Wounded in Combat, Denied Benefits
My thanks to Joshua Kors for his truthful reporting on these fraudulent "personality disorder" discharges ["Disposable Soldiers," April 26]. I am happy my story has been told. After the mortar blast, when I reached out and asked for help from my chain of command, I had no idea that my comrades would turn on me. I joined the military to serve like both my grandfathers, to do my part for America. I never thought that this could happen to me.
This article triggered a huge outpouring of support, including e-mails and phone calls from other soldiers who said, "That happened to me."
With the support of my family and friends, I have been able to pull myself up, and I will continue to fight for my brothers and sisters in arms. I will never forget the things that happened to me. To make sure it never happens to anyone else, I have founded Disposable Warriors. We provide support for other soldiers wounded then denied benefits. Since the article was published, we have had more than 200 e-mails and fifty phone calls. I encourage anyone who has had this problem to contact us and keep fighting, because there is hope. I have seen how widespread these personality disorder discharges are. They need to stop. Too many warriors have been wronged.
SGT. CHUCK LUTHER
In 2001 they used the personality disorder discharge on me. I was 19, and my commander said the discharge was my sole way out. I was threatened that if I didn’t take that discharge, he would have me thrown out with a dishonorable discharge.
I was having physical medical problems. I should have been honorably discharged. I was verbally assaulted and humiliated. I received threats from fellow enlisted marines and began to fear for my safety. My commander attempted to put me in confinement "for my medical safety." Out of desperation, I tried to kill myself. After the attempt, I was offered the personality disorder discharge. I took the discharge and didn’t look back, for a little while at least. I was just so happy to get out of there. Sometime later I began dealing with the experience. Doctors have since confirmed that I do not have a personality disorder.
Even though I have been successful in the days since the discharge, the experience still haunts me. I have told very few people what really happened to me. I feel guilt and shame for the type of discharge I was given. Despite what I know, at some levels I feel that it’s my fault. I am too afraid to apply for my dream career in law enforcement because I know they will see my discharge status. Now I wish I had just endured the suffering while I was in the Marines. It has made my life a living hell.