Click on the name for more info on James M. Cripps .
Here’s a bit of history on James, for the benefit of those who are not familiar, or were not original members, on why and how USVA began.
First, in 2005 I filed a VA claim for Agent Orange exposure inside the Continental United States. That claim took five years to be approved by the BVA. I won the first ever claim for AO exposure inside the Continental United States. (CONUS) I was exposed To Agent Orange while serving as a military game warden at Fort Gordon Ga 1967-1969.
During that five years, by trial and error and research, I learned what it took to properly file a claim in such a way that it would be granted. I saw over and over how claims, after years of waiting, would be denied because they were not complete and lacked the proper evidence. Next came the appeal and more years of waiting. Sometimes veterans don’t live long enough to see their claim approved. I began to help other veterans with their claims, and by word of mouth, the number of people seeking help just grew.
Second, I saw that there was no help in Cheatham County Tn. for veterans. Other counties had County Service Officers, but Cheatham County didn’t. Our veterans have to go surrounding counties to file their claim and/or get answers. Cheatham County needed the CSO position filled. I started lobbying for it in mid-2009, visiting the mayor’s office and going before the budget committee with my concerns.
Since there was no action being taken by the County, under my direction, on December 3, 2009, a group of people met at what we termed “the Proposed Ashland City Vietnam Veterans of America chapter”. We held meetings every month. We applied for a VVA new chapter charter. However VVA Tennessee State Council unanimously denied our application for a charter. A subsequent appeal to VVA National Headquarters was also unanimously denied. As a result, at our June 7, 2010 meeting it was unanimously decided that we would begin a new organization, which would be named United States Veterans Alliance. The mission of USVA would be to help veterans and their families, with a special emphasis on helping veterans file claims in a way they could be approved the first time it’s submitted. USVA would also help our community, as opportunities were presented. Additionally, we would be unique as a veteran’s organization because we would allow veterans families and friends to join our organization.
We continue to help guide veterans in their filing of claims and have had many successes, which benefit the veterans, their families and Cheatham County. We also work closely with our County Service Office. USVA is committed to working along side of that office to offer all of the help and support that we can.
James M. Cripps, National President