Disabled Vet Needs Help
The following story was written by a dear friend of mine:
Hello. My name is Tina Blair-Watkins. My husband is Specialist Richard Watkins Jr. He was part of the 209th MP Detachment. He was in the Army for only 10 yrs before being booted out. He wasn’t booted out because he was a horrible soldier. After his last deployment he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Anxiety (PTSD), Chronic Neck Pain, Hypertension, and a many other issues.
Not just anyone can be a soldier. Almost anyone can join the army. Now days if your parents say its ok you don’t even have to be 18. Not just anyone can be a soldier. I am a soldier’s wife. It takes allot to be just that. I can only imagine what it feels like to be him. He was in the Army for over 10 yrs. They trained him to fight, trained him to protect. They have trained him to block out every emotion except love for his country. The Army has trained this soldier to go to war with one thing on his mind. THE WAR!
After 10 yrs he was still a Specialist not because he had done anything wrong to stay just that. Not because he did not deserve to go to the promotion board. Every time he moved his supervisors would say he needed 90 days to be evaluated. After the 90 days he was deployed. Then the new super would need 90 days. Then he was injured and had to wait until he healed to take a PT test. You cannot be promoted without taking a PT test. Although, at this time they did not see him fit enough to be promoted because of injury, he was in fact fit enough for combat. Further enhancing his injury. He returned to the states both physically and emotionally injured. I say emotionally not only because of the devastating things he witnessed or participated in but also due to the verbal and mental harassment received from his peers and supervisors on account of his inability to take a PT test. Didn’t you know in the Army if you are injured you are considered worthless?
He was deployed to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once. I can’t begin to count the bases he was stationed at here in the states. Oh, let’s not forget the “peace keeping” tours, each place another 90 days. This was at least until his last deployment to Iraq in which he contracted cancer. I say contracted because he was stationed on a chemical plant/ oil refinery/ electrical plant that spewed their waste in the form of an ash onto the FOB as they saw fit. He had to shoot children strapped with bombs, get shot, get stabbed, have RPG’s shot at him, miss his own children growing up, and then end up with cancer and TBI. His supervisor’s words still ring through my brain still to this day, “So what. He has cancer. That doesn’t mean he deserves special treatment.” This is how a soldier is treated and respected!?
He has horrible nightmares and hurts me in his sleep. He cries when he thinks I am not looking. If the cats play and their toys hit the wall or door he jumps, cowers to the floor and covers his head screaming. He is only 29 and has the aches and pains of a 50 yr old man. He always has a head ache and ringing in his ears. He is a mess. After 10 yrs of being a soldier the Army kicked him out. The only skill he has is being a soldier. What has the Army prepared him to do with his life now that he is no longer a soldier? How is he supposed to survive outside of the river of green? The Army kicked him out as a specialist not because he couldn’t do his job but because after four combat tours he was injured so that he could not deploy again. The slogan “be all that you can be” means what in the world outside of the sea of green.
He has many medals, awards, honors, classes, and coins. More so, than most of his supervisors put together. He has definitely had more combat time than they have. This specialist was so well known for his knowledge and experience his supervisors came to HIM for answers. They had him teach classes they couldn’t teach. They asked HIM for help. Yet, he was the specialist and the one they called worthless until they need him.
My husband was medically retired from the Army Febuary 2 2010. Va finally kicked in at 70% April of 2011. We went and entire year without paying our mortgage, without doing repairs on our home, without taking care of the things we needed to take care of. We went an entire year with out medical insurance. Did you know that the military puts retired soldiers on standard tricare and they are no longer seen on post? We could not see a doctor. So my husband could not get treatment for his TBI or any other disorders. He has yet to receive treatment for any of his issues since being medically retired from the Army. VA keeps rescheduling the appointment. My husband is getting worse and they don’t seem to care. This damaged soldier is my husband.
I am happy to have and love him. He tried his best on a specialist salary to take care of me and our five daughters. I have psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibro mialgia. Our oldest has Osgood-Schlatter disease. Our youngest has bipolar, ADHD, EDS, and Osteogenisis Imperfecta. He does his best to be a father and husband with the issues that he has. We have a home that needs work, but it’s our home. We have a truck that needs work, but it’s our truck. We have our church, our pets, our family, and our life. Through God we are blessed. We are a happy family regardless of everything. I actually believe some of the craziness has brought us closer.
The Army took a young healthy man. They are kicking out a man that has been beaten and drained of almost all life. They are kicking him out with no life skills and no work skills. He may be getting kicked out of the Army that he was honored to serve and risked his life for as a specialist but he is a FOUR STAR GENERAL in our family. We have 5 beautiful daughters and 2 dogs. We love our home but are on the border of losing it. We put our bills off constantly to stay above water. We have no where to turn and no one that can help us pull out of the hole we are in.
Please help Tina, Richard, and their children by making a direct contribution through PayPal. Tina’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your support!