Some US vets are beginning to show up at homeless shelters. This could the first generation since the Vietnam War that this has happed to. Vets are
being quickly pushed out of service in Iraq after debilitating injuries. Without proper treatment as to how to deal with these disabilities both
physically and mentally, many are showing up in homeless shelters after getting divorces, losing their jobs or both. Long delay times after being
push out also lead to problems. Almost 28,000 vets have sought help form the VA and nearly 17 percent of those have suffered from mental problems
"I lived out of my truck for a while," Seabees Petty Officer Luis Arellano, 34, said in a telephone interview from a homeless shelter near March
Air Force Base in California run by U.S.VETS, the largest organization in the country dedicated to helping homeless veterans.
In Iraq, shrapnel nearly severed his left thumb. He still has trouble moving it and shrapnel "still comes out once in a while," Arellano said. He is
Arellano said he felt pushed out of the military too quickly after getting back from Iraq without medical attention he needed for his hand -- and as
he would later learn, his mind.
"It was more of a rush. They put us in a warehouse for a while. They treated us like cattle," Arellano said about how the military treated him on
his return to the United States.
"It is all about numbers. Instead of getting quality care, they were trying to get everybody demobilized during a certain time frame. If you had a
problem, they said, 'Let the (Department of Veterans Affairs) take care of it.'"
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Many vets return home after being injured. Some, after having received a divorce or losing their jobs that had before deployment, have resulted
to living on the street. Some of these vets chose to make a career of military service, only to be shot down in their prime, pardon the pun, and
discharged after a distinguished career. In my opinion, due to bureaucratic quagmire, it’ll be sometime before these problems are truly sorted out
regardless of what to officials claim.
[edit on 8-12-2004 by Banshee]