63yrs • M •
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||A Hero's Fate In Mr. Bush's America
Posted 2005-02-10 13:15:00.0
Iraq War veteran faces court martial for seeking psychiatric care
KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- An Army Reserve officer from Powell is a veteran of two wars in Iraq. Now, he's facing a battle on two fronts, personal nightmares and the Army he loves.
First Lt. Phillip Goodrum might go to jail for seeking psychiatric care or he might be dishonorably discharged.
Goodrum is a veteran of the first Gulf War. He returned from the latest war in Iraq a year and a half ago but his struggle with it isn't over. Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. is his temporary home. He's being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, a recognized combat injury.
When off-duty, Goodrum goes to the capitol seeking help from legislators as he battles for the rights of psychologically injured soldiers. He claims there's inadequate treatment.
Goodrum also faces a court martial for being absent without leave. Army legal records claim he was AWOL while in Knoxville. He was at St. Mary's Medical Center being treated for by a psychiatrist for post traumatic stress disorder.
"I thought I could handle the situations internally. It turned out I was wrong," Goodrum says. "I called it the beast that finally overwhelmed myself."
"When did the beast rear its head?" 6 News asks. "November 7, 2003 when I was denied medical treatment at Fort Knox," Goodrum says.
His story goes back 18 months to Fort Knox, Kentucky, home of the Army's armor school. He was sent there following a non-combat injury in Iraq. "Originally, Fort Knox was my treatment facility. Due to the large number of soldiers, I was unable to get a bed."
Medical directors at Fort Knox sent Goodrum to work temporarily at the Army Reserve Center in Knoxville.
When Goodrum returned to Fort Knox, he says records show he couldn't get the treatment he needed for anxiety and stress. "So I had a breakdown then. They told me they didn't care. I could use the VA after I was discharged. Their orders were clean and concise that I was not to be admitted to Fort Knox."
"So, you go to St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville," 6 News says. "They're continuing to press a court marital on myself and they consider me AWOL during the time I was an in-patient," Goodrum says.
Problems in Iraq lead to problems stateside
In Iraq while serving with a transportation unit, Goodrum first complained of trouble to his superiors. "My concern was sending us out on convoy missions in Iraq, not being fully combat operational." Goodrum believes the Army is retaliating.
As a soldier of the year award from his old unit in Johnson City shows, Goodrum is not a trouble maker. Yet three months ago, he attended a hearing for a general court martial. Among the charges is desertion. Goodrum claims he followed Army procedures. "I didn't find out I was AWOL until I went to get a refill for my medication."
"And you're in Knoxville at that time?" 6 News asks. "Correct and the Army was aware of my location and my home, aware of my doctor. My doctor made contact with them," Goodrum says.
Counselor questions charges
Steve Robinson, director of the Gulf War Resource Center, says, "I see a soldier who served in two wars, who honorably served the military."
Robinson says he believes Goodrum is being punished for speaking out. "I see a military who came after him to crush him when he made these allegations public."
Read the rest of the story at veteransforcommonsense.org
"A fool says I know and a wise man says I wonder."