Request To VA for Assistance

Letter to Patient Advocate Office



June 26, 2009

Patient Advocate
Department of Veterans Affairs
1100 Tunnel Road
Asheville, Tennessee  28805
Re:   PTSD

Dear Ms.:

Thank you for meeting with us and our son, Matthew Kallback, this afternoon to discuss his serious problems and possible resolution of his anger due to periods of abuse while serving in the United States Marine Corps. from November 10, 2003 until February 14, 2006.

As my youngest son, I had worried about him with his mother leaving our kids when Matthew was 6 month’s old, my moving from Chicago to northern New Jersey.  It was there I had help raising my children by a lady who had known the family, serving as a nanny staying for ten years. 

I married my wife, Connie, three years after our move to New Jersey.  She helped me raise my four children and the only mother Matthew has known over the last 21 years.

Matthew was diagnosed with ADHD by the Pequannock School System in NJ, but was able to stay off of medication.  However, being very small and later moved to special education classes jocks constantly bullied him in school.  He had been pushed against lockers with his lunch money stolen again and again.  One night he was even hung from a flagpole upside down after a dance. 

But amazingly he took the abuse and rarely ever complained, turning his despair to learning the guitar on his own.  There was even a jock on his personal Web site who called Matthew a painted-face monkey and “Loser of the Month.”  It later caused a car full of students to throw a screwdriver at him one night from the street, his walking home from work as a dishwasher, the tool hitting him in the head.

When the high school refused to address the student’s actions on the Web, we went to the Newark Star Ledger.  An editor, angry about what had happened, wrote a front-page article about a Web bully, the school finally telling the boy to take down the site.  We had a right to sue.  Instead we asked the parents to have their son apologize.  He never did.

Matthew graduated from high school and wanted to make a difference in his life, leaving his abuse behind.  He met a Marine recruiter and decided to serve in an early entry program for several months.  As we made ready to move to North Carolina to cut living costs, Matthew advised me he was going to enter the U.S. Marines.  While his friends made fun of him wanting to serve his country, on November 10 Matthew was picked up for induction into the Marines.

Living in North Carolina, my proudest day was to pick up Matthew as a graduate of the United States Marines on Parris Island, buying him his blues at the campus store.  Matthew then went onto Camp Geiger in Jacksonville, North Carolina, later deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  He called us from the airport, saying with joy I had not heard, “Dad, I’m having a great time finally accepted by others.  I am part of a team now!”

But as he served his country in Afghanistan, he started to mention in phone calls stuff we had been sending was being stolen from his tent, but not to worry as he had handled this kind of stuff before.  We didn’t like what we were hearing.  But we were later delighted to receive a letter from him, that things had settled down with his meeting an Army Staff Sergeant working with the Marines, attending some Bible studies.  He said he had made friends with some Afghan Freedom Fighters, saying they were amazing men learning Pashtu so he could communicate with them.

We were not aware this relationship had become his island of safety, boots picking on him even as a Lance Corporal, their physically hitting them with their fists and kicking him in the shins.  At the time we had no way of knowing how much of this was going on until we discovered his Army Staff Sergeant friend had witnessed Matthew being stuck and harassed by a truck full of boots, their giving him the nickname shit bag.  He had come back full circle to being called Loser of the Month, but this time Matthew had proved himself graduating from one of the toughest boot camps in the world.

On return to his base in Hawaii, some boots were then beating the crap out of him even when seen on liberty.  He turned again to his guitar, finding a private studio to play with locals.  At the same time his command was trying to move Matthew out of the Corps.  But one night, playing at this studio, he picked up another musician’s glass that had been laced with Codeine.  He sat down with some friends and then remembered waking up in a car the next morning, late for duty.  His command wanted him to take a urinalysis.  While they had to get Matthew’s approval, not knowing he had been drugged, Matthew gladly signed the paperwork (attached.)  

Later when a brigade had been assembled, Commander Cooling referred to Matthew in uniform as a terrorist in front of his peers.  He called me right after that, almost in tears.  I had later called Commander Cooling, asking why he called my son a terrorist, my family always having been proud Americans, Matthew’s grandfather having served in WWII on Okinawa in 1944.  Later, after retiring, I buried my father at Arlington National Cemetery.   Matthew, in junior high school, had been with me and my other son for the 21-gun salute and acceptance of the flag.

The corps, with a zero tolerance of any drug, served our son with a court marshal.  Matthew called me at the end and said he was going to jail.  We were shocked.  When finally coming home, he told me the Corp had put him into shackles for a month in the brig.  They then sent him immediately home in North Carolina, his telling me an instructor, Corporal Norega (sp?) said “Some bad ones get through crack.”  Without any training for being reintroduced into society, he was taken to the airport where he sat in shame for seven hours.

Matthew’s Staff Sergeant from the Army later suggested we contact a Senator to get Matthew’s less than honorable changed, and that he would be delighted to send a letter documenting Matthew’s abuse he had seen in Afghanistan.

We put together a package for Senator Dole’s representative, which included a transcribed hand-written letter Matthew had composed in secret while in Hawaii, both included in this binder. 

On March 21, 2006, we received a summary of Senator Dole’s efforts.  The letter and information included in this binder is wrinkled.  Matthew had first read the letter in the car, our getting it out of the mailbox before driving away.  The letter denied his appeal while never recognizing any of the stealing that he had endured of his goods by boots in Afghanistan, nor the Army Staff Sergeant’s witnessing his physical abuse by boots.  It also slapped him the face, thanking him for his serving in Iraqi Freedom, where he had never served, the letter as if those who had written the letter had no idea who they were addressing.

Matthew went wild in the car, ripping the letter up and throwing it on the floor, so violent I had to turn the car around and go back home afraid he would jump out the door, screaming and in tears.  I had never been so frightened in my life of a situation that could get out of hand in seconds.

Since then and over the last three years since Matthew coming home, he has been unable to hold down any job for any length of time, going from one to another.  We had taken him back into the house three times during that period of time, still loving to meet any former Marine, saying he wasn’t mad at the Corps itself.

And with this information we are here in your office today, hoping you can help our son get back his honor being a graduate of Parris Island and loving the Afghanistan Freedom Fighters.

Enclosed with this letter in the binder is the following as best I could put together in logical order:

Binder’s Front Pocket:  An overview of our son’s life we had passed to Senator Dole.

TAB 1:  Letter to Senator Dole asking her to take my son’s appeal (We personally never heard from Senator Dole herself during the entire process.)
TAB 2:  Letter for Matthew’s complaint for the Congressional Investigation.

TAB 3:  The original letter Matthew had sent to us from Hawaii, which is transcribed in Tab 2.

TAB 4:  Army Staff Sergeant’s hand-written signed letter of what he had seen against Matthew while serving in Afghanistan.

TAB 5:  The denial letter Matthew had received from Dole along with a second letter received later telling Matthew he was barred from the base in Hawaii, writing his presence would “pose a threat to good order and discipline.”

TAB 6:  As best as I can organize, medical documents circa Parris Island and pre-medical papers.  There may be others mixed in.

TAB 7:  As best as I can organize, medical documents circa Camp Geiger.  There may be others mixed in.

TAB 8:  As best as I can organize, medical and other documents to drum Matthew out of the Corps.

TAB 9:  As best as I can organize, his final papers sending him home and disgraced out of the Corps he had loved.

Binder’s Back Pocket:  Letters he had sent to us from Parris Island and Afghanistan.


I hope this information is helpful to you in assisting our son in being recognized for his being abused by boots, either on their own or encouraged by command.  His anger, after returning from his serving in the Marines along with his not being able to hold down a job, needs to be revolved or it could shorten his life with continued failures.  His anger has gone to the extreme where if you bring out any negative comments about his personally, he goes almost ballistic as if his honesty and intelligence has being challenged.

He is not able to move forward with his life without serious and professional help from the Veteran’s Association.  In the end, after proudly graduating from Parris Island, all he wanted in the world was to be accepted as one of the guys.







"Freedom is Knowledge"