This is a log of my personal experiences. I’m writing this as a journal for myself, to become more comfortable with the path my life has lead.
Starting with the Military. I joined the Army just after I turned 18. I had dropped out of school, gone to Job Corps for a GED, obtained it and fled early one morning due to having life threats and severe beatings taken place by other students while there. I went home for a few months and then joined the military as a combat engineer. About half way through the 18 week basic training and AIT I suffered a fractured second left metatarsal. I reported the pain to medics 3 times and each time was sent back to formation with no examination, finally being told that if I go again I will get an article 15. About 5 weeks later we were finishing a week long field exercise where we “went camping”. This was Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri during the winter and it was pretty cold, half of the trainees had went back to the barracks “sick” while the rest of us finished with a 20k ruck march. After the march the drill instructors examined our feet for frostbite, I had a few black blisters and was sent to be sure that it wasn’t a serious problem. While the medics looked at my foot they touched the center of it on the top and I jumped, noting a high pain reaction they did it again and then sent me to the base hospital for an X-ray. The finding was that the metatarsal had split down the shaft and refused incorrectly. I had just completed most of Basic training with a severely broken foot. The Doctor (a Captain) told me if I had come in just 2 weeks earlier he would have performed surgery on my foot but at this point it was too late. I spent 2 or so weeks in a splint but was able to finish training and the PT tests, as well as the remaining training obligations. Let me tell you, pain has some strange effects on a person. Especially when severe and endured continuously over a length of time. By the time of graduation and into my duty station my mind was severely broken, to put it mildly. After 4 months I had a massive mental breakdown, became suicidal and was “Fired” (To Quote the J.A.G.) from the army but I was given an Honorable Discharge. At the time the Army was downsizing heavily (1994) and was discharging soldiers with mental health issues improperly in such a way that it denied them of Veteran’s Rights and Compensation. I fell into this category. The summary of the Psychiatrist read that Axis 1 diagnosis deferred (the notes are Heavily Loaded with Axis 1 symptoms). I was discharged honorably with a personality disorder, chapter 5-13 and thus ended my Army Experience with no reserve obligation and a big black mark on my record (by judgement of my family and friends, as well as my self) and no support for the issues directly created by my experience by serving in the US Army. In subsequent years I have developed a few emotional problems, again due to this experience, that effects my life and that of those whom love me, in severe ways.
Now for a little opinion. At the time of my discharge my mental capacity was severely diminished and I certainly was not Competent to make decisions or sign agreements. My Discharge is, thus, Void. This does not make me AWOL, I was given orders to return home as well as a bus ticket. I was then denied pay as well as benefits of career and promotion through this blatant oversight. Due to my short term of service I was only eligible for 6 months of support for college, according the then VA.
Due to my military experience, back to the facts by the way, I was able to land a pretty sweet Job at the VA. I was an information Specialist, customer support grade GS9 for about 3 years when I was illegally removed from my job due to my mental health condition, the fact that my Boss at the time had disclosed Privacy Act Protected information about me, that I had gone to the Union and filed a report as well as another for an unlawful PIP, creating a hostile work environment and screaming at me in the office suite hallway in front of the Entire 12 person crew.
I was removed, all of my attempts to rebut the removal both before and after went ignored. One contact listed on the proposal told me to talk to someone else, not her problem even though it listed her specifically as the person to contact. I was never even offered an opportunity to resign, even being a tenured, Union employee.
As such, I have been left homeless. I have lost everything pretty much except this website.
Support our Vets?
The following was a comment I made in response to a request on a chat regarding my experience as an employee of the VA. IT Specialist GS9
Imagine a pallet of personal computers with hard drives containing patient data being stored behind a door that you could push open, in a hallway that was not secure having people from the public walking through 24/7 while the regular office hours in this basement level hallway are roughly 7am to 6pm more or less. Anyone at any time could have walked off with these computers and no one would have ever known. It may very well have happened. Some computers that we found in use at the facility during inventory had been “scrapped” and logged as turned in and destroyed, it being a surprise to us to learn that these computers were still in the facility. There were many instances of this. Imagine Boxes and Boxes of hard disk drives being stored for years with the regulation of being destroyed in a specific way, the collection spanning years, each having the potential for any patient data or data of any kind depending on what the computer had been used for… This VA facility has Many departments. Imagine finding several folders on a shelf in a room that was secured only with the public employee key. This room had been vacant for years, only just reallocated for us to use as temporary non secure storage (keyboards and such). This room could have been accessed by many many people for a very long period. There is no telling how long the file was there… but it contained literally hundreds of full patient records, not medical but more billing, such as SS numbers, next of kin, addresses etc…. Imagine, over the period of a year or so, coming across things like this and a bit more and going to the boss as well as the union to end up having a hostile work environment created, including being screamed at by my boss in front of the entire crew (9 or so of us), resulting in a mental breakdown followed by an illegal removal. That gives you a very basic summary. *Edited for basic corrections.