an honorable discharge


me on the USS Vulcan

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

It is what you get.

I have been stuck these past few weeks as to what to say. Congratulations were offered to me by my attorney,but at the same time he explained he understood that congratulations was hardly fitting due to the suffering of sexual trauma survivors….in our case,military sexual trauma. I have only been able to shake my head in the wonder of it all.

I still can’t think of what to say. The end of it all is here…the end of appeals for the disability claim that my counselor at the VA once told me would validate me.

The judgement on my claim was answered three weeks ago. The Veterans Administration has decided my disability is 100% and permanent. This is affirmed with notations which directly link my mental health disability is result of ‘military sexual trauma’.

Also noted on the judgement was my being ‘ the honorably discharged veteran’. I have never felt any honor. Only the shame and the pain.

It may have made some difference if this judgement was made December 31 1969 when the intelligence officer that was first to see my external injuries had separated me from being in barracks D and had found me someone to begin a course of support all those years ago. Instead I was laughed at by the very person who could have helped me,and sent back to live two more months with the men who attacked me.

How do you explain the pain? How do you go to any other person and describe how it eats at you seemingly more and more as the years go by. How does anyone really find a way out of it after trying for the 40 years I have tried? This morning the memories are just as vivid. Even now I am trying to explain the emotion,now 59 years old and finally a judgement on my behalf in my favor does acknowledge a crime was committed against me and that it has always and permanently wounded me in a way that will never heal.

I am numb inside. A strange sort of feeling of a certain kind of peace has come over me. I assume my body is returning to some state of relaxing since the stress of how deeply the events of the disability claim affected me. As this has affected my entire life since that time. However,the concentrated addition of the past five years stirred up more turmoil than I ever imagined,beginning with going back in time when the Florida DVA representative remarked as how mystified he was that homosexuals needed a reason to rape each other.

I can’t think of what to say which is why I have not written about this weeks back when the news came from my attorney. Being numb inside includes many parts of this past that I can never regain. My Dad will never know that I was not a troublemaker and that my being sent to a detention barracks was a wrong done to me,and not that I had done wrong.

I got an honorable discharge!

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13 Responses to “an honorable discharge”

  1. Jerry Says:

    You get an honorable discharged based on your evauations and records as a soldier. People are also given a General or Dishonorable Discharged if they were written up for conduct unbecoming a soldier. Do you think we should try and have our attackers prosecuted? I would if I could look at photos of every Barracks Guard who was assigned to my duty station when I was attacked. Peace, Jerry

  2. Jerry Says:

    Jay, I just read your story. It’s true that the anger builds as the years go on and the ensuing health problems, both mental and physical. I hope you can pray and ask God for peace. Maybe you went through this tradgedy so you could help others. Some people give up and die,but, you found the strength to fight and go on and see it through to completion. Christ suffered and many of us have to. I thank you for your suffrage and courage to face the Demon of MST. Peace brother, Jerry

  3. jayherron Says:

    I do find peace through God! I really am having a hard time finding words-it is just such an amazing thing,like God is.

  4. BJ Says:

    Your “Under Honourable Conditions” got changed to an “Honourable”? That’s wonderful! I’m happy for you. May not seem like much validation, there, but it’s certainly better than nothing.

    Yes, Jerry, you and others in this situation, should prosecute your attackers. No one should get away with their crimes. If you know who they are, report them. Get an investigation going. Get written statements from folks who may have been there and seen what went on. Get character statements describing how you were before and after the incidents. Do whatever it takes to ensure those monsters don’t get away with their heinous acts.

  5. Jerry Says:

    No, I had an Honorable Discharge.

  6. BJ Says:

    Jerry, I was talking to Uncle Jay when I asked if his “Under Honourable Conditions” was changed to an “Honourable”. The second comment where I addressed you was to you. Sorry for the confusion, here.

  7. Jerry Says:

    See Jay, I told you, we all look up to you and thank you for your courage.

  8. Joan Says:

    Jay,

    I am so very happy for you! I couldn’t be happier if it had been me…truly I couldn’t. It is a funny feeling, though, some feeling of validation – some feeling of justice. But it is very, very bittersweet. After all, who are you gonna tell? When my compensation came through it wasn’t like I could run around and tell all of my friends – because most of them don’t even know. MST isn’t exactly an “ice breaker” in a conversation.

    You are exactly right, Jay, the pain does seem to grow over the years. But please know that we are all here for you – just as you are for us!

    Peace and God Bless!!

    Joan

  9. Theo Says:

    Dear Jay,
    I have just spent several hours reading about your life. I can not begin to describe how I feel about it, but I want to say you made me cry and made me wish I could meet you, to tell you I am proud that you were able to share this because it reminded me to keep my head up and recently that has been hard to do. To let you know I am happy that despite everything you wrote this. That you are willing to share the pain, hope, trouble, trauma, everything. You found a voice and that takes more strength then most people ever realize.
    I can only thank you, thank you so very much. Best of luck and hope for everything that comes your way.
    -sincerely Theo

    • jayherron Says:

      Theo,your words make me realize that telling my life does have meaning if in fact it helps others in the direction of their own lives. Thank you for telling me this. I am always open-so a visit is here whenever! Peace

  10. laura t. Says:

    your attorney sounds like a very sensitive compassionate guy, jay… i’m so happy for you. your faith tells you that your dad will know the truth… and the truth will set everyone free. he knows, jay, he knows. love ((((((jay)))))) ~lt xoxooxoxoxox

    • jayherron Says:

      Bless you Laura T…be sure to share with the members of Mr.Vet-Wow I was deemed 100% permanantly disabled ABOVE non-employable! It is so noted on my paperwork,hope to encourage others to keep fighting for what is right!

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