Judge: Examine ex-soldier, reconsider discharge
By BRETT BARROUQUERE
Friday, January 10, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An Iraq war veteran who twice deployed to Iraq is being re-examined by the U.S. Army after a federal judge found that the military may have mishandled his medical complaints and involuntary discharge from the service.
The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Patricia Campbell-Smith, ordered both the Army and attorney for Richard P. Watson of Hebron, Ky., to report back to the court by February on the status and results of physical examinations. Should Watson be diagnosed with an ailment that would exclude him from combat service, Campbell-Smith ordered the military to determine if Watson's discharge should be changed and if he is eligible for disability retirement.
Watson, who enlisted in 2004 and rose to the rank of corporal in the Army in 2007, sued the military in 2012 after being discharged under other than honorable conditions for refusing orders to return to Iraq in December 2007. Watson told the military he had severe vision problems, a claim the Army rejected before charging him with missing movement by design - or willingly failing to deploy as ordered.
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