ANYONE know how to find members of your old unit? Need buddy letter for VA.

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Joined: 11/09/2015

I was stationed at MEDDAC, FT Riley May1988 when I took a hit during PT, fractured all my lower incisors, dislocated my jaw, lost consciousness and woke with blood running down my throat unable to open my mouth. The soldiers from my unit physically carried me to the ER where they restored my airway and did root canals on those teeth. It was bloody enough, if I can find one of them I'm sure they'll remember.

ALL medical records of the event are lost.

For dental care, the VA requires proof that it's service connected, and a letter from a fellow soldier that witnessed it would work.

Any clue how to track down a soldier from my unit over 20 years ago? Just got notice today that the VA is hearing on this in 7 days.

Appreciate any bumps to keep this topic hot for that week, and any advice or contacts that lead me to a possible witness. I found a physician I believe was the hospital commander at the time (Col. William Hart Parry, MD) but I can't find his contact info, other than he last worked in Santa Rosa, Tx. I don't know that the hospital commander would remember anyway. I can't remember who my CO or 1SGT was. The hospital states they don't have records that far back.

Thanks again!

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Joined: 08/16/2010

It may sound odd, but have you tried Facebook? You can find a lot of people on there, and finding just one or two familiar names may be all you need to get in contact with people that can help you quickly.

That's a little disappointing that all the medical and hospital records are lost and the VA gave you such short notice. Have you told the VA about the lost records?

MSG Glenn
Joined: 08/31/2010
I am a...

...victim of lost medical records & in need of dental work myself. I took a piece of shrapnel that entered the corner of my mouth when I was a Navy Frogman way back when. It bounced around the inside & knocked a bunch of teeth loose & cracked many of them. They fixed me up just fine. Upon my discharge physical even though I was told all the dental work was a temporary fix all seemed well. When I entered the Army I was told the same thing & they said the same when I received my retirement physical. Now some of the teeth are cracking & pieces are falling out. I lost a few of them. VA can't find a record of anything happening & won't do anything. I can get them fixed on my own but can't afford the several thousand dollars it'll take. When I applied for Tricare I had to skip the dental insurance because it's very costly in this area. At the time I was told the VA would fix me up free of charge since it was combat related. Now they can't find my medical records. Coincidence? Fortunately there's very little pain involved but I lost my smile.

Joined: 09/12/2017
Finding Walter Pilch Buddies

Greetings everyone. I am helping a spouse try to find people who may have known her husband and can make a statement for his Veterans Benefits Case. He was in the United States Army in the 1950s. Unfortunately, most of his military records have been destroyed, which is why I am posting here. He was with the 826th EAB at Wolters Air Force Base, Texas at the 498th Engineer Aviation Brigade. His name was Walter Pilch.
Mr. Pilch told his wife Maria that he was a demolitions expert while he was in the military. Because of that job, he developed some serious health conditions. The service records that survived do not contain information regarding what his duties were while he was serving in the Army. We were hoping that someone might remember Mrs. Pilch’s husband Walter and might be able to provide her with some information regarding what he did during his military service. If anyone remembers, please contact me at I also have pictures that I can send if you email me. Thank you.

MSG Glenn
Joined: 08/31/2010

I'm sorry but I can't help you very much. This site is basically intended to answer questions about the Army in general including recruitment but we're always glad to help Veterans & their spouses.

I can recommend trying a People Search. They usually cost a little but it might be worth it, although that wouldn't help find service records. Also sometimes a simple Google or Bing search will yield results. A middle initial will help. I found Mr. Walter Pilch from the Chicago area & another from Sheridan County, Wyoming on Google, all obits. The Wyoming one sounds like the right one. That wouldn't help you get any information on the nature of his service, though. Another idea would be to try the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs. You could call a local Reserve unit or Recruiting office & ask them if they have any ideas or sources along with phone numbers.

I had the same sort of problem after I left the Navy & several years later wanted to join the Army. I was trying to piece together my Navy records when I found that most of them were destroyed in a fire at the records depot in St. Louis. Fortunately I had enough of them that I had saved & at least was credited with the schools I had attended & the badges, medals & awards I had earned. These all gave me an extra stripe on joining & many promotion points that came in handy as I went up the ranks. Otherwise I would have gone in with a bare chest & not much on my arms, LOL. There was no way to get my destroyed medical records, though. That might have been good because I had some combat injuries from my Navy service that could have possibly disqualified me from the Army, especially Airborne.

Good luck! If you find anything please come back here & let us know how you found them. I wish I could help you more than this. I work as a PI & have sources of info but probably none of those would help find service records. Meanwhile I'll keep trying using those sources. I'll definitely let you known if I find anything. I'll have to use the office computers to access those sources.