Iraq War Vet Suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Faces Court Martial Because He Went AWOL to Get Mental Health Care
Contact: Tod Ensign, (212) 679-2250 or (917) 647-5676 (cell)
Press Conference: Monday, May 14, 2007, 10:00 am
Location: Different Drummer Internet Cafe, 12 Paddock Arcade, adjacent to Fort Drum , Watertown NY
Army Specialist Eugene Cherry, 24, of Chicago , IL , served as a combat medic in Iraq from June 2004 to June 2005 with the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum , NY .
Returning to the base, Cherry suffered from severe mental health symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unable to obtain treatment for his mental health condition, Cherry returned home to Chicago where he entered treatment with a local private clinical psychologist.
Since Cherry returned to Fort Drum , he was given powerful drugs such as Zoloft & Ambien but only one therapy session. Last week, the command charged him with being AWOL and will try him at a Special Court Martial, which could impose a one year prison term and a Bad Conduct Discharge. Cherry must be interviewed by telephone, since he’s been restricted to Fort Drum .
Dr. Hannah Frisch, PhD, is the Chicago clinical psychologist who treated Specialist Cherry and prepared a six page medical evaluation diagnosing him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Sec.309.81 of the APA’s Diagnostic Manual, 4th ED) Dr. Frisch will be present to discuss Cherry’s case and she will visit Fort Drum to discuss his treatment with Army mental health professionals.
Tod Ensign, Esq., Legal Director of Citizen Soldier, the GI rights group which sponsors the “Different Drummer” cafe, will discuss the project’s plans to support Cherry and the efforts of other Fort Drum veterans to obtain prompt mental health treatment, in lieu of prosecution, for behavior linked to their PTSD.
Cindi Mercante, Army veteran and Project Director, “Different Drummer,” will describe contacts the project has had with soldiers and their family members who are seeking mental health care for Iraq or Afghan war related injuries.