How We Treat Our Returning Disabled Veterans Matters

When our military men and women enlist, they promise to uphold certain obligations that are expected of them. These obligations at a personal level are frequently extremely challenging for them to live up to. In return, our military institutions also sign on to a list of obligations that enlistees expect of them. These institutional and societal obligations are not challenging to live up to.

Among our military and societal obligations to our military is the promise to provide medical care to all serving in our behalf. When our military return from foreign deployments, these men and women should receive the best health care that we as a society can provide. Along with that also goes the legal promise their civilian job will still be waiting for them.

What happened to Lieutenant Commander  J. Gregory Richardson (retired) should never have occurred. When he returned in 2011 from his fifth tour of duty spanning a military career of three decades, neither were his documented medical issues resolved, nor did his employer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs, accommodate his documented medical issues in the work place.

CBP IA Integrity Programs Division did not provide Richardson the opportunity to continue to serve his country; that is our loss. Neither did it show the slightest bit of compassion to this returning disabled veteran who eventually was forced out of his job as a GS-14 Senior Security Analyst.

Said one of Richardson’s co-workers, “All he needed was an once of compassion.” None of his division supervisors or senior leadership at CBP IA, Mr. James Tomsheck, took the time or the effort to help Richardson. Instead they and their agency for years have hidden behind procedures, policies, and bureaucratic paper shuffling.

Our institutional and societal obligations to those in our military are not challenging to live up to.

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