When I was contacted by a former Army Soldier last year, I was astounded by her story. Her service to this nation was truly astounding. However, the fact that she had received a Bad Conduct Discharge after suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) was unfathomable. This young lady served for 15 months in Afghanistan in a unique position. She was attached to an infantry platoon as a Female Engagement/Cultural Support Team member. During this time, she suffered numerous head injuries from mortar attacks and IED explosions near her. She was also abused physically and sexually by another servicemember. Therefore, when she returned from her deployment, she was not the same. The person who once was a stellar soldier began not showing up for formations occasionally and was not always where she was supposed to be. She was suffering deeply. Instead of taking care of this soldier, her command turned their backs on her. They dubbed her AWOL, and then sent her to a court-martial. They even put her in pretrial confinement. My client was a young girl, whose world was turned upside down during her selfless service to this nation. Her reward was to be confined for minor infractions and kicked out of the Army with a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD). I drafted a brief for the Army Discharge Review Board that told my client’s story from start to finish. The Board learned who my client was and what she went through. Based on my brief, the board decided to upgrade her discharge to a General discharge Under Honorable Conditions. My client can now receive the health care that she needs to treat her PTSD and TBI. She can now finally be treated honorably. My client deserved an upgrade. I am so glad she called me and I could not be more pleased with her result. Not everyone gets an upgrade. However the Department of Defense has issued guidance stating that petitioners who claim PTSD led to their negative discharge should be given “liberal consideration.” If you or someone you know wants to look into trying to change their separation reason or discharge characterization, I am here to help. I was happy to help my client receive a discharge that showed that she served this country honorably and I would be happy to help you. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.
By William Cassara | September 3, 2020
By Beth Harvey | August 20, 2020