Should Vietnam veterans have their discharges upgraded for PTSD?

 
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Should Vietnam veterans have their discharges upgraded for PTSD?

Sort of an interesting article in the New York Times today about veterans of Vietnam who were discharged with less than Honorable Discharges who want to upgrade their discharges on the basis of PTSD.  Bear in mind that PTSD as a mental diagnosis didn't exist until 1980, so this determination would have to be retroactive.  The Yale Law School Veterans Legal Service Clinic has filed suit, and as the NYT lays out, the court has to address two issues:

The suit raises two thorny issues that could affect thousands of Vietnam veterans: Can they be given a diagnosis of PTSD retroactively, to their time in service, though the disorder was not identified until 1980? And if they can, should recently instituted policies intended to protect troops with PTSD be applied retroactively to their cases?

The article talks largely about one such individual, John Shepherd Jr., who had a mixed record in the military:

Within a month, his patrol was ambushed, and Mr. Shepherd responded by tossing a hand grenade into a bunker that killed several enemy soldiers. The Army awarded him a Bronze Star with a valor device, one of its highest decorations.       

Yet the medal did little to assuage Mr. Shepherd’s sense of anxiousness and futility about the war. A few weeks after his act of heroism, he said, his platoon leader was killed by a sniper as he tried to help Mr. Shepherd out of a canal...

After a court-martial, the Army discharged Mr. Shepherd under other-than-honorable conditions, then known as an undesirable discharge. At the time, he was happy just to be a civilian again. But he came to rue that discharge, particularly after his claim for veterans benefits was denied because of it. It was a breaking point: his behavior became erratic, and at some point he simply refused to go on patrol.

So, I went to the Yale Law website about Mr. Shepherd's case, and they certainly lay out a comelling argument.  One thing that might factor against Mr. Shepherd is that apparently he had problems prior to even arriving in Vietnam, including going AWOL from Basic Training for almost a month.

The last sentence of the article doesn't seem to me to help his case much:

“I want that honorable,” he said. “I did do my part, until I really felt it wasn’t worth getting killed for.”

While I understand what he is saying, I'm not sure you can leave it to individual soldiers to determine when something is "worth getting killed for."  But even if it isn't worth getting killed for, I'm not sure that neccessitates upgrading the discharge.

Nonetheless, it should be an interesting case.  Had this happened today, his discharge probably would have been upgraded.  But then again, if he had gone AWOL from basic today, he probably would have been separated before even deploying, so I am not sure that is the determinitive factor.

 

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Absolutely there should be an upgraded discharge for those brave courageous soldiers who served time over there. I went to college with a student who had come back from Vietnom and he was a medic and paratrooper. He said he was in the jungle one day fighting and then in California and in a week back in Chicago suburbs. I was driving w him one day and someone cut him off and I witness a scary real episode of his PTSD flashback to the jungle. The things he saw and told me about as I helped him w some of his classes and resocialization, were too gruesome to describe and would probably set many others off as well into the nether world of flashbacks. He had heart trouble at an early age which he said was from agent orange and was fighting for recognition. He went through what no one should have to, forget about whether it was justified for us to be here. I am here to report on human emotional carnage caused by the war experience, and as such all discharges for PTSD should be honorable, because w/ bullets flying certain soldiers twenty years later have never gotten over this and thus the diagnosis even if nonexistent at that time should be recognized in those who have it and if it is still a disability it should be recognized too if it is valid, which should serve as a basis for upgrading discharge.
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I agree this is an interesting question and I'm not entirely convinced the particular subject of the current case should have his discharge upgraded. Soldiers, up to and including generals, don't get to decide when what they are doing is no longer worth doing except at DEROS/ETS.

OTOH I would have no problem with a case by case review of individual service records with a view toward upgrading when PTSD can be demonstrated as the cause of the reason for less than honorable discharge despite the diagnosis not being available until well after the end of the war. However, the upgrade must be because of PTSD causation and not a reflection of prior disapline problem or an unrelated criminal action.

I know several Vietnam Vets and trust me they deserve for PTSD to be made retroactive. These servicemen and women have paid the price for their service. Take care of all the Vets from WWI, WWII, Korea up to and beyond 1980 when it was first acknowledged. AMERICA take care of our Veterans!!!!!!

Yes. I didn't serve in Vietnam I was on the flight deck and seen some things and worked crazy got yelled at and mind games. Yes 100% these men and women of the military are trained killers. Trained fighters. Trained life professionals. Not just trained mech's or gunners their entire lives are re trained and remade into another beast ESP 2nd and 3rd gen military people. PTSD is very real. It happens when scum people of the earth who haven't learned or achieved much talk crap to people who gave their lives in two ways two times for this country. For this reason I think schools should teach an entire year long class about military and military family members. Unless you think it normal to work 7 -18hr days for 7 months straight? Or have someone almost bomb your temp home etc etc. it's not just PTSD its a way of life of training a heightened awareness and open mind to the daily unknown. You make people so they can't break then you fire them and hire someone else. That's the average vets story the turn around and retention is to great to vast. Vets got training to be awesome people and every day joes shit on them every chance they get.

That's a no brainer......you better believe they should receive a review

Case by case. What if you had it bad back in the 60's- 70's.Got no help what so ever. Dealt with it and finally in your 50's-60's have controlled it.
Ex: 173rd.ABN Bde. 68thru69

This is long over due with upgrading DD 214 to honorable discharge. A person who was under heavy combat, and exposed to the amount of death in Viet Nam, beside walking around with fear for 13 months, and when returning to the world especially back in the 1960,and 70s time period was traumatic to this day. We all suffer in one way or another,plus back then we were in the old war mind set, and was ashamed on how we suffered on the inside. I landed in Viet Nam in the second week of TET 1969, and was shocked with the combat in Hue City, and march sent up to support Khe Sanh, and I was there in TET 1969 which we prepared for, and was not near how horrible as 1968. I did not talk about being a combat Marine until the 1980's because people would walk away from me. A lot of grunts seen a lot of action, and it changed everyone on one way or another. I put my time in without getting into any trouble, and in fact I retired from the State Department of Correction's, and a lot of inmates where Veterans, and I treated them a little different because i did not know what triggered them to go off, and most wanted to go straight when the where paroled. I didn't jeopardized my job but they knew I was were they where, and they respected me for it. Their are a lot of veterans went to their grave with BCD or dishonorable discharge. I went a little further because with this because it is a question of active duty members, but if we can get a pardon for a killer or thief who never served, I believe a Veteran needs some dignity. Another problem is traumatic brain disorder, which a lot of us suffered not only from the enemy but even from our close infantry fire support, by the way was needed and appreciated. Arc lites did a job on us close up, but it was war and needed "God bless the pilots" of all the branches.

Yes, I think that Vietnam Veterans should have their Discharge Upgraded for PTSD. Back in the 1960's, little was known about PTSD and when I was discharged, I wasn't checked for PTSD or even considered to have PTSD and I served 4 Tours in Vietnam 1968 - 1971. I had trouble sleeping when I returned home from Vietnam and would nearly take off members of my family's head, when awakened by touching or shakened. But good luck trying to connect it to service now after all these years. It seems as if the Veterans are not receiving the benefit of the doubt from the Veterans Administration, by being required to prove all of the Conditions or Illnesses being caused by being in Vietnam and being exposed to Agent Orange and who knows what else.

The question really is: Do you believe there are combat veterans who experiencesd trauma, either psychological (PTSD) or physical (TBI) while serving their country, AND as a direct result of that undiagnosed trauma it created behavioral changes that directly resulted in a military discharge other than honorable. If you answer YES then the next question is SHOULD ACTION BE TAKEN ON A CASE BY CASE BASIS TO CORRECT THE SITUATION.
Not all PTSD and/or TBI cases cause individuals to get OtherThan Honorable discharges AND not all other than honorable discharges are a result of PTSD and/or TBI. However some are and we owe it to our warriors to make the wrong...right.

I believe a PTSD diagnosis can and should be made retroactively on a case-by-case basis. As for upgrading his discharge, that's hard to say. We don't know what his courtmartial was for. It can range anywhere from a misdomeanor to a felony. Courtmartials are usually reserved for more serious violations than an Article 15 is designed to deal with. Thus my concern about upgrading. If it is determined that the cause of the courtmartial is related to PTSD at that time, it would not be unreasonable to upgrade him to a medical discharge. PTSD has always be arould. In the old days they just called it Shell Shock.

I was in VietNam 65-66 IaDrang LZAlbany some of the worst time of my life 155 kia in one day, Yes they should do it on case by case basis one of my buddies it took 40+ years to get his ptsd, he is being treated but it is a little to late. Gary owen 2/7 cav

These men(as in other conflicts)have been trained as killers and yet when they come home they are not cared for or appreciated for what they have sacrificed except the minimal amount that would appease the
government. They are lost and alone.

yes i suffer from ptsd my claim is jackson ms. i need las four 8526

yes i suffer from ptsd my claim is jackson ms. i need las four 8526

Just because something isn't formally identifiied by a particular name until 1980's doesn't mean it wasn't a problem. Each case should be reviewed according to the newest information for all veterans who request it, no matter when they served. If providing the modern care can help someone let's take care of those who helped serve our country.

If applicable. on a case by case decision. I was on Air Craft Carrier from 1961-1966. Extendented 2 years because of training I needed to pass on (flight deck firefighter and EMT). In the Gulf of Tonkin, life was not a bowl of cherries. I enlisted because that is what you do for your country. I was blown off the ship twice and jumped off once to avoid a spinning prop. That is what happens in war time. My Dad got no medals or PTSD for being stabbed with a bayonet in New Guine in in 1942. Why should I get anything special???

I think they should be upgraded on a case by case bases not to just give it to everyone. I server 2 tours in Vietnam and I came back messed up in the head (PTSD) and it took years before I got help and I know I lost a lot before I got help.

25TH Infantry 1960-62... Audie Murphy, *MY HERO* WW11 most decorated soldier according to his wife slept with a 45 under his pillow till he died in a plane crash from what at that era it was called shell shock, PTSD, what's the difference ? as was related already some would use it for behavior having nothing to do with stress under combat

Many U.S. combat military veterans of all U.S. involved wars of he 18, 19th, 20, and 21st centuries have suffered what today is called PTSD, including my next oldest brother who was a WWII U.S. Army disabled Combat Infantry Mortarman in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944. However, he never expected nor did he apply for Veteran's benefits until about 2 years prior his death when he needed end of life admission to a Missouri Veteran's Home! into a Veteran's Home. He lived a very productive life of 85 years without Federal Assistance which he refused to request o accept until his declining years.

Case-By-Case is fair. I was there (9th INF) in 67-68 and there were a lot of "bad apples" filling the ranks of "US's" there too. Too many men went to infantry school after a judge or a parole officer told them their best chance at a future was the service. Their whole service record and their prior civilian record must be considered as part of the decision. Some of the guys that came in this way were destined to fail because the"system" was/is flawed and it was jail or failure. Serving there wasn't easy and it wasn't nice but most of us believed in "our country" and put it all on the line. Many guys went into severe depression after what they lived through and we were spit on when we returned. . . not a good thing. I still have problems looking back. PTSD is an awful thing to live with. When a soldier gets sent into an awful place like a fire fight or crawling in the mud with mortars landing near by the "leaders" don't promise him a great retirement or winning lottery ticket. Each case should be considered. I'm a disabled veteran (agent orange) and I think these guys need to be heard.

It's about time

This Man, from what I read and understood did his job above and beyond the call of duty. Having been awarded the bronze with valor award should have given him at least a general discharge. How soon we forget our Heros, lest we not forget. Like every thing else that had to do with NAM we tried not to remember then hide away.

Why should the Bronze Star automatically give someone a pass on screwing up? I knew a Silver Star recipient that robbed the American Express Office on base to provide funds to go AWOL on. The Silver Star is a higher award, than the Bronze Star, should the thief that went AWOL get a pass because he held the Silver Star? An automatic pardon for wrong doing simply because the perpetrator was a decorated veteran, regardless of the decoration, is just as wrong as it is to ignore circumstances that might establish extenuating factors, such as PTSD/TBI, that might have resulted in inappropriate actions.

No one, regardless of medal awarded, should get an automatic pardon for wrong actions. All actions have consequences and unless it can be established that the right or wrong of those actions could not be understood because of outside circumstances the consequenses should be administered. A momentary act of selflessness does not negate right from wrong.

I was discharged in 1987 with 5 personality disorders and the government did and does not compensate for Personality Disorder. This was placed in the Character of the Discharge section of my DD214. It was later found out that I was actually schizo affective. The is schizophrenia with chronic and severe depression (or mania in some cases). I was still unable to upgrade my discharge to accurately reflect the Character of my discharge because I had already received an Honorable Discharge. I was also only given three years back-pay due to having my case closed and opened several times. I am schizoaffective and am not always totally responsible for my actions so keeping my case open myself was nearly impossible. I don't feel I should have been penalized for this, but I was. Only of late have I been stable enough, and now married which helps, to be responsible enough to do what I am told to do by VA regarding my mental health.
I feel if these guys get upgrades retroactively, I should be retroactively upgraded as well.

I was a blue water sailor. My first tour in the Tonkin Gulf was '66-'67 we were shot at and hit, luckily no one was hurt. My ship, the USS Hassayampa AO-145 was also involved in the Pueblo Incident in the North China Sea and in the Gemini Space Capsule recovery. Although I had the crap scared out of me several times it was nothing compared to what the ground forces went through. I've been exposed to vets with PTSD and some of them will never recover and they'll never get a real life back. Like so many before me have said, we weren't fighting for the right reasons. But it was right for all those guys that ran away to Canada to get amnesty either. I learned a long time ago that life isn't fair. But if there's an opportunity for this country to give the vets that server in the jungles, on the rivers and in the air over Vietnam then make it happen. Right, or wrong I'd serve my country again in a minute. I'm proud of the fact that I went. The USA is not always right....but it will always be the USA...."thank God".

I believe the Pueblo Incident was in January 22 or 23 of '68 if my memory hasn't failed me,all together.
1/8th Cav. A-co weapons squad. easy to check
Trouble with label ptsd is your not allowed to own guns.

By all means our comrade Brothers from vietnam era not only had to bear inpossible situations whether on a ship ,air craft carrier(which I did 4 years on) or on the ground. Fighting an enemy we had no idea if they were on on our side or not . Walkig into villages and having to defend themselves against armed children. Then coming home directly from war zone to street corner with no debriefing or treatment. Once home being called "Baby Killers" and being demonstated against by anti war protestors. Trying drugs and alcohol to try and deal with what they had been through and escape from reality. PTSD did not just magicly appear in the 80s and YES by ALL MEANS veterans should receive retroactive benefits where warranted.

I think that anyone that served in the armed forces of the united states, should received health care for the rest of their life. there should be no qualification other than a DD214/Discharge identification.
people who have given the most precious gift (their time) should be rewarded for all times.

in a technical sense I saw action in SW Pacific 1945/46 but my assignment was relatively safe.

I have known guys who survived worse then but in later life "lost it" and I thought pretty clearly due to what they had been through

so I think at very least a case by case review is in order. And in general, unless individual was clearly out of order, an upgrade of discharge would be appropriate.

They served,I & two brothers served, uncles cousins, grandfathers. I'd do it again if I could, I'm that proud of our family's military service. I'm not complaining about anything. America take care of your WARRIORS and we'll all thank you

There were a lot of young Men put into a situation that was very trumatic. Our government lied to us then.This Vet-Nam war was not only hard to forget but when we got home we had to put up with demistrators who called us killers. I lived not talking about this war and never talked about my service. I'm sure that many of my fellow comrades have felt the same way.God bless to all who served

Yes it something that you have the rest of your Life. You are not able to rid of with the Med that are giving it would be Hell on earth. Can not say enough of what we went through while we were in Vitenam. And the bad part of it all was the greeting we all received when we came home that there made it even more that it put in our minds that we that came back should have not. PTSD its Kills and it distroys the minds of All that served in Vietnam. I should know it almost made me lose my family. Before I was medcation I drink to forgot and it got even worse were it became the only point and way to forget. But with the help of family and the VA I got mayself together and find myself, that I did not need the drink to live. Yes PTSD did take a lot from me and I still fight it today, but with medication not drinking as at once.

Yes, It should be recognized more than it is for Viet Nam era Vets, I was in country in 1969 and 1970,and when I came home I knew something wasn't right but was never diagnosed until the 1980s,I put my wife and family through hell until I had a blowup and finally got help through the V.A. I still have all the symptoms to this day but they are at least under control somewhat with medication.

You dont think that this didnt happen in vietnam because it wasnt named yet!!!!!!!!! look at all the people that died with this complication and died directly from it. the gulf war vets are not the only ones that suffered from this disease. there wasnt enough killing of civilians and soldiers or days and weeks on end that they suffered from lack of necessities. i realize that this is just a war that no one wanted but think of the kinds of things the troops suffered at the hands of the enemy and countrymen. knowing that this wasnt a popular war and the draft was on and the troops wives and children suffered because of extremely low pay and allowances. just think about the 50,000 that died does not qualify for ptsd.

pardon my grammar it probably could be said better but it comes from the heart of a disabled Vietnam vet still angry about what happened during and after the war

A great big yes They shold be given all the help they need. they have suffered enough after coming home,and what they went through over there. they need all the help possible.

Charles Black
Absolutely in favor of being evaluated. I know after my own experiences I have suffered with anger, anxiousness and depression for years. When I took R&R in Hawaii with my wife and a siren on some sort of emergency went by and from a dead sleep I baled from the bed to the floor kicking the wall in the process. My wife woke me and got me calmed down. Dreams of being overrun by oriental people are to often happening. I was in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. This man needs the help and well deserves the help from the VA. I know that I was turned down myself for PTSD after describing events that I went through. I hope the American Legion may be able to help him.

I am totally in agreement that the records should be up dated. Being a Vietnam veteran with an Hornorable discharge but also having PTSD an doctored for for now over eight (8) years for it.
I think I know first hand just how bad PTSD can mess up your mind and life. So a BIG YES on that they should be up dated.

I have a good friend-name is Bill-that was one of our top crew chiefs in Vietnam. Like all of our crews these young men kept our choppers in the air and dealt with everything and anything we were assigned as a Mission. Medevacs were always the worse as these men in the belly saved a lot of Marines with the help of great Navy Corpsman-also young men between 19-21 years old. Our Marine pilots were pretty good, but the guys in the belly were unbelievable and withstood the horrors of dealing almost daily with blood and death. Bill had well over 700 combat missions and served honorably in Vietnam. But when he came home he could not deal with "peacetime" Marine rules and ended up with a LTH discharge. Over the years Bill dealt with PTSD issues, but as we all know, this was not recognized until recently. But when things became very difficult, Bill went to the local VA hospital and was diagnosed and began treatment for PTSD. Then is Service Record caught up with him and he was tossed out. He applied once after that thru the Department of Navy & Marine Records to get his discharge upgraded and was rejected. Then a year ago we re-applied thru his local Congressman, backed with letters of the Men he served with including fellow crew members and pilots from Vietnam. This to was rejected as "not having new information". Now Bill is pretty much shut himself off from the world. We need to recognized what really happens with these young men facing daily combat and all of the horrors that go with it. Our men and women that served, especially in combat need consideration, especially if they have been diagnosed with PTSD by the VA already. Let's stop penalizing them for paying the price as they have washed enough blood out of the belly and it is time to help them survive and live a decent life with our help!!!!!

Case by case review indeed the way to go. My question is, why has it taken 32+ years to get this going? Typical govt/VA operation. Wait til most of the effected people are dead or dying before they do anything about it. Same situation that went on in the Persian Gulf. 20 years later & we're still arguing about illnesses acquired after serving in country. Wait til they're all deceased from cancer, then acknowledge, "Oh, BTW, you were exposed to XXXX". SSDDDD.

Case by case review indeed the way to go. My question is, why has it taken 32+ years to get this going? Typical govt/VA operation. Wait til most of the effected people are dead or dying before they do anything about it. Same situation that went on in the Persian Gulf. 20 years later & we're still arguing about illnesses acquired after serving in country. Wait til they're all deceased from cancer, then acknowledge, "Oh, BTW, you were exposed to XXXX". SSDDDD.

I agree boys that were in combat situations deserve all the help they can get.

First, let's acknowledge that PTS is not a disorder. Retired AF, '71 on. Not in country. The politics of the times, the inability of our military to fight the war w/out the political interference all added to a f....d up war. I saw guys get BCDs for not cutting their hair, for little stupid things and yes they knew the rules, and there was great pressure applied by senior military and politicians to "straighten out your people". In hind sight we can acknowledge the sacrifices by our troops in terrible situations,especially those really young ones.
The cost is too great financially, too politically hot to really get into all the results of that war. Just think what this country will be dealing w/in 10-20 yrs due to OIF etc...
So, yes, I hope this man gets a re-look at his case/situation - he deserves it. He served, he did more than most.

No I do not acknowledge that PTSD is not a disorder. I'm 100% SC with PTSD and there is nothing orderly about it.

GRADUATE OF UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHEAST ASIA, Central Highlands & Cambodian Border Campuses, My Major was "Surival" Graduared Cum Laude 69/70 Minor in Enemy Combatant Eradication through jungle warfare & air-mobile artillery mass OPPRESSION, off those people who chose to enguage Our/my WRATH!
You people trained us to KILL, trained us to HATE our Enemy, Sent us to do what others of you; spinless Individuals couldnot or wouldnot do because YOU hadnot the COURAGE! Then want to CRUCIFY a man whom, might have made some mistakes in his past career duty, PTSD is not a DISEASE, it has existed since man first picked up the Club as a Caveman, we just never understood it till today, PATTON was a courages Individual, Yet, it was the PVT he slapped that was the hero, HE knew he was a DANGER to those around him..... WE who have borne our NATIONS BATTLES, have EARNED, this stipulation PTSD Veteran from WWI TO GWOT, one minute of COMBAT, is all it takes, have YOU picked up the BROKEN BODY of your COMRADE IN ARMS, .......I DIDN'T THINK SO! WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE HE WHO HAS!

He went AWOL??? The Military Justice Manual prescribes a death sentence for that. He did his part until he decided he didn't feel like it anymore? Since when do we reward soldiers for bad behavior? Where's the honor in AWOL because you don't feel like doing your duty? Who's next? PVT. Bradley Manning, the wikileaks traitor? I'm sure he did some time successfully until he felt like he didn't want to play anymore. NO WAY should this AWOL & dishonorable be reconsidered. In another era, he would have been executed, so he's lucky to have already gotten away with it all.

Wesley, thank you first of all for serving. I thank you also for hanivg the courage to face PTSD and put your feelings and fears down on paper. I heard my dad scream at night, saw the tired worn out look in his eyes every day. He served 3 tours in Vietnam and I know saw some horrifying things. When I had made my mind up to join first the Air Force but then switched over to the Army he told me to never volunteer for anything. I remember replying, but dad you volunteered 2 more times than you had to , to which he replied, that was different son . I often ask my self why didn't I listen? I am now 40, I can't sleep the whole night through, I experienced things that most people you talk to could never imagine. I hear the voices, I see their faces, I can smell the burning metal and gun powder, the heat the force of the blast, it is there, every night and sometimes during the day. I have fought, with my sweet wife's encouragement to get the VA to recognize the struggle. My wife is wonderful, she is there for me, she talks to me, she holds me when the dreams have been too much. The one thing I pray is to be like I was before the war, whole, unblemished, with a good memory and motivated to be the best that I could be. These guilty feelings of being alive are miserable. But no body understands like another veteran, civilians do look at you different when you mention you are a disabled vet. Why can't they understand that we are like this because we laid down our lives for them?

Well, the wife woke me up from a dead sleep because she had seen that this had getton published (i had forgotten) and was so excited to see it here that she felt she had to wake me lolFirst off, i wish to sincerely thank all of you, veterans and loved ones of veterans, for sharing your stories with me. I was humbled by them, to say the very least. Honestly, when i wrote the poem in my facebook notes, i really had no idea that it would be seen by my friends lol soon after, i started receiving comments on it and saw that it was there for everyone to see lol However, i'm glad that i did. One of the reasons i speak at my forums, various health fairs and a school about PTSD and my experiences with the war, is two pronged. First, if what i say or write helps even a single veteran or the loved one of a veteran hears or reads it and gets their veteran some help, then it's certainly more than worth it. Secondly, it's been very therapeutic for myself, and my wife also, who has gone with me on occasion to speak, and has been integral in my own readjustment, treatment, and recovery. She has truly been my rock.Thanks again to everyone and i sincerely hope that you find the help you need to keep moving forward in improving the quality of your life as well as the ones you love.

Mr. Shepherd enlisted for a 3 year term in July 1968. In Nov 68 he was convicted by a Special Court Martial while in training for being AWOL for an approximately 3 week period. He received 5 months confinement which was suspended.

In January 21, 1969 he was assigned to 9th Inf Div at Dong Tam in the Delta. 7 days after his arrival in Vietnam he received an article 15 for missing training.

On Apr 29, 1969 he was convicted by a Special Court Martial for failure to obey a lawful order, he refused to go out into the field with his company. He received a 6 month suspended sentence and 6 months forfeiture of pay.

He again refused a lawful order to go into the field and in Aug 1969 he was processed for an administrative discharge based on the recommendations of his Commanding Officer and NCO's receiving an undesirable discharge for a pattern of "shirking". He did not contest the discharge and in fact accepted it willingly knowing full well the impact that an undesirable discharge would have on his future.

In Jul 1977 he received upgraded General discharge under the 1977 Presidential Clemency order

In Aug 1978 - He requested that the General Discharge be changed to Honorable and the Army Review Board refused to further upgrade the discharge ruling him ineligible to receive VA Benefits due to the General Discharge

Apparently, from the beginning of his service, Shepherd was in trouble. To upgrade his discharge and provide him compensation for PTSD would be a slap in the face to all of us who served honorably in Vietnam, did our duty, and followed orders.

Mr. Shepherd's General Discharge is upgrading enough considering his military disapline record.

Thank you for posting the information.

I joined the Army Post Nam, Everything was going well,,very proud then in 1976 while stationed at Fort Devans Mass,, We were ordered to take the Swine Flu Vaccine,,I had a reaction that Paralyzed me to where I had a Respirator plugged into my neck,feeding tube,was basically a vegatable,,they even had to tape my eyes closed because I couldn't close them,, I'm not going to get into detail the horrid treatment at the hands of the staff there other than to say it was beyond what any person should go through,,With the grace of God I got better over time,,to a stage of being a Quadriplegic and then to a stage of a Paraplegic to being taught to crawl,then walk,,this took months,,needless to say I was acting out and was put into mental thyraphy,,this was all in Boston VA hospital,,the base hospital couldn't handle my condition,,upon my release to medical hold (At my Base) awaiting what they told me >>Medically unfit<< I went AWOL from there,,was gone 2 months and tried committing suicide and turned myself in,,was sent right to Fort Dix and was told I was being given a OTH discharge and I signed it,,, I was able to work over my lifetime up to 8 years ago,,muscle wore out because of my service connected condition,,VA gave me a electric hospital bed and wheelchair and service connected me for my condition related to that and primary sleep apnea,swallowing (dysphagia) alos primary service connected Major Depression & also PTSD,,none rated Just medical help,,so as you see its not just WAR veterans they screw over its US veterans PERIOD,,, Maybe some day they will pay me compensation,,I'm sure I'll be dead first,,,

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.