Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fort Sill Treats Abused & Injured Hawaiian Trainee Like Prisoner

Is Fort Sill At It Again?

Today we're gonna "party" like it's still 2006...

They call it gallows humor. Yet, it wasn't funny when I started documenting the abuse of injured trainees at Fort Sill, Oklahoma...and it's not funny now, either.

Today, I read the following comments on this site from "concerned mother" Lisa Moniz and decided it was time to post here once again.

"My son is still at Ft Sill, it's been over a month since his injury. The outcome of the investigation, that I pushed so hard to get, was that the drill sgt acted inappropriately. Of course the military directed this so-called investigation. Due to his inappropriate act my sons vision and hearing is impaired. Per their own neurologist, at Ft Sil, my sons vision is permanently damaged. He is being harrased everyday, confined to his quarters, eating only if his drill sgt remembers to get him out of his quarters. Now, none of this was his fault, so someone please tell me, why is he being treated like a criminal? Since July 19,2008, when the incident occured, I write a letter evernite and send it off in the morning. Out of all those letters my son has recvd five. Isn't this the kind of treatment someone gets when the are sent to prison? What can I do to help save my son? The last conversation I had with my son was on Tuesday August 19,2008. Which was only possible because of his meeting with his attorney James Branum. My son is very depressed, he is falling apart with each passing day. If there is someone out there who can help, please respond. This is a desperate cry for help, please don't let my son be another lost soul."

On July 19th, a Drill Sergeant at Fort Sill had a temper tantrum that resulted in a head injury to a trainee. Pvt. Ja Van Yiu Lin, age 19, is from Waianae, in Hawaii. He entered BCT (Basic Combat Training) on July 10th, 2008. On July 19th, his training came to an abrupt halt when an unnamed Drill Sergeant "pushed" a desk and a bunk bed into Yiu Lynn because he was angry. [Note: These are heavy cast metal bunks, see photo above] Pvt Yiu Lin's injury was a result of that Drill Sergeant's tantrum.

The Drill Sergeant initially blamed Pvt.Yiu Lin for sustaining the injury, but later recanted and said it was an “accident.” Pvt Yiu Lynn couldn't remember anything from the time of impact until he was in the hospital Emergency Room the afternoon of July 19th. On July 20th, Pvt Yiu Lynn was allowed to call his mother. He informed her that he was having difficulty with his vision and hearing. He was taken to the Reynolds Community Hospital Emergency Room twice in two days, and received two clinic follow-ups. He was originally returned to duty, with restrictions on marching and running. His head still hurt, his vision was still blurred, and his hearing was impaired.

Apparently, since the injury, he has not been allowed to make unsupervised phone calls to his family. [Note: Why? Unsupervised calls from the payphones to family are usually allowed in Basic Training] His mother, Lisa Moniz, was and is frantic.

Lisa Moniz blogs

On July 23rd, these remarks were posted in the comments area on this blog site from "concerned mother" a.k.a. Lisa Moniz:

"Aloha,
All the way from Hawaii. I acccidently came across your web site whil looking for information about new recruits in Ft Sill. My son is there for his basic training. I recvd some disturbing news that my son had recvd a head injury, which was inflicted by his drill sergeant. I've been told that there doing an investigation, but thats it. I've spoken to many sergeants, and still no progress. What should I do? The commander called and said "I assure you that your soldier is fine" So why is everything such a big secret? Why cant I speak to my son, without them listening in? Why did I recv. that disturbing phone call, stating that he was injured? What should I do? Pls help me, I'm at the end. ALso do they have the right to have my telephone conversations at home, work,and cell, tampered with? HELP"

I responded with what, sadly, has become my standard procedure (I'm not going to reiterate it here, it's all over this site) about how to deal with this kind of crisis. It's hard to tell, sometimes, what to say other than the equivalent of "follow these instructions and call me in the morning." Often, parents make contact with me because they are angry, afraid, and they feel helpless. Many times they want "me" to "fix it" for them. I wish it were that simple. Sometimes it's even a hoax or an attempted setup. I hoped "concerned mother" Lisa Moniz was one of those bogus posters, just looking for attention. She was not.

On July 24th, "concerned mother" Lisa Moniz posted a follow-up comment:

"THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RESPONDING. IT'S BEEN FIVE LONG DAYS AND, NO ONE HAS CONTACTED ME ABOUT THIS SO CALLED INVESTIGATION. A GOOD FRIEND OF THE FAMILY, WHO IS RETIRED FROM THE ARMY, AND DID HIS TRAINING IN FT SILL ALSO GAVE SOME ADVICE. SINCE SPEAKING WITH HIM I'VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH OUR SENATORS, AND THEY HAVE BEEN POSTING ME DAILY ON WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I'VE CONTACTED LOCAL NEWSPAPERS AND NOW I'M RECIEVING THREATS FROM THOSE THAT WOULD'NT ASSIST ME. (" TO BACK OFF, AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GETTING INTO") IT'S SCARY AND I FEEL ALL ALONE. BUT, I WON'T GIVE UP. AGAIN, (MAHALO) THANK YOU! I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED"

To someone who has never had to deal with this situation, the above remark might sound hysterical or far fetched. Sadly, hate mail, veiled threats, ridicule, and discrediting attempts, both for you and your son or daughter, are the very least to be expected.

On July 29th, a story appeared in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. You can read it here:

http://starbulletin.com/2008/07/29/news/story02.html

I was relieved that "concerned mother" was getting some assistance. I left for a long scheduled two week camping trip. When I returned, I found the August 1st follow-up story. It was disturbing.

http://starbulletin.com/2008/08/01/news/story04.html

Even a layperson can tell that Pvt. Yiu Lyn’s symptoms could be signs of traumatic brain injury . That alone should be enough to get Pvt Yiu Lyn some significant diagnostics. Instead, he's being treated like a prisoner, as Moniz related above.

In the report that Moniz received from her Senator's office about the initial incident, the following statement was made:

"The battalion commander concluded the drill sergeant acted inappropriately, and will take the action that he deems necessary and proper to address the matter. However, such behavior by drill sergeants is not acceptable nor is it tolerated by the Fort Sill command."

If that is true, why does this keep happening? Why am I writing about abuse and medical neglect of injured trainees at the same Army post again just two years later?

Most recently, the big news has been the mold at Fort Sill in the wounded warrior unit http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-08-17-mold_N.htm
and the subsequent removal of the whistleblower who was responsible for alerting the media to the problem when nothing was done. http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-08-19-fortsill_N.htm
While this was headline news, it was hardly a surprise to those that know the deeply entrenched rot that permeates Fort Sill. That rot has caused severe injury and death in the past, and apparently it's a gift that keeps on giving.

What is wrong at Fort Sill? Why does this stuff keep happening? And why is Pvt Yiu Lyn being punished and his medical treatment neglected? Why is this news confined to the Honolulu Star Bulletin and this blog? Fort Sill is protecting the Drill Sergeant. Who is going to protect Pvt.Yiu Lyn? Why is he being kept under wraps? Why is he being harassed?

He, like many others, only wanted to serve his country. His life has been forever altered because of a violent outburst by his superior. Indeed, the most heart wrenching statement attributed to Pvt Yiu Lyn from the aforementioned Honolulu newspaper is that he still wants to remain in the Army. He still wants to serve his country... Now if only his country cared enough to help him.


(Patricia deVarennes can be reached at ptrosss(at)gmail.com)

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7 Comments:

Anonymous mad mom said...

Ft sills is not the only one with problems, I am collecting information about this so maybe we can change it. after all it is america, is it not and that is what everyone of these boys and girls were fighting for. Please send all your statements to crazycatz60@msn.com

11:39 AM  
Blogger PV2 Burnham said...

I am at Ft. Benning PTRP, the conditions here with respect to the treatment of injured soldiers is disgusting. Prisoners were treated better at Guantanamo.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

All of you going against the cadre at Fort Sill are weakening a country.

To remain strong, we must learn to suffer, and suffer more. And we must learn to make others suffer. The PTRP experience is only instilling that ethic where regular Basic has failed.

To uphold civilian ideals of justice, kindness, mercy, and the dignity of the individual will leave us with an army of citizens, not warriors. They will be beaten, ruined, and killed. And you, and your caring ways, will be responsible.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I might add that it is a good thing you are all women. Those of us who stand against the feminization of American values have an egregious and outspoken example of it in your movement.

War, and the training of boys into men needed for war, is cruel. It must be. This is not meant for your knowledge or your concern.

The best thing you can do for your dear ones in the service is to learn to keep your eyes down and your mouths shut, unless you want your boys to be killed, or maybe worse, never to become men at all.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Pat deV said...

Paul: From the TR 350-6 Initial Entry Training Regulations Section 2-3 PROHIBITED PRACTICES: d. Physical contact with Soldiers for any reason. Exceptions to this are where the safety of
the Soldier is in question (for example, heat exhaustion, physical injury, etc.) or when making
corrections directly related to training. Cadre is not required to ask the Soldier's permission
when make necessary corrections.

I suggest that if you want to change these regulations to make them burly enough to suit you, you work to do so, instead of worrying about everyone turning into girly-men. Both of "my boys" are Iraq veterans, 3 deployments between them, and multiple decorations. This is not a "movement", just a place for the occasional documentation of validated stories of abuse and injury. Fort Sill has a long history of documented corruption. Fyi, my eyes will be cast down and my mouth shut when I depart this earth, and not before.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can attest to the neglect at fort sill first hand.I am 54 years old,when I was eighteen,i enlisted in the army,this was june of 1978,I had a enlistment physical,and was sworn in.On August 4,1978,I had another physical,was cleared to go to basic training.We took a train to OKC,then a bus to fort sill.After a couple days of processing wewere assigned to are company. Anyhow to get to the guts,august10,1978.I had to go to sick call.this was at three in the morning,my knee was sore,full of fluids,i could not bear weight on my leg,nor i could i bend or straighten my leg.after a x-ray,i was informed i had a arthritic change in my body.they gave me a ace bandage and crutches and sent back to the drill sergeants.this is my rehab,four days of hell.when i went back for a follow up,i was told to request a EPTS evaluation if i did not i would be regretting it.anyhow i was discharged for chondromalacia a chronic condition i had never heard of,i had to seek care once discharged.my chronic condition turned out to be a fractured kneecap,resulting in my kneecap being removed.all because of neglect,so apparently this has been going on along time.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Brandon McDaniel said...

I've currently been a med hold for 8 months now and have noticed so much neglect. If there is anyone out there that can help please do people sound not have to stay here this long because they are injured in some way. There needs to be another place that MEB's live away from basic training.

11:18 PM  

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