Get the interview. Tell the story from all sides. Stay out of it. That’s Journalism 101. And I’m completely breaking that rule.
What I’ve learned making “Charlie Foxtrot” is too important for me to sit back and stay out of it. We found out more than 300,000 service members have received less than honorable discharges since 2001. Tens of thousands have no access to VA medical services because of that discharge status. Here’s where it really gets my attention - the reason for those discharges is often behavior linked to trauma-related injuries like PTSD and TBI.
Veterans with less than honorable discharges are twice as likely to die by suicide!
So what can we do? Well, since Memorial Day we’ve interviewed more than seventy-five people to figure that out. We heard from veterans, service members, moms, dads, doctors, lawyers and Presidents. Secretary Robert McDonald, head of the VA, told us, “Only an Act of Congress can change this antiquated system.”
That’s what I want to see happen – an Act of Congress. Specifically, the Fairness for Veterans Act.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) requires the military to consider medical evidence of PTSD or TBI in the discharge review process. It has the potential to get thousands of service members the benefits they were promised when they volunteered.
That’s why I signed the petition to support The Fairness for Veterans Act.
I’m not alone. It’s a bipartisan bill for vets, backed by vets. Forty-four of the nation’s top Veterans Service Organization have signed on in support. This isn’t a “red” or a “blue” issue, and our lawmakers need to know it. However Congress only has a few weeks left to act.
If you feel compelled to help and agree with the Fairness to Veterans Act, you can show your support too by signing now at www.MissionCharlieFoxtrot.com.
Jeremy Campbell is an ATLien, storyteller, traveler... & often all three at once.