WASHINGTON —U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today applauded the U.S. Army’s announcement that the U.S. Army 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 Murphy led a group of 11 senators in requesting the investigation. In a letter to Murphy, 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.
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.
“The way our country treats people struggling with mental health disorders is disturbingly inadequate, and I’m working hard to fix that. But I was especially troubled to learn of reports that the U.S. Army discharged servicemembers with PTSD or brain injuries for misconduct instead of evaluating them for conditions that may have warranted an honorable or medical discharge,” said Murphy. “I’m relieved that the U.S. Army is conducting a thorough investigation into what may have gone wrong, and remain optimistic that they will fix their mistakes.”
The full text of the U.S. Army’s announcement is available online here.
Murphy is a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and is the co-author of the Mental Health Reform Act – America’s first comprehensive bipartisan effort to strengthen our nation’s mental health care delivery system in years.
U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), 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 Murphy in calling for the investigation.