Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Carson ban still in place

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 8:52 AM

In today's edition, we report that two soldier advocates are suing several military members, including an Army lieutenant general, in efforts to get an order lifted that bars them from Fort Carson.

Robert Alvarez and Georg-Andreas Pogany have become well known for their crusade on behalf of soldiers who suffer from war-related injuries like PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Some of these soldiers are caught doing bad things like driving drunk or smoking pot, triggering a criminal charge that leads to their being discharged without benefits, including medical treatment.

Sure is strange that Carson would oust them after they were invited to the table by Trial Defense Services in 2012. In fact, TDS honored Pogany in 2009 with an award.
The post's then-garrison commander Col. David Grosso issued letters to Alvarez and Pogany in November 2012 saying they were disruptive to good order and discipline.

Despite repeated pleas for an investigation that would show that isn't true, the two have gotten nowhere and the order still stands.

It even prevented Pogany from attending a memorial service last fall for a fallen soldier. Grosso told Pogany the family didn't want him there, Pogany says, but the family gave a different story.

"I talked to the family and received an e-mail from the widow, and she says Grosso never asked her and she told nobody I couldn't be at the memorial service," Pogany says. "She was upset they would disrespect her husband in that way."

Moreover, Pogany has been honored repeatedly for his advocacy, including by three senators in 2006, one of whom now occupies the White House. The letter was addressed to then Carson commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon Jr., and then Command Sgt. Maj. Terrance McWilliams, who now serves as Vice President for Military and Veteran Affairs at El Pomar Foundation.

Here's that letter:

Although the barment letters don't say what led to the action, Alvarez and Pogany had been working with a soldier in late October to try to get his ouster reversed so he could get treatment for his PTSD. During his out-processing, Alvarez accompanied the soldier but said nothing to post officials during the process, he says. Pogany was in Denver that day, he says.

If you want to read more about that soldier's experience, and what the Army does to people who try to run interference for these warriors, check out this Aljazeera America story penned by Dave Philipps and published in January.

Philipps is the Gazette reporter who won the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting last month for his series on this topic that ran last year, but it's odd that the local daily newspaper wasn't interested in publishing the story he wrote for Aljazeera and another one he wrote that ran in March. In that story, he takes post commander Gen.Joseph Anderson to task for his tactics in getting rid of soldiers.

All of which raises questions about why Grosso barred these two advocates from post and about whether Grosso acted alone (doubtful) or was ordered by Anderson to bar them from post (probably).

The biggest question of all is: Will we ever know the truth?

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