How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits

Jon Town has spent the last few years fighting two battles, one against his body, the other against the US Army. Both began in October 2004 in Ramadi, Iraq. He was standing in the doorway of his battalion’s headquarters when a 107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head. The impact punched a piano-sized hole in the concrete facade, sparked a huge fireball and tossed the 25-year-old Army specialist to the floor, where he lay blacked out among the rubble.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground.” Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. “They started shaking me. But I was numb all over,” he says. “And it’s weird because… because for a few minutes you feel like you’re not really there. I could see them, but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead.”

Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town’s neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans’ rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it’s doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses. [/quote] … 409&s=kors

Damn shame how the US treats its soldiers.

If this is true, it is a travesty.

Toe Tag, so this is expected to hit the streets in The Nation’s April 9, 2007 issue! Wow. There aren’t many sites discussing this yet, thanks for sharing. For Spc. Town to have to fight for his benefits is completely embarrassing to Americans chanting Support our Troops! There are probably similar cases in the UK and other aggressive WoT nations.

Do you think we should anticipate other suffering veterans (and publications) to begin exposing the realities of military DU and its horrible effects? What kind of horid spindoctors could consciously label the effects of war or DU as an “existing personality disorder”?

Of course loosing medical benefits after having served the oath to protect and defend is bad enough, but some people have to cope with the effects of service under the WoT in very different ways…[quote=“Salon online magazine”]
The face of war.

Photojournalist Nina Berman discusses her award-winning portrait of disfigured Iraq vet Ty Ziegel and his fiancée, Renee, on their wedding day – and what was really going on behind the lens.[/quote]Original photos at:
[quote=“”]Former Marine Sgt. Ty Ziegel was seriously wounded by a suicide car bomber while serving in Iraq in 2004. He spent 19 months recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. He was supported during this time by his family and his fiancée Renee Kline. Ty and Renee married in October 2006.

Anyone wishing to seek help should send donations to an organization which aids military families and which helped Ty and his family during his rehabilitation.[/quote]
Fair Use: These photos are labeled as copyrighted material, and their use here has not been directly or specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The photos are available in effort to advance the understanding of the effects of war, criminal justice, human rights, political, economic, democratic, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. This is believed to constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If others wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of their own that go beyond ‘fair use’…they must obtain permission from the copyright owner. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the photos and comments are posted without profit. For more information go to:

Check out this list of nonpartisan good ways to help wounded vets.

[quote]1. When Marine Sergeant Ty Ziegel was brought back stateside for medical treatment for serious blast and burn injuries, Fisher House helped fly his parents, brother and fiancee to the hospital. Fisher House’s Hero Miles program has provided 5,000+ roundtrip tickets to families of injured troops – note that the military usually only provides airfare for parents of injured troops, not extended family members. Fisher House has built homes near all the major mlitary medical centers, which help about 8,500 families with housing during their extended stays with wounded servicemen and women. Check out for more information on how to donate.

  1. Volunteer or donate to a VA Hospital – VA has authority to accept monetary donations, in addition to gift certificates, discount cards, various gift cards, vouchers, etc. check out for an easy to fill out form.

  2. Homes for Our Troops – an organization that helps adapt and build houses that are accessible to severely wounded soldiers. Check out

  3. Wounded soldiers sometimes don’t have any personal belongings remaining when they go through the hospital system. Soldiers Angels gives backpacks filled with small necessaries to wounded soliders. … or you can donate new (not used) items for them to put in. They are asking for the following:

Blankets of Hope (see for more information)
Cards and Letters of Encouragement
T-Shirts solid color (grey or black)
Lounge pajamas
Hand Held Games
Snacks and Goodies
Personal hygiene items – i.e., deodorant, shampoo etc
Chap Stick
Bug Repellent
Luxury Items
CD Players
CDs and DVDs
Gift Cards (Walmart, Target, Pizza Hut etc. for U.S. stores)[/quote]

My guess is that Fred will raise a great big hissy fit because it came from a Dem site or perhaps because these are ways that average citizens can help our wounded troops via non-partisan means. Apparently the hardcore Bushbots won’t be happy until somebody can link to 100 ways people can distract themselves from the Walter Reed scandal.

When I looked at the Republicans’ site, all I can see is stuff dating from February and July 2004. Perhaps they don’t have any good news to report in the past 3 years? Perhaps they didn’t want to inform their people about the sort of cuts and freezes of VA budgets that their party has been foisting?