WICHITA, Kansas – Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki is out. Local veterans are speaking out.
“I don’t know all of the story. I don’t know the whole story,” explains Navy Veteran Herb Duncan. “But, when you are in charge, you have the responsibility. There may be a time when we need to have someone come in with a little more managerial experience.”
Duncan is a volunteer with Kansas Honor Flights of Wichita. On Friday, Duncan welcomed home a couple dozen veterans from Kansas, mostly those who served in the Korean War.
“It’s a forgotten war,” says Duncan. “And that’s because people stopped talking about it.”
Veterans coming into the Wichita Airport had plenty to say about both their trip and the VA system.
“This trip is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Veteran Walter Branch of Haysville. “Everything. Best thing that ever happened to me. It really is.”
“Is change at the top of the VA system a good thing?” says Veteran Bernie Elrod of Wichita. “Who knows? Investigation is going to find out what’s happening, and it starts at the top probably and see where it failed.”
“Oh, there’s a great need. I’m sure there’s a great need especially now with these veterans coming back with different problems than what we’ve had,” explains Elrod. “I don’t talk too much about my experiences in the war. But this trip, we were treated like royalty every place we went.”
Some of the veterans expressed concern about the VA system moving too slowly to meet the needs of veterans. But, they all say they are getting good care at the VA’s Robert J. Dole Hospital and Medical Center.
“My VA Hospital, the Dole Hospital out here, they are a Class A Hospital,” says Duncan. “I always get respect when I go out there. I get good service from everyone that attends to my needs and I really appreciate that.”