Vietnam Veteran Still Fighting

Ricardo Hernandez said he's glad veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated differently than his Vietnam brothers.

By Damian Trujillo
|  Tuesday, May 29, 2012  |  Updated 9:42 AM PDT
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Veterans can receive help at the San Jose Veteran Center. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo talks to some of them.

Veterans can receive help at the San Jose Veteran Center. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo talks to some of them.

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The Vietnam War ended almost 40 years ago for Ricardo Hernandez. But in many ways, the veteran is still fighting that war.

"I’m still under a program," Hernandez said. "I've been to PTSD classes and anger management classes."

Hernandez said he's glad veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated differently than his Vietnam brothers. They're welcomed home, and help is readily available.

"There are a lot of lessons learned from the Vietnam War," said Juanita Morales-Euresti, executive director of the San Jose Vet Center. "That’s why we're right there, 90 days after they come home, we're out there doing assessments."

Nearly half of the current returning veterans are applying for disability benefits, a record number.

One of those who qualifies is Jesus Benito Fernandez. Fernandez served two tours in Afghanistan.

"It was tough," he said. "Definitely not for the weak. But God sent me and I made it out and I"m proud."

If you’re a local vet looking for more information on the services available to you, visit this website. You can also call the San Jose Vet Center at 408-993-0729.

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