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No Thank You For Your Service: Investigation finds wounded soldiers punished, abandoned without help

KING 5's Taylor Mirfendereski uncovered Army leaders punished and kicked out struggling soldiers for behaviors related to their combat trauma.
Credit: KING 5

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.

Part 1

Army leaders punish struggling Shelton soldier in need of help

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. 

Read the full story.

Part 2

Whistleblowers: Army ignoring advice of medical experts 

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. 

Read the full story.

Part 3

Lacey soldier punished, kicked out for behavior related to combat trauma

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. 

Read the full story.

Part 4

Rep. Smith: Military leaders must improve response to soldiers in crisis

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. 

Contact The Reporter

Taylor Mirfendereski is Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist at KING 5, who specializes in multimedia digital projects. Follow her on Twitter @TaylorMirf and like her Facebook page to keep up with her reporting. For story tips or questions, e-mail her at tmirfendereski@king5.com.

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