Spc. Allen Hill, can not shake the events of November from his mind. he was on his second tour in Iraq and his job in transportation entailed driving Humvees. “I had driven and drieven and driven and the monotony….” his voice trails off in anguish at the memory. He decided to ask for the position of unnr which is on top and exposed. The 38 vehicle convoy pulled out of Baghdad at 7:30 p.m. en route to Talil, 200 miles to the south. It was a typical drive with normal soldier chatter and bantering. He scanned the darkening landscape, first with a flood light. Nothing. He flipped his night goggles down and scanned again. A man fidgeting with something. Before he could react, he saw a white light, then everything went black. Hill awoke a few days later in a hospital in Germany. Doctors said he had a collapsed lung. He remembers the soldier with a half skull blown off. Flashes of memory. He was eventually transferred to Walter Read where he received excellent treatment.
Hill is spending the holidays with family, still coping with the aftermath of Post Traumatic Stress. He wants to return to Iraq, he wants to complete his work and believes America is doing beneficial things for the people of Iraq. Just another story of a wounded soldier. Anti war critics are furious at the debacle that is Iraq, but American soldiers fighting there believe they are accomplishing worthwhile ends, they do not regard themselves as being involved in an evil task. Perhaps, time must pass before the drama and story of what happened in Iraq can be fully grasped. Today, a wounded soldier lives with flashback memories. Tomorrow, who knows.
A soldier whose wounds in iraq forced him to leave the military early got the shock of his life when he opened the mail and found a letter from the United States Army asking him to repay of portion of his sign-up bonus. Pfc. Jordan Fox was asked to repay $2,800 of his $7,500 enlistment bonus because he did not serve out the entire length of time. The military is now checking to find out if any other wounded soldiers received such an idiotic letter. Jordan was partially blinded in the right eye as a result of a roadside bomb. Perhaps, the military felt since he only got blinded in one eye, he was perfectly fit to fire a weapon with the other good eye.
This is just another example of how so many of those brave young men and women who serve in Iraq have been treated. We have a president who argued against the 3.5% pay increase proposed by Democratic congressmen because it was excessive and he initially opposed increasing funding for the VA until forced by the Democratic Party.
A soldier died while at Ft. Knox in Kentucky, he died sitting in a chair where he had been left alone for hours, he died in his sleep. The parents of Sgt. Cassidy charge their son who had returned from Iraq with brain damage suffered from one of those roadside bombs, was left uncared for and in pain due to inadequate care by medical personnel at the hospital. Although army regulations require wounded soldiers to be seen at least twice daily, Sgt. Cassidy told h is parents there were occasions when he was not seen for at least two days. The initial autopsy revealed he had not been checked for at least a few hours. “He died,” said his mother, “because the Army didn’t care for him because he came back from Iraq and they killed him.”
At this point, it is uncertain exactly how this soldier died, but initial evidence suggests there was inadequate care while he was in the hospital. His parents believe there was failure to ensure he was taking his medicine and that, given his condition, Cassidy probably should have been placed in a room with a buddy. The real problem is that men like Cassidy are placed in a dirty war fought for ambiguous reasons by leaders who have no idea how to terminate the conflict other than to go on and on.
A new law speeding its way through Congress protects spouses, parents, children and next of kin of a member of the military who suffers serious injury while on active duty. They now will be entitled to up to six months of unpaid leave to care for the wounded soldier or veteran and can not be fired. The bill was attached to the legislation which expands child medical insurance that President Bush has vowed to vet.
There are two important pieces of legislation coming to President Bush who complains Congress isn’t doing anything — one protecting kin of wounded soldiers and one to ensure children are protected against illness. Chances are highly likely he will veto them.