Baldwin, Murphy Letter Prompts Army Investigation into Wrongful Discharge of Servicemembers with Mental Health Disorders
Baldwin, Murphy led 10 senators in calling for investigation after allegations that more than 22,000 soldiers diagnosed with mental health disorders were dismissed for misconduct
WASHINGTON —U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded the U.S. Army’s announcement that they will conduct a thorough, multidisciplinary investigation into allegations that the Army has, since 2009, wrongfully dismissed more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they returned from deployment and were diagnosed with mental health disorders.
The Army’s announcement comes less than one month after Senator Baldwin joined a group of 10 senators, led by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), in requesting the investigation. In a letter to Senator Baldwin, Acting Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning wrote that the Assistant Secretary of the Army, The Inspector General of the Army, The Auditor General of the Army, and other senior Army leaders would conduct the investigation and report their findings.
“I am pleased the U.S. Army will be conducting a full investigation into the troubling allegations that men and women in uniform, diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, are being forcefully separated from service,” said Senator Baldwin. “I urge investigators to rectify this grave offense so our nation’s heroes are able to access the crucial retirement and health benefits and post-service employment eligibility they have earned.”
The November letter, addressed to Acting Secretary Fanning and Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, expressed serious concern that the dismissed soldiers will not receive the critical retirement, health care, and employment benefits that those with an honorable discharge would receive. The senators also emphasized that the forceful separation of soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) further denies these men and women of much-needed treatments, and may even discourage other servicemembers from seeking the medical treatment they require.
U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) joined Senators Baldwin and Murphy in calling for the investigation.