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Non-Combat Ptsd & Witness Statement

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Two Echo

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Hey guys;

I have a troop under my command who just returned from his third deployment with our Signal Corp National Guard unit. During our deployment together in 2009 we were attached to a JSOC unit and where subjected to several "close calls" from indirect fire. One incident in particular came close enough to hear the incoming & see and feel the explosions. (Within a hundred yards)

Well this troop's wife has recently confided in me since our redeployment he's exhibited several symptoms of PTSD to include sleepless nights and massive doubts of anxiety completely uncharacteristic to this individual's personality.

After talking with him he's agreed to seek help and I'm currently helping him get his paperwork together & I've got a few questions.

  • His MOS is 25N (Networking Guy) in a reserve Signal Corp unit that never saw combat. I realize getting this claim will be an uphill battle and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get him back on the right track. I just need to be pointed in the right track.
  • Considering his MOS, will witness statements be enough to get the VA to recognize a stressor? I've drafted a witness statement, but I need all the help I can get with it.
  • How will a MH rating affect his retainability in the National Guard? He exhibits signs of sleeplessness, nightmares and anxiety but none of the more debilitating symptoms. Does a PTSD rating (even a lower one?), automatically mean his time is done? (He just reenlisted and hopes to make this a career)

Please be honest with me, I can use all the advise I can get.

What I have for a witness letter:

Sworn Statement of XXXX

1. My name is XXXX and I reside at XXXX

2. From November 2008 until July 2009 I served as the direct supervisor of XXXX who resides at XXXX.

3. XXX was in outstanding health until March 2009.

4. On March 4, 2009 while walking back from the Chow Hall, XXXX and I fell under indirect fire by an estimated dozen and a half rockets. There were no sirens, no shouts of incoming; the only warning was the whistling of the rockets themselves. The vast majority fell directly over our position and several exploded within a hundred yards with one killing a female soldier on our compound. As there were no bunkers within 20 yards of our position, XXXX and I literally ran for our lives, sprinting to our communications bunker surrounded by HESCOs. This was hands down, the most frightening experience of my life. The risk of death was no longer an abstract threat, it was there staring us in the face.

5. From March 2009 until September 2009 XXXX lived under constant fear of mortar attacks, rocket barrages, and suicide bombers. During this time-period XXXX represented the greatest insurgency stronghold in Iraq, witnessing some of the greatest violence against American forces. Even sleeping provided a major source of anxiety as a large majority of the mortar attacks came at night, with several hitting the vicinity of our compound.

6. Since his redeployment to the United States, XXXX's health has worsened considerably. He has personally confided in me nightmares about our time in XXX that occur on a nightly basis. Sleeping during the hours of darkness is a major source of anxiety and dread for XXXX. He rarely gets more than two hours of sleep; any external sound can awaken him. Cars passing by, neighboring dogs, loud music, a TV in another room.

I hereby certify that the information I have given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Signed:

XXXXX

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Welcome,

Your buddy statements would certainly be accepted to support

a claim for VBA disability benefits for PTSD.

With the new regs out for PTSD all he would need is for

a VA mental health doc or VA contracted C&P examiner to state

he does have PTSD and it is the result of a fear of hostile forces.

Also, if he has the above diagnosed on AD, they would have to grant

50% SC right out of the box, but I believe his military career would be over.

Other's will most likely chime in.

Carlie passed away in November 2015 she is missed.

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Also, if he has the above diagnosed on AD, they would have to grant

50% SC right out of the box, but I believe his military career would be over.

PTSD is an automatic 50%?

How does an anxiety diagnosis compare with a PTSD? Ie: whats the process involved with getting service connect anxiety? If recognized both would basically provide therapy and help from the VA, correct?

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PTSD is an automatic 50%?

How does an anxiety diagnosis compare with a PTSD? Ie: whats the process involved with getting service connect anxiety? If recognized both would basically provide therapy and help from the VA, correct?

Well, if PTSD is diagnosed on AD and the vet is discharged due to

their PTSD - then by regs VA should grant 50% - but hey - I do think

a claim would need to be filed so, I don't feel it's AUTOMATIC.

Anxiety and PTSD - tho both are mental health disability's,

PTSD has to have a stressor where anxiety does not.

In order to receive benefits you have to file a claim (21-526), to my knowledge.

Yes, therapy and help can be gotten at the VAMC's and/or Vet Centers.

Carlie passed away in November 2015 she is missed.

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I'm confused. Can the NG member file a claim while still in the Guard? I thought VA only dealt with veterans, and I guess I thought that meant by definition that the individual's military service was completed.

Aside from that, your statement is good, but I would suggest that you include the following information:

How long you've known the individual and in precisely what capacity (just through the unit? Socially?)

Your specific unit at the time of the event and the dates of deployment

Your rank, and the rank of the service member you're referring to

Also, expound a bit on the change in the guy. Be more descriptive about what he was like before the deployment. Was he outgoing? Friendly? Upbeat? Was he a good soldier? A supertrooper? Reliable?

Stating that he was in outstanding health is both vague and leaves your observation open to contention unless you're a physician. It's more important to tell the VA that this guy was a normal person with hopes and dreams and was looking forward to tomorrow. I assume you were in a position to perceive his attitude toward life, right? If it was good, say so.

Then, after relating the traumatic events and the symptoms that XXX has reported to you, provide the VA with your own personal observation of his behavior. You aren't at his house to witness how much sleep he gets, but you can certainly report whether his mood is different, whether he seems jumpy or anxious. I think you need talk about changes in this person that you have personally seen, in addition to what you've been told.

Sorry if I seem to be critical. Just trying to be Devil's Advocate and spot weaknesses.

Since we're talking about this.... how are you doing? If you were there to witness, you also suffered. Are you okay? Sleeping alright? At all? You sure wouldn't be the first commander to worry about his troops while he bled to death.... are you taking care of yourself?

Damn, I'm really annoying tonight!

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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No, no, this is exactly the kind of feedback I need. From 2001 until recently our unit was sending people down range every 6 months like clockwork. They were fairly short deployments, anywhere from 4 to 6 months, but you might pull 4 of these deployments in a three year period. When you got back there was a stigma from putting anything disqualifying on your post-deployment health assessments that might preclude you from deploying again. So we've got troops who didn't report they strained a back or developed high blood pressure, and many people who took indirect fire or experienced other traumatic events who never reported it. Young soldiers just wanting to get back down range and help the fight again; no one wanted the stigma of be disqualified.

And now that some of us "young soldiers" are E-6s we see the mistakes we made, and trying to make it better for our troops.

As for filing while in the Guard, Yes, if you lose hearing on a deployment, or break a leg you can file and recieve benefits while still in the guard. That's why I'm saddened by some of my peers who didn't report such problems; they were willing to put service before self to get back down range and now have no recourse for a hurt back, or ringing in the ears.

how are you doing?

I'm on the up & up as far as things go. I never miss a night of sleep, no recurring thoughts or nightmares. It seems the same event can affect two people two completely different ways. Three deployments later the only thing I have to show is some anxiety issues now and again, but I'm certain thats a cumulative effect of working long hours for months without any days off and not related to any particular issue.

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http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2009/julqtr/pdf/38cfr3.304.pdf

(d) Combat.

Satisfactory lay or other evidence that an injury or disease was

incurred or aggravated in combat will be accepted as sufficient proof of service connection if the evidence is consistent with the

circumstances, conditions or hardships of such service even though there is no official record of

such incurrence or aggravation.

Carlie passed away in November 2015 she is missed.

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