homes Seek Wiis

February 04, 2008: Waiver Needed to Switch School Aid

January 28, 2008: Long-Term Care Options Vary by State

January 21, 2008: No Refunds for Vets

January 14, 2008: U.S. Not Liable for Mishap

January 07, 2008: Inmate's Dependents Must File for Aid

December 31, 2007: VA Backlog Delays Pay

December 24, 2007: Tricare Deserves Review

December 17, 2007: Counseling Can Aid Abused

December 10, 2007: E-mail Helps Gain Benefits

December 03, 2007: Arlington Burial Expedited

November 26, 2007: Vets Dental Care Limited

November 19, 2007: Dems Saluted for Vets Bill

November 12, 2007: Paper of Marine Reservist Found

November 05, 2007: ASU Center to Serve Veterans

October 29, 2007: Widow Should Seek TRICARE

October 22, 2007: VA Helps Disabled Veterans

October 15, 2007: Forgotten Widows Benefit

October 08, 2007: Wanted: Benefits Staffers

October 01, 2007: Disability Pay not Taxable

September 24, 2007: Reporting Spousal Abuse

September 17, 2007: VEAP vs. MGIB Benefits

September 10, 2007: Long-term Health Care

September 04, 2007: VA Dental Coverage Limits

August 27, 2007: Limits Apply to Leave

August 20, 2007: Discontinuing SBP Payments

August 13, 2007: Tricare's Antiquated Policy

August 06, 2007: Vet Seeks Full-Term Benefit

July 30, 2007: ROTC as Military Service

July 23, 2007: Filing Agent Orange Claims

July 16, 2007: Firm Offers Vets Free Help

July 09, 2007: Getting Help with TRICARE

July 02, 2007: Legion Seeks Volunteers

June 25, 2007: Dogs Trained to Aid Wounded

June 18, 2007: Benefits Limited for Divorcees

June 11, 2007: Artist Helps Heal Wounds

June 04, 2007: Website Locates Defense Offices

May 29, 2007: Press Social Security for Credit

May 21, 2007: Insurance Rules for Pregnancies

May 14, 2007: Military Pay Act Praised

May 07, 2007: Blinded Vets Program Diluted

April 30, 2007: EchoTaps to Sound Again

April 23, 2007: Florida Vets Get Runaround

April 16, 2007: Survivor Benefits Catch-22

April 09, 2007: Discharge Form for Reservists

April 02, 2007: Formula Determines SBP Cost

March 26, 2007: Vet Due Retroactive Benefits

March 19, 2007: Vet's Claim Tied to Proof

March 12, 2007: Fighting TRICARE Increases

March 05, 2007: The Best Battle Monuments

February 26, 2007: Vet Social Security Boost

February 20, 2007: Bills to Extend Benefits

February 12, 2007: DIC Offset a Dark Secret

February 05, 2007: ChampVA Site Offers Help

January 29, 2007: VetGuide Explains Credits

January 23, 2007: War Injured Have Benefits

January 16, 2007: Dropping Health Coverage

January 08, 2007: TRICARE Can Cut Costs

January 02, 2007: Cause Helps Ease Hospital Stay

December 26, 2006: Retroactive-Pay Backlog Cut

December 18, 2006: War Veteran Deserves Medal

December 11, 2006: No Retreat on Lending Reform

December 04, 2006: Rehabilitation Must be Centralized

November 27, 2006: Urgent TRICARE Fix

November 20, 2006: Retirees Eligible for TRICARE

November 13, 2006: Research Key To Coverage

November 03, 2006: TRICARE-VA Ties

October 30, 2006: Retiree TRICARE Clarification

October 23, 2006: 'Volunteer Draft' Necessary

October 16, 2006: VA Spouse Burial Benefits

October 09, 2006: Creditable Military Service

October 02, 2006: 'Volunteer Draft' Solution

September 25, 2006: Vet Seeks Arlington Burial Details

September 18, 2006: Veterans Ensured Loans

September 09, 2006: Lawmakers Fight for Marines

September 05, 2006: No Papers Needed for Burial

August 28, 2006: Widows Seek Info on Disease

August 18, 2006: Iraq Veteran Seeks Job Help

August 14, 2006: Spouse VA Loan Guarantees

August 07, 2006: Support for Walter Reed

July 27, 2006: On/Off-Base Gas Prices

July 24, 2006: Vets Entitled to TRICARE

July 17, 2006: Accounting for BRS Funds

July 12, 2006: Benefits Safe in Divorce

July 03, 2006: Benefits for Military Widows

June 26, 2006: Death and VA Compensation

June 19, 2006: Benefits Safe from Creditors

June 12, 2006: Phone Service for Deaf

June 05, 2006: Cutting the Service Corps

May 30, 2006: DIC Eased for Widows

May 22, 2006: VA Exam Encouraged

May 15, 2006: Audible Drug Labels

May 08, 2006: Rectifying Reserve MGIB

May 01, 2006: Leaders Should Bear Burden

April 24, 2006: Bill for Ethiopian Rights

April 21, 2006: Hilton Evicts Wounded Heroes

April 17, 2006: Consulting Doctors on Pay

April 10, 2006: Old Glory's Protection

April 03, 2006: Troops Caught in Red Tape

March 28, 2006: Let's Hear it for ScripTalk

March 20, 2006: Requesting War Records

March 13, 2006: Spousal Abuse and Divorce

March 06, 2006: New Policy on Duty Pay

February 27, 2006: TRICARE Hikes Hit Retirees

February 21, 2006: An American Legion Honor

February 13, 2006: Security vs. Disability

February 06, 2006: College Credit for Service

January 30, 2006: Reservists Receive Preference

January 23, 2006: High Health Costs Hurt Troops

January 17, 2006: Honoring Shughart's Sacrifice

January 09, 2006: Bill Seeks to Honor Fallen POWs

January 03, 2006: Program Helps Injured Troops

December 27, 2005: VA Budget Inadequate

December 19, 2005: Options in Health Insurance

December 12, 2005: Concurrent Benefits Confusion

December 05, 2005: Reservists and Veterans

November 29, 2005: Separation-pay Issues

November 21, 2005: Plaques Honor Veterans

November 14, 2005: Readjustment Pay Hurts Vets

November 07, 2005: Tricare Prime Areas Change

October 31, 2005: Widow Benefits Inequality

October 24, 2005: Seeking VA Recompense

October 18, 2005: Predatory Lending to Military

October 10, 2005: Merchant Marines at Arlington

October 03, 2005: One-Year Rule

September 26, 2005: Agent Orange Link Questioned

September 19, 2005: Retirees and Military Burial

September 16, 2005: Congress Urged to End Offsets

September 06, 2005: A Hero's Recognition

August 29, 2005: Baffled Beneficiary

August 23, 2005: Burning Old Glory

August 15, 2005: Burial Eligibility

August 08, 2005: VEAP to MGIB

August 01, 2005: TRICARE Travesty

July 25, 2005: A Father's Valor

July 18, 2005: Flag Amendment

July 13, 2005: 'Free' Health Care?

July 05, 2005: Protecting the Flag

June 27, 2005: VA Help Granted

June 20, 2005: Shift in Funding

June 13, 2005: Restore Full Pay?

June 07, 2005: Divorcing a Retiree

May 31, 2005: Disability Claims

May 24, 2005: Fate of a USMC Veteran

May 16, 2005: Flag Amendment

May 09, 2005: Securing Photographs

May 02, 2005: Military Records

April 25, 2005: CHAMPVA Coverage

April 18, 2005: Vocational Rehab

April 14, 2005: Baseball Vets, Guard Support

April 13, 2005: CSRC, Brown Bags, USERRA



 
About Sgt. Shaft

Sgt. Shaft was hatched in April of 1982 at the home of the veterans' newspaper, Stars & Stripes, in Washington, D.C. This moniker combines the name of its creator, John Fales, Marine MOS in Vietnam and "Scout Sgt.," with the military expression when wronged, "Shafted."

Sgt. Shaft's wry sense of humor, empathy for the underdog, and strong love of country and fellow veterans closely mirror the nature of its creator.

In addition to writing the column, John Fales is President of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation. His decorations include Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, New York State Conspicuous Service Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, and South Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Sgt. Shaft has no twin.
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