Larry Morris, a Vietnam veteran who has lived in Arizona off and on since the early 1980s, remembers attending another meeting, this time at the Phoenix Vet Center in 1984. McCain was there, too. The topic: suing the government and chemical companies over the use of Agent Orange. Morris recalls that McCain was not in favor of the national class-action suit that, ultimately, was filed and settled many years later for more than $100 million.

"He stood up and voiced his opinion," Morris says. "His opinion was that it was unpatriotic to sue the government."

Morris continues, "There was a lot of booing and hissing, and I think it was at that point that the suggestion was made that Congressman McCain leave."

Like John McCain, Larry Morris comes from a military family. His father was an Army sergeant, his mother an Army nurse. Morris remembers living in Germany just after World War II, seeing what remained of the concentration camps. He joined the Navy on his 17th birthday to help support his seven younger siblings.

Morris landed in San Diego with shrapnel in his arm after two tours in Vietnam. (He says the wound was never officially treated, that a medic dumped some iodine on it and dressed it.) Parasites from his Navy days irritate his digestive system to this day, and he has a constant ringing in his ears that doctors speculate was caused by a 40-pound brick falling on his neck and shoulder, knocking him to a lower deck on the ship on which he was stationed.

Morris was released from the Navy 45 days early after complaining of nightmares. There was no treatment offered at the time for post-traumatic stress disorder; the doctor just gave him some tranquilizers. He still has nightmares, more than 40 years later.

After some false starts over the years, Morris in 2004 tried in earnest to get better healthcare from the VA. He visited McCain's Tempe office but was told that without a Purple Heart, nothing could be done. Like many Vietnam vets, Morris doesn't have his medical records from Vietnam. He has other medals but no Purple Heart.

McCain's office could have written a letter or made a phone call, but all Morris got was a list of addresses.

Ultimately, he says, "I did better on my own, just writing letters to the secretary of the Navy."

It's taken years, but where Morris' low-priority status once forced him to wait up to six months for a doctor's appointment at the VA, he's now at the top of the list. The tiny apartment he shares with his wife, Deirdre, in Surprise is stacked with boxes of letters and other records from his VA battles.

Larry Morris wasn't at the American Legion convention this summer, but he probably would have appreciated the irony of a statement McCain made there about veterans benefits. When asked about the backlog of unresolved benefits cases at the VA (like Morris'), McCain called it a "national disgrace" and replied that maybe it's unfair that the burden of proof to receive government benefits is on the vet.

Instead of vets having to prove they're disabled, McCain said, "maybe sometimes we oughta have a more balanced situation where the government has to prove that they're not."

Andrew Vera isn't surprised that it's hard for a vet like Morris to get by. He says it can be even harder for soldiers who served more recently.

Vera, 29, grew up in south Phoenix. He enlisted in the Navy shortly after 9/11, knowing the country was going to war. He was in Iraq for the invasion in 2003, assigned to the highest-level triage unit in the Middle East. There was no burn unit anywhere in the region, he says, so his unit created a makeshift one.

It was Vera's job to track patients. "I saw most of the initial injuries," he says, including those of Lori Piestewa, an Army soldier from Tuba City, the first Native American woman to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military.

He wrote down information about each casualty by hand, because there was no other method; eventually, he built a database.

Vera slept in his gas mask and boots for weeks. He completed two tours in Iraq, leaving the Navy in 2005 and returning home to Phoenix.

It's not a good place to be a veteran, he says.

"Phoenix is a scary place. It's not a military town. And a lot of guys come out here; there aren't a lot of jobs out here. It's warm, but Phoenix and Arizona, there isn't a structure for these guys, for young veterans to be caught and effectively spoken to and get help. And I guess for a lot of young guys, they're not going to get help."

Vera did — eventually.

At first, he didn't know he needed it. Family and friends pointed out his behavior: Vera was drinking heavily. He switched jobs often, and found himself in confrontations with co-workers. He couldn't communicate; he wasn't socializing.

He approached Senator John McCain's local office for help, with no luck.

Vera is careful not to bash his fellow vet — at least, not too much.

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10 comments
rejco
rejco

John McCain is as DIRTY as politicians come...

Nikodisias Papalapsuslos
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

Jon156
Jon156

One Q! can New times find out what Senator Mc Cain has done FOR Arizona!??? I have the feeling he has done NOTHING to help AZ!!

Shawn
Shawn

This guy is a joke I myself am a 100 percent disabled OIF Veteran, I contacted his office for help in 2005 for help in my case against the Army. The Army was trying to Medically Board me with 10 percent disability and I was unable to return to work with severe PTSD and multiple injuries to include Traumatic Brain Injury, this guy blew me off like I had an STD, I had more help with Jon Kyle... thanks war hero...may u burn in hell.

Micah
Micah

You are idiots. I'm an Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Vet and the VA has done alot for me as well as any of the other Vets that I know who were unfortunate enough to have something debilitating happen to them. McCain is one of if not THE biggest advocate for Vets out there. He is fighting for concurrent receipt as well as better quality of care for our Vets. The VA has alot of issues and I'm always aggrivated with them but the VA is not John McCain. Why don't you look to the Democrat controlled house and Nancy Pelosi with your complaints. Or maybe even go to the VA and talk to people who have been using the system before you shoot your ignorant mouths off. Also you may want to actually show evidence of McCain being anti-vet rather than just spew your BS.

Maxine
Maxine

Being a total political news junkie I knew about McCain's anti-veteran voting before but finally found the real deal exposed in LA Weekly. I just wish this news were out there big time as John McCain voted against helping veterans for the reason that if they have GI benefits they may choose to go to school instead of re-enlisting to go back to Iraq.

In my opinion, McCain if elected will bring us to World War III.

misslisa
misslisa

Veterans who need help need to leave Arizona, by any means possible, and move to a state that has excellent benefits for them. My dad moved back to Kentucky and is milking the vet benefit system. I hate to see him do it because he only spent 2 or 3 years in the service, so I don't think he really "earned" it. But the VA in Louisville apparently doesn't turn anyone away and provides immediate medical & psychiatric help. For veterans who need to be in a nursing home, the Veteran's Home in central KY provides outstanding care, and the waiting list last I checked (5 yrs ago) was only about 5 weeks.

Debbie Mosley
Debbie Mosley

Yea, my husband knows what it is like to ask John McCain for help! Back in 2000 his ex-wife left Arizona with his two daughters, lied said she was going to Fort Polk, Louisiana,when she actually went to Fort Campbell KY... It took us a year to track her down. When we asked John McCain for help we were told "sure no problem" My husband still has not had contact with his two daughters since 2000. Even though he has shared custody. Even though Arizona ruled she was in contempt of court they have done nothing. What is a Man who serves his country in the US ARMY, get wounded and disabled, has PTSD, can't find work, etc. to do? Yea John McCain shafted all of us!

Pamela
Pamela

Finally someone's revealing his weakness, that he talks about being a POW but doesn't really help fellow veterans.

 
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