Vietnam veterans have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. military over PTSD. The class action lawsuit has five veterans and three organizations involved at this time. The focus of the case is on the post-traumatic stress disorder many veterans suffered after the war and the less than honorable discharges they received.
Post-traumatic stress disorder affected Vietnam veterans in a special way because it was not diagnosed during their time, according to ABC News. They received dishonorable discharges instead of medical discharges while they were suffering from PTSD. The lawsuit wants veterans to have the option of upgrading their discharges and for the military to recognize it has made a mistake.
James Cottam, George Siders, Kevin Marret, James Davis and Conley Monk are the five Vietnam veterans named in the lawsuit. Monk explains that his bad papers after the war affected his ability to get a good job. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, yet the military gave him a less than honorable discharge and did not recognize his medical condition.
The U.S. military has refused to upgrade the status of Vietnam veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The veterans hope that the lawsuit will finally prompt some action from the military and lead to positive changes. For decades, they have fought to see their medical condition recognized instead of being ignored.
The less than honorable discharges have also prevented veterans from getting benefits, and their post-traumatic stress disorder makes it difficult for them to work. Veterans simply want to see justice and are tired of their requests to get an upgrade being denied. They feel the actions are illegal and should not be allowed to continue.
Vietnam veterans point out that the stigma of dishonorable discharges affected their entire lives. From work to school, they felt tainted by something that was not their fault since they were actually suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since the military did not recognize the disorder during the war, they felt stuck and questioned their sanity. Without access to common resources available to current military members, the veterans spiraled into depression, homelessness, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and destitute lives.
Veterans want to see the policy change that continues to leave them with dishonorable discharges instead of medical discharges. Some of the lawyers in this class action lawsuit are Yale law students who have been working with veterans for a while to help them get justice.