I spent 10 months of military service in a war zone as a draftee, an obligation that was served with honor.

In Vietnam, we heard rumors or promises that we might pull out or go home, yet we trudged on across a tarmac or muddy jungle.

Fifty years later, it's 100 miles-plus to drive or be driven through the Los Angeles traffic congestion to reach our Veterans Administration hospital, only to be told of no appointment scheduled, or informed to return for another checkup the next day or call for an appointment. Our disabilities, which include PTSD, make it difficult to deal with the traffic or medical snafu.

I have experienced CHOICE Care (a VA program) for local treatment in lieu of a Los Angeles VA hospital appointment. The local care is inadequate as we have very few choices, if any, of facilities willing to provide VA-paid care to veterans. If we receive any care, it must be fully pre-approved by the VA before services are provided, or the veteran is billed if care is provided.

Our benefits are appreciated as we have fought so long to receive them. But again, we hear of empty promises of building a new local VA medical facility.

— Robert Sanchez, Bakersfield