Medals For Psychological Injuries?

May 15th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Medals For Psychological Injuries?

May 14, 2008
Special Report With Brit Hume (FNC), 6:00 PM
BRIT HUME: Should service members who return from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe psychological damage receive the same kinds of military honors as those whoíve suffered physical losses? Defense Secretary Gates says itís an issue worth looking into. National security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reports.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN: These wounded troops are some of the 1.7 million veterans who have received Purple Heart medals for wounds sustained in combat since 1932. The medal itself was introduced by George Washington. These war wounds are visible. The wounds of a service member returning with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are not. Now an Army administrator treating PTSD at Ft. Bliss in Texas has started a debate inside the Pentagon and among veterans about just what kind of wounds deserve a Purple Heart. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked to consider a Purple Heart for post-traumatic stress as a way to de-stigmatize the condition, making it a, quote, ďworthy wound,Ē a way to encourage troops to get help and discourage their commanders from mocking them.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES: Itís an interesting idea. I think itís clearly something that needs to be looked at.
GRIFFIN: Carla Loisís (ph) son, Noah, has a Purple Heart. He was wounded by shrapnel in his head in August, 2005, while serving with the Third Infantry Division in Iraq. He grew up wanting to be in the Army. He also returned from Iraq with severe PTSD. He didnít smile for 18 months after returning from combat.
CARLA LOIS: We thought that we would never see our son smile again or ever hear him laugh again.
GRIFFIN: But Noah and his friends who served say they donít want Purple Hearts for PTSD.
LOIS: His initial reaction Ė immediate reaction and very forceful was absolutely not.
GRIFFIN: Some veterans groups want PTSD recognized with a Purple Heart.
LOUIS CELLI [Committee for Vets Business Affairs]: To try to distinguish that from other wounds with regard to being awarded the Purple Heart really is unconscionable. They are just as injured as other soldiers are and they need to be recognized in the same way.
GRIFFIN: Scott Golden served in Vietnam.
SCOTT GOLDEN [Vietnam War Veteran]: I donít see where it devalues. Wounded is wounded.
GRIFFIN: This former Marine, also a Vietnam veteran, still suffers from PTSD, but he doesnít want a Purple Heart.
LUPE SALDANA [Vietnam War Veteran]: Itís not an injury. Itís not a wound. Itís not a blood kind of a thing, you know. And then I think it would lose its spirit of the Purple Heart.
GRIFFIN: According to military regulation, the wound must have occurred in combat and must have required treatment at the time by a medic. But signs of PTSD often show up three to six months after the vet returns home. Some are suggesting a compromise, a medal for PTSD but not the Purple Heart. At the Pentagon, Jennifer Griffin, Fox News.

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