Iraq veteran Amanda Weyrick was buried Thursday at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, her once-promising life ruined by the effects of war, PTSD and a fatal infection likely driven by methamphetamine abuse, her family said.
A San Antonio native, she spiraled down after returning from deployment, serving a stint in prison, taking drugs and running in the wrong crowd.
Weyrick was tough, stubborn and tenacious, developing into a standout basketball player at Greenville High School and a top graduate in the Army’s MP course. There were signs of trouble, however, even in Iraq, where fellow GIs say she and other first-tour soldiers were hardened by war.
Family members share tales of her shooting insurgents in Diyala province, one of Iraq’s most violent areas, but fellow soldiers say she endured close calls but didn’t kill anyone. Back in Greenville, she wrestled with post-traumatic stress disorder and took meth and crack cocaine — all the while denying she had a PTSD or drug problem.
Since 2009, the number of veterans qualifying for government PTSD disability pay has nearly doubled, to 684,000. Studies show that one in every five veterans has PTSD, but only about 40 percent are even in the VA network.
What you do not think about is the fact most of those veterans are not OEF or OIF. They are older veterans suffering longer but mostly forgotten about.
It is great to have a story to make us think we're doing something about this growing tragedy for our veterans. Really nice to think we've done something good so reporters tend to paint a picture so that we don't actually stop to remember how long we've told ourselves a bedtime story of doing good when the outcomes have been so deplorable.
In the process, reporters and a lot of charities have turned other veterans into last on the to do list. This was reported by El Paso Times, Chris Roberts, in October of 2007. It is up on Wounded Times and still up on Veterans Today where you can read the whole article.
This was also in the article.Two-tiered system of healthcare puts veterans of the war on terror at the top and makes everyone else -- from World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans"An internal directive from a high-ranking Veterans Affairs official creates a two-tiered system of veterans health care, putting veterans of the global war on terror at the top and making every one else -- from World War I to the first Gulf War -- "second-class veterans," according to some veterans advocates.
"I think they're ever pushing us to the side," said former Marine Ron Holmes, an El Paso resident who founded Veterans Advocates. "We are still in need. We still have our problems, and our cases are being handled more slowly."
Vice Adm. Daniel L. Cooper, undersecretary for benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs -- in a memo obtained by the El Paso Times -- instructs the department's employees to put Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans at the head of the line when processing claims for medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation, employment and education benefits...
Veterans Affairs officials say prioritizing war-on-terror veterans is necessary because many of them face serious health challenges. But they don't agree that other veterans will suffer, saying that they are hiring thousands of new employees, finding ways to train them more quickly and streamlining the process of moving troops from active duty to veteran status.
"We are concerned about it, and it's something we are watching carefully," said Jerry Manar, deputy director national veterans service for Veterans of Foreign Wars in Washington, D.C. "We'll learn quickly enough from talking with our veterans service officers whether they're seeing a dramatic slowdown in the processing of claims."
Manar and Holmes said Afghanistan and Iraq veterans deserve the best care possible, but so do all other veterans.
In the past 18 months, 148,000 Vietnam veterans have gone to VA centers reporting symptoms of PTSD "30 years after the war," said Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, deputy commanding general of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He recently visited El Paso.
Now add this more recent report to the above
"Veterans over the age of 50 who had entered the VA healthcare system made up about 78 percent of the total number of veterans who committed suicide"
The worst thing for them to deal with in all of this is the simple fact they are responsible for everything the younger veterans have to help them.