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Medically unfit being deployed?

Mar. 31, 2009 - 10:20AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 31, 2009 - 10:20AM  |  
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Conflicting policies, inaccurate records, and uninformed commanders and medical providers all could play a role in the Army's deployment of soldiers medically unfit to serve, according to an Army inspector general's report.

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Conflicting policies, inaccurate records, and uninformed commanders and medical providers all could play a role in the Army's deployment of soldiers medically unfit to serve, according to an Army inspector general's report.

It was obtained Monday by Army Times through http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/IGreport.pdf">a Freedom of Information Act request.

The report is a response to "numerous Congressional inquiries, media releases and complaints from soldiers and veteran organizations regarding the growing perception that the Army is deploying soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan who are medically unfit," the executive summary states.

Army Secretary Pete Geren called for an inspection of the Army's medical deployment process June 18. Seven inspectors general and a team including representatives from Army G-1, Army Medical Command, the National Guard and the Army Reserve conducted the inspection.

The inspection team conducted interviews with more than 1,600 leaders, medical providers, soldiers and civilians, and visited 24 installations.

The 10-page executive summary of the report, released Monday to Army Times, includes the following comments concerning problem areas:

• "The number of policies currently in existence increases the likelihood that soldiers who do not meet medical deployment requirements may be deployed in violation of one or more policies."

• "Our interviews indicated that many commanders and medical providers were simply unaware of crucial Army regulation updates and Combatant Command, medical guidance from CENTCOM."

• "In potential cases where commanders and medical providers may disagree, Army regulation provides no clear resolution process."

• "The inspection team confirmed the widespread use of the Army mandated Medical Protection System to track the medical readiness of soldiers; however, the data in the system is not always timely or accurate."

While the inspector general's full report has not been released, you can read the entire executive summary http://www.militarytimes.com/static/projects/pages/IGreport.pdf">here.

Tell us your story

Were you deployed even though you were suffering from a medical condition? Did you experience first-hand any of the problems outlined by the inspector general's report? Army Times would like to hear your story. Please tlombardo@militarytimes.com?subject=Story%20on%20IG%20report">e-mail Deputy News Editor Tony Lombardo.

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