Johnny Dixon, a veteran of the Korean War.

Department Spotlight: Arkansas helps veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned

American Legion Department Adjutants like Arkansas’ Doyle Batey are often drawn upon to help veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned through their service.

Take for instance the case of Johnny Dixon. A veteran of the Korean War, Dixon, of Alma, Ark., drew on The American Legion’s assistance to address an issue with those benefits.

Dixon served in the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was wounded in combat and sent to Japan for treatment.

That’s when the issue arose. Per a letter from Batey to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dixon’s request for an earlier effective date of payment of benefits "was denied due to the fact that he did not have proof of service in Korea or evidence of being wounded in combat.”

The problem was that Dixon’s discharge papers failed to indicate he was a combat wounded veteran and his DD-214 mistakenly listed his service as Japan. And the fire at the National Personnel Records destroyed all of Dixon’s personnel and medical records, Batey wrote.

Dixon had originally requested benefits in a claim in Aug. 1979. In 2004, he reopened his claim after his Army casualty report was found. Dixon received a correction of military records and was issued a DD-215 noting the awarding of the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal and the Korean Service Medal.

Dixon and his wife, Doris, thanked Batey for his help in a letter. “We appreciate your kindness and assistance you’ve shown us. … I can only say ‘Love you man and God bless you,’” they wrote.