Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soldier kicked out for being in wrong unit over substance abuse

Their future should not depend on who their commanders are or what rules they apply. Over the last ten years there have been many reports of soldiers using alcohol and drugs to stop feeling the effects of combat but finding help instead of discharges. Unfortunately there there have also been too many given the "bums rush" out the door cutting them off from everything as a member of the military as well as what they would have received as a veteran.

They lose their military pay and benefits including housing and when they need it the most, their healthcare. Where do you think they can go after serving and suffering for doing it when they have been cut off from everything?

They lose the chance to go to college topped off with the fact that most companies won't hire a dishonorably discharged veteran especially when there are so many honorably discharged veterans with medals looking for work when employers won't hire them. They lose the VA healthcare along with compensation for wounds they received including TBI and PTSD. They lose support from organizations, most with bylaws regarding conditions that the veteran was honorably discharged.

Their future should not depend on who they served under but it does. How do you tell a soldier like Bill Surwillo that his service leading to all of his suffering just killed off his future but others found the help they needed and are still in or going to college or being treated for what combat did to them? Then how to you tell him that had they left him alone for one more day, he would have received everything he should have? How do you tell him that? How do you explain to him that while he served at Lewis-McChord and lost it all, if he served under another commander, he would be in treatment and see his service appreciated? Four years in a unit that went through hell and they couldn't give him one more day to heal his life?

Combat Vet Loses GI Bill Over Pot And Spice
Austin Jenkins


NEAR JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Here's a soldier's tale. Bill Surwillo deploys to Afghanistan. Nearly a quarter of his platoon is killed. He comes home with PTSD. He turns to marijuana and spice – a synthetic version of the drug – to relax. The Army kicks him out and takes away his GI Bill. Is this fair?

I meet Bill Surwillo at a noisy café just outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His car is packed and he's ready to head home to Wisconsin. He's been kicked out of the Army for drug use one day shy of his official end of service date – and he's bitter.

Bill Surwillo: "I gave my life to that unit for the past four years."

Surwillo is especially upset the Army took away his college benefits. He wanted go to trade school to become a plumber or welder.

Sitting next to him in the café booth is his friend and fellow battle buddy, Nick White. Over the din, they describe the chaos in both their lives since they returned home.

That leads them to war stories from what they call their "gnarly" deployment to Afghanistan.

Surwillo tells me about one of the many roadside bombs that maimed and killed his friends and fellow soldiers.
read more here
Combat Vet Loses GI Bill Over Pot And Spice


  1. This happened to me! I was a combat medic with the 82nd airborne div. Came back from 15 months in Iraq stressed out and started self medicating. I had 6 days left on my contract after all the paperwork was done. Like this guy I too had a good conduct medal with many others to go along with it. The only reason I joined was for the college money which i don't qualify for now. this is BULLSH*T and I was apart of search and rescue in new Orleans after Katrina WTF man

  2. Sorry for the delay in reply. I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. I hate to suggest it because I know how private all of you are but you may want to contact the media and tell them what happened to you. That way two things happen. First it gets you noticed by people that can make this right including congress. Secondly, it will help someone else going through the same thing knowing they are not alone.

    People do care but they don't know what's going on for the most part. The broadcast media is not interested in telling these stories until people demand it but they can't demand something be done until they know about it.

  3. I would have to say that I know Bill Surwillo and hes a true piece of shit, a heroin addict, and agree with their decision to kick him out because he is unfit to wear the uniform. Guess they taken anyone these days!

  4. anonymous, that's a very "brave" thing to say when you hide behind the shadow of an "anonymous" name. Then again, it's easy to say whatever you want this way. Your reputation is protected no matter what you say but for the person you attack, their name is known.

    The question in my mind is why would anyone want to put up a comment like yours. Do you have something to prove? Doubt it since you were not brave enough to put your name out there. Do you just want to hurt someone else? I bet that's it considering that is usually the only reason to do something like this. I allowed the comment for one simple reason. People like you get away with saying whatever they want because they believe their free speech rights allow them to do it but the truth is, people like you will do whatever it takes to feed your own ego.

    As for the "pos" you put on him, my husband's nephew was not a "pos" but a very brave man who risked his life in Vietnam. He was addicted to heroin as well. It happened because he blamed himself for his two best friends being blown up in front of his eyes on a road he did a sweep on just hours before. He was decorated, 100% disabled but could not heal from all he had been through. He checked himself into a motel room, locked the door and ended his own life. He was not a 'pos" but a man deeply troubled because he cared.

  5. To the last anonymous poster, your comments are not going to be posted here. I won't allow anyone to be attacked especially when it is posted under anonymous. If you want to attack anyone, or me do it some place else.


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