My friend Mike is a retired USAF Vietnam pilot having flown tree-level in a Cessna Bird Dog. Unfortunately, he has lead stones.

He started telling me about his combat tours when we met as defense company Executives at L3 Communications in San Diego, CA and I asked him if he ever made a VA claim for disability.

Mike, like a lot of vets I know who served in combat, was a bit hesitant to talk about it at first.

I pushed through the silent wall and said, “Do it for your kids and grandkids. Lots of benefits for them.”

This is why I had also personally made the decision many years ago at the request of my best friend Glen Doherty (KIA Benghazi, Libya).

“I’m not sure Glenn, not really keen on making a claim,” I had said to him. “Do it for your kids, you owe it to them. There’s a bunch of college tuition benefits for them, even if you only get rated at 10 percent,” Glen had replied.

So I did it, and I’m glad I did.

My kids can go to many state universities tuition-free (depending on the state), and I get a small tax-free monthly stipend.