By Debbie Gregory.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has denied benefits to a World War II veteran in his 90s who was wounded in combat and earned a Purple Heart, saying it does not have enough proof that he served in the military.
Emil Limpert submitted an application for benefits to the VA, and was told he needed to provide more proof that he was in the military.
“I get this letter that says we can’t accept it because we’ve got no record of you being in the service,” he told the station. “I guess I’m the unknown soldier.”
He says he was wounded in a foxhole in the Philippines in 1944.
Limpert, who had shrapnel removed at his own expense, said he waited until now to apply for benefits because he is down to nothing.
“We got rid of our car, we got rid of our house,” he said. “I got rid of money I had in bonds and stocks and now I need help.”
With the help of AMVETS, Limpert was able to provide plenty of documentation to support his claim to veteran status. He had his military discharge papers, a roster of those injured in the 1944 attack, and the X-ray of his leg after he returned home. He also has two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart he earned in combat.
The VA sent Limpert a letter asking him to submit affidavits from fellow service members, most of whom are dead, or the location of the hospital where he was originally treated.
“There ain’t no hospital,” he told the station. “We were in the jungles.”
Limpert’s military records were apparently among the 15 million records destroyed in a massive 1973 fire in Overland, Missouri, a time when all records were only on paper.
Limpert and his wife, married for 70 years, live in an assisted-living facility outside St. Louis. He has now turned to his local senator for help in the matter.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Limperts.