PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop in a person who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks or nightmares of the traumatic event.
The veterans have experienced homelessness, prolonged unemployment and troubled relationships, the lawsuit says.
''Isolated and impoverished, they have struggled to cope not only with their war wounds but also with the shame of a bad discharge,'' it says.
The Army awarded Shepherd with a Bronze Star after his unit came under intense fire and he entered an enemy bunker and threw a grenade that killed several enemy soldiers, according to the lawsuit.
Shepherd developed symptoms of PTSD after blowing up the enemy bunker and later witnessing the gruesome deaths of several comrades, according to his lawsuit. Shepherd began to act strangely and was found wandering around a base in a confused state. He eventually reached a breaking point and refused to go back out into the field, the lawsuit says.
He was charged with failure to obey an order and was discharged.
Shepherd's application for a discharge upgrade was denied again in June. The Army said he failed to present convincing evidence that his misconduct 43 years ago was the result of PTSD or that his discharge was improper, but he's appealing the decision.
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