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Cold Weather Injury

 
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Cold Weather Injury

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Weather

Thousands of American veterans (in fact, more than 5,300 in just the first winter of the Korean War) suffered frostbite during the extreme cold temperatures in Korea during the war years. Many of them were evacuated and received treatment in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, however, too many others did not have that chance due to the battle conditions they were in at the time. The latter lost fingers and/or hands, toes and/or feet, and had to endure the anguish of frostbitten noses and ears. Decades later, these Korean War casualties are still experiencing the after effects of frostbite. Some receive medical assistance and compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But there are still thousands of Korean War veterans who either don’t know they are eligible for disability benefits based on their cold weather injuries, or they can’t get anyone in the VA to believe that their current health problems are service-related.  To learn more about cold weather injuries in the Korean War, visit the Weather - Topics page of the Korean War Educator.


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Zitzelberger Information on Cold Weather Injuries in Korea

Col. John Zitzelberger has spent 25 years lobbying the Veterans Administration and Congress on behalf of veterans with cold injury.  He has had great success helping veterans of the Chosin and the Bulge substantiate their claims with the VA.  In the course of doing this, his son Joe Zitzelberger tells us that Colonel Zitzelberger has amassed a large amount of information to help veterans deal with the VA and their claim.  This information is compiled, in PDF form, and usually distributed via CD-ROM at Chosin Few meetings and Regimental reunions.  Son Joe has built a website that offers the same documentation, again in PDF form.  Viewers who think they might benefit from this information can find it at http://www.chosin-few.org.


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Walker Advice

Ray Walker was an A/1/5 Marine in Korea from August to December 1950.  He suffered cold weather injuries from the Chosin Reservoir and offers this advice to veterans seeking cold weather injury benefits from the V.A.:

"The V.A. accepts that you probably have cold injury if you were at Chosin in the winter of '50.  First, take your DD214 and go to either the VFW or DAV and hook up with a counselor. If you have a personal doctor, ask him to arrange for you to get a EMG exam on your legs by a neurologist. If you have nerve damage, neuropathy, it will show up on the EMG or "electromylogram."  They stick a pin in at the top of the thigh and another on the foot and run a small current that follows the nerve.

Take the doctor's report to the DAV or whomever you're using and file a claim for service connected disability. You ought to get 40% on the feet. It will take the better part of a year to get it all processed. Also, file for your hands. They'll probably accept the hands if the feet are cold injured."


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