Veterans

November 4, 2013

Vietnam vet wins discharge upgrade in PTSD lawsuit

NEW HAVEN, CONN. — A Vietnam veteran who received the Bronze Star and later was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder will have his discharge status upgraded under a settlement with the U.S. Army, his representatives announced Monday.

John Shepherd Jr., a 66-year-old New Haven resident, said the Army agreed to resolve his lawsuit by upgrading his original other-than-honorable discharge to an honorable discharge. The change will allow Shepherd to receive disability benefits he had been denied, according to Yale Law School students who represented him.

Shepherd has said he battled alcoholism and struggled to stay employed for 40 years, but was not diagnosed with PTSD until 2004.

“I didn’t know if this day would ever come,” Shepherd said in a statement. “Good thing I’m a fighter, because it took years of fighting to receive recognition of my sacrifices and service in Vietnam. But there are thousands of guys like me who also deserve better from the DOD. Their fight is still going.”

An Army spokesman declined to comment and a message left with a Department of Defense spokeswoman was not immediately returned. A Defense Department spokeswoman said last year the agency is committed to addressing concerns related to PTSD and has taken numerous steps, including conducting PTSD assessments of service members at military treatment facilities.

The Army awarded Shepherd a Bronze Star after his unit came under intense fire and he entered an enemy bunker and threw a grenade that killed several enemy soldiers, according to the lawsuit.

He developed PTSD symptoms after blowing up the enemy bunker and later witnessing the gruesome deaths of several comrades, according to his lawsuit. Shepherd began to act strangely and was found wandering around a base in a confused state. He eventually reached a breaking point and refused to go back into the field, the lawsuit says.

He was charged with failure to obey an order and was discharged.

Shepherd unsuccessfully applied four times to the Army to upgrade his discharge status. He filed a proposed class action lawsuit last year, accusing the Army of failing to properly consider evidence of PTSD when deciding discharge upgrade applications from Vietnam veterans. The case was dismissed Friday with the Army’s agreement to upgrade Shepherd’s discharge status and pay $37,000 in attorney’s fees, students said.

“This settlement is a victory for Mr. Shepherd,” said Jessica Martinez, a law student intern representing Shepherd with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. “It does not resolve the class-wide claims, but we hope this agreement will help persuade the Army that other Vietnam veterans with PTSD should not have to file federal lawsuits to win recognition of their honorable service.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>