Vietnam war Veteran waits 53 years for disability pay

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:52 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - More than 50 years passed until Vietnam Veteran Carroll Landry was awarded the disability benefits he was owed.

“Well I knew what had happened to me but I just couldn’t prove it,” Landry said.

Carroll Landry joined the Marine Corps when he was 18. At the end of his tour in Vietnam, he was injured while pumping water from a river into a tanker truck.

“The pressure of the hose picked me straight and right back down on my head on that big old rock driveway they had pulled up on and so I hit my head and was knocked unconscious,” Landry said.

He was flown to a Navy hospital where he stayed for five days and was discharged shortly after as his two years were up.

In 1970, he filed his first disability claim but was denied. The V.A. claimed records of his injury couldn’t be found.

Landry felt forgotten until he found someone that could help.

“I told him we’re going to make an attempt to search for his records,” Al Cochran, former Disabled Veterans service officer said.

Cochran worked with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and managed to get the attention of former U.S. Representative Charles Boustany.

“I think that the congressman letterhead probably got some attention that hadn’t been used previously to make a more detailed search,” Cochran said.

Just last year, Landry’s wait was finally over. 53 years of being denied, Landry was awarded full disability and given backpay for the decades he was overlooked.

He said he couldn’t have done it without his wife’s support

“My wife, she was behind me pushing for it and she didn’t live long enough to see it, she passed away so it was for her too,” Landry said.

Landry said he now lives with a spinal cord stimulator but said he doesn’t regret serving his country.

“No I don’t I volunteered out of high school to go into the Marine Corps,” he said. “My daddy done it, he served in Iwo Jima and kind of fell in the same footsteps.”