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life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Any Army Aviation goons in here? Looking into getting my A&P license and I want to test out, but not sure where to start. I know I need an FAA form or endorsement to start it, but also not sure where I can find a DME to let me do the hands-on portions. Eventually want to land a job with Boeing or Lockheed or another aerotech company, and I am pretty certain most jobs that would pay me well (at or more than my current job does) will want an A&P license.

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life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

If you're getting benefits from one, you can't have the other going. They can't be concurrent, is my understanding. I can't use the Texas Vet program (or Hazelwood) at the same time I'm using the GI bill because as far as the government's concerned, they'd be giving me twice the money for the exact same thing.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Hey goons, I've been out since 2012 but am currently looking for jobs locally, particularly any federal jobs, but barring that, considering looking for jobs that will match my experience in the Army. To this end, is anyone else here an aircraft mechanic, particularly rotary wing? If not rotary wing, I'm mainly wondering about how to get my aircraft maintenance logged hours in order to get my airframe and powerplant certificate. Like an idiot I didn't get this when I had the easy path to it while still in, so now have some more hoops to jump through than I would have otherwise, that being showing experience so that I can just go take the exams rather than go through classes.

If anyone can shed some light on this that'd be awesome--I don't know the level of information and/or supporting documentation I need to provide to anyone at the FAA to get the ball rolling on this, but I do know that most aircraft maintenance jobs in my area are definitely requiring an A&P certificate to be considered for hiring.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Howard Phillips posted:

Getting a federal job can take a while. (Took me 9 months after interview to get seated and start getting paid.)

Have you looked at gov contractors? If you have a clearance and related experience it's quick to get hired and you can start networking with the gov folks that you work with. Then once an opening pops up you can get internally shoehorned in.

I am looking at all avenues, and recently have started to again entertain the possibility of going with a contractor. I have the aircraft maintenance and flight line experience, just need to know how exactly they want me to prove it and/or how I get access to military aircraft logbook records showing my work hours under my PID.

Right now I know no fewer than ten people who work at Lockheed and we live like a 15 minute commute from their assembly facility in North Texas. I wouldnít hate to get in their assembly hangar somewhere but most of the aviation maintenance jobs around here do require an A&P certificate, so it might be time for me to get the ball rolling on figuring out what the FAA needs from me so I donít have to spend $20k on schooling for something in which I have years of experience.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Well I did end up getting my authorization to take the airframe and power plant exams. Yesterday the FSDO guy quizzed me on the phone and asked for my DD214, had me fill out the 8610-2, and this morning I had his authorization in my email on the form.

Still may go take some courses with my GI bill because I havenít been in aviation for almost a decade and even then it was just rotary wing so I donít know enough to be able to just pass those exams blind

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Can confirm, I failed to document things I couldíve gotten a disability rating for (my back, my legs, tinnitus) and now itís too late. poo poo I donít even get VA care anymore because my 5 years is up, not that I would ever have gone to the VA because of the wait

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Any of you goon veterans have any experience with disability ratings? Specifically, anyone who didnít apply for it and get all medical situations documented at the separation medical visit, did you do it later or is this possible? I never really got things documented but my back is poo poo and I have had tinnitus since before my ETS, and I figured back in 2012 Iíd just deal with it (especially since I got only five years of free VA care), but now Iím thinking it might not hurt to see if I can get a disability rating.

edit: I will probably try to use a VSO rep to help out with this, because I have no idea if Iím eligible. Honorable discharge, have some medical docs I downloaded from e-benefits that could support some things, but unsure what to think otherwise. The VA website says I must have a disability rating for my service-connected condition in order to be eligible to apply for benefits whichÖhow would I have that already?

In related: Using my GI bill benefits to take the airframe and power plant exams (well, to be reimbursed for them). Iím hoping to have my FAA certification by mid-next month if all goes well. I had no idea until I started a prep course that I could submit for exam reimbursement, but it would have been awesome if they paid for the prep course itself also.

life is killing me fucked around with this message at 01:18 on Jun 11, 2021

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

MonkeyWash posted:

It is never too late to file. Definitely use a VSO for your initial claim, but be aware that some VSOs are better than others. It varies by area. Initial claims seem to be being processed quickly right now, and buddy statements can help you a lot if your records are vague or missing.

Good to know thank you. When they say I must have a service-connected disability rating already in order to file, do they mean I have to have a condition I believe is service-connected? Iím unsure what the gently caress that means but it says on their website I have to have it to be eligible to file for some reason so I must be misinterpreting this because otherwise it makes no sense for someone filing and initial claim to have a rating already.

Should I call a VSO and get an opinion on what I should file for, before getting all my records together? I basically have my separation medical papers, perhaps they could get the others, but otherwise the tinnitus is something not on record with the military.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

CRUSTY MINGE posted:

Yeah, call a rep and talk to them about filing after discharge. I suggest the DAV, they're not dealing with dwindling memberships and bad press as badly as AL or VFW, often have an office in the VA hospitals. Your county might have a veterans rep on staff as well.

You can request your military medical records but I don't know the process because I just killed a ream of paper and a bunch of toner in a copy machine in my last unit.

I might also check with my county. Apparently there is a DAV in my city in North Texas, but on their website I searched for location near me and it came up with Waco, which Iím sure it isnít coincidence that the closest VA Regional Office to me is down in Waco too.

In yíallís experience, would a series of surgeries while I was in the military be an eligible condition (scar tissue and still have pain like more than thirteen years later)? Itís connected to my time in the military and all surgeries were done by a regional medical center except for one on the local economy, but it isnít necessarily something the military itself caused unless I can say it was from sitting in five tons a lot. I also went for my back while in, got x rays done and nothing ever really came as far as a diagnosis but my back hurts a ton and my last year in I couldnít even run because it hurt so much. All I got for it was maybe possibly I had a compressed disc in my lower back. And tinnitus from being around helicopters every single goddamn day.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

lite_sleepr posted:

The elation has kind of wore off over the last 2 months as I gotta figure out what I'm going to do.

My beard is real tight though. I keep it trimmed with a #3 guard.

I grew my vet beard out in 2012, started the day I ETSíd and drove from GA to TX and it hasnít been shaved off since.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

lite_sleepr posted:

What are ya doing for work?

I'm kinda bummed because I had the, perhaps unrealistic expectation, that I'd be able to roll into an AFPC job since I did 14 years in the MPF. To date I've put in 31 applications, most to AFPC, and all of them are shot down.

Some say it's because I don't have a bachelors degree, others because i'm not officially out yet and don't have that 214. I have had one call back and a job offer from a civilian company called Copart, but they were offering $18 an hour for what sounded like managing a team of call center people. Not to mention they weren't willing to wait until August, not that I could blame them. Wasn't meant to be.

Me? I am looking for an actual steady job after running a business for a few years and deciding it isnít for me. Getting the old airframe and power plant certificate, aviation experience qualified me for the exams so Iím trying to knock those out so some aviation company might actually hire me

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

I have all 36mo of my Post-9/11 left but damned if I know when it expires. Or how to use it. Iím getting my FAA airframe and power plant license to get an aerospace job, but the GI Bill doesnít cover the prep course, only the tests (reimbursement). Iím sure if Iíd gone the school route they would, but the prep course was the quickest way.

For reference I got out of the army in 2012, before the Trump admin took away the expiration of the GI Bill. I want to use the benefit but I donít know what to do. I tried using it at the local community college years ago, but the rep there apparently hosed up because it used zero of my benefits and I got billed by the school.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

lite_sleepr posted:

What kind of courses are 'vocational' courses? Things like trades such as electrician/plumber/carpenter?

Not sure if thereís a specific kind of course, VR is just a way to help someone who is disabled get or keep a job. Or learn a new skill

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

i say swears online posted:

not sure where to ask but i'm getting frustrated on the job hunt and wondering if there's any continuity there because of mistakes made a decade ago

In 2008 I got married and joined the army/NG to get health insurance for a future family. I did basic at ft benning then worked at camp mabry in austin for about a year until a new OCS class opened up. near the end of OCS, my wife left me, I had a breakdown and asked to leave. I do not remember what I signed and any attempt to get my DD-214 in the next decade has ended in bureaucratic stalemate and website errors. I haven't gotten an interview with any organization above the small business level in a decade, even after getting an MBA a few years ago. I "served" about two and a half years and in my mind i'm like the most-tenured washout in army history. Do I put that I served in the military in job applications? What type of discharge did I actually get? Should I expect to be working entry-level jobs for the rest of my life? What did I do to myself? I'm uncomfortable discussing my military history with prospective employers, but it's literally been ten years and I have a solid work history since, it's just never gotten above $13/hr hotel clerk.

Ouch. Iím sorry all that happened. They absolutely owe you some of that info, especially the type of discharge. You didnít do anything wrong it sounds like, I couldnít imagine it was dishonorable, general, or other-than-honorable, so leaves medical or honorable if Iím not leaving anything out.

Let me find the link to the website where I obtained my records including my DD214. Just make sure you get the login right because itíll lock you out for thirty days if you donít and itís a hair trigger, but all my stuff was there including old sets of orders all the way back to basic. Like, you were in, itís unacceptable for you to lack access to information like that.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

i say swears online posted:

thanks! yeah i feel like i got lost in the system. people that go enlisted basic -> national guard OCS outside ROTC aren't exactly a dime a dozen. when i transitioned to the base job in austin, i kept getting paid my E4 salary on top of E5 cadet pay and had to go to accounting to get it straightened out and pay it back; i think the bureaucracy thought I had moved onto AIT. it's all so long ago but I dropped OCS when we were making our job selections. I remember signing like one page, then I just drove home from base that day and never had anything mailed to me or an exit phone call. I really wouldn't expect an honorable, is that possible? I left at a time of early obama drawdowns so I think they were lenient but yeah for sure I never committed a crime or broke regulation

Their S1 really hosed up somewhere if you donít even know what kind of discharge you got, but you should still be able to find your ompf.

https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records/

If they arenít on there, then Iím not sure what to tell you other than they possibly dropped the ball and thereís no record of your service, which would be not only unlikely, but if it was true, that you also donít need to worry about discharge. If nothing else, call the VA or request paper records and go to the nearest VA regional. They gotta be somewhere.

fake edit: not saying your discharge certificate would be there, mine was, but it wasnít my active duty discharge, it was the discharge from my obligatory IRR service I was exempt from

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

i say swears online posted:



it's something I try every few years; I can never get into the system even though I answer the security questions correctly (which of these zip codes are you associated with etc etc). maybe it assumes I already have a DFAS but not sure how to access that, seems very chicken-or-egg

Look up DMDC, maybe they can help? Otherwise you can proof in person or over the phone.

Do you have anything else that is like, proof you were in? Because you could also speak to a veterans group about helping you, like maybe DAV or something?

I refuse to believe thereís not a solution for you out there somewhere, it sucks to not be able to find a job for some drat reason, but if you canít access your own OMPF records I find it tough to believe anyone else like a potential employer could find your discharge status. I donít imagine itís that thatís keeping you from jobsóbut no idea what else it could be if you went to OCS. Itís not like if you had a criminal history or something theyíd let you in, gotta be pretty squeaky-clean.

Basically there is either something else going on youíre missing, or they just lost your records.

This is why S1 and admin sucks balls.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

i say swears online posted:

That's definitely good to know. Could I show up at camp mabry and request records in person? I worked there full-time for over year and they would have possible links to my OCS training and records. my OCS was at camp swift

I donít know for sure but youíd be a visitor to the base so Iím not really sure what privileges youíd have. I havenít set foot on a military base since I got out in 2012 and I donít plan on doing so again voluntarily, so what the procedure would be I have no idea.

The only other possibility is youíre listed as AWOL, but depending on how long itís been since all of that, even getting pulled over for a traffic violation would have eventually landed you in the custody of MPís. I donít say that to scare you, itís just that there are only so many reasons; if you did nothing wrong, and you went through the right channels to drop OCS (I actually didnít know that was possible to just wash yourself out and they let you leave) and they granted you a discharge, then it should be honorable. Maybe thereís something Iím missing too.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

CRUSTY MINGE posted:

Background checks tend to pick up AWOL status thanks to warrants. If that was the case, he'd probably have been picked up renewing his license at the DMV.

That would depend on whatever local authority would receive the report, if the NG unit even declared him AWOL to MPs, who would report it to locals at his home of record address. But I don't think AWOL is the case (it's desertion after 30 days anyhow), I'm leaning more towards admin discharge.

Oh yeah, AWOL was always gonna be a stretch, heíd have been picked up by now for sure.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Booger Presley posted:

Yep. Went in for my yearly checkup and scored a flu shot and a shingles shot. Thanks VA.

They do shingles shots? Shingles can gently caress right off, I need that shot

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Booger Presley posted:

Yeah I was surprised they offered it out of the blue. The nurse thought it was funny I was so enthusiastic about free shots.

Iíve had shingles twice and that motherfucker sucks all the poo poo. How I got it twice I donít even know I didnít know it was possible

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

i say swears online posted:

UPDATE: got my biggest job interview in over two years for a finance position with my city (health insurance for the first time in a decade!)

I do not put my brief service on my resume but I do say I served and tick the 'not a protected veteran' box on job applications just because I don't want to be caught lying. Interview started out as "good morning! first things first, thank you so much for your service, let's talk about that!" They obviously saw my omission of my time in the army on my resume and were passive-aggressively calling me on it, but I think I answered well and the rest of the interview was honestly pretty good. My main focus is public sector at the moment, should I still consider leaving off the military entirely? I've never done that before, though I get why in the private sector they could just overlook that kind of omission.

Honestly if itís not relevant to the position(s) for which youíre applying, and itís also hurting you more than anything else (as in, they are wanting to talk about it with you and/or possibly think your service is relevant) I would leave it out.

But congrats on your interview! Let us know how that turns out!

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

TheWeedNumber posted:

https://youtu.be/rJ9pZjbh5Uc

Hey shim, is the commercial true? Do you suddenly start riding horses and kayaking simply by adding meds?

I may have genital herpes, but I wonít let it get me down!

*kicks bag*

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Plus some VA appraisers are assholes and intentionally undervalue a home, then ignore comps, for no reason at all. If they are sent the features list and the comps, they will grunt like an old man being told to go to the doctor and chop $5000-7000 off the value, thereby loving you over on buying the house because the sellers understandably arenít interested in dropping the price to appraisal value and you donít have the extra cash to cover the difference

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

How do I prove service connection on things like tinnitus, like ten years after I got out? Iím looking at contacting DAV to help me see if I can get a disability rating after the fact, but of course I failed to get it documented properly at my final out medical back in 2012 because I felt there was a stigma on it and I didnít have any grievous injuries or anything so I thought I kinda didnít deserve a disability rating or whatever. I think differently now because I put in my years of service, and the army fucks up your body in your twenties as much as it naturally would be in your mid-late forties.

Also my wife is pushing for me to apply for a rating because honestly we could use the money. Iím worried itís gonna be more trouble than itís worth, but I also think they ask a lot of people in the military, physically. That said my five years of free VA coverage due to combat deployments ran out in 2017.

Anyway Iím seeing a new doctor (civilian not VA) and got a physical, and informed him of some problems Iíve had since I was inóthis made me think of getting a disability rating and I wondered if the VA would consider civilian doctors post-ETS.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Iíve been putting off using the DAV, mostly because Iíve had other stuff going on not the least of which has been a total career change, job search, and subsequent new job. Plus, two kids, covid, conflicts with my parents. But the truth is we could still use the money. I know Iíll be claiming tinnitus. I have lower back issues too, but a civilian doctor very recently checked me out for that and saw nothing abnormal on the X-ray. But, Iím doing it in Januaryóespecially after reading the last few posts talking about stuff not in medical records, etc.

As an aside, my state put Veteran on my DL without hardly looking at meóI requested it and showed them my CAC that hasnít been valid since 2012, and they shrugged and said, ďgood enough.Ē Ludicrous yíall canít just take your DD214 to your DMV, why does a VSO have to be a middleman? That sounds absolutely unnecessary.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

So Iíve actually started school, and the VA counselors here are pretty unhelpful, so I come to you, goonvets, for your wisdom.

I called the school to check and see that my paperwork for the GI bill was received and being processedólike, just wanting peace of mind that the school wasnít gonna drop me from classes because I hadnít paid. The only thing they could tell me was that there was a hold of some sort on my account up to August, which she said indicated everything was going how it was supposed to, because they donít know when the VA will pay and just flag accounts to show that it will get paid. Is there any other way to know? I thought I was supposed to get an enrollment verification text message from the VA around the time I started, but that never happened. When I uploaded my letter of eligibility and did all the applicable requirements of the school and the VA, I never got confirmation the paperwork was received.

Are they gonna pay the stipend around the same time they pay the school? Iím considered full time even though Iím taking two classes because they classes are accelerated over four weeks, one online meeting per week. But itís tough to sit on my laurels while I donít know because neither the VA nor the school tell you poo poo.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

How it was explained to me by this woman (who wasnít the certifying official to answer your question) was that it was a positive flag, showing that VA payment is pending and they know itís coming, but they donít know when. She also said the VA pays later than the schoolís tuition due dates, so they add the flag to avoid GI Bill students getting dropped from classes due to nonpayment. Itís basically saying, ďWait, donít drop them, they havenít paid yet because the VA is supposed to pay us.Ē

As far as the certifying official, I will probably try to get a hold of them so I can know for sure. Iím not dependent on that BAH, it sure would be nice to have some extra cash courtesy of my friends at the VA, but mostly I just need them to pay the school for the classes I am taking so that the school wonít bug me.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Emailed the schoolís VA advisors today. I had not received a text or email asking me to verify my enrollment, so I decided to ask for a second time, and Iím glad I did.

My degree plan was a field of study and is not covered by the GI Bill.

We were depending on that stipend and the tuition to come through. Feeling hosed. Changing the degree plan asap but I doubt they are gonna be all, ďSure we will retroactively pay you.Ē

Gonna have to borrow loving money because the school took all the VA paperwork but didnít loving tell us the VA didnít cover the FoS or whatever.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

McNally posted:

For what it's worth, the VA will absolutely retroactively pay you GI Bill.

That is great to hear, though we did our budget to the expectation it was happening this month, including receiving the stipend. Which wasnít the best thing to do, but we were told by the school originally that everything was in order with the VA and that my account showed a later date for drop due to non-payment which indicated the VA would pay. Now I find this other thing out.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

rifles posted:

Get in touch with your school's veteran office coordinator and ask for help with this. They can put extensions on payment requirements and all sorts of things.

There was a form to fill out, but got a payment email saying I could be dropped if not paid by tonight. I got my academic program changed and contacted the certification office to get the new program certified, but unsure what is going to happen if I donít pay out of pocket tonight.

I could send out the form. The offices are closed on Fridays however, so I requested certification on Thursday and never heard backóno one to process the form or make a decision. Hopefully the program can get certified ASAP so they can possibly not drop me.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

rifles posted:

Email the bursar office and cc the veteran's office explaining the situation to give yourself a bit of cover. I always reminded myself that the schools are happy to work with you if you're actively trying to get payment to them. They send out high-pressure nastygrams because most students are kids who will fold over by getting a loan rather than advocating for themselves. It's pretty lovely.

Yeah I mean, they worked quickly on this one because I detailed to them my displeasure at being put in this position in the first place. The VA guy at the school was good, there are others but there are like four different VA offices serving different functions there at the school and itís unnecessarily complicated.

My classes did get certified including all the classes I already took last month. Only thing he wasnít sure about was whether or not Iíd get back pay for last monthís BAH I missed out on because of this situation.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

So I am taking ten hours this semester. I had registered for classes but forgot to certify them with the VA, so a couple days before classes were supposed to begin, I was dropped due to non-payment. No matter, I just re-registered in the hopes I wouldnít be dropped from them immediately. I then sent certification requests on all classes, and it took like two weeks before I heard a peep about it from the certification office. I havenít been dropped yet, but I never officially heard that my classes had been certified, and I did receive a text last week from the VA asking me to confirm I was still in school, and I replied yes.

Problem is, we havenít receive the stipend, so I have no idea what is going on. I guess I could ask the VA counselor on campus, but not sure heíd know when we will see the money. My wife wants me to call the VA but not sure I have time to wait on hold.

Am I getting the stipend or what? Do I need to email the certification office or try and call them?

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Mr. Nice! posted:

Also, any reason you're just taking 10 hours? That's only part time so you won't be getting the full BAH rate.

I am working 40-50 hours per week too, plus parenting two childrenóeven 3/4 time is pushing it. This is probably the most classes I can take and still conceivably pass with more than a C average. Also chemistry is kicking my rear end, that poo poo could be my only class at 4 hours and Iíd be struggling with it still.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

So I called the veterans advisor at the school because Iíve been getting about a stipend, but thereís been some discrepancies. I had never received notice that more than one of my classes had been certified, and when I inquired about this, he said it looked like only chemistry was certified. I told him Iíd been getting more than Iíd think of only one was certified, and that somehow after weeks Iíve not been dropped from my classes for nonpayment. That last weird thing was that he said my other two classes that arenít certified yet, are also on my degree plan so there is no reason they shouldnít have been certified.

On another note, Iím looking to drop a classóten hours is kicking my rear end. What are the financial implications for dropping a class? If the classes are indeed certified, what happens when I drop a class and what do I need to do?

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

I got a D in chemistry after failing the final pretty hard. The school considers this passing, and my GPA is still above 3.0, but Iím trying to transfer to another school and Iím concerned I wonít get credit. Does this depend on the school Iím trying to transfer to? I do not want to take chem again, and at any rate the VA wonít pay for it again. Everything I can find only mentions that the VA requires maintenance of a certain GPA and doesnít mention passing or failing individual classes, but did I miss something?

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

I am also taking the path toward ME. Not sure what is in store for me there, would actually love to get some perspective on that if youíre willing.

I ended up maintaining my C. I donít know if she curved or what, but I ran out of time and straight-up just filled in scantron bubbles. This final was brutal. The grade I had seen was one sheíd mistakenly put there when checking something in my profile. Canvas has a thing where you can test out hypothetical assignment and test grades to see the potential impact on your average, and this was a real permanent grade put there by mistake because it wouldnít go away. Then she returns my email saying she hasnít finished grading yet.

What a week it wasóI had the module 4 Chem exam, and two days later the Chem final. Iím ecstatic I donít have to go through that class again, at least with her.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

Wrong Theory posted:

Yeah sure. I assume you are pretty early in the degree. Be aware that Calculus 2 is a weed out class. Generally this is where people say gently caress it and become business majors. Use whatever means available to you for help. My school (K-State) had a student support room where some students that had passed the class already had time available to be of help. Sometimes they can explain things better. If you aren't already, look into Voc Rehab if you have any sort of disability rating. They can cover the cost of tutors (as well as equipment, I got a laptop, printer and reimbursed for my wifi router when it poo poo the bed during COVID lockdown). I will admit I do not consider myself a mechanically inclined person, nor was I ever very good at math. I was stronger in English and History in high school. My motivation was I wanted a stable job for the rest of my life and so far I can say I got that. Beats retail and the uniformed Army.

There is some specialization within ME that you might want to look into. Fluids and Thermodynamics just was not my thing. I passed the necessary classes, mostly because I had a good instructor but I wanted no more of that. Nuke interested me, if I honestly thought this country might utilize more nuclear energy I would have thought about it. Especially since K-State has a nuclear reactor there. Materials science is interesting, this also covers a lot of quantum/micro machinery. I wanted to take a class on quantum mechanics but only ended up taking a class on micromachinery. Robotics and mechatronics is really cool, I took some computer and electrical engineering classes as electives to learn C and made some stuff with arduinos. I will never, ever do machine code again though, gently caress that. Took some extra machine design classes, final project was designing a brake system for a sedan which was cool. I don't understand controls at all. I think that was just my instructor being bad though. It was never really explained how it's used or why or where. We just figured out the equation and moved on.

I graduated 2 years ago, Dec 2020, still in the heart of COVID so it really sucked. My goal was to do an internship that last year but a lot of them were cancelled. Got a short summer job working at a place that makes grain dryers and helping with drawings and clerical work. Had one interview before I graduated and that was for the DOE nuclear campus in KC, MO. Didn't get it. Spent the next ~4ish months getting ghosted by everyone. Jesus loving Christ no one answered me. But I did get a job off USAJOBS for, wait for it, the Army, again. The jobs great, I hate NJ but I can deal with it. I only got the job because of my military background because I am honestly not using anything from school. Being able to understand charts and data is handy I guess. I will never integrate or derive again, unless I go for my masters. Which they will pay for.

One thing I do feel like mechanical engineering students should know, and this is from my short time in the real world after graduation is this: Look, everyone gets into engineering because we want to design poo poo. Just realize that 90% of engineer jobs are not design. They're life cycle support and maintenance. This is what I do for the Army now, it's for tank rounds so it's interesting at least. But again, I got into this for a stable job and that's what I got. It ain't exciting most of the time but it's stable. Let me know if you want me to talk about anything else, if you have questions about school or what to do after school or whatever. I can talk about USAJOBs as well.

Thanks! This is all awesome info. I too want a stable job (I live ten minutes from Lockheed-Martin in north Texas and they are my goal), because my current job (the company at least) isnít stable. Iím looking into a nascent company because our maintenance planner just resigned and said he would put in a good word for me as he will be a QA manager and thatís what Iím doing now. That is a meantime thing, but I am kind of excited to get with a startup aviation company that is backed by a billion-dollar investment company, if they hire me. Iím hoping to be a shoe-in there, they have no QA inspectors at this time, just management.

But all that said, Lockheed is still the ultimate goal. Right now I drive an hour to work and back. They are hiring way more engineers than aircraft mechanics right now, which is one of the reasons I decided to go for this just a year after I obtained my A&P cert.

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

So I submitted a claim by proxy through the DAV, haven't really heard from one of them personally, but I know they submitted it as they sent me a copy of the letter they sent the VA, and I've received contact from a contractor about evaluation.

That is now tomorrow. I have no idea how this works. Talking to a family member (Marine vet), he was saying not to admit to anything that an injury on my claim might have been caused by. But that's all I've got on that. I know they're there basically trying to NOT give me a rating, but it's been many years since I got out and I don't know what constitutes "service-connected" versus not. I'm going for tinnitus, a really bad surgical scar, my lower back, and depression. I have a really big problem with lying or even feeling like I'm stretching the truth, so this will be difficult for me. I'm told tinnitus can't really be tested for, so not sure what to expect there, but the surgical scar was from a military medical facility (Landstuhl). My lower back I have no idea, but it never hurt like this before I joined, and it is extremely sore, daily, especially when I'm standing up a lot. Aaaand the depression was something I had gotten treated for as a teenager, and after I joined I started on SSRIs again, got off them, and didn't take depression or anxiety meds again until the last few years. Which, honestly, the depression started back up again around the time I was in the hospital for an extended period for the aforementioned surgeries.

I really am walking in blind here. The exam isn't at a VA facility, I have no idea what to expect, and I don't even really know what my medical records show. Does anyone have ANY advice?

life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

ASAPI posted:

The doc will essentially perform a standard medical exam, focusing on the areas that you are specifically making a claim for. Anecdotally, they didn't want to award anything for my knees because I was able to bend them fully. Perhaps I should have stated more loudly that they hurt or something, I'm not sure.

I had a seperate psychological assessment for mental health related claims. It was also straight forward, the doc asked a bunch of questions (essentially going down the DSM checklist) and then made a determination/diagnosis. In my case, the doc "upgraded" me from standard depression/anxiety to full PTSD (while swearing at the Army docs for documenting things as if I had PTSD but listing depression/anxiety).

In both cases the docs were polite and didn't seem to be out to "get" me or anything. They even paid me for mileage to get to/from the appointment to my home, I found that strange.

All good to know. I have a psychiatrist for my depression and anxiety meds, I haven't talked too much with him about any connection to the Army, I did talk to my counselor about the situation with the surgeries, my command, etc. I highly doubt I could get full PTSD as I wasn't a combat soldier, two deployments and the worst that happened was we got mortared. A lot.

I got the "full treatment" for my back issues when I was still serving, and they found nothing wrong. I hope that doesn't hurt me. I know my back hurts, and I know it didn't before I joined.


Hekk posted:

I went through this process a couple of years ago when I retired. My initial rating came back at 90%. The DAV sent me a list of things that the VA missed with paperwork and instructions on how to file the claim. I filled the paperwork out and sent it back to the DAV, they filed it for me, and I got an appointment to see a doctor in the city I moved to after retiring.

My best advice in your shoes is to look at the disability ratings schedule https://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/bookc.asp. Find the entry on the specific things you are claiming and ask yourself where your disability falls on that scale. When you go to see the doctor tomorrow your answers to questions should be based off of your worst days. Back pain ebbs and flows? Today is better than it usually is? No it isn't today my back pain is as bad as it gets.

Being stoic and downplaying the severity of your issues makes you look tough while in front of junior troops but it doesn't do poo poo to get you VA money. The docs will spot an obvious bullshitter, so don't do that either but don't undersell your issues.

I don't even know if they give a rating for surgical scars, or even those obtained from surgeries by military doctors at a military facility. Or maybe that's the highest chance at any rating whatsoever, I don't know. I've considered plastic surgery for the scarring, even--and it's never fully healed. Tinnitus is something I'm hearing they are loathe to give ratings for anymore, which I kind of get. I worked as a helicopter mechanic, so there's that.

not caring here posted:

In my experience, the contractors aren't trying to get you, or deny you. There's probably some turds that exist, for sure, but for the most part they are looking to put your details into a form that the VA can put up against the CFR, and decide easily from that.

I think where most people gently caress themselves up though, is they wont shut up. If they are quiet, you don't have to fill the space, they are busy filling poo poo out. If you are going in for your feet there's no need to go into that time that you broke a toe playing with aunt betsy's dog. They ask, you answer. If you think that your depression is related to before service, don't mention it unless they specifically ask. You aren't a psychologist, you don't know if it is or not, that's for experts to figure out.

Oh, and make sure to get out everything you want to say about your hurts. Pull them up if they try to move on. But you just tell them the facts, you don't try to play it down, or explain it away. If they think that it needs further explanation they'll send you to a specialist.

I don't have a whole lot to say in the first place, but this is good to know. I definitely won't be downplaying anything, I'm 38 and have hurts I never used to have, some of which I feel wouldn't exist if the military wasn't so hard on one's body. Like, it's hard to carry my daughter for very long, I can make it a couple minutes and then I'm done.

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life is killing me
Oct 28, 2007

ASAPI posted:

You may want to rethink the mental wellness aspects. There are many people who suffer from PTSD that only got mortared (the term "shell shocked" was coined for a reason). A PTSD diagnosis is not contingent on shooting someone, seeing X amount of dead bodies, or experiencing specific "qualifying" events. It is more about how your brain processes a traumatic experience (or multiple experiences). You can always re-evaluate your rating, I strongly suggest you mention this to your therapist/psychiatrist so they can evaluate properly/further. There may be a connection with your current mental wellness issues and your past service, let the professionals make that determination. Us/we/you are NOT the professionals in this scenario, make sure you get fixed however/wherever you can.

I'll just tell them the truth. My depression came back based on the way I was being treated by my command upon needing surgeries on a part of my body that wasn't necessarily visible with my clothes on, the amount of time I spent in the hospital recovering, and the physical pain itself. Not to mention the bullshit from everyone else who knew all about the situation and told others, so the ridiculing never stopped. I am working on being fixed, but I lived with depression for a decade after getting out and only just recently began to recognize/was able to admit to myself that I'm depressed and anxious, so the meds are a relatively new thing.

Getting mortared, I don't know what to even say about it. It obviously affected me somehow because I remember some of those instances really clearly, but there are so many veterans out there who went through worse hell, it feels weird to say that getting mortared affected me adversely. You're right, though. I don't really know, I'm not the professional.

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