Many veterans find it necessary to add “Buddy Statements” in support of their Stressor Letter. A well constructed Buddy Statement will verify and ad credibility to Stressor Letters. All too often, VSOs complain that many Buddy Statements lack the substance and content needed to be helpful.


Buddy Statements should be written in a style that is accurate, brief, and concise. They should also contain the elements of who, what, when, where, how, and a closing statement.


VSOs across the country have relayed to us that a Buddy Statement written within VA Form 21-4138 (Statement In Support of Claim) must be well written if it is to be effective. Below is an example of how a Buddy Statement should be crafted. 

For: John Doe                                                                                                                                Date: January 1, 2010


I knew John Doe very well when I was assigned to the 3rd Armor Division. During Vietnam, we were both assigned to Delta Company, 5th Battalion, 3rd Armor Division. At the time, I was a truck driver, and John was my gunner. John was a great gunner. I trusted him. I knew John would never jump ship when things got heated. He always had my back.


Back in November 1967, while transporting supplies to the front lines, we came under heavy mortar attack from the NVA. I remember being very scared, even though John was there to keep me safe. It was something about the mission that did not feel right from the very beginning. When we were hit by an incoming mortar, I remember seeing John blasted from my truck. I can still see his body flying through the air and landing on top of a nearby dirt hill. As a jumped out of my burning truck I ran over to John to see if he was alive. When I got to him I could see bone sticking out of his left forearm. John was semi-conscious at the time. I screamed at him, “John! John! Are you ok?” John did not respond too much, I think he was dazed, confused, and in shock. I yelled for our medic. The medic applied first aid to John while I called for help.


After the attack was over, a helicopter came in to pick John up and those who were killed, and those who were badly injured. John was badly injured and disoriented. His left arm was completely useless, his left leg had many cuts and bruises, the left side of his face was swollen, and his left ear was bleeding. John was so badly injured I remember thinking that he may not make it.

After all of the dead and injured were airlifted to safety and the hospital, me and the boys sat around wondering how could we have been attacked. Our intelligence unit told us that we would be safe. We were informed that NVA or Vietcong troops were no place in the general vicinity. We later realized we took the wrong road.

I saw John three weeks later at the battalion hospital. John told me that his left arm had been badly broken, and that he had three cracked ribs. John said he did not remember much of the attack, so I filled him in on the details.

Those are the details of the trauma John and I experienced. I have recalled those moments to the best of my ability.




Mike “Mad Dog” Smith

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