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Christopher Trevino
Mrs. Tyree
English III, Per. 3
28 January 2014
Dishonorable Discharge
There are many veterans today who are at home trying to cope with their PTSD (Post-
Traumatic Stress Disorder) without their healthcare benefits they were promised from the
military when they enrolled. A soldier was discharged for possession of marijuana inside the
army corps, he explained that his PTSD would keep him up at night and that using the drug
would help him rest, but since drugs arent permitted inside the army he was discharged and
never received his healthcare (K). Being dishonorably discharged with none of the benefits
soldiers are promised is wrong, for PTSD may have led them to their discharge and the state of
the soldiers mental health should be examined before their discharge.
In the army when a soldier is convicted of a felony, that soldier will be sent to military
prison for an amount of time that can max twenty years. Once done, the soldier will be
dishonorably discharged and sent home with a blue discharge paper meaning their discharge was
other than honorable. (F) Also, losing any benefits they were entitled to such as healthcare and
life insurance. What the military does not realize is that the discharged soldier who fought for his
country could have suffered from PTSD which can cause him to become mentally disturbed, not
being able to sleep, have night terrors, or have flashbacks that make him feel he is back in the
war. (B)
Veterans who are discharged for any of these symptoms should be examined by a doctor
and if they are confirmed with PTSD they should be honorably discharged so they do not harm
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themselves and others around them. Furthermore, if they are discharged with their benefits, then
they will be able to see a doctor or physiatrist to help them get through their PTSD. Without
these benefits these veterans will have to find a low paying job and live on whatever they can
get. (L)
Today more than one hundred and fifty thousand veterans are discharged for PTSD and if
a veteran feels he should receive his benefits then he will have to get money for a lawyer and go
to court, and the veteran can still be denied his benefits. (E) This shows how hard life can be for
PTSD veterans without their benefits and most likely are in need of constant support from their
family members like housing and feeding. Those veterans without their families support will end
up homeless, sitting on the corners of every highway asking for money, having to stay out in the
cold, shunned from society because he looks like every other homeless man. Everyone has a
story to tell. (C)
A PTSD soldier was discharged for disobeying a direct order, but what the general did
not realize was that this man was still injured from metal fragments being stuck in his leg from a
grenade and he was released from the hospital to early for his wounds were still tender. Plus, this
man had not been able to sleep since the wound had occurred. He was sent to jail for thirteen
years. After he completed his sentence he was then sent home with his blue discharge papers and
he had lost his benefits. Fifty four years later this veteran had gone to court and explained
everything that had happened fifty four years ago. The judge listened and in the end, upgraded
the veterans dishonorable discharge to honorable and he received his benefits that he had been
waiting for since the day he was discharged from the military. (K)
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This story is a perfect example of the wrongs done to a veteran with PTSD and it is sad
that this happens. This veteran needed help but could not receive the help needed from his
discharge and had to cope with the pain for fifty years.
Today if a PTSD veteran wants to file for compensation, there is an eight step process to
do this. First, the veteran has submitted a disability compensation claim in person, while still on
active duty with a VBA (Veterans Benefits Administration) representative visiting his or her
base by postal mail to the VBA Regional Office (VARO) assigned to his or her location. (L) The
VARO sends a letter to the veteran via postal mail confirming receipt of the claim. The second
step, a VSR (Veterans Service Representative) reviews the information submitted by the veteran
to determine if VBA needs any additional evidence to confirm the claim. The third step, VA has
a legal obligation to help veterans obtain any evidence that will support their claim. For example,
the VSR might request a veteran's military personnel records, Social Security disability records
or private medical records. The veteran can also obtain these records and submit them to the
VBA Regional Office handling his or her claim. (B) Then, the VSR will request a Compensation
and Pension examination. Then, an RVSR (Ratings Veterans Service Representative) makes sure
that all evidence has been obtained, and renders a decision regarding the veteran's claim. The
RVSR refers in part to the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders when making this
determination. The fifth step, if more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back for more
information or evidence. The sixth, approval by a supervisor. Then, preparing the "claim
decision packet. And finally, VBA mails the "claim decision packet" to the veteran. (L) The
reason I am explaining this process is to show the amount of time it takes just to be honorably
discharged when a soldier has a confirmed case of PTSD.
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When a soldier first feels any symptoms he should seek help immediately for if he lets it
worsen then it will lead to a dishonorable discharge in the end. Telling a military doctor will help
for he can make the diagnosis and he has the power to honorably send the soldier home if the
PTSD is too severe. (C) If a soldier tells the military that he has PTSD then the military is
required to set up the exam and to pay for the exam. Asking for an examination at the first sight
of a symptom can save the soldiers career and save his veteran benefits from being taken away
once a problem begins. People with PTSD experience three different kinds of symptoms. The
first set of symptoms involves reliving the trauma in some way such as becoming upset when
confronted with a traumatic reminder or thinking about the trauma when you are trying to do
something else. The second set of symptoms involves either staying away from places or people
that remind you of the trauma, isolating from other people, or feeling numb. The third set of
symptoms includes things such as feeling on guard, irritable, or startling easily. (B)
Re-experiencing symptoms are symptoms that involve reliving the traumatic event. There
are a number of ways in which people may relive a trauma. They may have upsetting memories
of the traumatic event. These memories can come back when they are not expecting them. At
other times the memories may be triggered by a traumatic reminder such as when a combat
veteran hears a car backfire, a motor vehicle accident victim drives by a car accident or a rape
victim sees a news report of a recent sexual assault. (D) These memories can cause both
emotional and physical reactions. Sometimes these memories can feel so real it is as if the event
is actually happening again. This is called a "flashback." Reliving the event may cause very
intense feelings of fear, helplessness, and horror similar to the feelings they had when the event
took place. (D)
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An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.
This represents a small portion of those who have experienced at least one traumatic event;
60.7% of men and 51.2% of women reported at least one traumatic event. The events most often
associated with PTSD for men are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood
physical abuse. The most traumatic events for women are rape. It is sad when these events
reoccur in the minds of the veterans, for they fought for their country and risked their lives for
the sake of others. (L)

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Works Cited
"Airman Receives Dishonorable Discharge, Eight Years For Multiple Offences." States
NewsService 4 May 2011, Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Clines, Francis X. "Drill Sergeant Gets 6 Months For Sex Abuse at Army Post." New York Times
31 May 1997. Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Davis, Jingle. "WWII Vet Finally Gets Honor Back After 54 Years, Discharge Is Upgraded For
Wounded Soldier Who Disobeyed An Order." Atlanta Journal-Constitution [Atlanta,
GA] 14 Sept, 2000: E1. Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Dewan, Shaila. "Army Mechanic Is Acquitted on Desertion Charge." New York Times 29 July
2005, A15(L). Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
Feinstein, John. "Dishonorable Discharge." Washington Post 30 Jan, 2000: W05. Gale Power
Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Jber Soldier Sentenced For Involuntary Manslaughter." States News Service 10 May 2013. Gale
Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Navy electrician faces dishonorable discharge after positive cocaine test." Drug Detection
Report 31 Mar. 2005: 51. Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Oaksterdam University launches the Veterans Freedom Fighter Scholarship Fund as PTSD
reaches epidemic proportions." PRWeb Newswire 12 Nov. 2012, Gale Power Search.
Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Rep. Israel Announces New Legislation To Repeal Dishonorable Discharges For Gay
Veterans." States News Service 11 June 2013. Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Sergeant Is Acquitted of 14 Sexual Offenses." New York Times 8 May 1997. Gale Power
Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
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"Sexual Assault Earns Airman Demotion, Discharge, Brig Sentence." States News Service 10
Sept, 2013. Gale Power Search. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.
"Soldier With AIDS Virus to Be Imprisoned for Sexual Contacts." New York Times 4 Dec.
1987. Academic OneFile. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.
Better, but not 5 full pages. Still need to work on grammar. Keep tense consistent. Good
organization. The alphabet letters should be converted to the actual citations, and the end
punctuation goes after the parentheses.
Content: 20/40; Organization 30/30; Grammar: 15/20; MLA: 6/10
71 x .7 = 50