Vietnam Veterans Sue Military Over PTSD

Tuesday, 04 Mar 2014 12:10 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Three veterans’ organizations have filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and were not given an honorable discharge.

The lawsuit seeks to remove the stigma attached to their "bad paper" discharges from the military by allowing them to have a retroactive honorable discharge, according to Stars and Stripes.

Vietnam Veterans of America, the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress, and the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at the Yale Law School claimed that Vietnam veterans had undiagnosed PTSD during their service, which would have explained their conduct leading to them receiving "an other than honorable discharge."

The three groups, which brought the legal case with five Vietnam combat veterans, named the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force in the lawsuit filed in New Haven, Conn.

In a statement, they said many Vietnam veterans suffered from symptoms of PTSD, which was not given a medical diagnosis until 1980, and struggled to perform their duties properly.

The result was that thousands of them were handed so-called "bad paper" discharges instead of the medical discharges they would likely have been given today, according to the statement. A medical discharge could allow them to obtain certain services and benefits afforded to wounded warriors.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, told Stars and Stripes that thousands of "honorable" Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress "have been doubly injured by the black mark of an other than honorable discharge, resulting in unjustly denied support, services and benefits.

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