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'My country has lost its way': WWII vet denied military pension

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. -- Don Wollett says the country he defended is letting him down.

The disabled World War II veteran is at battle again, this time fighting for a pension.

"I enlisted about four days after Pearl Harbor," he said.

The surprise strike in the Pacific fueled a fire inside Wollett. Fresh out of law school, Wollett found himself commanding Navy ships during the war.

"I was primarily a celestial navigator; found out where we were and where we were going," he said.

Now 92 years old, he is disappointed and heartbroken. The Department of Veterans Affairs rejected Wollett's recent request for pension benefits, stating his service records show no active military service and only active duty for training purposes.

"I was shocked. It was like a slap in the face, because I was proud of what I did in World War II," he said.

Wollett is running short of money.

"I can walk sometimes, but I fall frequently. So I need help," he said.

That help costs about $4,000 a month -- expenses his social security and teaching pension don't cover. He is seeking $1,500 in monthly aid for his military service.

Wollett's son, who is asking a congressman and senators for help on his father's behalf, says even his father's notice of separation recognized his active duty.

"It's appalling," said son Fritz Wollett.

After the military, Don Wollett went on to become a professor of law at Harvard University, University of Washington and New York University, to name a few. He is now appealing his denial of benefits, and calls his situation groundless, annoying, and mistaken.

"I think my country has lost its way," he said.

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