Letters to the Editor...

Securing DD Form 214

I recently had a veteran come to my office asking for assistance in getting his DD Form 214. The DD 214 is often used generically to refer to discharge papers or separation papers one receives upon leaving the military. My wonderful husband, Troy, had helped me with this task previously and he helped me retrieve the information a second time as well.

In speaking with Earl Ivie, our field rep in Los Angeles, I learned that requests for retrieval of an individual’s DD Form 214 are relatively common and that Bulletin readers may benefit from knowing how to obtain one. To make the request, one must first complete Standard Form 180, which is available at www.archives.gov/research/order/standard-form-180.pdf. Once the form is filled out with the veteran’s personal information, it should be faxed to 314-801-9195. The person requesting the action should receive two or three copies of the DD Form 214 in about 14 business days.

Claudia Perry

Silver Spring, Maryland

Region II Field Service Representative

Installing Software Using JAWS

Setting up and installing computer software for new scanners and other equipment might not always be as easy as we anticipate. Today I received a new scanner for my Windows XP operating system from EVAS. I had been looking forward to independently taking care of the installation.

I first went through the process of uninstalling the old HP scanner system and then unplugged the two wires. I then took the Canon LiDE 25 scanner out of the box and was very happy to find that it worked with just the USB plug. I plugged it into my CPU and scanner and then unlocked the scanning device.

I then proceeded to attempt the installation of the software. I inserted the CD into the drive and waited a little while, but thing happened! JAWS was obviously not reading anything on the screen. Thinking that I did something wrong, I closed the screen and tried the process again, with the same results.

At my beckoning, my wife, Marilyn, came and looked at the monitor. She said that an “Install” button and several other buttons were on the screen. I tried tabbing and tried using the JAWS cursor, but to no avail. Marilyn had to use the mouse to get to three different screens before the “Windows Install” screen appeared and JAWS began reading. I could then take care of the rest of the set-up process by myself.

I don't understand why VA issues hardware to blinded veterans with software that only a sighted person can use. Not all blinded veterans have a sighted individual around to help them with this type of process. Going back several years, I also remember JAWS having a difficult time with an Epson scanner I was issued. The graphics definitely created a problem.

Maybe those at VA issuing different hardware for blinded veteran computer users should first determine if a screen reader works with the installation process before they place orders. Not everyone uses ZoomText.

Dennis O'Connell

Floral Park, New York

Previous Section/Of Note

Next Section/In Remembrance