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Ear to the Ground

Casualties From the Battle Over PTSD

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Posted on Feb 16, 2007
soldier
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Pvt. Jacob Burgoyne was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and ordered to a psychiatric facility, but the Army sent him home instead. Shortly thereafter, Burgoyne stabbed a fellow soldier 32 times and set his body aflame because, he said, “that’s how we disposed of bodies in Iraq.”

After months of investigation, reporter Mark Boal, who wrote about the above story in Playboy magazine, discovered that doctors are under pressure to limit mental health diagnoses and treatment in order to satisfy political, budgetary and manpower concerns.


Playboy:

As it turns out, Burgoyne had not been evacuated to Germany as Koroll had ordered. According to Koroll, a colonel in Burgoyne’s command pressured the hospital to allow Burgoyne to return to America with his unit, the Third Infantry Division, which was to be one of the first units lionized for its heroism in leading the fight north to Baghdad. “He’s a hero. He should be with his men” is how Koroll remembers the explanation coming down to him. After he returned to Georgia, Burgoyne, according to his mother, spent a few minutes in an Army hospital, spoke briefly to an Army psychiatrist and then was released from medical supervision. Exactly two days later Burgoyne attacked a fellow soldier in the woods near Fort Benning, Georgia, killing him with 32 stab wounds from a three-inch blade and then burning his body with lighter fluid, because, as he explained at his subsequent murder trial, “that’s how we disposed of bodies in Iraq.”

“Basically they told him to go out and have a few beers and he’d feel better,” says Koroll. “Well, that’s what he did. But he didn’t feel better, apparently, because he stabbed someone to death.” Standing up as he makes his point, he adds, “It’s just a disgrace. The military failed.”

Koroll is a big guy, six-foot-four, easily over 250 pounds, with a large head and a strong, jutting jaw. He was a linebacker in high school on a championship team, and with the weight he’s put on since then, he looks as if he’d be even harder to push around now.

“That guy Burgoyne had a textbook case of PTSD, and he was supposed to go to the hospital,” he says over his shoulder. “I signed the evac order with my own hand. What the hell happened?”

Koroll couldn’t have known it at the time, but while he was in Kuwait, PTSD had become a political football, a surrogate in the larger debate over the Iraqi conflict. The powers that be in the Department of Defense were waging a quiet war against the very concept of PTSD.

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By Donna, October 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just need to say that I am so upset and disturbed by this situation. That we send our soldiers to war, ro fight and to kill. Then we bring them home expecting them to just flip thier switches and be the same people they were before they left. It does not work that way. Our system failed these men, all of them. 5 soldiers lost their lives that night. One who is resting peacefully, 4 others who have been entered into a new war. I am ehartbroken that this has happened, and am so disapointed in our own country for not protecting our own first. I could write a book about this and how I feel, but can’t do that here. I jsut wanted to at least say something.

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By A Mother, September 15, 2007 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OUR GOVERNMENT !!!! They think they are above the law. Lets stick to the facts in this case. Alberto Martinezs Killed Richard Davis,  Mario Navarrete stuck by Martinezs, Jacob Burgoyne concealed the death and Douglas Woodcoff concealed the death. Martinezs got life in prison plus 15 years Navarrete got life in Prison plus 15 years, Burgoyne got 20 years, Woodcoff got 9 months in jail and 5 years probation and when that is up he is no longer a felon????  This is our justice system. Its all about who looks good on the front page of the paper or making a deal,  not the truth. How sad.  Burgoyne brought justice to the case when he turned them all in plus himself. Burgoyne made justice in the case when he sat on the stand for 5 hours telling the truth about that night. The DA office had nothing without Burgoyne. Burgoyne was the only one with out a knife that night. read the transcrips.
This is out justice system and our Government. May Richard Davis rest in peace.

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By untruths, September 13, 2007 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This may not be posted but this article is incorrect.  Jacob Burgoyne did NOT stab Richard Davis.  What planet are you on?  Just keyword the names in this case. There are many aticles regarding this case. Not once was Jacob accused of stabbing Richard Davis nor did he admit to it. All of the players in the drama named the real killer. It was not Burgoyne. Look it up? Sensationalism using untruth? Or ignorance?

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By Outraged, February 20, 2007 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For anyone to remotely entertain the notion that ANYONE in a war zone is going to be mentally, physically or emotionally unaffected is preposterous!

It seems to me that ANYONE returning from a war zone “claiming” to be fine is a much more volitile situation than those who have “problems”.

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By Rodney Matthews, February 18, 2007 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That’s the cost of war that no one talks or seem to care about. Family members cope with the veterans until they can no longer tolorate it. Then the veteran usually becomes homeless, suicidal or homicidal. For the first time, we will see also large numbers of female soldiers in the coming years suffering from post tramatic stress disorder. And Bush and Cheney will be long gone from office,still not giving a damn for all of the hundreds of thousands of lives they have ruined. All based on lies and without any accountability. This country will forever continue to pay the price for the most dispicable adminstration in the history of our nation.

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By Shhazam4, February 17, 2007 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just another example of GWBush and company’s poor planning for war.  If the US can’t do right by its veterans because of poor planning, poor administration practices or poor funding of the programs to aid veterans then obviously the US is NOT ready to conduct a war… be it in Vietnam, Iraq or any other such adventure.

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By Robert Davis, February 17, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Viet Nam Vet when I returned to the states I was greeted with peacetime mentality that expected me to revert back to the calm that I once expierienced and that did not happen.
Instead they chose to find reason to issue me a bad conduct discharge and informed me what a bad Marine I had been. With zero entries on my discipline page I was court martial and thrown out with a Bad Conduct Discharge and no benefits.
I have been diagnosed with PTSD and even worse have had some major medical issues that can be attributed to agent orange however my so called government still will not even recognise that I spent anytime in Viet Nam—Imagine that.
I suffer every day mentally and now phisically because the government chooses to use our illnesses as political issues.
WHAT CHANCE DOES AN HONORABLE SOLDIER HAVE I ASK?

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By trantieungoc, February 17, 2007 at 10:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Show this damned story to Bush/Cheney but we don’t think how they read it. They only know how to read phantom victory’s reports from their subordinates and pornographies.

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By Kwagmyre, February 17, 2007 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When we read about the twenty five thousand wounded from Iraq we’re not informed about so many of these who are the emotionally wounded and some of whom will inevitably commit tragic deeds like this soldier did.

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By Steve Hammons, February 17, 2007 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Many of our troops are hurting—physically, emotionally, psychiatrically and spiritually. Many are cracking and breaking as human beings.

The Bush administration has reportedly cut resources for VA and other programs for vets, including seriously injured vets.

As a society, and as individuals, we need to be supportive of these troops and their families and recognize the extreme stressors on them.

For more on this, see the two articles below:

American troops are cracking under horrors, deception and lies of Iraq war

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
June 2, 2006

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=10640

-  -  -

U.S. troops in Iraq taking drugs to cope with stress, trauma

Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
June 30, 2006

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=11079

-  -  -

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By Jim Yell, February 17, 2007 at 6:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good old Bush/Cheney and their lackeys, still trying to get a War on the cheap. The rest of the nation pays in so many ways for this wrong headed breach of trust.

In WWII my father with combat experience and having been captured when he ran out of ammunition was sent home to family, friends and society without any help. Now at that time the idea that wounds could be more than a lost body part, it might be understood, although amongst Dr.‘s a growing realization that things weren’t that simple. He was a mess and people and animals that had to deal with him dealt with his unresolved problems.

At this stage of knowledge, pre-empting medical judgement to avoid paying the true cost of care for the soldier, who deserves more consideration from Bush/Cheney, in a war that was without foundation and has turned into a friendly slot machine for Republican businessmen, it just is not defensable.

Historically Republicans are always glad to use your bodies to protect and promote their wealth, but when it comes time to pay back what is owed to troops—no way. Remember the Bonus Marchers from WWI, don’t vote money to help, but send serving military to abuse them. You got to admire Republicans for their consistency.

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By Jaded Prole, February 17, 2007 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We will be seeing a lot more of this as our troops return home bringing the war with them. These men were drilled with anger and hatred and stuck in a nightmarish situation for tour after tour. No one escapes such a scenario unharmed. If we don’t want violent and self-destructive time-bombs among us, we need to give these troops the medical and psychological support they need and deserve.

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