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post #1 of 3 Old 05-22-2008, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Post Purple Heart for PTSD?

Should PTSD Victims Earn Purple Heart?
Stars and Stripes | Jeff Schogol | May 14, 2008

The veterans group for combat wounded troops whose mission is to preserve the integrity of the Purple Heart has come out against giving the award to troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. "I don't think people should get the Purple Heart for almost getting wounded," said Joe Palagyi, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. PTSD does not merit the Purple Heart, according to an Army regulation that lays out the criteria for the award. Recently, a military psychologist at Fort Bliss, Texas, told reporters during a roundtable that making troops with PTSD eligible for the Purple Heart could help destigmatize the disorder. "These guys have paid at least a high -- as high a price, some of them -- as anybody with a traumatic brain injury, as anybody with shrapnel wound, and what it does is it says this is the wound that isn't worthy, and I say it is," said John E. Fortunato.
That's fair to say, but a major problem within the Army is the fact that instead of treating a real problem, the use medals, coins, or lies to cover up the problem as to not deal with it. For example, an E-6, Staff Sgt., and higher, will be given a Bronze Star at the end of deployment. They don't have to do anything in order to get it except stay out of trouble. Got an E-6 or higher who sat inside a FOB for 15 months and never left the wire except to go on mid-tour leave? He is going to get one. So for those who did something good to earn theirs, it no longer caries much value. I think Mr. Fortunato's heart is in the right place. However, giving this award out will give the Army the excuse to say: "We are sympathetic to PTSD enough to give Soldiers who suffer from it one of our highest commendations." That just gives the Military a chance to dodge the real problems and if the Army isn't forced to help you, they won't. I also feel that yes, it would cheapen the award for those who already have it. It's like the still relatively new Combat Action Badge. Some Soldiers really earn theirs, but most are given out like candy. I got an Army Commendation medal at the end of my first deployment. Did I do something good to earn it? Yes. But there where others in that formation that didn't do anything except stay out of trouble and they got the same thing I did. The Army Commendation medal is worthless in my mind.
When asked about Fortunato's suggestion later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates called it an "interesting idea," adding the matter is "clearly something that needs to be looked into."
Translation: "I don't give a **** about the idea." He also has not shown real support for his troops. But then again, who in Washington has?
But Palagyi, who was awarded the Purple Heart for service in Vietnam, said PTSD does not meet the standards for the award, the forerunner of which was established by Gen. George Washington. "The Purple Heart was set up for combat wounds, for those who have shed blood, and I believe that although PTSD is a physical disease and is an injury ... [it] does not qualify for the merit of Purple Heart based on that," he said Tuesday. Injuries that merit the Purple Heart must happen in a combat theater and must be a direct result of enemy action, said Jack Leonard, also of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The group's concern about PTSD is that it can be caused by other factors, not necessarily the enemy.
Sure, but is rarely the case. You might not get blown up, but you live every single day in fear. True, real fear for your life that most people will never know. Think of it like this: We all know someone who suffered from child abuse. They may not have gotten hit day after day. Or molested day after day. But it happend when the right factors came into play. That's living life in fear, right? An IED might go off right behind you, but it still gets into your head. It often does even with the strongest individuals. Your abusive Father or Mother might not beat you every time, maybe they go after your Sister one day instead. But the same feelings of fear and stress are still there. That has a lasting effect. But when that IED does hit you, you might be just fine. The thought is always there: "I could have died." "I might die the next time." It's a thought that might never go away. It changes how you react to things, and handle certain situations.
"Did it occur in boot camp? Did it occur because of the rough air flight into theater? Or did it occur because an individual saw the results of the Taliban massacre of a village? I can't answer that," said Leonard, who was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam.
Sounds to me like Mr. Leonard is mocking PTSD. The problem with people like this is the fact that they can acknowledge that it might be out there, but if they really bought into it, that means they would have to face something about themselves. Most people may never do that in their lifetimes. Every guy knows a woman that dates "Men" that treat them like garbage. The things that set them up into that way of living are much harder to face and change. Most people become so dependant on what they know, that they need the abuse, no matter how big or small, to feel normal. They will even go to great lengths to justify not changing their behavior, or that the situation or person will change. Mr. Leonard simply takes a jab at it because he has suffered from it, and been the victim of PTSD when it has not been treated.
Stars and Stripes called the medical center where Fortunato works for a response, but a spokesman there referred questions to Army Human Resources Command, adding that Fortunato should not have commented on the Purple Heart in the first place because the issue is "out of our medical lane."
There is a term in the Army that is being used in that reply that most civilians are not picking up on. The term?
"Have a nice hot cup of shut the f*** up."

Leonard said he does not mean to downplay war's psychological injuries, recounting how he is sure how his father suffered from PTSD after fighting in World War II with the Marines. "Like a flash in a pan, he would reach out and I mean full-force smack with a balled fist, without any indication that it was going to happen, and you'd go, 'What the hell -- what the hell just happened?' as you picked yourself off the floor," Leonard said. He said his father, who also served in the Korean War and was close to suicide at the end of his life, was never awarded the Purple Heart. Asked if his father should have been given the award, Leonard said no. "There's no physical manifestation of -- that he ever shed blood," Leonard said.
Yeah, only when he punched you. But this proves my point about abuse. This man knew one way of living; was the victim of abuse. So what did he do? Went to a place that felt normal for him: The Army. He kept the cycle going and most likely has continued the same pattern his Father did. Now, I am not clamming that Mr. Leonard is a child abuser; but the fact is that treatment has not, and is not there for Soldiers. So basic logic leads you to conclude that the same pattern is still alive and well.

I do however agree that the Purple Heart should not be given for PTSD.
PTSD should be treated by trained professionals, and taken as seriously as a gushing wound. Until the Military does that, they can throw all the medals at the problem, but it will not get better, and it will not go away.

Casey J Porter

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post #2 of 3 Old 05-22-2008, 09:41 AM
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I have my views....This thread will be shut down for sure when/if a political flame war starts.
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-22-2008, 11:08 AM
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