[T]he government’s interest in veterans cases is not that it shall win, but rather that justice shall be done, that all veterans so entitled receive the benefits due to them.” Barrett v. Nicholson, 466 F.3d 1038, 1044 (Fed.Cir.2006)
The Hampden County Bar Association is once again offering the Col. Archer B. Battista Veterans Scholarship to any veteran who is attending law school.
The scholarship, which will be granted for at least $1,000, was named for Battista, who served in the Air Force for 33 years in active duty and as an Air Force Reservist. He was a pilot and participated in over two hundred missions in the Vietnam War, for which he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and twenty Air Medals, and served in multiple missions to Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Battista graduated from Western New England University School of Law and practiced law from 1977 until 2013. He also served as president of the Hampden County Bar Association, a member of its board of directors and an ex officio director.
Battista, who died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 70, was an active part of a team of former Westover Air Force Reserve members who successfully spent four years fighting for benefits for military crews who fall ill after being exposed to Agent Orange while flying C-123 Provider planes that had been previously used to spray the chemical in Vietnam.
After retiring, Battista was instrumental in establishing a Veterans Treatment Court in Western Massachusetts. The court addresses the unique situation of military veterans facing criminal charges, offering specialized supervision and care. Battista also served as a mentor to veterans going through the court process and received the Adams Pro Bono Publico from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for his work.