Military Service

To PFC David Apperson, a comrade in arms, with sincere thanks for your service on the Korean DMZ and actions as an MP in harms way.

John K Singlaub
Major General, US Army Retired


During the months of February and March of 1978, Soldiers of B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry (Buccaneers) were manning Guard Posts (GPs) Collier and Quelette in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the North (nK) and South (ROK) Korean border in the vicinity of the jointly ROK/US manned Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom.

During daylight hours Buccaneer Soldiers observed nK activities to ensure the safety of ROK/US soldiers working in the JSA. At night US Soldiers from Collier and Quelette conducted small unit (squad sized) ambush patrols in the two kilometer area between the MDL and the ROK southern boundary fence to interdict nK Ranger Cammando teams who were trying to infiltrate the DMZ.

David Apperson was a member of B Company and participated in these operations in the bitter cold of the Korean winter where below zero temperatures were not uncommon.

Stephen Silvasy, Jr (Major General, US Army Retired)
Commander, 1st Battalion, 32d Infantry (Buccaneers) from 1976 to 1978


Specialist David Apperson, USA, Veteran


I can confirm that during the period of May 1977 and February 1978, B Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry, Third Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division did participate in the following live ammunition combat missions.

Thunderbolt Mission ... reaction force.

DMZ duty on Guard Posts Collier and Quellette ... conducting guard duty, observation post duty, and also conducting combat patrols.

Special Munitions Security Mission

All of these missions are actual live ammunition ... security combat missions. These missions are held in all types of weather from extreme heat to sub zero weather. And that you were a member of the Company during these missions and were a participant.

Finally, I can certainly validate (even though the statement presented by a former Battalion Commander at the time in question and ultimately retiring as a Major General) needs no validation, the information provided in his statement.

I assumed the duties of First Sergeant B Co, 1.32 Infantry in May 1977 and departed in Feb 1978 and I ultimately retired as the Ninth Sergeant Major of the Army, having served with Chief of Staff, Army General Gordon R. Sullivan and Secretaries of the Army, Michael P.W. Stone and Togo West in July 1995.

Richard A. Kidd
Sergeant Major of the Army, USA, Retired


As a law enforcement officer for over 25 years, I affirm and attest that the following information is true and accurate to the best of my recollection and belief.

I confirm in this message that PFC David W. Apperson served under my leadership as Squad Leader for Bravo Company, 1/32nd Infantry Regiment 3rd Brigade 2nd Division Camp Howze Korea 1977 - 1978 and that the following events took place:

1. PFC Apperson, while being assigned duty as a Unit Police Officer was on duty at the camp gate when an argument started with three individuals, which resulted in a physical altercation with PFC Apperson; and

2. PFC Apperson was ordered to fire upon a squad-sized unit when we were on assignment on the DMZ; this event was due to miscommunication over passwords. The radios were jammed and the password was misinterpreted from the unit that was conducting patrols. As the unit advanced toward the top of the hill, they were not recofnized as authorized personnel without the proper password, and they were fired upon; and

3. While preparing for a parade, the order was to fix bayonets, and PFC Apperson was stabbed with a Bayonet just before our company was to perform at a military parade in Seoul, Korea. He was field-dressed, and PFC Apperson continued in the parade even though later, upon return to the main camp, when taken to the medical facility, it was determined that he needed stitches in his left arm: and

4. Our unit, while going hot at Camp Humphries was called to the DMZ after a helicopter was shot down one mile north inside of North Korea. We were ordered to scamble, since we were on the quick strike alert. We loaded up Chinooks and orders were to set a perimeter on the down helicopter. Orders were scrached as we were hovering on the border of North korea; the co-pilot was captured, so our mission was canceled; and

5. Another incident with a downed helicopter occurred while doing maneuvers. After one-week in the field, the Huey helicopter that was bringing us hot meals crashed in a valley and we were assigned to set a perimeter around that helicopter until relieved by investigators; and

6. As demonstrated by the examples above, duty with the 1/32nd Infantry regiment was at times very dangerous. Our duties included many situations where death or severe injury could occur at any time.

Respectfully submitted,

Carlos Loya,
US Army Staff Sergeant


David Apperson saved my life !

Jose J. Melendez Ruiz
C Company, 1/32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division


For additional testimony see statement by Thomas W. Walker, "Corporal" as a "Buccaneer" of (The Queens Own), whose testimony was accepted by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in the case of David W. Apperson vs David Shulkin.

Sadly, Thomas has (and does continue) to suffer from Agent Orange Exposure which he received when doing night patrols on the Korean DMZ.

Thomas is an honorable guy and son of ...

Walton H. Walker
Lieutenant General, US Army Retired


In 2013 David Apperson was honored by the State of Texas for his military service and was encouraged to attend the Medal of Honor Convention in Gettysburg where his Volunteer Service at the convention (making sure Medal of Honor recipients had clean, safe, and unadulterated drinking water) was recognized.

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The Queens Own

The 1/32nd Infantry Battalion was first organized on 7 August 1916, on Oahu, Hawaii, Hawaii from elements of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Divisions. At its activation, it was known as "The Queen's Own" Regiment, a title bestowed by the last queen of Hawaii, Liliuokalani.

During World War I, units of this battalion were used to escort German prisoners of war being transferred to the United States from Hawaii. On 20 July 1918, the 32nd was transferred to Camp Kearny, San Diego, California, where it became a part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade, 16th Infantry Division. A short time later, many of its men were transferred to the 82nd Infantry Group and remained with this organization until it was demobilized in 1919.

The 2nd Battalion was reactivated in October, 1939, by the transfer of men from units of the 7th Infantry Division, and on 1 July 1940, the remainder of the regiment was reactivated as a part of the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, California. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the 32nd was moved into defensive positions along the West Coast.

As the job became apparent, the troops began intensive training as a motorized unit at Camp San Luis Obispo, California. Vast maneuvers were held in the Mojave Desert to prepare the 32nd for participation in the defeat of the German Afrika Korps, led by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. A change in Allied strategy, however, turned the 32nd overnight toward its role in amphibious assaults from the Aleutian Islands to tropical jungle.

Rushed to the Aleutians in the spring of 1943, after the Japanese had landed on Attu Island, the regiment played a major role in retaking American territory. It was here Private Joe P. Martinez, Company I, earned the Medal of Honor. Seeing his unit pinned down by enemy fire, he single handedly charged the enemy emplacement and destroyed it. While rallying the men he was mortally wounded.

For action on the Attu, "E", "I", and "K companies of the 32nd received Distinguished Unit Citations.

After their baptism of fire in the Aleutian campaign, the 32nd sailed to Hawaii for intensive training emphasizing amphibious landings and jungle fighting.

On 1 February 1944, the 32nd assaulted Kwajalein. During the five days, the 32nd, along with the 184th Infantry Regiment, eliminated all the enemy personnel on the island, with the exception of a few battle weary Japanese who surrendered.

The regiment returned to Hawaii on 14 February where it went through additional intensified jungle training for an expected invasion of Yap. Arriving at Eniwetok on 25 September 1944, the orders were changed and the 32nd joined General Douglas MacArthur's forces, spearheading the first landings on Leyte. Fighting in the swamps, tropical jungles, and over rugged mountains, the 7th Division battled over 37 miles (60 kilometers) in 60 days of the bitterest fighting in the Pacific.

The regiment's last campaign of World War II started 1 April 1945 with the landing at Okinawa. During this battle, the 32nd won the nickname Spearhead because of its continuous attacks against the enemy. After only three days of rest, the 32nd embarked for Korea to receive the surrender of the Japanese troops south of the 38th parallel. During its campaigns through the Pacific, the 32nd traveled 16,910 miles - more than any other regiment in any war, up to that time.

During the regiment's occupation stay in Korea, infantrymen obtained a preview of their tour in the Korean War. Units of the 32nd rotated on outpost positions along the 38th Parallel. The troops formed a tight perimeter against southbound guerrilla bands and were assigned the mission of eliminating the wholesale movement of black market goods across the boundary.

In December 1948, the 7th Infantry Division loaded on ships and sailed to Japan where its zone of occupation responsibility included almost half of the total land area of Japan. The 32nd replaced the 11th Airborne. During its stay in Japan, the strength of the regiment dropped by almost half of its paper strength.

On 25 June 1950, the North Korean Army crossed the 38th Parallel, taking Seoul and pushing all the way to the Pusan Perimeter. The 32nd began immediate preparation for deployment.

Intensive training for a proposed amphibious landing in Korea highlighted the training for the Regiment. A big problem faced the 32nd in the integration of several hundred ROK soldiers who were to fight alongside of American troops. Demonstrations, sign language, and a smattering of Japanese were used during the intensive military training. The ROKs were integrated at the squad level and introduced to the American "buddy" system in combat. American soldiers were responsible for the training and integration of the assigned ROK troops. After six days of loading supplies and equipment, the 32nd boarded troopships, departing for Inchon.

They went ashore 16 September 1950, met by small arms, mortar, and tank fire. The 32nd advanced north toward the Han River, the last natural barrier to Seoul. The Buccaneers, in the cold morning hours of the 25th, crossed the Han under intense enemy fire and captured their first objective at 1030 hours, a dominating hill mass outside Seoul. Its capture provided the 32nd with sufficient momentum to gain all assigned objectives. With the capture of the surrounding heights overlooking and dominating the city, Marine elements were able to resume their advance. The Navy Distinguished Unit Citation went to the Buccaneers for relieving the pressure on the Marines.

The division was relieved of the responsibility for the Seoul area on 30 September and moved 350 miles overland, arriving in Pusan to begin training for another proposed landing, this time at Wonson, North Korea. Departing from Pusan harbor on 28 October, the mission of the 7th was changed to land at Iwon and advance to the Korean-Manchurian border.

Landing at Iwon in the 29th, the 32nd moved quickly northward with the 1st Battalion on the east coast of the Chosin Reservoir and the 2nd and 3rd in the Fusan Reservoir area.

At that point there were definite indications of PLA intervention. Information three enemy divisions had arrived at Yudam-ni on 20 November 1950 reached intelligence personnel via prisoners of war. On the ground, no contact was made in the Chosin Reservoir area.

On 29 November 1950, when the full force of the Chinese struck the UN forces, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions stood their ground until UN elements further north moved to join the battle. Together all these UN elements made an orderly withdrawal from the Fusan area.

The 1st Battalion on the east coast of the Chosin Reservoir was with elements of the 31st Infantry and the 1st Marines, who were cut off by the PLA. Only after long and bloody fighting did these forces work their way south to Koto-ri, and then to the Hungman perimeter. LTC Don C Faith, Jr, 1st Battalion Commander, distinguished himself in this action.

During the five day period from 27 November 1950 to 1 December 1950, LTC Faith personally directed his troops across the ice-covered reservoir and continually placed himself with the forward elements of the Battalion. He was mortally wounded while attempting to destroy an enemy road block with hand grenades. For his leadership, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

With the signing of the truce, The Buccaneers busied themselves in defensive preparations on the Korean peninsula, until it was reorganized and activated as the 1st Battalion 32nd Infantry Regiment for a short period.

On 28 May 1978, the 1/32 Infantry Battalion stood down as part of President Carter's effort to withdraw troops from Korea. Just prior to that, Colin Powell and Stephen Silvasy respectively, served as battalion commanders.

Richard Kidd was the 1st Sgt of B Company from 1977 - 1978 and later became the 9th Sergeant Major of the Army !!! Hooah and Semper Fi

David Apperson, Age 17
Camp Howze Korea

The Queens Own posted by David Apperson

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David Apperson vs David Shulkin

Designated for electronic publication only


No. 16-1046




Before ALLEN, Judge.


Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.

ALLEN, Judge: Appellant David W. Apperson appeals through counsel a December 30, 2015, Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) decision denying him entitlement to service connection for a bilateral shoulder disability. This appeal was timely filed and the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §§ 7252(a) and 7266(a). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will set aside the December 30, 2015, Board decision and remand this matter for further proceedings.


Appellant served honorably on active duty in the United States Army from January 1977 to March 1979. Record (R.) at 5225. Appellant reports that, while stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, he fell during a platoon run and sustained a clavicle injury. R. at 5793–5794. He further reports that he was taken to a military doctor and told that he had a broken collar bone (clavicle). R. at 5794. Aside from appellant's testimony, the record provides no documentation of this incident or diagnosis. Appellant explains that he was told he could "recycle, which means start [training] over after it healed, but [that he] said 'no, I'm the acting platoon leader' . . . [and] did with one arm what other people did with two." R. at 5794.

Aside from the platoon run at Fort Benning, appellant indicated a second in-service incident in which he was injured. While explaining the onset of his pain, appellant reported:
  • when I was a unit police officer and I was guarding the gate and three individuals wanted to go outside the gate without proper passes. There became an altercation and I was basically fighting three guys and one guy had a rock about eight inches in a T-shirt and hit me in the back of the head.
R. at 5796. This testimony was corroborated in a statement from Thomas W. Walker, who was stationed with appellant in Korea from August 1977 to August 1978. R. at 3793. Mr. Walker testified that, "[i]n the summer of 1977 it was known throughout the regiment that while a [unit police officer] at the gate [appellant] had to single handedly, simultaneously, battle three individuals who were utilizing numb-chucks (sic) and rocks as weapons." Id.

Appellant testified that he continued to have problems with his shoulder while he was in service, but that he did not seek medical treatment until 2003 when he woke up to find his neck, shoulder, and side in "tremendous pain." R. at 5795. Appellant then submitted a service-connection claim for a shoulder condition, the regional office (RO) denied his claim, and appellant appealed to the Board. R. at 4920–21, 4962, 5938–42.

After the Board remanded this matter based on its finding that two previous VA examinations, one in September 2013 and another in October 2014, were insufficient to adjudicate appellant's shoulder claim, R. at 2159, VA provided him another examination in May 2015. R. at 5239–50. Similar to its conclusion about the 2013 and 2014 examinations, the Board held that the May 2015 examination's medical rationale was "quite clearly" inadequate and remanded the matter yet again. R. at 1421–27. Upon remand, VA obtained a September 2015 supplemental opinion. R. at 5236–38. In its December 30, 2015, decision, the Board found that, when taken together, the May 2015 report and September 2015 supplemental opinion were adequate for adjudication purposes. R. at 5. It concluded that "[appellant's] bilateral shoulder disorder was not incurred in or aggravated by service, nor may it be presumed to have been." R. at 4 (citations omitted). This appeal followed.


Appellant essentially raises two arguments, both of which he alleges establish clear error for which the Court should remand this matter. First, he maintains that the Board erred in finding the September 2015 VA supplemental opinion adequate. Appellant's Brief (Br.) at 8. Second, he asserts that the Board erred by providing inadequate reasons and bases for disregarding an appellant-favorable February 2010 medical opinion. Id. at 14. As described below, the Court agrees with appellant that the examiner lacked an adequate rationale in her September 2015 supplemental opinion because she contradicted an earlier examiner's findings without giving a rationale and failed to discuss whether appellant's in-service personal assault caused or aggravated his shoulder condition. While it is true that the Court reviews the Board's determination that an examination is adequate under the "clearly erroneous" evidentiary standard, see D'Aries v. Peake, 22 Vet.App. 97, 103 (2008), the Board's conclusion that the September 2015 examination is adequate simply does not pass muster.

To begin with, in the September 2015 opinion, the examiner contradicts a finding made by a VA examiner in September 2013 without providing a rationale for doing so. Although the 2013 report states that x-rays were negative for an old or new clavicle fracture, it went on to conclude that "[t]he x-rays of the bilateral shoulders . . . [show] mild deformity of the right clavicle that could be consistent with previous clavicle fracture." R. at 5789. Despite this recognition, the September 2015 opinion unequivocally states that "[the 2010 and 2015] x-rays of the clavicles reveal that the clavicle has no evidence of a poorly healed clavicle fracture." R. at 5238. Given the 2013 examiner's admission that the mild deformity could be consistent with a previous fracture, the Court struggles to understand the September 2015 examiner's conclusion that the x-rays show no evidence of an old fracture. Perhaps a more thorough rationale would have explained this, but the Board was left without one and this Court will remand accordingly. See Hicks v. Brown, 8 Vet.App. 417, 422 (1995) (where the record is incomplete because of an inadequate medical opinion, remand is appropriate).

Additionally, the examiner failed to address a documented in-service assault and whether this incident contributed to appellant's bilateral shoulder condition. It is well established that "the Board is required to consider all issues raised either by the claimant or by the evidence of record." Robinson v. Peake, 21 Vet.App. 535, 552 (2008), aff'd sub nom. Robinson v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1355 (Fed. Cir. 2009). Although the Secretary is not required to investigate all possible theories of service connection, he "must investigate the reasonably apparent and potential causes of [appellant's] condition and theories of service connection that are reasonably raised by the record or raised by a sympathetic reading of [appellant's] filing." DeLisio v. Shinseki, 25 Vet.App. 45, 53 (2011) (citing Robinson, 21 Vet.App. at 552).

In her September 2015 supplemental opinion, the examiner stated that "[appellant's] claimed condition of left clavicle fracture reportedly happened in 1978[,] [but] [t]here is nothing in the [record] to substantiate this." R. at 5238. She continued, "[appellant] had no symptoms again in his shoulder until 2003 and this is due to an unrelated condition." Id. Notably, the examiner failed to discuss appellant's assault incident and whether this affected his claimed shoulder condition. The Secretary argues that "[appellant was] hit in the back of the head, neck or back, with a rock, or other weapons, and not the shoulders . . . the evidence of record pertains to different body parts than what is here on appeal," adding that the Board is not required to engage in "prognostication." Secretary's Br. at 10. The Court finds this argument disingenuous at best.

When making a claim, "a claimant is not expected to have medical expertise and generally 'is only competent to identify and explain the symptoms that he observes and experiences.'" DeLisio, 25 Vet.App. at 53 (quoting Clemons v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 1, 5 (2009) (per curiam)). Appellant referenced the clavicle fracture at Fort Benning and the assault in Korea as affecting his neck. R. at 5796 (Q: "tell me what injury occurred that caused the neck problems?" A: "Well, there's actually two. One is when I rolled at [Fort Benning] and, second, is when I was a unit police officer . . . "). But he also referred to both incidents as possible origins of his shoulder pain. R. at 5794 (Q: "Okay. [After falling at Fort Benning,] did you continue to have problems with your left shoulder during . . . service?" A: "Not that I recall except for some instance when I was a unit police officer[.]" (emphasis added)). Yet, the examiner only considered the Fort Benning incident when providing a conclusion for appellant's bilateral shoulder claim. R. at 5238. If appellant testified to the assault and clavicle injury as contributing to his shoulder pain, then it escapes the Court why the examiner would only discuss one of the two. Indeed, the Board even referenced the assault in its decision. R. at 7 ("[appellant] also testified that he had shoulder problems later, which were aggravated by an assault during active service"). The examiner's omission renders the medical opinion inadequate and, thus, the Board committed clear error that warrants remand. See Hicks, 8 Vet.App. at 422.

Given the disposition described above, the Court will not at this time address the remaining arguments and issues appellant has raised. See Best v. Principi, 15 Vet.App. 18, 20 (2001). On remand, appellant is free to submit additional evidence and argument, including the arguments raised in his briefs to this Court, in accordance with Kutscherousky v. West, 12 Vet.App. 369, 372-73 (1999) (per curiam order), and the Board must consider any such evidence or argument submitted. Kay v. Principi, 16 Vet.App. 529, 534 (2002). The Board shall proceed expeditiously, in accordance with 38 U.S.C. §§ 5109B and 7112.


After consideration of the parties' briefs and a review of the record, the December 30, 2015, Board decision is SET ASIDE and the matter is REMANDED to the Board for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

DATED: October 6, 2017

Copies to:

Glenn R. Bergmann, Esq.

VA General Counsel (027)

David Apperson v David Shulkin
United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

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