Warrior Family Is a DAV Family (continued)
By Thom Wilborn
Today, the onslaught of the malaria continues to wrack his body and DAV is updating his claim for increased benefits.
“The value of DAV is immeasurable,” said Montgomery. “There’s always someone there to help, and that means a lot to me. The National Service Officers are sympathetic. They’ve been there, and they know your problems and how to help.”
Montgomery’s son, Mark, fought his war in the desert of Iraq against an aggressive enemy determined to stop coalition forces from freeing Kuwait. Assigned to the 101st Airborne, Mark was sent from Saudi Arabia to Forward Operating Base Bastogne, where the unit quickly began establishing a presence.
Satellite refueling stations, such as Bastogne, were set up to handle the vast air and armor armada that flowed into Iraq. The 101st also conducted defensive training operations almost around the clock. Several courses were laid out to practice the difficult task of desert land navigation.
“I was in a Humvee that was part of a convoy of fuel trucks to set up a base for the Blackhawks,” Mark said. “On the way, a roadside bomb exploded among a bunch of camels. The Iraqis had booby traps set up in the camels and then attacked us.
“It was horrifying to have a bomb go off so near fuel trucks,” he said. “There were about two dozen 10,000 gallon fuel trucks in the convoy.”
When he returned from the Gulf War, Mark couldn’t sleep more than two hours at a time. “I reacted to every loud sound,” he said. “The war came home with me, and it is still there. I try to control it, but it gets triggered by different things.
“I exhausted every resource in the civilian world, but nothing helped,” said Mark. “I was told I was fine and had insomnia. My dad told me about DAV, and it seemed like a logical choice. It was the best choice.”
Life is better today for Mark since his claim was approved. He’s getting the health care he needs and the compensation he’s earned. “I’m going day-by-day,” he said. “I’m staying employed and I’m taking my ACT test to enter college.”
Mike Montgomery’s youngest son, Jason, now serves in Afghanistan. “When he gets home, I will give him as much fatherly advice as he can stand and to get in contact with DAV because he’s earned his benefits,” said Montgomery. “He’ll need help getting through the VA maze.”
Jason, who also had two tours in Iraq, has already sacrificed for his nation by suffering injuries in the war. “DAV has been as much a part of our family as serving in the military,” Mike said. “I have a good war buddy who became a DAV NSO, and my uncle was part of DAV. Going to DAV is pure pleasure.”
“I’m proud to be in a family that wants to serve and proud to be in DAV,” said Mark. “DAV absolutely does a good job serving veterans. My whole family is an example of that.”
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