Saturday, March 3, 2018

Yale Law School giving PTSD veterans fighting chance for justice

Suit Calls Navy Board Biased Against Veterans With PTSD
New York Times
Dave Philipps
March 2, 2018
The office that oversees discharges for the Navy and Marines, the Naval Discharge Review Board, rejects nearly 85 percent of requests for upgrades relating to PTSD, compared with 45 percent for the Army board.

Things got ugly for Cpl. Tyson Manker in Iraq. During a firefight in the confusion of the 2003 invasion, the 21-year-old Marine shot up a bus full of civilians. Later, during a chase, he dropped an Iraqi in a flowing white robe with a shot to the torso, only to discover afterward that he had hit a teenage girl. His squad beat detainees, and accidentally shot several other civilians.

After his deployment, Corporal Manker was kicked out of the Marine Corps with an other-than-honorable discharge — not for anything that happened in combat, but for smoking marijuana to try to quiet his nerves when he got home.

The military has increasingly acknowledged in recent years that there are tens of thousands of Corporal Mankers — troops whose brutal experiences left them with post-traumatic stress disorder, and who were then pushed out of the military for misconduct. Many were given other-than-honorable discharges that stripped them of veterans’ benefits.

The Army and Air Force have moved in recent years to make it easier for these veterans to get their discharges upgraded to honorable. But not the Marine Corps. read more here

Good time to be reminded of the fact, if they did not receive an "honorable discharge" and ended up committing suicide, they were not counted by anyone other than those who loved them!

And Yale fought for Army veterans too.
Veterans Clinic Files Nationwide Class-Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Army Veterans
Yale Law School

April 17, 2017

Two Army veterans, Steve Kennedy and Alicia Carson, filed a federal class-action lawsuit on Monday seeking relief for the thousands of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions during their military service and received unfair less-than-Honorable discharges. The plaintiffs are represented by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic.

Since September 11, 2001, hundreds of thousands of veterans have received less-than-Honorable (“bad paper”) discharges imposing a lifetime stigma, impairing their employment prospects, and denying them access to critical government services, including the GI bill, mental health treatment, and disability benefits. Tens of thousands received these bad paper discharges as a result of misconduct attributable to conditions like PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

“As my PTSD became impossible to manage on my own, my commander told me that the only way I could receive treatment was by leaving the Army with a bad paper discharge,” said plaintiff Steve Kennedy, leader of the Connecticut chapter of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Just like that, the Army wiped away years of distinguished service to my country and deemed it less than Honorable.”

Even worse, after their discharge the Army regularly denies these veterans a second chance, according to the lawsuit. While Congress created an agency called the Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) to help veterans upgrade their unjustly harsh discharges after returning to civilian life, the clinic said the ADRB has systematically failed veterans for decades.
read more here

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