I cannot in good conscience remain silent about the treatment of our wounded and injured service members and their families. I am writing this letter on behalf of my husband Sgt. Thomas Lee. He medically retired from the Delaware National Guard’s 153rd MP Company in August 21, 2016. He deployed to Afghanistan January to September 2013. Upon returning from deployment he was sent to the Wounded Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Belvoir, VA in October 2013 for neck, back, shoulder, skin and stomach issues. The time frame for service members to spend at the WTB is approximately 12 months; my husband was there for 3 years. When my husband arrived, there were around 300 service members there. Every service member is assigned a nurse case manager who oversees the scheduling of appointments and does weekly check-ins with them. The nurse case manager’s job is to support and facilitate the care of service members; however, often they are misleading and at times lying to get information which is used by the command against the service members. The WTB does not promote an atmosphere of healing but rather one of harassment and punishment, where they provide the bare minimum of care, distribute medications and focus on the symptoms rather than diagnose and treat the actual issues. The WTB along with Fort Belvoir Community Hospital has failed my husband along with countless other service members. Our service members and families sacrifice so much for our country and it is a shame to see how they get treated when they return from combat broken physically and mentally.
My husband and I lived through a nightmare for the past 3 years, he was fortunate enough to survive 2 deployments only to be permanently disabled by a military doctor here in the states. Do you know what it’s like to watch helplessly someone you love whose served their country go from injured to permanently damaged and not to be able to hold any one accountable? My husband came to the WTB with 2 careers, 21 years with the Postal Service and 18 years of military service, he left the WTB unable to return to either career. Below are the events that forever changed our lives.
Army veteran Marinna Rollins, 23, was found dead of an apparent suicide on May 7, 2017 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. According to reports, Rollins was medically retired from the Army with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a traumatic event while stationed in South Korea. Rollins was involved in the execution style killing of her estranged husband’s dog Huey around April 16 or 17. The harrowing incident was filmed and released to the public resulting in worldwide coverage. Marinna and her accomplice, Jarren Heng, were both facing felony charges in court. Jarren Heng is an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Bragg and he still faces felony charges, although the conspiracy charge was dropped after Marinna died. Meanwhile a Facebook page was created called Justice for Huey and they are also petitioning the Army to take action. According to Marinna’s estranged husband, Matt Dyer, Marinna was watching the dog for him while he was in South Korea but at some point decided she wanted to keep the dog and didn’t want to give Huey back. Meanwhile, she registered the dog as an emotional support animal. Matt shared that he was okay with her keeping the dog because he thought Huey would be good for her PTSD. Matt and Justice for Huey have been empathetic of Marinna and believe that had Jarren Heng never entered her life, this would not have happened. Matt expressed that he was aware that Jarren hated Huey and was controlling of Marinna. Marinna and Matt grew up together in Windham, Maine and were still technically married as their divorce had not been finalized yet. Initially it appears that Marinna did try and find a home for the dog with no success. Matt thinks Jarren Heng convinced Marinna to get rid of the dog. Did Jarren Heng pressure her to get rid of the dog because it was her soon to be ex-husband’s dog? We may never know the answer to that question but nonetheless this is a very heartbreaking situation: an innocent dog lost a life, another soldier with Post Traumatic Stress lost her life, and Matt lost his childhood friend & wife and his dog.