Denied VA Disability Claim, Navy Plane Recovery, John Levitow MOH

March 03, 2021


This week, Veterans Disability Attorney Jim Fausone will discuss the next steps for a denied disability claim at VA; a Veterans Radio Podcast exploring the process of recovering Navy WWII-era planes from Lake Michigan; and John Lee Levitow’s Medal of Honor story courtesy of Home of Heroes.

My VA Disability Claim Was Denied… What Now?

In many cases after a Veteran’s claim has been denied by VA, they are often left to wonder, what they can do next. We’re here to tell you there are three options you can choose if your disability claim has been denied.

1. Supplemental Claim

File a Supplemental Claim. When you choose to file a supplemental claim, you are choosing to add new evidence that may be relevant to your case. Or you may have identified new evidence to present for a review. A VA reviewer will determine whether the new evidence changes the decision. For more information, visit VA – Supplemental Claim.

2. Higher-Level Review

File for a Higher-Level Review. Higher-level reviews are an option if you disagree with VA’s decision. Some veterans feel their reviewer may not have enough experience with their specific injury or disability, this option allows you access to a senior reviewer. This senior reviewer will determine whether the decision can be changed based on a difference of opinion or an error. For more information, visit VA – Higher-Level Review.

3. Board Appeal

File a Board Appeal. When you file a board appeal, you are appealing to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. A judge who’s an expert in Veterans law will review your case and make a determination. For more information, visit VA – Board Appeal.

Veterans Radio – The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan

For this week’s featured Veterans Radio Podcast, we are rewinding to November of 2019. Veterans Radio Podcast Host Jim Fausone interviews Taras Lyssenko, author of “The Great Navy Birds of Lake Michigan”. A book documenting his company’s three-decades-long effort to rescue dozens of World War II-era Navy planes from Lake Michigan.

Lyssenko’s book introduces readers to the long-lost history of how U.S. Navy pilots trained and, on some occasions, lost their lives and planes over Lake Michigan. It also gives readers an inside look at his company’s recovery and salvage efforts as well as their sometimes-contentious relationship with federal agencies.

These submerged Navy planes now find themselves in museums and public spaces around the United States. Join Veterans Radio to explore the beginnings of a passion project for two Army guys that wanted to keep history alive.

Stream The Recovery of Navy Planes in Lake Michigan: Locate, Lift & Restore

Home of Heroes – John Levitow MOH

One February evening, over the dark jungles of Vietnam, Spooky 71 had been in the air for four and a half hours when Major Kenneth Carpenter was directed to an area south of the Army base where enemy mortars were laying a heavy barrage. As Spooky reached its target area, Airman First Class John Lee Levitow handed a flare to Amn. Ellis Owen, whose finger was through the safety pin ring, anxiously waiting to toss the flare through the open cargo door at Carpenter’s command.

Suddenly, Spooky 71 lurched wildly in the air, an 82-mm mortar shell had exploded inside the gunship’s right-wing, peppering the cargo hold with shrapnel. All five crew in the cargo hold were thrown violently to the floor, bleeding profusely from their shrapnel wounds.

Fighting his injuries and immense pain, John Levitow would save an unconscious crewmember that was dangerously near the open cargo door. Levitow would then recognize the 42-pound flare him and Amn. Owen had just prepped, was not armed and ready for a series of explosions inside the airplane cabin.

As the seconds ticked, John willed his feet upright and forward towards the rolling flare. Giving it three tries to secure the rolling bomb, John succeeded on his third, pinning the flare to the ground and inching it towards the doorway. John pushed the flare out the cargo door and at the last second, it ignited in a white-hot blaze. 

John’s actions that February evening was well-deserving of the Medal of Honor. In fact, he would receive the Nation’s highest honor from President Richard Nixon at a White House presentation on May 14, 1970. At that time, John L. Levitow would become the first enlisted-rank Air Force serviceman to ever receive the Medal of Honor, becoming an Air Force icon in the process.

Read John Levitow’s Medal of Honor

VA Disability Appeals | Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC

Thank you for joining us on another 4 Minutes With LHFV, we will have more information and discussions for you to listen to this time next week. In the meantime, do you want to hear Veterans Attorney Jim Fausone discuss different topics regarding the world of Veterans Affairs? Send us an Email about the VA disability topic you want us to tackle next! 

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