BREAKTHROUGH: Fort Bragg Leaders Discover Malbehavior Among Soldiers With Psychiatric Injuries Results From Their “Personal Choices,” Not Medical Conditions

Pfc. Chasa Hosey, who served two deployments in Iraq, suffered invisible wounds from his war service. Military doctors at Fort Bragg’s Womack Army Medical Center diagnosed Hosey with Adjustment Disorder, anxiety, insomnia, alcohol abuse and depression. They prescribed him powerful psychotropic drug cocktails including Zoloft, Seroquel and Buspar. But for some reason, Hosey’s doctors has never officially diagnosed him with PTSD. Hosey’s commander, an Army captain, decided Hosey was malingering. He ordered Hosey to take a test to prove it, even though the Army’s Surgeon General cautioned in April 2012 against using tests to determine malingering. Fort Bragg officials claim they “adhere strictly” to those guidelines but offered no explanation of why a captain would accuse Hosey of malingering. (Fayetteville Observer)

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.

Fort Bragg’s director of suicide prevention, Col. Chad B. McRee, leads soldiers at the Army’s base with the highest rate of suicide so far in 2012. At least 15 Bragg soldiers have killed themselves this year. McRee’s career specialty is in law enforcement and has years of formal training as a military policeman. His position leading Bragg’s suicide prevention programs supports a new radical theory in medicine that says soldiers suffering psychiatric illness, such as PTSD and Major Depression, are fully capable of controlling their behavior, despite their mental condition. (Fayetteville Observer)

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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One Response

  1. To make a blanket statement such as the one proffered by MSG Brooks that “A diagnosed disorder does not excuse patterns of misconduct … those are his own personal choices” provides us with evidence of his lack of qualifications regarding the relationship between an individual’s mental/emotional injuries as it relates to their behavioral problems. The MSG has mistakenly based his opinion not on the overwhelming well documented available research by experts in these areas, but simply as it related to his own personal experience with his own mental health injury.

    Both the MSG’s statement and the one made by Fort Bragg’s Leader of the Suicide Prevention Program, COL McRee, (who is not by the way a mental health care specialist, but a military police officer) who has embraced a reported “radical new theory that, soldiers suffering psychiatric illness, such as PTSD and Major Depression, are fully capable of controlling their behavior, despite their mental condition.” His statement provides cause for concern, and may be a good place to start possibly a factor to consider as the reports of behavioral problems at Fort Bragg, and subsequent suicides/murder suicides continue to rise.

    Sadly though-if you dig into the well documented histories of how both American and British military cultures have approached the mental and spiritual injuries of their troops. Throughout history, you will find that the “Lessons Learned” are rarely applied, and become nothing more than chapters in books. As the unnecessary death tolls continue to rise I am left to wonder if they are a result of: rigid black and white thinking, pure ignorance, incompetence, apathy, laziness, or just simple apathy. However, just as you can not make a blanket statement about a soldier who has mental health issues ability to “control their behavior”-because there are certainly some who can, the judgment as to why leaders refuse to take the time to explore the lessons of the past-to the detriment of those within their care should be adjudicated with care.

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