Casualties of the Unbreakable Vow: What’s our Government Doing For Combat Veterans?

Fallen Soldier Ceremony

Army Reserve soldiers stand at parade rest at a Fallen Soldier ceremony for Cpl. James C. Young at the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters on Fort McPherson, Ga., Thursday, Feb. 17. Young, 25, was assigned to the 323rd Engineer Company from Sparta
Army Reserve soldiers stand at parade rest at a Fallen Soldier ceremony for Cpl. James C. Young at the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters on Fort McPherson, Ga., Thursday, Feb. 17. Young, 25, was assigned to the 323rd Engineer Company from Sparta | Source

Casualties of the Unbreakable Vow: What’s our Government Doing For Combat Veterans?:

The Unbreakable Vow that each and every young man and woman takes when they forge a life to any United States Branch of Service makes them a special person. The Army for starters tells you: God, Country, Family, in that order. In a very real sense that makes any family you might have last in the eyes of the Government, these men and women are trained specifically in all types of capacities, but one thing they aren’t trained for is to know what happens if an injury occurs because of their duty to their Country. One can only assume they will be taken care of, is the Purple Heart enough of a pat on the back when a soldier is partially blown up by an IED?

The reality is in today’s time, 1 out of every 5 US Troops, suffer from a mental illness or anxiety disorder like PTSD, and as a result of repeated traumas from Iraq or Afghanistan, and an equal number of those cases have suffered with an undiagnosed traumatic brain injury. According to new studies by Rand Corp, only about half of those combat Veterans have even sought treatment for their reoccurring deteriorating mental issues, their figures indicate only 18.5% of 300,000 men and women, indicated they suffer from depression or PTSD and another 19% of 320,000 admitted to suffering from head injuries that ranged from mild concussions to severe lacerations of the head. Some of you may now be asking yourselves why, with so much at stake, why any soldier would fail to seek treatment for such a threatening issue.

Maybe because the threats of retaliation by their comrades in arms, or the harassment that they would endure would be worse than the disorder they are suffering from. Reports of extreme harassment, nationwide since the War on Terror began, and the long standing reports from Veterans that suffered PTSD after WWII and Vietnam are compelling arguments that show not only extreme prejudices that range from local government offices all the way to the Supreme Courts, where Veterans have tried to make it illegal to harass a Veteran because of their mental handicaps.

It was Theodore Roosevelt that said: “Any man that is good enough to shed blood for his country is good enough to receive a square deal afterwards.”

With that thought, why is it that Sexual Harassment is a law, in every capacity of life, but it’s still okay to mock, and put down a combat veteran that served honorably, but suffered profoundly. Protecting the civil rights of PTSD Veterans by turning it into a Civil Rights Violation, punishable by federal and state government should be a must and yet it isn’t.

How can any of us expect soldiers to stand honorably in the public eye if they have to worry about being persecuted by today’s government when they were serving for the government to begin with?

According to certain Civil Rights activists, the days may come where all Combat Veterans can stand in honor like the rest of the disabled Veterans, it’s a shame to know that while Veterans Affairs must treat all physically disabled Veterans, they don’t classify a mental ailment, such as Combat PTSD as a true disability, if they did the stigma wouldn’t be condoned in the US Military where harassment and beatings occur among comrades. In an article, titled: Stars and Stripes, by: Jeff Schogol, May 04, 2008, a military psychologist, suggests making troops who are suffering from Combat PTSD, eligible for the Purple Heart, like every other wounded veteran. It is thought by many that this would go a long way to remove the stigma that is associated with mental disorder. This type of bold move would of course, warrant a change to the policy behind the Purple Heart, which doesn’t classify PTSD as a combat wound.

According to John E. Fortunato, chief of Recovery and Resilience Center of Fort Bliss, Texas where he treats numerous Army Combat Veterans that suffer from Combat PTSD. The individual programming, he implements such treatment modalities of acupuncture, meditation, and even Yoga to help Combat Vets.

In a meeting with The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, Fortunato was quoted as saying, “ PTSD, is physical disorder, at least in part, because it damages the brain, making PTSD no different that suffering from shrapnel wounds.

In conclusion, it’s clear that options are out there for Veterans suffering from Combat PTSD, the question really becomes, what our Government, and Veterans Affairs plans on doing to change this growing issue that is changing America every single day, when will we have a day that the Combat Veteran doesn’t need to add to their worry by coming out and admitting they have a problem before it’s too late?

Things to Consider:

1. Our Veterans our killing themselves at a rate of 2X’s the rate of the average American Person. Veterans Affairs statistics show that on average 18 Veterans commit suicide, each and every day in the US. That’s 126 Vet’s each week, and $6,552 each year.

2. Another fact: One quarter of the homeless across America is a military veteran, that’s one out of every four soldiers that are living on the streets.

Veterans affairs continues to say that it’s doing everything it can for the Combat Veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other mental incapacitations, with statistics that continue to rise daily, it hardly seems true when it takes up to 2 years to get an official diagnosis, and in my own personal journey with a husband with PTSD, who came home in June of 2006, not only is he 60% disabled from the VA but he continues to be on a non-deployment orders for the Army, and they still cannot discharge him, despite being on a ZERO WEAPONS profile in a Striker Brigade. The amount of stress he is under from a job in Law Enforcement and the continuing of his military responsibilities, the time that it takes to discharge a Veteran from the branch of service they are in and the treatment modality they use is Psychotropic medications, they continue to fail each and every Veteran as the journey through the system takes forever.

I can attest in my daily life that the VA does little to monitor the extreme cases of PTSD, and yet they continue to say everything is being done that they can possibly do to help their Veterans. These statements my friends are a complete farce. Veterans Affairs and the Military themselves are failing to complete and close the files of those that remain active, in any timely fashion, and the Veterans Affairs, fails in almost every capacity at monitoring their Veterans, mental health issues. Because of the growing numbers of Veterans that need treatment, the Federal Government, needs to step in and allow the VA more funding to hire more professionals to monitor their case loads more effectively.

Join a Facebook Cause Group and help support the growing numbers of Combat War Veterans: http://www.causes.com/causes/315439-friends-and-supporters-of-america-s-ptsd-veterans?recruiter_id=59628385

Purple Heart Urged for Veterans with PTSD: http://www.capveterans.com/americans_who_support_americas_veterans/id56.html

Combat Veterans Mocked and Harassed by Military Superiors for having PTSD: http://www.capveterans.com/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_in_america_s_veterans/id13.html

VA Statistics on Suicide: http://www.capveterans.com/americans_who_support_ptsd_veterans/id70.html

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SheZoe 5 years ago from Idaho, USA

Thank you so much for writing a hub about this. For all of us who have soldiers that we love facing this. thumbs up.

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