This is Part Two of Dr. Heckman’s story, as he tells it to us at www.CorruptWA.com, about prejudice, retribution and retaliation by public servants who behave as “kings” to protect their own fiefdoms established with our money. It will show how these self-appointed ‘kings’ will retaliate against the best that America embodies, as they have against individuals such as Dr. Heckman, if their ‘fiefdoms’ are challenged by superior qualifications or in criticism of the status quo.
Dr. Heckman’s Story — PART TWO: Life after Vietnam.
Unlike most American veterans of the Vietnam War, Dr. Charles Heckman can apply a standard of comparison between his experiences after receiving his honorable discharge in and outside of the United States, which conclusively shows that the United States government subjects those who defend it in war to a homicidal campaign of destruction for a variety of reprehensible motives. A cursory outline lists what happened to him after he served multiple combat tours as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. In Part 3, his attempts to find justice in a corrupt system will be described.
On Nov. 10, 1968, Charles Heckman arrived back in the United States after serving in Vietnam continuously since December, 1966, and he received his honorable discharge on the same day. He planned to earn a doctoral degree, financed, if possible, be funds earned as a civilian pilot in Southeast Asia until what he hoped to be a victorious end of the war for the United States and its allies.
At his first opportunity, Dr. Heckman took the Graduate Record Examination, which most universities require of students applying for graduate school. His scores placed him in the upper 1% to 2% in verbal ability, upper 4% in quantitative ability, and upper 1% in biology achievement. He took the examination for a New York State Regent’s War Service scholarship and was awarded one. If he had not served in Vietnam, these scores could have permitted him to study at almost any university in the United States. When he attempted to apply at Cornell University in March 1969, he was told not to submit his application after the graduate school advisor heard that he had just returned from Vietnam. At the time, Cornell was receiving more money from the Federal Government than all other colleges and universities in New York State combined.
Reprisal by America’s internal enemies began almost at once and continued as long as he had dealings with the government that had sent him to war:
1. After he filed his income tax, the Internal Revenue service demanded interest and penalties for all of the income tax he had not paid since he left the country on active duty as an Air Force pilot in 1965. His responses stating that the law gave him a deferment from filing income taxes until he returned from the war were answered only with computer-generated bills, each demanding a larger amount of money.
2. The treatment for a minor, service-connected dental problem was not approved for two years, causing an abscess to develop that several dentists said could be fatal. An unprocessed application for treatment was left in a file at the Veterans’ Administration for nine years until a lawsuit was filed.
3. The New York State Board of Regents refused to authorize payment of its education incentive award because it ruled that Heckman was still dependent on his parents because he stayed overnight at their address after serving 4 years and 10 months on active duty.
4. After he began his studies for his Master of Science degree, the VA delayed payment of Heckman’s education assistance allowance until after the final date for payment of all tuition and fees. Because he had been awarded an assistantship, Heckman was able to pay the remaining bills from his own funds. For thousands of veterans pursuing a bachelor’s degree whose tuition bills were considerable, this deliberate delay by the VA spelled the abrupt end of their hopes of earning a college degree.
5. The IRS suddenly demanded an income tax payment on the non-taxable portion of Heckman’s assistantship payments. When it was pointed out that other students did not pay taxes on this money, the IRS replied that assistantships are like fingerprints. Every one is different. Heckman responded that every assistantship awarded by the university was awarded on a pre-printed form on which only the name of the recipient was written. The Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences stated that to his knowledge, Heckman’s was the only one ever questioned by the IRS. After about three years of negotiations, the IRS sent a representative to Germany to officially inform Heckman that the IRS was not going to continue to try to collect the tax. Dr. Heckman’s total earnings for the year in question had been about $2,800, including the contested portion of the assistantship. While the campaign to confiscate a few dollars from a war veteran trying to complete graduate school might have seemed to have failed, it did distract Heckman from his graduate studies for a few years and got an employee of the IRS an all-expense-paid trip to Europe.
6. During his studies in Germany, the VA inexplicable stopped paying his education assistance allowance twice, in a way designed to force him to drop his studies in order to support his wife and small children. The VA failed because personal loans from his professor and relatives permitted him to continue. Other veterans were not so lucky, and many were forced to withdraw from their studies by the VA. The VA then complained to Congress that it needed more personnel to collect the unused portions of the belated allowance payments from the veterans the VA had forced to drop out of their courses.
7. As he was about to receive his degree, Dr. Heckman began filing employment applications with the federal civil service. The Civil Service Commission had a standard form for filing applications, and repeated letters to obtain the form failed. After a consulate employee gave him the form, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent him a series of vacancy announcements by sea mail so that they were all received after all of the closing dates for applying had passed. The costs for international airmail postage were a major expense for Dr. Heckman at the time, and the money was wasted because Mary Nell Tull of the Department of Agriculture made sure that he never received any announcements on time.
8. After he received his doctoral degree, an application for an announced vacancy with the Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration was returned to him with a notice that it had been received too late to be considered. He sent a complaint to the agency that the application was stamped received two days before the closing date. The agency replied that an agency employee had sent it to the wrong office, and it was not sent to the right place until after a selection had been made. A complaint was filed, but the committee declared that Dr. Heckman was not qualified because he did not have a doctoral degree. The committee had been given an old application filed by Dr. Heckman two years earlier, before he had received his degree. The actual application had been returned without the agency keeping a copy.
9. During the early 1980s, Dr. Heckman filed applications to about 60 American colleges and universities which had announced vacancies in his field of science. He did not receive so much as an invitation to an interview. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission later obtained documents demonstrating that the qualifications of the applicants selected were inferior to those of Dr. Heckman. Needless to say, none of the applicants hired were veterans.
10. As Dr. Heckman’s postdoctoral studies in Germany progressed, he performed major research projects, authored a considerable number of publications in refereed journals and books, participated in international conferences and projects, and was eventually sent to Brazil to participate in a large-scale research project in the Pantanal. Meanwhile, he submitted applications to the Environmental Protection Agency and scored highest on the examination ahead of two other Vietnam Era veterans. The agency cancelled the selection. At this time, Dr. Heckman began filing discrimination lawsuits against both federal agencies and private employers with federal contracts.
11. Dr. Heckman married a foreign national in 1974, and by the mid-1980s, the United States Department of Justice was still refusing to permit his wife to become an American citizen. The Justice Department clerks had mishandled her green card petition, giving their agency an excuse to deny her citizenship. However, Dr. Heckman was participating in projects for international agencies which qualified his wife for immediate citizenship, and they applied under the appropriate laws. The Justice Department alleged that the law had been made for other people, not for them. Circumstances showed that Dr. Heckman had a choice of returning home to become unemployed in the United States to allow his wife to become a citizen, or working in foreign countries to earn a decent living, thereby preventing his wife from ever becoming a citizen. After six years of litigation, Dr. Heckman won, and the judge ordered the Department of Justice to prepare his wife’s citizenship documents. It took her about 18 years after marriage to become a citizen. For spouses of non-veterans, only 3 years is required.
12. In 1997, Dr. Heckman began filing applications with the Federal Civil Service again. Two applications with the Environmental Protection Agency were simply ignored. When he applied for a vacancy with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in Alaska, he received his first invitation for an interview for a job in the United States, 29 years after receiving an honorable discharge. The interview started with a statement that he would not be hired, but if he would withdraw his application, he would be paid a “grant” of $10,000 per year for two years. If he refused, the selection would be cancelled.
13. Dr. Heckman reported the offer to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which substantiated the violations of the law and forced the Forest Service to hire Dr. Heckman, suggesting that he should accept a job at Olympia, Washington, to avoid confrontations with the personnel in Alaska, who would be hostile because Dr. Heckman blew the whistle on their bribe offer. When Dr. Heckman reported for work, the Forest Service was already in the process of hiring a specialist at firing scientists from the U.S. Department of the Interior in order to prepare a case for firing him before the end of the probationary year, which had been established by an Executive Order of President Carter in order to permit agencies to fire veterans they could not avoid hiring without suffering legal repercussions.
14. The appeal proceedings will be described in Part 3. After being fired by the Forest Service for no reason whatsoever, Dr. Heckman applied for employment with the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife. Telephone conversations between search committee chairmen and the persons assigned to fire Dr. Heckman effectively blacklisted him from all subsequent employment. Dr. Heckman then began applying for vacancies with the U.S. Department of the Interior. He eventually applied for about 99 vacancies with the U.S. Geological Survey, an agency of that department, between 2003 and 2007. He scored highest on the examinations for most of the selections. Again, there were communications between the agencies to make sure that Dr. Heckman would not be hired. When the Forest Service learned that Dr. Heckman was applying for jobs with the U.S. Geological Survey, it sent, Robert Szaro, the acting director of the Forest Service laboratory where Dr. Heckman had worked, to take a job with the U.S. Geological Survey and make sure that nobody would even call Dr. Heckman to an interview.
Part 3 will show how Congress set up the appeals process to make it into a farce and travesty in which neither a veteran or a whistleblower has any chance to prevail.