Happy Fathers Day, Army Spec Jeans Cruz

More horror from WaPo’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull on what our soldiers must deal with when they return mentally broken from Iraq. The full article can be read at the source linked above..and its worth every minute of your time.

Army Spec. Jeans Cruz helped capture Saddam Hussein. When he came home to the Bronx, important people called him a war hero and promised to help him start a new life. The mayor of New York, officials of his parents’ home town in Puerto Rico, the borough president and other local dignitaries honored him with plaques and silk parade sashes. They handed him their business cards and urged him to phone.

But a “black shadow” had followed Cruz home from Iraq, he confided to an Army counselor. He was hounded by recurring images of how war really was for him: not the triumphant scene of Hussein in handcuffs, but visions of dead Iraqi children.

In public, the former Army scout stood tall for the cameras and marched in the parades. In private, he slashed his forearms to provoke the pain and adrenaline of combat. He heard voices and smelled stale blood. Soon the offers of help evaporated and he found himself estranged and alone, struggling with financial collapse and a darkening depression.

At a low point, he went to the local Department of Veterans Affairs medical center for help. One VA psychologist diagnosed Cruz with post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition was labeled “severe and chronic.” In a letter supporting his request for PTSD-related disability pay, the psychologist wrote that Cruz was “in need of major help” and that he had provided “more than enough evidence” to back up his PTSD claim. His combat experiences, the letter said, “have been well documented.”

None of that seemed to matter when his case reached VA disability evaluators. They turned him down flat, ruling that he deserved no compensation because his psychological problems existed before he joined the Army. They also said that Cruz had not proved he was ever in combat. “The available evidence is insufficient to confirm that you actually engaged in combat,” his rejection letter stated.

Yet abundant evidence of his year in combat with the 4th Infantry Division covers his family’s living-room wall. The Army Commendation Medal With Valor for “meritorious actions . . . during strategic combat operations” to capture Hussein hangs not far from the combat spurs awarded for his work with the 10th Cavalry “Eye Deep” scouts, attached to an elite unit that caught the Iraqi leader on Dec. 13, 2003, at Ad Dawr.

Veterans Affairs will spend $2.8 billion this year on mental health. But the best it could offer Cruz was group therapy at the Bronx VA medical center. Not a single session is held on the weekends or late enough at night for him to attend. At age 25, Cruz is barely keeping his life together. He supports his disabled parents and 4-year-old son and cannot afford to take time off from his job repairing boilers. The rough, dirty work, with its heat and loud noises, gives him panic attacks and flesh burns but puts $96 in his pocket each day.

This is disgusting and it must stop now. The Military has recognized PTSD as an illness since 1980 for the love of GOD! May every bastard that denies these men and women care rot in hell. Support our troops, bring them home now!

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About Dusty, hells most vocal bitch

I am a..brown Cali bitch that is quite the opinionated,political, pain-in-the-ass, in your face kinda girl that also loves baseball and music to a fault. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.--Albert Einstein-*

Posted on June 16, 2007, in Bring their Buddies Home, hypocrisy, Iraq Lies, Jeans Cruz, mental illness, Veterans, Veterans Healthcare, War in Iraq. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. jeezuz…things that make you go <>what the fuck?????<>nothing says “welcome home soldier” like a big fat NO on a disability claim.do these jackasses get a bonus for every claim they deny?

  2. There was a piece in Time Magazine this week about reservists losing their jobs when they come back even though the law says they aren’t supposed to.When the soldiers complain, many can only take it through arbitration instead of court.The problem?Arbitration is stacked for the employer and not the employee.I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I like telling the truth.

  3. No shit Poobie? That friggin sucks too. God this shit is outrageous.

  4. What is sad is that want more people to enlist. Why would anyone enlist to fight for our country if they know that they are going to be treated in souch a manner. I sure wouldn’t. Spec. Cruz deserves the respect, thankfulness and help from this country. What are we going to do besides write about it?

  5. Don’t know about you Tracy, but I do plenty. I march, I protest, I hold my elected representatives responsible via email and I contribute money to end the madness that is King George. I almost forgot..I vote too. 🙂

  6. And Tracy, if more people are enlisting..its for the huge bonus’s the military has to hand out, not for support for King George. His most recent ratings are in the 20’s. How sad is that?

  7. This is the Army not wanting to pay for their soldier’s problems after they leave the military. The VA screws us veterans everyday. We have served honorably, but the system doesn’t want to pay any more than they want. So, us veterans get it in the behind.

  8. If PTSD is not for real, then Bush, Cheney, and other war supporters should have no problem with people who return from combat spending a few weeks living with them. Oh yea the returning veterans have the right to keep and bear whatever arms they want. Of course. This is pathetic. Here is this guy pleading for help. And it does not look like he is getting any. What will it take?

  9. Brent, it breaks my heart that veterans have to fight for their medical benefits. Its disgusting and immoral. God Bless you sir.Lazy..Thats the 64K question..whats it gonna take?

  10. <>SUCKS MAJOR ASS!<>

  11. They are special in the military. Isn’t it sad when the military doesn’t support the troops?

  12. When I got out, I only wanted it in my records that my shoulder was injured while I was on active duty in case I had problems with it in the future for insurance purposes. I didn’t want any disability or any other services from the VA. Unfortunately, my medical records were sent to Bosnia when I only went to Denver and they still haven’t been found. The Army then said that since there was no proof I was injured while in the service, it was not covered. I started through the appeals process because I had copies of most of my stuff, but it was a pain in the ass and since my insurance wasn’t giving me any problems paying for rehab or whatnot, I just let it go.The problem is that others aren’t as lucky to have good insurance or other means to get things done. Especially in the mental health areas because getting any type of treatment for mental health in the military is still seen as a sign of weakness or cowardice.

  13. Scott above- geez- what a nightmare….and the worst part is that 1000′ s are “Lost” like you….and the worst part is that Every aspect of our Infrastructure is Broke ( it doesn’t help that the money is being sent to Iraq War Profiteers and not being spent on the Troops, or the Iraqi’s and ALL the Damage!!!)….Thanks for Blogging about PTSD Dusty- this is a horrendous issue that is NOT going to go away….and it effects Millions- the VETS and their families- we need to take care of them….and Bring Them HOME….

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