No Thank You For Your Service is a multi-part, on-going investigation into the mistreatment of servicemembers who suffer from combat trauma.
The series revealed Army leaders punished and kicked out struggling soldiers for behaviors related to their service-connected medical conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. As a result, the veterans lost their guarantee to benefits, including health care, from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Why is it happening? KING 5's Taylor Mirfendereski uncovered a weakness in the Army system designed to protect soldiers with invisible wounds from wrongful punishment.
The Army disregarded the advice of medical experts when they disciplined and kicked out a struggling Shelton soldier for misconduct that, doctors said, his service-related medical conditions caused, a five-month KING 5 investigation found.
Health care professionals at Joint Base Lewis McChord's Madigan Army Medical Center reveal the safeguards in place to protect wounded soldiers from wrongful punishment are not effective. They say the Army has a pattern of ignoring its own medical experts and unfairly punishing local soldiers recovering from the mental stress of combat.
Jeffrey Smith served three tours in Afghanistan, but earlier this year, he found himself fighting a new battle: a fight to leave the Army with honor and veterans benefits, like long-term medical help.
At issue is whether the Army made the right call when they kicked him out of the military under other-than-honorable conditions instead of for medical reasons. A KING 5 investigation uncovered evidence that Smith's PTSD led to the misconduct they booted him for.
The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, is calling for expanded mental health training for military commanders in response to a KING 5 investigation, which found Army leaders punished and kicked out local soldiers who struggled to deal with mental wounds from combat.