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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Modern Wars & Warfare > Military Medicine

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Military Medicine Discuss aspects of this specialist field not covered in other forums.

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  #1  
Old 06 Jan 09, 18:08
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Troops won't get Purple Heart for stress disorder

Quote:
The Purple Heart medal, awarded to service members who have been physically wounded in combat, will not be given for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, a Pentagon statement said.


The decision, which was made in early November but just made public this week, came after months of deliberations sparked by a question on the topic posed to Defense Secretary Robert Gates during a Pentagon briefing in May.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/...art/index.html

I am not sure that the Purple Heart should be awarded for psychological conditions. Perhaps there should be another award for issues such as PTSD. Emotional issues can be more damaging than physical ones.

I do find their explanation a little lacking though. The military, and society's, record on interacting with people who have psychological issues is appalling at best. I would not rest my argument on that mantle of inadequacy.

Quote:
The Defense Department statement noted that historically, Purple Heart designations are awarded for bodily injuries from "an outside force or agent," which is considered an objective standard. It also cited other Purple Heart award criteria and 76 years of precedent as other factors in deciding when to bestow the honor. The medal has never been awarded for psychological conditions, it said.
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  #2  
Old 06 Jan 09, 18:23
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After giving it a little thought, I'm of the opinion that this may be for the best. How would you explain to an employer or anyone, for that matter, that your :Purple Heart was awarded for a mental condition that may end up costing you your employment, or a friend?


There is also the issue of the feelings of those awarded the same decoration for being wounded in combat. In a sense, awarding it for emotional disorder under stress would de-value it enormously as a combat award. Imagine, if you will, the soldier who lost his legs to an IED, wearing the same Purple Heart as a soldioer who couldn't take the stress.

Mental disorders are still the cultural Darkside of society. While recognizing how real it ism, I would award nothing, just as soldiers are not reqarding for getting cancer or becoming drug addicts or alcoholics. Medical conditions oocur as a result of service, but why reward them with a decoration?

Give them a medical disharge under honorable conditions, a proper disability and appropriate care and follow-up..., but not a decoration.
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Old 08 Jan 09, 03:27
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I have mixed emotions as well and think its for the best. I am wondering if there are actually service men and women that want this award.

At the end of the day, I am content to go with whatever people who have served and are serving think as best. I just didn't like the commission's explanation.
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Old 08 Jan 09, 16:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuit View Post
I have mixed emotions as well and think its for the best. I am wondering if there are actually service men and women that want this award.

At the end of the day, I am content to go with whatever people who have served and are serving think as best. I just didn't like the commission's explanation.
It saddens me to say that there will be many who will feel entitled, and some who will demand it. I will not be surprised to see a law suite of some kind out of this. And to be honest, they may be right in their own way. Mental problems can every bit as disabling as the loss of legs or arms or eyes. The only real difference I can see is that mental problems can be treated, but no one gets to grow new arms, legs or eyes.
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Old 08 Jan 09, 16:48
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but no one gets to grow new arms, legs or eyes.
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not like the original anyway.....i have a great deal of empathy for soldiers with PTSD etc...but can not support the award.

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Old 10 Jan 09, 20:12
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It's bad enough that many purple hearts are given out for wounds that are not physically disabling. If they allowed it for PTSD, the ranks of claimants would swell. Everyone who claimed to have heard a shot fired would be filing for his or her purple heart, so as to get promotion point credit and possible disability pay.
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  #7  
Old 12 Jan 09, 13:47
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Not really - you have to be physically wounded as a result of enemy action.
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Old 12 Jan 09, 15:25
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In my time in the Brit and Canadian Forces there was no award ,that I am aware of, for getting shotup in mind or body..though Brits had a wound stripe at one time...as for getting a medal for being scared or shook up....any soldier who was ever involved in combat operations was sacred and shook up at one time or another, I sure as hell was,...MM.. same as jumping out of an aircraft...we all got a twitch at .." Stand up, Hook up, Check your gear, Stand in the door"...... I can understand a US soldier getting a PH for wounds to their body....but the mind...????

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  #9  
Old 12 Jan 09, 15:37
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otoh this is not necessarily what i would either expect or like to see given the caveat i dont know the pattern of 'misconduct'....other then what's reported...and at that point it sounds familiar...neither do i know the efforts to help this man rehab beyond what's inferred or not.

PTSD victim booted for ‘misconduct’


http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/0...harge_010709w/
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Old 09 Jul 09, 12:19
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  #11  
Old 12 Jul 09, 08:28
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One of the tricks with PTSD is it is not necessarily caused by a military combat experince. Witnessing the violent abuse of death of a parent will often create the condition. A depressing number of children live with a violently abusive parent which can create the conditions for PTSD. Living in a violent neighborhood can do the same. I served with two Marines who had suffered gunshot or knife wounds as teenagers. Diagnosing the causes of PTSD is still a fairly subjective thing & too dependant on the doctors judgement.

When I first entered the USMC in 1974 there were a large number of Marines serving who suffered from this condition. There was usually not a stigma or loss of respect for those with this condition, at least in the short term. This may have been partly from my limited view at the time, but it was also that most of the combat veterans were now senior NCOs and officers. That their peers were suffering from the same condtion tended to make their judgement less harsh. No medals for PTSD back then, but you were less likely to have a ten year service record destroyed by some A...hole who did not grasp why you never got a full nights sleep or were self medicating with alcohol.
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