Anonymous Story

Anonymous Story

I was discharged in December of 1966 with an Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge after spending over a year in the U.S. Army. I enlisted the day after my 17th birthday because my family needed financial help after my father died when I was 14. I had tried to stay in school and find any work I could, but the only out I could see was joining the military. I was also trying to escape mental and physical abuse by my older brother.

Once I entered the service, I found that it wasn’t much different. I was 5’8” tall and weighed 128 lbs. I got through basic training, advanced infantry training, and Jump school by mostly staying to myself and avoiding the bullies and predators as best as I could. After already being abused, I started wondering if there was something about me that made others think I wanted to be treated that way.

I got stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C. with the 82nd Airborne Division and it didn’t take long before the abuse started up again, only this time, it was more frequent and painful. If I complained or tried to report my abusers, I was labeled as a troublemaker and given extra duty.

The only way I had of escaping the torment was to go AWOL and if you saw my discharge papers, that was the only thing I was charged with. The military lawyer I was given told me the papers I was signing was a resignation for the good of the service and he felt it was my best option.

I have lived a good life and have tried to put what happened to me over 50 years ago behind me. I have been married for almost 49 years and my children are grown with children of their own. I worked in construction, was a firefighter, and retired as a Senior Learning Specialist at a large corporation. I lost all my Veteran’s benefits, but it was a small price to pay to get away from the abuse. I tried to get my discharge upgraded, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell all of what happened to me, so my claim was denied.

I never told anyone after leaving the service, except my wife, about what I went through and I would not be able to prove any of it after all this time, but I wanted to commend Heath and your organization for at least bringing the dark side of the military to light.