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Veterans still struggle in fight for benefits

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When Rick Caldwell ended a three-deployment, 32-year military career in 2008, he thought his fighting days were over.

He was wrong.

The 62-year-old ex-U.S. Army sergeant major, one of about 7,000 military veterans in Bartholomew County, now finds himself on a different battlefield beyond those he knew in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On this one the Columbus resident fights for his Veterans Administration medical benefits and care.

"It's like I'm in combat all over again. It seems I've got to fight for everything I get," said Caldwell, department commander of Indiana AMVETS and a civilian staffer at Edinburgh's Camp Atterbury U.S. Army National Guard post.

For more on this story, see Saturday's Republic.

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