FIT FOR COMBAT, UNFIT FOR INSURANCE – LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



Dear YANK:

Before I came overseas I passed a physical for a $10,000 life insurance policy. Upon my arrival in the China theater I received notice that my policy was rejected because of a previous case of syphilis before entering the Army.

I have had a number of Wasserman and Kahn tests taken and they’ve all proved negative. I have consulted my commanding officer about this matter, but he has taken no forward steps toward helping me with it.

I have a wife and four children who are depending on me for support. If I were killed they would be left alone without support.

I want to know if I am compelled to stay overseas if I can’t get any insurance. I would also like to know what I can do toward getting another policy and if I can get one or not.

—(Name Withheld), China

Dear YANK:

I lost my right eye in an accident a year before I was inducted into the Army. At the time of my induction I was informed I was in limited service and wouldn’t leave the States, so I only took out $5,000 insurance. I filled out an application for an additional $5,000 before leaving the States but received a letter from the Veteran’s Administration informing me that I was turned down because of my eye. Incidentally, when I was given my overseas physical, the vision of my glass eye was registered as 20/40.

Isn’t it true all GIs that are overseas are entitled to $10,000 insurance?

—Sgt. Frederick A. Gromer Jr., Britain

Dear YANK:

…I have been in the Army for seven years and never did have Government insurance. I applied for it just before I came overseas, and I was disapproved because of physical disability. Yet I have already been on the front lines. Is it true that if the Government won’t approve insurance for me I should be discharged? Also the Veterans’ Administration in Washington won’t approve. What should be done?

—Pvt. Clarence G. Murfee, Italy

Dear YANK:

One question I would like for you to answer for me. When I was in the States the Army required all soldiers to take out $10,000 worth of insurance. I took it out three months before I left for overseas. Two days before I left, I got a letter from the Veterans’ Administration in Washington that my insurance application was disapproved, that I was too fat. So, I only have $5,000. If I am too fat, why did they bring me overseas? My weight is 265.

—Thomas McKoy, India

Dear YANK:

I have been in the Burma-India theater for a little over six months now and during that time I was under the impression that I had $10,000 worth of insurance, but recently I received a letter from the Veterans’ Administration which stated that my application for $10,000 worth of insurance had been denied.

Prior to my coming across the sea I only had $2,000 worth of insurance. When I got on an overseas project I applied for the $10,000 insurance and, to the best of my knowledge then, I was receiving the full amount. They even started taking deductions of $6.70 out of my pay to cover the $10,000 policy.

The reason the $10,000 policy was denied me was because prior to my induction I had a social diseas of which I was cured before my induction. At the present time I am in the best of health and have recently undergone a complete physical examination. I have taken the matter up with the authorities on this base and they tell me that there cannot be anything done about it…

—(Name Withheld), India

Dear YANK:

…Just received a letter from the Veterans’ Administration that I was considered in poor health because of attitis media (chronic draining of my left ear) and that my insurance premiums for the past four months would be returned to me. I feel that if I’m good enough to serve my country they should protect my family by insuring me. I’m good enough to pull KP, CQ, drill and all the details, but little consideration is given to my defects or age.

I’m married with three fine boys and will be 35 years old my next birthday. My right eye is 20/40 and civilian specialists have told me that it will have to be removed to save my left eye by the time I’m 39.

Please tell me what to expect, as I’m very bewildered and fighting in the dark. The officers here say that it is tough but that I’m in the Army. How’s about it?

—(Name Withheld), Texas

(The National Service Live Insurance Act provides that any person entering the military or naval service of the U.S. is entitled to apply for and obtain, without physical examination, insurance up to a maximum of $10,000. However, application for this insurance must be made within 120 days after you enter the service or you lose the right to get the insurance without physical examination. Once the 120-day period has passed, the applicant has to be able to satisfy the Veterans’ Administration that he is in good health. Good health, as defined by the Veterans’ Administration, means that “the applicant is, from clinical or other evidence, free from disease, injury, abnormality, infirmity, or residual of disease or injury to a degree that would tend to weaken or impair the normal function of the mind or body or to shorten life.” Therefore, under present Veterans’ Administration interpretation of the law, a man might be considered in bad health insofar as insurance requirements go and still be considered good combat material. This doesn’t make sense. YANK, like the writers of the above letters, feels that our present insurance requirements are unfair and that is high time something was done about them.—Ed.)



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