By Tony Lopez

MATHER (CBS13) – In Afghanistan, Lonnie Turney knew what he was up against but never in his wildest dreams could this veteran sailor know the fight would continue upon his return home.

It’s a battle for benefits from an injury he says is combat related.

READ MORE: Hiker Captures Moment She Thought She Might Die on Video, Before Search Crews Rescue Her

“It came up into my lower lungs,” said Turney.

Shrapnel from a Taliban rocket is now causing him pain and shortness of breath.

But Turney’s running out of breath trying to prove the injury happened in Afghanistan.

“The navy is alleging that I had a truck accident back in 1980,” said Turney. “I was put on a respirator, I was in ICU for 17 days.”

And that’s when Turner says the navy believes the injury occurred.

READ MORE: Barrage Of Bullets That Hit Stockton Homes Caught On Video

If that’s true, he wonders why it wasn’t discovered during pre-deployment checkups.

“Because understand, they gave me a physical to make sure I was 100 percent before I went,” said Turney.

Armed with doctor’s notes confirming his injury happened in Afghanistan, Turney is now appealing his case.

But with a severe backlog at the VA Hospital of existing cases, the process will be slow.

“July, it will be a year,” said Turney.

MORE NEWS: Diver Recovers Lost Wedding Ring From American River, Reunites It With Heartbroken Husband

It’s an optimistic outlook from a veteran who feels betrayed and baffled by his battle over benefits.