The day before his 22nd birthday, a bomb hanging from a tree along a road near Fallujah exploded above Rory Dunn's Humvee.
Dunn's forehead was crushed from ear to ear, leaving his brain exposed. His right eye was destroyed by shrapnel; the left eye nearly so. His hearing was severely damaged.
Yet, even as Dunn fought to overcome his traumatic brain injury and other wounds, his mother, Cynthia Lefever, fought the Army to ensure her son continued to receive critical care from Army specialists. Lefever said the Army tried to pressure her son into accepting a discharge before he was ready - pressure other severely wounded soldiers say they've experienced, too.
Lefever and other critics say the Army's medical system, particularly Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has been overwhelmed by the number of wounded returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They accuse the Army of attempting to discharge wounded soldiers before their essential medical needs are met and transfer them to Veterans Affairs medical facilities.
"The Army tried to get rid of him," Lefever said. "It was immoral and unethical. The Army owes these kids."
Soldiers are discharged if they no longer can "adequately perform" their assigned duties and have received "optimum medical care," Garvey said. The process is subjective and can last months or more than year, he said, but soldiers are informed of their rights and can appeal.
Veterans organizations say they are aware that the military medical system is stretched.
"It's obvious when you go to Walter Reed," said Cathy Wiblemo, the American Legion's deputy director for health care. "They are running out of room."
"The Army's medical bills are going up, and it's encroaching on other things they have to pay for," she said.
Running out of room? "Other things" they have to pay for? WHAT THE FUCK? There ain't a goddam thing more important for the military to provide space for or pay for than properly treating soldiers that were injured in this criminal war.
Please go read this article. If it doesn't blow your blood pressure out your ears, go read it again.