Monday, March 22, 2010

When Can I Get Off This Ride?!

So the never ending story of trying to locate John Berger's pension file has yet another new chapter.  Here is the saga thus far:
  • As you may recall, I submitted my order to NARA in November 2009 (November 6th to be precise).  Then I waited patiently, as you do.
  • February 1st rolls around and, hey, still no pension.  Starting to get a little worried...
  • Valentine's Day goes by and guess what? No pension.
  • I finally contacted NARA at the end of the month (after 16 weeks had passed) and got a very prompt reply.  They had lost my order.
  • My order got fast tracked after this and a week later I got a letter in the mail from NARA stating that while they should have his file, they didn't.  They have all closed files (meaning no one was collecting on them any more) before 1929.  John's widow, Susanna collected on his pension after his death and didn't die until 1932, I think that's why NARA didn't have it.
  • So I wrote a letter to Veterans Affairs (as I was instructed to do).
  • About a week later, I get a postcard in the mail from them saying that I wasn't a government threat and that they could release the pension file to me once they find it.
  • Today, I got a letter from them.  They don't have it.
  • So, now I'm officially Baltimore's problem.  Yes, I said Baltimore.  That's where they sent my request.  Why, I have no idea.  John never lived in Baltimore, never even had anything to do with Maryland.  I had been told that if the main VA center didn't have a record you'd be sent to the VA records center closest to where the person died (which, for John would be the VA records center closest to Oakland, California) yet this doesn't seem to be the case.
  • Oh, and even more troubling:  The letter spelled his name "John Berge."
I need a big piece of chocolate and a hug.


  1. YIKES

    Pity those of us looking for WWII records, send off to St. Louis, get back letters stating, hey, you have more information on this veteran than we do, we as in official holders of the info. Ohh, ya, that fire. SIGHHH

  2. Oh no! I was planning on sending for WWI and WWII records after this whole pension mess was sorted out. EEK! Maybe I should wait awhile before I go back to that well. Can't believe how complicated it is just to get old military files! Shesh...

  3. Been here, been there done all this too!!! Grandfather was a WWII vet, decorated. I had all his records yet wanted replacement medals (as seen on the website)... after months of "Please fill out this form" they write back to tell me he'd been out too long to qualify... I gave them his discharge date for Pete's sake! Why didn't they just tell me that to begin with??? This went on for months and I finally had to get my Congress woman involved, the medals arrived two months later. I wish you much luck in dealing with the folks at these offices, hopefully you'll get someone who can actually help you.

  4. Would a virtual piece of chocolate and a virtual hug be OK? There has to be some sort of patience exercise we can do when dealing with bureaucracies like these.


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