30 September 2008

Quick Pick-Me-Up Turns into Loss of All VA Benefits For Wounded Soldier

A wounded veteran out of Ft. Lewis, PFC Mark Siegel, is being administratively separated (ad-sep'd in military parlance) for one night of blow. In-depth story at Seattle Weekly:

Less than a month later, Siegel was escorted off the same Army base and instructed to sign a document stipulating that he could not return. He had been kicked out—or in military parlance, "administratively separated"—due to a urinalysis that revealed the presence of cocaine. As a result, he lost a host of benefits he might have otherwise received, including military-provided health care, disability pay, and eligibility for the GI Bill.
I understand the DoD's zero tolerance towards drug use, since heroin and weed were somewhat prevalent during the Vietnam days, but this seems a little harsh. Couldn't they have sent this kid somewhere to get cleaned up before pulling the rug out from under hiim? When a sailor gets drunk and wrecks his car, he'll generally get sent to mast (disciplinary action in the Navy) and then the command sends him to SARP (Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program) to dry out. But, to go for drugs, you have to go voluntarily, and if you get caught in urinalysis, you're pretty much fucked. Seems a bit draconian.