Questionable Practices Continue at Fort Belvior Warrior Transition Battalion: One Delaware Army National Guard Soldier’s Story After Injured in the Line of Duty

National Guard

Guest Post Submitted by Jill Lee

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.

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Fort Hood Army Pfc. Kai Yancey, Died After Complications From a Short Illness on New Year’s Day at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas (2017)

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Pfc. Kai Yancey, US Army

Army Pfc. Kai Yancey, 26, died at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas after complications from a short illness on January 1, 2017. Pfc. Yancey’s home of record was listed as El Paso, Texas; he entered active-duty military service in February 2015 as a motor transport operator. Pfc. Yancey was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since 2016.

“He was a member of East Side Church of Christ, where he was a past member of the Youth Group and enjoyed watching movies, skate boarding, wrestling, boxing, water skiing, para-sailing and target shooting. He was a past member of the Warren Boxing Association, where he was the Undefeated Lightweight Champion and a 2009 graduate of Howland High School, where he excelled in wrestling. He married Janelle March 16, 2016.” –Obituary

Related Links:
Obituary: Pfc. Kai Yemale Yancey of Ft. Hood, Texas
Obituary: Kai Y. Yancey | Tribune Chronicle
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Pfc. Kai Yemale Yancey
Fallen Warriors | Pfc. Kai Yemale Yancey
Fort Hood soldier dies from illness
Fort Hood soldier who died from illness identified
Fort Hood Soldier Died of Complication from Illness, Officials Say
Fort Hood soldier dies from illness | KXXV
Fort Hood soldier dies from illness | WALB
Fort Hood soldier dies from illness | WTOC
Fort Hood soldier dies from illness
El Paso Soldier Stationed at Fort Hood Dies
El Paso soldier stationed at Fort Hood dies New Year’s Day
Howland High graduate dies from illness while serving in Texas
Greywolf remembers and honors the lives of Pfc. Kai Yancey and Pfc. Randal Anderson
Number of recent Fort Hood soldier deaths raises questions
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

SSgt Cierra Rogers, US Air Force, Dies Mysteriously on US Soil Shortly After Saving a Family from a Burning Building in South Korea (2016)

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SSgt Cierra Rogers, US Air Force

People holding blanket save mom, kids from fire in S. Korea
Osan honors airman who died after helping rescue family from fire
Staff Sergeant Dies From Injuries After Helping Rescue Family From Fire Outside Osan Air Base
Local airman dies mysteriously after helping save S. Korean family
Osan Air Base mourns loss of hero airman
UNSUNG HEROES: The Airman Who Died After Rescuing A Family From A Burning Building

SSG Virginia Caballero, US Army Reserve, Died on Plane Enroute from a Deployment in Kuwait, Family Received Conflicting Accounts of Cause of Death (2014)

If you have any information that could help this family find answers, please contact us at militaryjusticeforall@gmail.com. Thank you.

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SSG Virginia Caballero, US Army Reserves (2014)

Honoring SSG Virginia Caballero, US Army Reserves, who became ill while en-route from Kuwait and then died unexpectedly shortly thereafter at a hospital in Rockford, Illinois on September 13, 2014. Apparently the commercial plane needed fuel and/or had to do an emergency landing for Virginia in Rockford, Illinois. It appears that they were on their way to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. According to reports, Caballero was a Reservist stationed with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, 330th Medical Brigade out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin but trained at Fort McCoy prior to her deployment to Kuwait.  She served in Kuwait for roughly eight months and for some reason was coming home a month early with a high ranking travel companion. Media reports claim she wanted to surprise her family in Texas. It is believed Caballero suffered from a blood clot which was exacerbated with the altitude on the flight. She was not listed as a non-combat death by the Department of Defense but this would in fact be considered a non-combat death due to medical. The family admits in newspaper articles that a lot of the details are sketchy.

Here are the questions we have after combing through the below articles. Why was she coming home a month early accompanied by a high ranking travel companion if she was going to surprise her family? Did something happen in country prior to her boarding that plane? Was this an early surprise for family in Texas or an expedited transfer from Kuwait back to the states? The military isn’t in the business of assigning high ranking travel companions unless there is an issue. Were there any concerns about medical health prior to boarding the plane? Where were they flying to? Rockford, Illinois is only a couple hour drive from Fort McCoy. Why did they not land the plane sooner at a larger airport like Chicago when the medical issues began to develop or the fuel began to get low? Why did the DoD not send out an official notification of non-combat death considering she was on active duty orders in support of war efforts in Kuwait? Criminal Investigation Division (CID) was assigned to investigate the cause of death of Virginia. The family was asked to submit a FOIA request for the results of the investigation.

Related Links:
Army Soldier Reflects on Life Overseas and Time Back Home
Lubbock movers reach out to help purple heart recipient
Soldier flying home to surprise family in Texas dies en route
Decorated soldier flying home to surprise family in Abernathy dies en route
Local Purple Heart Recipient Died While On Active Duty
Purple heart recipient’s body to arrive in Lubbock on Saturday
Family, friends remember Virginia Caballero as Veterans Day approaches
The Heart of a Soldier: Sergeant earns hero’s salute from hometown
USAR SSG Virginia Caballero, 41 (Noonie Fortin)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Tribute to SSG Virginia Caballero from her Family
Abell Funeral Home Tribute to Virginia Caballero

New Hampshire Air National Guardsman MSgt. David Poirier Died of Non-Combat Related Incident in Southwest Asia; Death Ruled Heart Attack (2014)

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MSgt. David Poirier, Pease Air National Guard, NH

Air National Guard Master Sgt. David Poirier, 52, died from a non-combat related incident on February 28, 2014. There was no location noted in the DoD press release but MSgt. Poirier was assigned to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar at the time of his passing. According to Sea Coast Online, MSgt. Poirier was deployed to Southwest Asia when his death occurred but the Air National Guard was not able to release the country due to host nation sensitivities. MSgt. Poirier was a post master from North Smithfield, Rhode Island. MSgt. Poirier was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 157th Operations Support Squadron at Pease Air National Guard Base in New Hampshire. On March 5, 2014, news reports indicated that MSgt. Poirier died of a heart attack while serving overseas.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty
Honor the Fallen: Air Force Master Sgt. David L. Poirier
Air Guardsman dies overseas serving with Pease squadron
Airman assigned to Pease dies in non-combat-related incident
Pease airman from R.I dies in non-combat incident
Atkinson postmaster dies while serving overseas
North Smithfield man serving in Air Force dies in non-combat related incident
Calling Hours Sunday for Pease Airman Who Died Overseas
Poirier remembered as consummate guardsman
Death Of Air National Guardsman Under Investigation
Congressional Record: Remembering MSgt. David Poirier
Heart attack claimed life of Atkinson, NH postmaster serving in Qatar
Run for the Fallen: Air National Guard Master Sergeant David L Poirier
I Salute You; Air Force Master Sergeant David L. Poirier

Air Force SSgt. Samuel Davis Died at Off-Base Home in Alaska; Parents Report Complications After Back Surgery (2014)

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SSgt. Samuel Davis, US Air Force

Air Force SSgt. Samuel Davis, 33, died at his off base home in Alaska on February 23, 2014. According to his family, he died from complications after a back surgery. SSgt. Davis was assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in 2011 where he worked as an aerospace maintenance craftsman with the 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Media reports indicate that SSgt. Davis was the fourth serviceman from JBER found dead this month: Army Sgt. Okan Cetinbag, February 11; SrA Katrina Jackson on February 15; and SSgt. Darian Miller on February 18.

Related Links:
JBER airman found dead
Air Force sergeant dies at Alaska off-base home (Military Times)
Airman to be buried in Spencer
Funeral Set for Former Roane Resident SSgt. Sam Davis
Air Force investigates JBER death
Investigators probe death of JBER sergeant at off-base residence
Soldier’s death marks fourth JBER fatality in a month
JBER airman’s passing marks fourth death in February
Soldiers/Veterans Dead of Probable Sudden Cardiac Death (PROB SCD)
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska (Army & Air Force)

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Caughman Died of a Non Combat-Related Injury in Kuwait (2010)

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Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Caughman, US Navy

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean Caughman, 43, died of a non combat related injury on February 15, 2010 in Kuwait. Petty Officer 1st Class Caughman was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Twenty-Two, a Seabee unit at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station in Texas.

“A Seabee supporting Operation Enduring Freedom died Tuesday in Kuwait, the Defense Department announced Thursday. His cause of death was not provided, but the Naval Safety Center Web site said an E-6 died after a PT run.” -Honor the Fallen

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Navy Casualty
Navy Information Systems Technician 1st Class Sean L. Caughman
Military deaths
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean L. Caughman honored in dignified transfer Feb. 17
IGTNT: 3 soldiers, a marine and a sailor
Soldiers and Marine Killed in Afghanistan, Navy Also Reports Death in Kuwait

Sgt Carlos Gill, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Illness, Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan (2010)

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Sgt Carlos Gill, US Army

Sgt Carlos Gill, 25, US Army, died of a non combat related illness at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on January 26, 2010 after being evacuated from Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Sgt. Gill was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Fort Lewis, Washington.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Sgt. Carlos E. Gill
Gadsden man’s son dies after evacuation from Afghanistan
Remembering three soldiers who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Shannon, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Incident in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010)

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Sgt. 1st Class Michael Shannon, US Army

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Shannon, 52, US Army, died of a non combat related incident on January 17, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Shannon was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the Army Reserve assigned to the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to the Department of Defense, the circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.

“Shannon, 52, of Canadensis, suffered a heart attack Jan. 17 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He was the first known soldier from Monroe County to die in Afghanistan.” -Pocono Record

DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael P. Shannon
Canadensis soldier who died in Afghanistan honored during services

September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2009)

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09/30/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Jordan Chrobot, 24, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/28/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Kevin Graham, 27, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/25/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Titus Reynolds, 23, Edward Smith, 30, and Joseph White, 21, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/25/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: John Malone, 24, Afghanistan, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

09/23/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: William Meredith, 26, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/23/2009:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: James Hornbarger, 33, NCD, Mediterranean, Beale Air Force Base, California

09/22/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: David Davis, 28, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/22/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Corey Kowall, 20, and Damon Winkleman, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/21/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Michael Cote Jr, 20, NCD, Iraq, Fort Wainwright, Alaska

09/21/2009:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Matthew Courtois, 22, NCD, Kuwait, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho

09/19/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jeremiah Monroe, 31, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

09/17/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Bradley Bohle, 29, Shawn McCloskey, 33, and Joshua Mills, 24, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/17/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Robert Gordon II, 22, NCD, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington

09/16/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: David Wright II, 26, and Andrew McConnell, 24, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/16/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Demetrius Void, 20, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Hood, Texas

09/15/2009:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Bryan Berky, 25, Afghanistan, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota

09/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Nekl Allen, 29, and Daniel Cox, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

09/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Martinek, 20, Afghanistan, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Duane Thornsbury, 30, NCD, Iraq, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Tyler Juden, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

09/11/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Tyler Parten, 24, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/11/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Christopher Fowlkes, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Shannon Smith, 31, Thomas Lyons, 20, and Zachary Myers, 21, Iraq, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Youvert Loney, 28, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Edwin Johnson Jr, 31, Michael Johnson, 25, and Aaron Kenefick, 30, Afghanistan, Okinawa, Japan

09/10/2009:  Army Releases August Suicide Data

09/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: James Layton, 22, Afghanistan, Combined Security Transition Command, Japan

09/09/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Joshua Meadows, 30, Afghanistan, Camp Pendleton, California

09/09/2009:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Joseph Helton, 24, Iraq, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida

09/08/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Michael Murphrey, 25, Afghanistan, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/07/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Randy Haney, 27, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

09/06/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Darryn Andrews, 34, Afghanistan, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

09/05/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Christopher Baltazar Jr, 19, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/04/2009:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: Benjamin Castiglione, 21, Afghanistan, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

09/04/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Todd Selge, 25, and Jordan Shay, 22, NCDs, Iraq, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/02/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Tyler Walshe, 21, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/02/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jonathan Welch, 19, and Jordan Brochu, 20, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/01/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: David Hall, 31, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina