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He Accidentally Shot Himself In The Head. Now This Soldier Is Fighting To Be Medically Retired
Army Spc. Kevin Holyan is fighting the Army for disability benefits after accidentally shooting himself in the head with his personal weapon nearly two years ago, according to his attorneys.
In April 2017, the Fort Campbell soldier was showing off his personal weapon during a fellow service member's promotion party when he made a joke about killing himself, put the gun against his head, and pulled the trigger, a news release from the Tully Rinckey law firm in Washington, D.C. says.
The weapon was not loaded at the beginning of the party, according to the news release, which also says Hoylan and the others had been drinking "but not in excess."
The commanding general for the 101st Airborne Division has determined that Hoylan was not injured in the line of duty "due to willful misconduct," said his attorney Sean Timmons, of Tully Rinckey, who is preparing to file an appeal with the secretary of the Army.
Hoylan's appeal will determine whether or not he is medically retired from the Army, Timmons told Task & Purpose. If Hoylan is discharged, he would have to seek medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Timmons described Hoylan as a young and relatively inexperienced junior enlisted soldier who "fell victim to peer pressure" to do something stupid when he accidentally shot himself in the head. There is no evidence that Hoylan was to avoid service by becoming permanently disabled.
"The regulation is very clear that absent willful misconduct in the commission of a crime or deliberate intent to harm someone, it's line of duty," Timmons said. "Here, in this case, my client did not intentionally mean to harm himself. Although it was a reckless, stupid act, he had no thought there was actually a bullet in the gun when he fired it. Because of his lack of knowledge, by default the rule is line of duty."
As a result of his injuries, Hoylan is paralyzed and he suffered brain damage, Timmons said. Ultimately, either Army Secretary Mark Esper will decide Hoylan's appeal, which is due on Feb. 28.
When asked about Hoylan, a spokesman for Fort Campbell, Kentucky had little to say, in part because Hoylan is no longer assigned there.
"Because the Army is still reviewing his case, it would be inappropriate for me to comment because the case is no longer with us," said Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell. "It is with the Army."
Whatever the Army decides regarding whether an injury was incurred in the line of duty, the VA conducts its own medical evaluation to determine if a veteran's injuries are service connected, said Anthony Kuhn, chairman of Tully Rinckey's Military Law Practice Group.
"If the VA considers the injury to be service-connected, the VA will treat the condition and any secondary conditions at no cost to the veteran and regardless of the classification of service," Kuhn told Task & Purpose. "Depending on the classification of service, the veteran may also receive monthly compensation."
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‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.