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AWOL soldier returns on veterans day, says his anxiety problems were being ignored

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – AWOL soldier Jeff Hanks said he walked away from the Army in the middle of a deployment because his problems with anxiety and stress have been ignored. Now on Veterans Day, he's coming back to face the consequences.

The 30-year-old Army infantryman said he has post-traumatic stress disorder that he has experienced since his 2008 tour in Iraq. He tried to seek treatment at Fort Campbell last month during his mid-tour leave from Afghanistan. When his commanders failed to help and told him he would have to immediately go back, he instead went home to North Carolina, he said.

Given the suicide rates and the amount of coverage this has been given in reference to how the military handles this, should he receive the same punishment as other AWOL soldiers?

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 1:29 PM on Nov. 11, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • sweet-a-kins

    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:29 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • The specialist could face less-than-honorable discharge or jail when he turns himself in Thursday.

    "I have no problem going back to Afghanistan, but I need help," he said in a phone interview from his home in White Lake, N.C.

    Hanks said he chose to return on Veterans Day, usually reserved for honoring military service, because he didn't want to exceed 30 days of being AWOL and face the more serious charge of desertion. His actions and the timing are supported by Iraq veterans Against the War.

    Hanks' unit command has discretion over what will happen to him when he turns himself in, but he could face a court-martial and jail time if convicted, Fort Campbell spokesman Rick Rzepka said.


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:30 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • His actions were supported by the Iraq veterans againt the war


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 1:30 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • I think he should get medical treatment and help before anything else!

    Answer by jat82 at 1:32 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • He should be given a full medical eval first, receive treatment if deemed appropriate from the examining medical professional, and then he should be disciplined according to procedure.


    Answer by Sisteract at 1:38 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • I think he should get the help that he needs and not face jail time or dishonorable discharge.

    Answer by joeysmommie07 at 1:42 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • Depends on how much he actually looked for help. Did he just go to his command? or did he go through other means when he came home on leave?


    Answer by Soniam301 at 1:58 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • I think he should be givin the help he needs regardless of the punisment he gets.

    Answer by Soniam301 at 1:59 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • I am on his side.I hope he gets the help he needs. I also wish every single military man or woman in Iraq and Afghanistan would go AWOL.

    Answer by kerp1960 at 2:53 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

  • I went to White Lake as a child. Wow.
    And with all the trouble at Campbell, this is so BS! He should have been listened to at the slightest hint of asking for help. The have avenues. Their chain of command, OneStop, mental health. If he went to any of them even once and was turned away, that's enough. So much money has been spent on 'studies', enough 'announcements' have been made. One time asking for help is enough. He should never have even been made to feel inadequate for asking for help. No, he should not be treated as your run of the mill AWOL. Though, other active duty soldiers would say yes, he should. They would say he should suck it up, some would anyway. Many feel it's weak still to ask for help. But had he not asked, he would be a serious danger to himself and others over there. He could have turned to illegal drugs. He needs an eval. He should have come to Bragg while he was home, he could have walled in to WAMC.

    Answer by Raine2001 at 3:02 PM on Nov. 11, 2010

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