Thursday, December 24, 2015

DOD Still Behaving Badly with Bad Discharges

It is amazing what you will find in one article. This one on bad discharges has several key points, among them the fact that these discharges has contributed to homeless veteran living on the streets.

It also points out that 207,000 left the military last year. What? How does the Department explain the number of suicides when there are so many out?

How does the DOD explain 18,000 getting bad discharges after all those years of "resilience" training every single one of them had?
Some military discharges mean no benefits after service ends
Associated Press
Dec. 24, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) — No medical or mental health care. No subsidized college or work training.
In this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, Josh Redmyer, a former Marine who served three tours in Iraq, poses with Milo, who he calls his "therapy dog," in Oroville, Calif. Redmyer, who was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2009, received a less-than-honorable discharge in 2012. He is among the thousands of veterans who cannot receive veterans health benefits because of a less-than-honorable discharge. Redmyer turns to Milo, who is a birthday present from his roommate, when he becomes despondent.
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

For many who leave the U.S. military with less-than-honorable discharges, including thousands who suffered injuries and anguish in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, standard veterans benefits are off limits.

The discharge serves as a scarlet letter of dishonor, and the effects can be severe: Ex-military members with mental health problems or post-traumatic stress disorder can't turn to Veterans Affairs hospitals or clinics; those who want to go to college aren't eligible for the GI Bill; the jobless get no assistance for career training; the homeless are excluded from vouchers.

"It's an indelible mark of their service that follows them for the rest of their lives into the workforce, through background checks, social relationships, and it precludes them from getting the kind of support that most veterans enjoy," said Phil Carter, an Iraq War vet and senior fellow at the Center for A New American Security.

The Department of Defense said of nearly 207,000 people who left the military last year, just 9 percent received what's referred to as "bad paper." Still, that's more than 18,000 people last year and more than 352,000 since 2000, Defense Department data shows.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican who's on the House Armed Services Committee, believes many of those men and women suffered battle-related problems that affected their behavior, especially PTSD and traumatic brain injury. A 2005 study showed Marines deployed to combat who were diagnosed with PTSD were 11 times more likely to receive less-than-honorable discharges, said Brad Adams, an attorney who works with the San Francisco-based organization Swords to Plowshares.
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