THE LAST BATTLE: Pfc. Chasa Hosey Fights to Get Honorable Discharge, VA Benefits
by Greg Barnes
Fayetteville Observer, Sept. 24, 2012
If he didn’t get help soon, Chasa Hosey thought, he would kill himself or someone else.
Hosey said he had just been told he was going to be separated from the Army for misconduct, and the news pushed the mentally ill Fort Bragg soldier close to violence.
He said he became so agitated that he checked himself into the psychiatric ward at Womack Army Medical Center to protect himself and others.
Last week – after the Quaker House and The Fayetteville Observer looked into Hosey’s case – Fort Bragg said it was backing off a captain’s intent to discharge Hosey for misconduct.
Fort Bragg officials now say they plan to put Hosey out of the Army on a Chapter 5-17, which allows separation for a physical or mental condition that is not considered a disability. The officials say Hosey will receive an honorable discharge, which should entitle him to benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also being promoted to specialist.
The officials made the decision Thursday after Hosey’s chain of command reviewed his record of service, deployment, conduct and performance history, and his mental and medical health. Fort Bragg had not notified Hosey of the decision Monday.
Lenore Yarger, who helps soldiers through the Quaker House, is baffled by the decision.
“A diagnosed disorder does not excuse patterns of misconduct … those are his own personal choices.
— Sgt. Maj. Eric Brooks, former Fort Bragg psychological operations expert, now serving as Fort Bragg’s senior enlisted suicide prevention publicist
She says Army regulations call for soldiers found to have post-traumatic stress disorder to be provided fair and equal treatment through the Army’s physical disability system.
“I really just don’t understand the urgency of putting him out and not giving him a fair hearing,” Yarger said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Hosey readily acknowledges that he has behaved badly in the past few years, but he blames his conduct on his mental health problems.
He said he never faced discipline while serving in the Navy in the 1990s or in the Army until after he came home from 15 months of heavy fighting in Iraq in 2008.
“That kind of destroyed me over there,” Hosey said. “I saw more than I needed to see, did more than I needed to be doing.”
In January 2010, medical records provided by Hosey show, a doctor on Fort Bragg diagnosed him with depression disorder. Hosey said he was provided counseling but little else.
Hosey, who served with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team at that time, said he began drinking heavily and arguing with his wife in front of their children. Before he knew it, Hosey said, his wife had left him.
About the same time, he said, he was caught driving drunk, which resulted in a loss of rank – from sergeant to specialist. His misconduct also caused him to miss a deployment to help Haiti recover from an earthquake.
But that didn’t stop Fort Bragg from sending Hosey to Iraq again in May 2011.
During that deployment, Hosey said, he got into more trouble when he “verbally blew up” at a senior noncommissioned officer. Again, Hosey said, he was demoted in rank, to private first class.
Hosey’s problems did not stop when he returned home from Iraq in November.
In February, his wife filed separation papers, leaving him in “a house that used to be a home.”
About a month earlier, Hosey said, he had gone to Military One Source looking for help. In April, doctors at Fort Bragg prescribed him medications for PTSD, anxiety, depression and sleep problems.
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Filed under: Resources | Tagged: 82nd Airborne Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Col. Chad B. McRee, Fort Bragg, Military malingering, Pfc Chasa Hosey, Sgt. Maj. Eric Brooks, Spc. Ricky Elder, Suicide, Suicide prevention, Womack Army Medical Center |