He thought he had seen a drowning girl in the storming sea, and made a split second decision, that was the wrong call.
Immediately upon hitting the water, his neck snapped, leaving him paralyzed.
Now paralyzed from the neck down, Sergeant First Class Brumit’s quality of life has plummeted into near devastation.
Now, the U.S. Army has just given him notice that they have judged his actions that day as being “reckless” due to drugs and alcohol.
This is a man who fought in hundreds of raids, risking his life in firefight after firefight in eight combat tours through Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he finds himself in a different fight.
A fight to save his military career. A career that you will soon find out he had given up EVERYTHING near and dear to him to pursue.
He has just three weeks to get the decision against him overturned or he faces possible discharge from service which could include him losing his military medical care to boot.
He was not on the job, nor was he driving. He was sitting on a boat with friends. However, the evidence does work against him as it was found that he had 0.1% blood alcohol. He also had traces of cocaine and amphetamines in his system which, just makes things look even worse.
Knowing this, what do you think? Is the Army making the right call? Well, there’s more.
“I’m going to take responsibility for the fact that I had a coping problem” that he dealt with by drinking and sometimes taking drugs, Brumit told The Daily Beast. “But the day of the injury, I had not used anything, and I wasn’t even drunk.”
He said he heard the Coast Guard alert for a missing girl and says he was alert and aware and had not used anything that day. He shared that he had felt a responsibility to the young girl.
“She did not seem too far. I was a good swimmer. I felt the responsibility and felt very capable of doing something, even with the storm,” Brumit said. “I have a daughter. I would want someone to do the same for her.”
While he laid in the hospital after the incident Army officials showed up and somehow got their hands on his toxicology report without asking him permission. That’s when the legal fight began and things started to get messy.
All this speaks volumes against the solider however Brumit admits he is has had problems. He had acknowledged them before the incident in fact when him and his Father a retired Green Beret, had literally begged his commanding officers for over a year to help him stop using by finding a different way to cope with his very apparent post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
Guess how they responded?
Deny Brumit had any serious psychological, neurological, or substance abuse problems at all.
His wife had left him, taking their children, after symptoms started emerging during his time in service deploying out to Iraq and Afghanistan.
We’re talking…nightmares, sleeplessness, hypervigilance, and the violent mood swings from anger to depression. All of which he endured through and suppressed with emotional numbness so that he could function at work.
…and yet, he was told he had nothing wrong with him?
Struggling soldier Brumit said he told the chaplain of his grief over his wife’s departure along with their toddler and infant. He discussed his drinking to alleviate his sleeplessness and nightmares. And he detailed his obsessive thoughts over one raid in particular in Afghanistan—a 22-hour firefight infamous at the 75th Ranger Regiment that pitted a couple dozen Rangers against an estimated 500 Taliban. The 2009 battle cost Brumit one of his best friends, Staff Sergeant Jason Dahlke, 29, as well as a 19-year-old Ranger, Private First Class Eric Hario. Brumit had just taken Hario to task before takeoff for the mission because something minor was wrong with his gear.
Well this information was later used against him, when he learned that the very people he spoke to explaining his problems in detail shared his information with his commanding officers. The very information that was used against him.
“So you think you’ve got PTSD from your 1,000 raids,” they’d sneer at him. “You’re not going to blame your poor performance on that,” he remembered them saying—conversations he memorialized in notes he wrote at the advice of his father.
This and countless other of what I would call injustices have been used as ammo against this soldier. Does anyone who has fought so hard and so much for this country deserve this kind of treatment?
This is what I feel. Even if this man was a total a-hole, using his fist before his words, using drugs, getting drunk and having violent mood swings. He still fought, and risked his life for this country. He still put his all into the training he had to endure to become a hero and then went out and served and lost everything because of it. That shouldn’t only mean something, it should mean EVERYTHING.
So what if he had alcohol in his system, and traces of heroine. No one knows the horror he has gone through and even if his coping mechanism is wrong, we all know he should NOT be measured against a normal man.
Because he is not a normal man, he is a hero. That’s a title that does not go away. He’s already earned it, and the Army should not discount him just because he’s not a robot.
I pray that this soldier gets what he deserves. Respect, and the help he needs without any further CRAP from those that have endured MUCH less than he.