Velandy Manohar, MD.,
Distinguished Life Fellow, Am. Psychiatric Association.
ADVOCACY WORK ON BEHALF OF ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS, RESERVISTS, AND VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES [including Survivors of Toxic contamination of their family member who answered the call]
GI BILL BENEFIT LIMITATIONS: FEDERAL MONTGOMERY- GI BILL
I initiated and successfully completed a campaign during President Reagan’s tenure to change the eligibility requirements to enable recovering alcohol dependent veterans to use their GI benefits beyond the ten- year window if during these ten years they were unable to do so due to disability caused by addiction. Willful Misconduct exception written into the original Montgomery GI Bill prevented Veterans Mr. Traynor and Mr. McKelvey from being able to access and utilize their educational benefits in the specified time limits because of their struggles with Alcohol use disorders. Their Appeal failed in the Supreme Court in 1988. Associate Justice Harry Blackmun responded to my detailed brief in support of the appeal of Mr. Traynor and McKelvey and stated said the decision was based on the existing Law. Supporters of Veterans sought to amend Montgomery G.I. Bill.
On Oct 20, 1988 Congress Bill enacted legislation in PL 100-689, Section 2049 which provided that the “disabling effects of Chronic Alcoholism shall not be considered to be the result of willful misconduct” in determining whether veterans with the histories of Alcoholism will receive Educational benefits. I worked with Rep. Philip Morrison to win this vote. I was able to play similar roles to successfully advocate for paying debts to our Active-duty service members, Reservists, and Veterans for instance, the Gulf War Syndrome, AR 635-20, CHAPTER 5-13 DISCHARGES, and assuring the survivors of water contamination at II Mar Div. Base as Camp Lejeune, NC
CAMP LEJEUNE WATER CONTAMINATION- PASSAGE OF THE JANEY ENSMINGER LAW.
I worked with Rep Joe Courtney and colleagues in the Marine Corps League in CT to pass and enact the Janey Ensminger Law . More than a million Marines, Sailors, civilian workers, and their families were exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune. between 1953 and 1987 — even for as little as 30 days — and developed cancer. I want to remind everyone that Navy Medics and Doctors were also based there and were exposed to the Toxic contamination including Benzene. The Affected Marines and their Families can make their claims known and secure legally sanctioned compensation right now. Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Health Issues | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)
GULF WAR SYNDROME
During the Tenure of Rep C. Shays in 1995 I provided detailed information to support his efforts in the US Congress to address the unacceptable failure of the DoD to address the Hazards endured with severe adverse consequences of the Gulf War Syndrome. I helped him answer these questions and pay our debt to those who answered the call. All gave some, some gave all. Are sick Gulf War veterans getting better? Until the answer is yes, our work as a Congress and as a nation remains unfinished, our debt to veterans unpaid.” Unpaid Debt - U.S. Congressman Christopher Shays: Fighting for Those Who Fought - Buying Off the 'Drug Traffic Cop' | Freedom Magazine
ADDRESSING THE INVISIBLE WOUNDS OF WAR AND PROHIBITING THE DISHONORABLE DISCHARGES FROM THE SERVICE AR 635-20, CHAPTER 5-13 DISCHARGES,
CT. VETERANS AFFAIRS DEPT: STAND DOWN EVENT SEPT 12, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
I participated with colleagues from community health center to provide veterans and their families’ information pertaining to psychological, social, and medical consequences of their war experiences.
In 2011 and 2012 I worked with Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellows working in the Community Health Center created an assessment methodology to identify PTSD, Combat stress and Depression and developed a triage and referral system including the representatives of the CT. Military Support System and VA who are also helping Veterans and their families in a nearby tent.
I prepared detailed educational material that was distributed at the Stand Down and by various means since 2008 to political and military leader’s as well medical colleagues and NGOs. I will be glad to provide copies of these reports.
My colleague, a therapist at the Community Health Center, Middletown, CT and I participated (as a consultant) in the CT. Military Support Program.
SEPT 12 REPORTS: These reports prepared originally in 2008 about health concerns arising from OIF, OEF and OND and updated since then for each of Stand Down events for distribution. Stand Down events are held at the State Veterans Hospital in Rocky Hill, CT. Thousands of veterans, active-duty service members and their families as well as dignitaries and military brass come to the one-day event
AR 635-20, CHAPTER 5-13 DISCHARGES FROM THE MILITARY. Documented grave abuses of our service men and women who were intentionally misdiagnosed with Personality Disorder, coerced to accept this and dumped on the side of the road (e.g., SGT. Chuck Luther) instead of being treated for PTSD, TBI, Substance Use Disorder, or Mood Disorder. This report (47 pages and 65 references) helped persuade Hon. Rep. Robert. E. Filner, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs to hold a full committee hearing on Sept.15, 2010. The Yale Legal Center for Veterans is the litigator for the FOI case filed by the Viet Nam Veterans of America on behalf of Sgt. Chuck Luther in New Haven Federal Court. This is the same group that has taken up the appeal of Mr. William Dolphin according to Alaine Griffin’s report in the Hartford Courant on 11 17 12.
THE TRINEXUS REPORT: PREPARED AND DISTRIBUTED TO KEY LEADERS IN THE GOVT AND MILITARY IN THE SPRING OF 2011 HGHLIGHTED THE MAJOR LEADERSHIP FAILURES AND BREAK DOWN OF ETHICAL STANDARDS WITHIN THE MILIATARY WITH DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON SERVCIE MEMBERS. Besides the Chapter 5-13 discharges mentioned above there have been other notable failures of Command leadership. I selected three 1. The terrible mass murder perpetrated by Major Hasan. The training files at WRAMC had very damaging information that was kept out of sight. 2. The extensive prevalence of Military sexual assault and trauma and rape of patients in VA Hospitals, 3 the dumping of the entire blame for a military debacle at Wanat- E. Afghanistan on young dead Lieutenant. There are common threads in all these situations including senior officers. So also, in the tragic death, subsequent shameful cover up of the circumstances of Cpl Pat Tillman’s death with three bullet holes grouped closely and the award of Silver Star by General Stanley Mc Chrystal when he knew the statement accompanying this award was no the truth.
Involvement with United States Marine Corps Foundation and USMC Heritage Museum:
Long term interactions from the time LTG Ron Christmas USMC[Retd] was President of the Marine Corps Heritage foundation, and 4 Star Gen Charles Krulak USMC [Retd] was 31st Commandant of the USMC. They were both deeply involved in the glorious actions in the holding of and recapturing the Imperial Capital HUE in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive. I contributed to the efforts to bring to the Quantico Museum and honor the Survivors of Iwo Jima during the anniversary of the Heroic Campaign for some years. I also helped on the Birthday of the USMC Nov 10th. In 2008 I was nominated for membership of the Semper Fidelis Society on 29th February 2008. This date is meaningful to me because it is during the anniversary of the Iwo Jima Campaign 19 February – March 26th, 1945. In 2009 I was sent a Happy Birthday Card on the 234th Birthday of the USMC on Nov 10th, 2009. It was signed by LTG Ron. Christmas below handwritten Motto of the USMC Semper Fidelis.
The Honoring our PACT Act was Finally passed, thank God on Aug 02, 2022, so, I didn’t get to send my advocacy materials that I was preparing over the weekend including this Summary of my efforts to aid to Veterans over the years to help persuade some or all the 25 Republican Senators to change their ‘No’ Vote. The Video showing many of them fist-pumping in the well of the Senate seemingly without care that their actions would result in irreparable harm to the Veterans, including some for Viet Nam in short order if by the beginning of the week was very upsetting and motivated me to start my advocacy.
I am proud and humbled feel extremely grateful that by grace of God, minds were changed and the “Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022” or the “Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 was passed today 86-11.” This Bill also provides benefits for Veterans affected by Agent Orange, which I among others advocated many years.
It will be great to find a way of sharing the Semper Fidelis spirit, never say die, never back down advocacy efforts on behalf of our friends and neighbors who answered the Call and suffered the invisible wounds of war as well as severe disabilities among some other hazards over three or four decades ago.
May God bless the Service members, Veterans and their families. May God Bless the United States of America.
In the circumstances of our lives in our United States of America I often recall the House divided speech delivered at the Republican Convention by our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing, or all the other.
01 11 16
C.V. Section 7 Health Concerns of Active Duty Service Members and Veterans:
Section 7 A
Study of Health issues of veterans, plan, promote and provide services to Veteran. I provide direct care and participate in advocacy role. My advocacy efforts this year, culmination of my efforts research and document health issues from 2008 and participation in two Stand down Events at the Rocky hill, CT State VA Hospital in addition to intense lobbying efforts. This research and advocacy lead to the convening of a Congressional hearing by the Chairman of the Committee on Veterans Affairs Hon. Rep. R.E. Filner in Washington DC on Sept 15th on the abuses of the troops and their families perpetrated apparently by the some of very people within the Health care system that we entrusted with their treatment after they returned from the war zones.
Section 7 B
My earliest work on behalf of the Veterans was to fight for the change in the VA regs about the use of the educational benefits of the GI Bill after a 10 year limit if the delay in accessing these benefits was the result of Alcohol dependence which was classified as “willful misconduct”This was followed by successful efforts thanks to work of key members of the CT congressional delegation to get official recognition and help for service members affected by Agent Orange and later the Gulf War Syndrome. I feel vindicated by recent reports on the Gulf War.AMA Morning News:
Researchers find biological evidence of Gulf War illness.
The New York Times (6/15, Dao, Subscription Publication, 1.68M) reported that in the “two decades since the 1991 Persian Gulf war, medical researchers have struggled to explain a mysterious amalgam of problems in thousands of gulf war veterans, including joint pain, physical malaise and gastrointestinal disorders. In some medical circles, the symptoms were thought to be psychological, the result of combat stress. But recent research is bolstering the view” that the symptoms of Gulf War illness “are fundamentally biological in nature.”
More recently over the last two years since 2009 I have been working on these areas:
Resumption by the President of the practice of sending Condolence letters to service members and veterans who died by their own which was stopped in 2009. The APA strongly supports this and very recently six senators have requested the President to resume the time honored practice of sending letters to families of service members who died in the cause of freedom whether it was due to invisible wounds of war or on the battlefield with IED or bullet wound. I don’t know if President Obama has done this.
Health care challenges: The Opinion of the Ninth Circuit court of appeals documents the terrible toll being paid by our Veterans due to according to Court-“unchecked incompetence”
The Sexual assault/rape crisis: I have been in touch with Service Womens Action Network (SWAN) and members of the military on all of these matters. It is very important for the Senate to pass a Bill similar to HR 1540, National Defense Authorization Act this time around because there are specific protections within this Bill to safeguard the legal rights of Victims of Sex Assault and rape including confidentiality and access to appropriate and effective legal counsel in addition to expedited consideration of transfer from the site where the alleged stalking, sex assault or rape occurred under humanitarian considerations. I am so very thankful the HR 1540 was passed by the House with these protections. I have been trying to get political support since 2008-9 for exactly this kind of protections.
Service women are being sexually assaulted while they are seeking treatment at VA facilities. SWAN expressed its outrage over a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently that patients have been raped and sexually assaulted while seeking care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. The findings came as part of a GAO investigation of VA safety policies in five of the VA's 153 medical facilities. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs requested the report and has introduced H.R. 2074, a bill that would require the VA to track all sexual assaults and to closely examine veterans that may pose a risk of committing sexual assault. Whether or not our nation is at war, women and men in the armed forces will face the same threat from sexual predators in the ranks, until the military takes the necessary steps to reform: 1. Victims' rights and protections; 2. Commander accountability; and 3. The prosecution and court-martial systems.
Personality Disorder based discharges (2001-2007): The terrible problems faced by the 23,000 service members who were illegitimately dumped on the side of the road with NO Benefits on the cooked up diagnosis of Personality Disorder (Chapter 5-13 AR 635-200) I have submitted much material to the Committee that was offered as testimony at the time of the Sept 15, 2010 hearing. The Viet Nam Veterans of America have filed an FOIA suit in the New Haven Federal Court on behalf of SSGT Chuck Luther who was clearly suffering from Head injury and Depression when he was discharged under Chap 5-13, AR 635-200(Personality disorder) and dumped on the side of the road in Fort Hood in the rain to wait for his wife to give him a ride home. He was subject to torture and various methods of coercion to get him to sign the documents.
Major Malik Hasan. Months after the Senate Co-Chairs Hon. J. Lieberman and Hon. S. Collins released the report of their investigation into the auto-radicalization of the wanna be Jihadi the Doctors who fostered and promoted him despite clear cut indications: Power Point Presentations more than 1 on his Koran based justification of Jihad, e-mails explicitly discussing this matter with Imam Al Aulaki of AQAP have not been brought to account for their actions.. These included the Residency director Major Scott Moran and Director of Psychiatry at WRAMC Col John Bradley are still serving in the Military. There were others :Col. Benedek, Robert Ursano, Charles Engel all physicians in top administrative positions in WRAMC and USUHS Depts. of Psychiatry who collectively discussed a very alarming assessment of Dr. Scott Moran and even the risk of Major Hasan perpetrating fratricide. He did just that and his superiors have not been brought to account.
On 09 09 11 I participated as a member of the Community Health Center Team in providing assessment and intervention for the ailments of service members who visited the Stand Down Event at the Rocky Hill VA Hospital, Rocky Hill, CT. This year besides providing information and referral service my team of four post doctoral Psychology Fellows assessed service members who chose to do so on three scales Combat Exposure Scale( CES), Patient health Questionnaire (PHQ-2 and 9) and the PTSD Check List for the Military (PCL-M). I had arranged at the outset with the Ambulance and EMT’s at the site to be on stand by should the need arise to transport some to an Emergency room at a nearby hospital. I had also arranged as in the past to provide a “warm hand off” link to a staff member of the Military Support Program (MSP) on site. This time both the MSP and Veterans Health System representatives were in a tent, practically cheek by jowl to the CHC tent and the basic Medical assessment and the First Aid Tents were close at hand as well. We had the opportunity and need to link the service members who came to interact with my team to these committed and capable care givers. A social worker who works with me at CHC also works in the MSP."
I am very gratified for the sake of the service members and their families and feel personally vindicated that the current US Army Surgeon General LTG Patricia Horoho (who is a Nurse by profession) has requested the OIG of the DOD to assess the operations of the Army MH system. I personally asked the DOD Inspector General to conduct an investigation in 2010 of the actions of the MH staff of the Army at the same time I was successfully persuading Hon. Rep Bob Filner-D, California) then Chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to conduct the second hearing on Personality Disorder discharges. I was able to bring up key issues to the Attention of Gen Chiarelli at the APA Forum 05 at Annual meeting In Philadelphia, PA on May 05 2012. I am in the Video tape for the session. The Fox affiliate Channel 29 in Philadelphia reporter interviewed me on Camera after the session.