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1 In 5 Troops Discharged For Misconduct Between 2011 And 2015 Had PTSD Or TBI, Report Finds
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can impact the behavior of service members, and may lead to separations for misconduct, according to the findings of a Government Accountability Office study published today.
In a five-year period, three out of five service members dismissed from the military for misconduct were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, drinking, or other adjustment-related issues two years prior to their separation.
From 2011 to 2015, 62% of the 91,764 service members separated for misconduct had been previously diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or “certain other conditions that could be associated with misconduct,” reads the GAO report.
Of those separated for misconduct, many received other than honorable or other “bad paper discharges,” which may make them ineligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs:
16 percent had been diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, while the other conditions, such as adjustment and alcohol-related disorders, were more common. Of the 57,141 service members, 23 percent, or 13,283, received an “other than honorable” characterization of service, making them potentially ineligible for health benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“It’s horrific to think of these young men and women as statistics, but that’s what they’re becoming,” John Rowan the national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said in a statement.“These are veterans who volunteered to serve in a time of war, yet they’ve been failed by previous administrations.” In the statement, Rowan called on President Donald Trump “to exercise his constitutional authority and to act now to save these veterans with bad paper.”
The stress of back-to-back deployments to war zones against an insurgency that hides among the civilian populace, and where the threat of improvised explosive devices were high, has lead to hundreds of thousands of service members being diagnosed with PTSD and TBI, the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based on the report, these injuries can negatively impact a service member’s thoughts and behavior, which can lead to discipline problems, poor performance at work, and ultimately, to the service member’s dismissal from the military. Depending on how they’re discharged, that can dramatically impact their access to care through the VA.
Veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges, commonly referred to as “bad paper” discharges, are often unable to receive veterans’ benefits, such as health care. That’s particularly problematic in cases where a veteran’s discharge may have been the result of a mental health condition or a head injury, which negatively impacted his or her performance.
Though the VA secretary, David Shulkin, announced in March that the department would begin offering emergency mental health treatment for veterans with “bad paper” discharges, the assistance is on a case-by-case basis for emergencies, and doesn’t extend full VA benefits to veterans with “bad paper.”
The study also found that the Air Force and the Navy failed to comply with DoD policies for screening troops with PTSD and TBI prior to discharging them. Both the Marine Corps and the Army failed to adhere to their own screening, training, and counseling policies related to TBI and PTSD, according to the report:
GAO found that 18 of the 48 non generalizable sample separation packets reviewed for Marine Corps service members administratively separated for misconduct lacked documentation showing that the service member had been screened for PTSD and TBI.
The report added: “During interviews with Army officers, GAO found that some officers may not have received training to identify mild TBI symptoms, despite Army policy that all service members should be trained.”
The GAO has recommended that the DoD direct the Air Force and Navy to fix “inconsistencies in their screening and training policies and ensure that the military services monitor adherence to their screening, training, and counseling policies.” The military agreed with most of the GAO’s recommendations.
The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) is the largest official database of U.S. military media available for public consumption. It is also an occasional source of unexpected laughs, like this gem from a live fire exercise that a public affairs officer simply tagged 'Fire mortar boom.' In the world of droll data entry and too many acronyms, sometimes little jokes are their own little form of rebellion, right?
But some DVIDS uploads, however, come with captions and titles that cut right to the core, perfectly capturing the essence of life in the U.S. military in a way that makes you sigh, facepalm, and utter a mournful, 'too real.'
The US military does not need Iraqi permission to provide close air support or evacuate wounded troops in 'emergency circumstances'
The U.S. military does not need Iraqi permission to fly close air support and casualty evacuation missions for U.S. troops in combat, a top spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS clarified on Tuesday.
Army Col. James Rawlinson clarified that the Iraqis do not need to approve missions in emergency circumstances after Task & Purpose reported on Monday that the U.S. military needed permission to fly CAS missions for troops in a fight.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.