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Vermilion

Abbeville Veteran Seeks Restitution From Army After Being Released For More Than 50 Years Ago

An Abbeville veteran released from the Army more than 50 years ago is seeking restitution.

Today he’s a member of the Vermilion Parish School Board but before that Kibbie Pillette served in the army and was wounded in combat in Vietnam in 1968.

“The Army did me a disservice.” said Pillette.

Pillette didn’t remember much after fighting in Vietnam except that his mouth was wired shut when the army released him.

“The doctors(at the VA in New Orleans) said that they could not believe that anyone would be discharged from a military hospital in my physical condition.” remembered Pillette.

He didn’t know what had happened to him for decades but still feels the effects til this day.

“I never had the remaining two surgeries that they said I needed to have done because the army put me out. It’s too late now. I have a severe speech defect. I have problems eating, no dentures can be made to fit. The x-rays were so bad.” he explained.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Pillette learned of how he was let go from the Army.

Pillette then filed several lawsuits against the Army to get back pay, and it wasn’t earlier the army honored him at a ceremony to reverse the mistake.

“These are things the Army should have been responsible for.” he said.

After that ceremony Pillette expected to receive restitution but that still hasn’t happened.

He got a letter from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service on  November 29th that stated since he wasn’t eligible for the benefits because he had been getting paid from the VA’s office adding that he could only get back pay from the army if he had served for 20 yards. Records show only served three.

However, Pillette says there was no record of any discharge from the Vietnam and the army didn’t make it official until this year, so technically he was in the army for 50 plus years.

(This order was dated July 6th, 2018)

“It tells me that the army is trying to mess over me again that’s the hard part. I mean it almost makes you want to cry because I know what I gave this country, how I bleed, how I suffered and to come back to my country and to be treated the way I’ve been treated.” said Pillette.

He plans to write a letter to President Trump and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to explain his situation.