Monday, August 4, 2008

Soldier suffers survivors guilt from hearing loss because commander didn't care what doctor said

Staff Sgt. Kevin Dunne blames himself for the death of Sgt. Richard Vaughn because he could not hear where the gun shots were coming from. A doctor at Fort Hood said Dunne's hearing was so bad he should be discharged, but yet again, Fort Hood commanders thought they knew better than a doctor did. Now in the 3rd deployment, Dunne is left to deal with survivors guilt of the death he feels he should have been able to prevent. He shouldn't have been there at all. So now his hearing has suffered for his service and he is also left with the result of being sent back because some commander thought whatever the doctor said, just didn't matter enough. This story is not new because unit after unit has been sending the wounded back to Iraq and Afghanistan, no matter how serious the wound is or what the wound would do to the soldiers and citizen solders. Will anyone at Fort Hood be held accountable for this decision?

Study: 1 in 4 soldiers at war have hearing loss

By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Monday Aug 4, 2008 9:44:19 EDT

The bombs along the Baghdad road exploded one after the other, leaving one soldier unconscious and another screaming from his wounds. Staff Sgt. Kevin Dunne's squad was under attack. Rifle and machine gun fire pinned them down. Then, shots from a sniper.

Dunne yelled orders, but he and his squad were at a disadvantage.

Dunne said he couldn't hear well enough to tell where the sniper fire was coming from.

"I had no idea," he wrote in an e-mail to USA Today.

In the four months before the April 7 attack, the chief physician at Fort Hood, Texas, had warned that Dunne's hearing was so bad that he should be removed from combat duties. Others in the Army overruled him and sent Dunne back to Iraq for his third combat tour.
Now, a member of Dunne's squad — Sgt. Richard Vaughn, 22, of San Diego — lay dead from a sniper's bullet.

"He was lying in the middle of the street motionless," Dunne wrote. "I blame myself a lot for not being able to identify the threat simply because of the way I heard the shots."
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