04.28.11

Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Pentagon Announcement Thursday That Troops With Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Will Now Be Eligible For The Purple Heart Medal

“The Pentagon now has announced a new rule change to clarify which troops suffering from mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) would be eligible for the Purple Heart medal.  This decision is a major step forward for the further recognition of TBI in our military and veterans communities.  I have long taken an interest in supporting psychological and brain health programs for currently serving troops and veterans.  I inquired about rulings on the Purple Heart for blast sufferers, so I am especially gratified by this decision.  Although some may try to withhold recognition from troops who suffer from the invisible wounds of war, the weapons used against our troops in our current conflicts lead to injuries much more difficult to discern.  I have always believed that if you have been wounded in war — regardless of the nature of your injury — you deserve the thanks and commendation of your fellow citizens and your comrades-in-arms that is symbolized by the Purple Heart award.  I’m glad that Pentagon leaders agree.”

[Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, a senior member of the Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and active in casework help for Vermonters in uniform.]

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