After four combat deployments, Marine turns to DAV
Robert Sherman knew it was time to worry about himself after repeatedly putting it all on the line in Iraq.
Injured at war in Iraq, Robert Sherman didn’t dwell on his pain. “You just don’t think about it. You stay vigilant and make sure your Marines are accountable, and they all know what they’re doing and what’s expected of them.”
But when he returned home, Sherman didn’t find that same accountability waiting for him. That is, until he found DAV.
Sherman came from a “big military family” so when 9/11 happened, he knew he wanted to serve his country.
After three deployments, his time with the Marines was up. He met and married his wife and was just starting to settle into civilian life, but plans quickly changed. Sherman was called back to duty.
“It’s difficult, especially when you’re out, and you think you’re done,” he said. “The newlyweds, like so many military families, found themselves facing some issues when Sherman returned. But Sherman said he and his wife overcame them, thanks to a lot of patience.
He recalls scanning American streets for spots where improvised explosive devices might be hidden. “It takes a while to really disconnect. You come home, and you’re thankful. But you’re deployed for six or seven months straight, it becomes your nature, and it’s hard to turn off.”
Sherman also carried home the pain of service-connected injuries: one to a knee and another to a shoulder, which would require a joint replacement. But at a time when he needed to focus on his wife, stepchildren and his health, he said he found the VA claims process “extremely frustrating and time-consuming.”
“It seemed like I was getting the runaround from the VA,” said Sherman. “It’s a godsend that DAV’s there.”
Within three short months of seeking help through DAV, he got the help he earned from the government he served.
Sherman is certain his homecoming could have taken a very different turn without the free services of DAV. “There were guys that I was with, in similar situations, that would file claims and did not use DAV,” Sherman said. “They waited well over a year to get any kind of response from the VA.”
Speaking about the reaction of others to his military service, Sherman explained. “Not too many people ask.” He sometimes wishes they would, so he could honor friends who didn’t come back.
“In my mind, it’s more about the appreciation for those guys and their families,” said Sherman. “It’s something that veterans take very seriously. And sometimes you just wonder if people recognize it because they just carry on with their daily lives, business as usual.”
That’s a big part of what Sherman said makes DAV a unique organization: keeping veterans’ concerns in the public spotlight and letting veterans know that others truly do care and remain at their sides.
“I get the DAV newsletter and updates on what the DAV does to protect our rights, especially with the government shutdowns and different things, and making sure the veterans are being taken care of,” he said. “It’s just an absolutely wonderful organization.”
Sherman said he wishes more of his fellow veterans knew about DAV.
His message for them: “Don’t be afraid to pursue what you’ve rightfully earned.” And contact DAV. “That’s why they’re there. It’s a great, great group of people.”
If you need free, professional assistance obtaining care and benefits, find the National Service Office nearest you at www.dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office.