Army Agrees to Review Thousands of Unfavorable Discharges for Veterans

Army Agrees to Review Thousands of Unfavorable Discharges for Veterans

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In a statement on Thursday, Alexander Conyers, deputy assistant secretary of the Army, said, “The Army Review Boards Agency, which acts on behalf of the secretary of the Army, impartially reviews and assesses cases in a manner that is fair and equitable to soldiers, former soldiers and the Army.”

“As the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has not yet approved a settlement and Kennedy v. McCarthy remains in litigation,” he added, “any comment regarding a proposed settlement would be premature.”

Messages left with lawyers representing the Army in the settlement agreement on Thursday were not immediately returned.

Following a 14-month tour as an infantry soldier in Iraq, Mr. Kennedy said, he committed a minor infraction in 2009 and was sent to a mental health clinic at Fort Bragg, N.C., where doctors found he had depression and recommended him for separation, saying they could not provide adequate care. As a result, he received a general discharge, not an honorable one.

According to the legal clinic at Yale, the Army has discharged about 150,000 soldiers since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with so-called bad paper discharges like Mr. Kennedy, many of whom showed symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress, or suffered from traumatic brain injuries following their combat service.

When a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman is discharged from the military, the service is characterized as honorable, general under honorable conditions, other-than-honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable. Only the first, honorable, guarantees the new veteran access to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ full array of benefits.

The type of discharge a service member receives after being separated for minor misconduct is subjective and can vary.

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