Cold War Veteran denied PTSD service; Zombie Tank not supported by credible evidence
In the 1996 case of White v. Brown, an appellate court affirmed a 1992 denial of services for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to a veteran of the Cold War. Joseph White alleged flashbacks to his time stationed in Germany from 1950-1953 and specific incidents of violent crowd control along the East-West border in Berlin. But PTSD services from Veterans Affairs require corroboration of the events causing the stress. Not surprisingly, the zombie doesn’t appear in White’s service record. The appellate court affirms based on lack of credible evidence of the stressor.
JOSEPH W. WHITE, APPELLANT, v. JESSE BROWN, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
UNITED STATES COURT OF VETERANS APPEALS
1996 U.S. Vet. App. LEXIS 448
Decided – June 26, 1996
The appellant served with the United States Army from 1950 to 1953. He first sought service connection for a “nervous condition” in October 1989. In mid-1990, he alleged that this condition was PTSD. In connection with this claim, he stated that he had “vivid color halusinations [sic] of the riot team in Berlin[,] Germany[,] when a Russian tank driver . . . ran right over the little girl on the bridge killing her.” He also claimed that he attended group therapy and had been under the care of two doctors for the preceding three years.
In response to a request for more information, the appellant submitted a personal statement, a statement of his wife, and news photographs. In his personal statement, he recounted being stationed at the border between East and West Germany and seeing Russian tanks “hub-to-hub with all guns knowingly pointed at our five direction posts”. He alleged that, in June 1953, while assigned to “clear all the streets of East Berlin people who refused to return to the Eastzone,” he came upon a German man who would not obey the appellant’s order. The man told his dog to attack, and “while the dog was in mid-air[, the appellant] cut him from tail to neck areas.” The appellant stated that he would “never forget the German’s eyes, as he picked up his dog and walked on.” The appellant further alleged that on another occasion, he had just moved a woman and her approximately 8 to 10 year old daughter toward a bridge entering the east zone. . . . This lady and her child was [sic] within 25 yards of this small bridge when a Russian tank drove onto the bridge. . . . The woman climbed up on the rail of the bridge. She turned to aid her child, when . . . I saw the woman screaming at the tankdriver and she was unable to grasp her child. The zombie like tankdriver without a change of expression drove his tank over that little girl. Some of her bodyparts exploded toward me. . . .
In addition to the above, the VA regional office obtained outpatient treatment records, including reports of group therapy sessions the appellant participated in from 1990 to 1991 during which the appellant related, inter alia, nightmares, flashbacks, and “rage episodes,” often concerning World War II and the Korean War. These records reflected diagnoses of PTSD in January through March 1991, June 1991, and December 1991.
So to recap, White alleges flashbacks and nightmares caused by his crowd control in East Berlin in the early 1950’s, where he claims to have killed a German dog and have seen a child crushed by a Russian tank. But he also flashes back to World War 2 and Korea (wars that he definitely did not serve)
The Court notes that incidents like
killing a dog are seldom found in the combat records [and] Unless an official report was filed concerning the incident with the little girl, we are unable to document this event
Ans so since the alleged incidents did not happen during combat, White’s account must be “corroborated by credible evidence” See 38 C.F.R. § 3.304(f). The Court found it was not.
It’s a shame we don’t fully take care of the psychological needs of all veterans regardless of the documentation of cause. Of course, it is the early 1990’s so who wouldn’t want to argue for free psychiatric treatment based on something that no one knows happened forty years earlier. Still, this case is another instance of WW2 era Russians being called zombies, and an instance of the word appearing in a case where the petitioner’s claims are minimized and denied.