I am contacting you to request your assistance in ensuring that I am fairly treated and evaluated for my service connected disabilities. I am being released from Active Duty and returned to my National Guard Unit despite the fact that I am in the middle of the Army Disability Evaluation System . I believe that this is contrary to law and policy, but I cannot seem to stop this process. I cannot perform my military duties or work in a civilian capacity at the current time. If not retained on active duty for disability processing, I do not know how my family or I will survive. Any assistance or intervention that your office can provide would be greatly appreciated. I joined the Army in 2002. During my 11 years of service, I have had many wonderful experiences. I am a trained combat engineer and have earned several awards. I have conducted myself in accordance with the Army values to which I adhere. In 2005 I deployed to Iraq was responsible for running combat missions and patrols .Again In 2010 I deployed back to Iraq. I served as an OC/T on lanes task force at the end of 2010- late 2011 at Fort. Mccoy, Wi. I aggressively trained over 3,500 Soldiers and Airmen prior to their deployment to combat zones in Iraq. I came to Ft. Stewart, Ga to be a Cadre member in August 2011. Shortly after arriving at the WTB(Warrior Transition Battalion) the job interaction, requirements, and treatment of the wounded warriors quickly took a toll on me. I was there with no friends, family, or outlets. As a result, I began to seek help and relief from alcohol. A decision I deeply regret. In September 2011, I made the poor decision to drive after drinking alcohol. It is true that I passed the field sobriety test and ultimately was not convicted of driving under the influence. However, driving after drinking alcohol – regardless of the amount consumed – is inexcusable. I sincerely apologize for this mistake. My punishment from my chain of command was early REFRAD which means that I would come off of active duty orders and return to my National Guard unit in Tennessee. The WTB Battalion received the memo to REFRAD (Release from Active Duty) me on Dec 13 2011, which meant I should be cleared and off active orders by December 19, 2011. The Battalion failed to give me this memo and held onto it for reasons unknown. Thus, I continued to work even on Christmas and Christmas Eve. I was unable to go home to Tennessee to see my family, something much needed. On the Eve of December 30, 2011, I was assaulted in Hinesville Georgia right outside of base. Alcohol was involved in the incident, but was not a factor. I was not the aggressor of this violent action which is indicated in the police report. I was severely beaten to almost death. A situation that no one could predict as a result of interacting with acquaintances. The assailant has been charged . I understand his mother may have also faced charges. I was not charged or accused of any criminal wrongdoing . As a result of the assault, the injuries I endured are multiple facial fractures, skull fractures, back injuries , along with loss of hearing, and loss of peripheral eye sight in one eye, anxiety issues and several other health issues that I am continue to require treatment for. I was in the Trauma ICU unit in Savannah Ga for several weeks. I was not released from the hospital until January 31, 2012. Since then I have had facial reconstruction surgery, along with rehebalation for my balance and strength. The WTB chain of command requested to HRC (Human Resource Command) that they no longer wanted that Early REFRAD date. On February 3, 2012 HRC notified WTB that the request for revocation was denied that I should have been REFRAD on 19 December 2011. This meaning that I was without orders while I was in the hospital. Although I was receiving medical care, the WTB was unsure of how to handle this situation properly. After much time and stress, they were able to get the orders back dated to December 20, 2011 which classified me as a Wounded Warrior. I was then placed on MRP orders. While awaiting on my LOD (Line Of Duty) to return I continued to get my care at Ft. Stewart, Ga in the WTB. The Army made a final decision that my facial fractures and TBI were not occurred in the Line of Duty because Alcohol was involved. I understand that this means I cannot be evaluated through the Army Physical Disability System for my facial fractures and TBI. However, I continue to suffer with the PTSD issues that started me drinking in the first place. I have a permanent 3 profile for PTSD from my deployment as well as a P3 profile for my knee. Both of these conditions are being evaluated through the ARMY disability system as well, because they are severe enough to prevent me from staying in the military. Though I am still appealing the LOD decision with the ABCMR, the chain of command here at the WTB at FT. Stewart, has processed my REFRAD. I am half way through my MEB process here at Ft. Stewart, the medical doctors state they do not see a reason to stop my MEB process so they are continuing the process. I am to be RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY to return back home to Tennessee to finish my MEB alone with no help and with no source of income. Due to the severity of my health conditions, I will be unable to obtain employment. Department of the Army WTU consolidated Guidance 2-6 Paragraph B, states A soldier must have incurred an illness, injury, or disease, or AGGREVATED OR PRE-EXISITING medical condition in the line of duty. In my previous deployments, I was diagnosed with PTSD and also had a knee surgery on my right knee from a injury in 2005 in IRAQ. These are the things that do qualify me to stay on MRP orders and continue to get my medical care here at the WTB. HRC(Human Resource Command) from Fort. Knox, sent me a memo dated 29 April 2013, that I am to be REFRAD no later than 21 May 2013. I ask that my case be reviewed and reconsidered due to the facts of my case. I believe that under the Department of the Army WTU consolidated Guidance 2-6 Paragraph B, I should be eligible for continued health care. However, even if this guidance is unclear, I think that Title 10 of the USC makes it clear that I should be retained on Active Duty for medical processing of my service connected disabilities. Thanks for your time and your concern. To assist you in reviewing my concerns I can provided a copy of my REFRAD packet, including a memo that my MEB attorney prepared outlining why she believes I should be retained on Active Duty. If needed, I am more than happy to also provide a copy of my LOD and appeal as well, however, this is a very thick packet that would be most easily mailed. Due to the fact that I scheduled to clear starting tomorrow, I wanted to contact you as soon as possible. I have not been able to get a satisfactory answer as to how I can be REFRAD for my PTSD and knee condition for which I am being boarded and which were previously determined by the VA to be incurred on active duty. Sincerely, Sgt. Joshua C. Burnside
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