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News Link • Military

VA calculates war's true cost, one disabled veteran at a time

•, By Greg Jaffe
There was no time to go back and grab it. He would have to do the best he could.

"We'll start from the head and work our way to the bottom," Shockley told Reggie Washburn, a Department of Veterans Affairs benefits counselor who in the next few hours would help Shockley figure out the true cost of his war. "As long as I go from head to toe I'm pretty sure I'll remember all my points."

One year earlier, Shockley, then 25, was leading his squad through a field in southern Afghanistan when he stepped on a buried bomb that shot him into the air and sheared off his legs. Now, after 40 surgeries, he had come to the small VA office in Bethesda, Maryland at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to start the process that would determine the monthly disability payments that he'll receive for the rest of his life.

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