Soldier tries to save a child, but is reprimanded

April 18, 2011 | By | Reply More

Last year, Wikileaks released the now-infamous video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack that killed 12 men and wounded two children in Baghdad. (See here for more detail).  Less well known is what happened on the ground after the attack, and the lesson it teaches regarding the mental health of soldiers. In this video, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now discusses the aftermath of the helicopter attack with a soldier who arrived at the scene after the helicopter attack. His name is Ethan McCord, and here are a few of the things he had to say:

Well, I placed the boy into the Bradley armored vehicle, and the Bradley was not a part of our unit, and neither were the Apaches. They were just attached to us that day. When I placed the boy into the Bradley armored vehicle, I was yelled at by my platoon leader for worrying about children instead of worrying about other—finding other people to kill.

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Later on that evening, after the incident, when I was back at the FOB and I washing the blood of the children off of my uniforms, you know, my mind was a mess. I was very emotional, couldn’t really deal with what I had seen and, more importantly, was more upset with what I was a part of. So I went to my staff sergeant and asked to see mental health, so that I can talk about my feelings and what I was feeling. And I was denied to go to mental health. They told me I needed to suck it up and that there would be repercussions if I was to go see mental health, and I would be charged with malingering. And I was rather shocked that just by me needing to speak to somebody about what was going on and what I was feeling could constitute a crime in the Army.

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I went to the Irwin Army hospital, where they had a psychologist who was on duty. He didn’t really talk to me or anything. They called my command, and one of the staff sergeants who were there came down to the hospital, and instead of—just degraded me while I was in there, said that I was nothing, I was nobody, because I was doing this.

Ethan appeared on Democracy Now to protest the military treatment of soldiers suffering from PTSD and other severe mental conditions:

They kicked me out, knowing I had PTSD, TBI and had metal rods and pins in my back. And they kicked me out on what’s called a Chapter 517, which states that all of my conditions were pre-existing. They’ve done this to over 250,000 soldiers. And it’s time to stop. It’s said between—twenty percent, at the minimum, of troops are suffering from some sort of trauma, whether it be TBI, PTSD or military sexual trauma. That’s an extreme amount of soldiers who are suffering. And they’re being denied their basic human rights to heal. And we’re trying to put a stop to that. It needs to end now. And we need to—we need to stop the redeployment of these troops.

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Category: Health, Military, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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