Wounded Times

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Army didn't help Captain screaming for help, now they want him out?

When you read editorial comments on Wounded Times and you get the impression I am pissed off, you are correct. Maybe after reading the story of Captain Anthony Martinez you'll get pissed off too. Lord knows with everything going on, we should be!

This is part one and there is another one up on Stars and Stripes to follow this one.
An officer on the brink
FEATURE STORY
by Megan McCloskey
Stars and Stripes
Published: June 26, 2013

Part 1: The rise and fall of Army Capt. Anthony Martinez

FROM WEST POINT TO IRAQ
From early in his career, Capt. Anthony Martinez excelled in the Army. Then came PTSD and suicidal thoughts. The Army ignored his struggles and sent him back to war. Not until Martinez lost control in Afghanistan did the Army decide to pay attention. Now the service wants to kick him out.

FORT HOOD, Texas — Six months before his deployment to Afghanistan, Capt. Anthony Martinez gravely doubted his ability to lead.

He had post-traumatic stress disorder. He wasn’t sleeping at night and was barely holding it together during the day. He told his boss he couldn’t handle command of the battalion’s largest company. Senior noncommissioned officers asked leadership to remove Martinez.

Six weeks before shipping off, Martinez threatened to kill himself.

Then he wrote a formal memo detailing who should take over the company if he had a mental breakdown while in Afghanistan.

The Army did nothing — except send him to war.

No one in his chain of command questioned whether a suicidal officer, hobbled by PTSD and addled by psychotropic drugs, was fit for combat.

Once in Afghanistan, Martinez quickly cracked under the pressure, and the meltdown some had been afraid of became a reality. He isolated himself, had angry, irrational outbursts and, finally, in the culmination of his ruin, threatened two soldiers.

He told one to get out of his office “or I’ll shoot you in the face.” Then, during an argument with his supply sergeant, he ordered a private in the room to load his weapon — an unheard of escalation on a fellow soldier.

Now the Army wants to act.

After ignoring the issues, the service wants to kick Martinez out for the very behavior that medical experts say proves why he never should have been in Afghanistan in the first place.
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