PTSD and the Coast Guard

Coast Guard Spouse, United States Coast Guard

My wife is currently stationed with an ANT Team. Last August she was breaking in as one of the coxswains on the boat. Unfortunately, she was involved in a mishap. She took for blame for the mishap since she was driving the boat. After the incident, her command blamed her the accident. She felt isolated and alone. No one at the unit talked to her. She began having nightmares and was unable to sleep. On top of all of this, she was scheduled to receive hip surgery in November which increased the isolation, she felt from her OINC. He told her to man up. He needs surgery, but he has a job to do, so surgery is no option. My wife served 6 years straight on an operational cutter. The hip pain wasn’t getting any better, and she tried a year of physical therapy. All the stress that the unit caused her to put on weight and again she was unable to work out because of the hip pain. In October, she failed her weigh-ins. This was the first time she failed in 10 years. She never failed before. Through all this, my wife tried to fight through it with no help from the Coast Guard. She knew she needed help so she got counseling from the Chaplain. After a few sessions, she talked about the nightmares and lack of sleep. In January, she was referred to a psychologist where they diagnosed her with PTSD. The PTSD was directly caused by the mishap in August. This was also confirmed by a Coast Guard psychiatrist in Cape May. We requested for weight abeyance since the PTSD caused the weight gain. She was denied this waiver.

The officers at Washington D.C. said discharge her and let the VA handle it. We have a copy of that email. My wife did 10 years of service for the Coast Guard and she planned to do 20 more years. To kick her out for weight is wrong. She should be given a medical board and be given medical retirement for either her PTSD or hip. The sad part also is the OINC still has a job after the way he treated her. My wife has nightmares from this guy. The unit she has now has done nothing to help her and are having her discharge in June. We contacted legal, they never call us back. We need help. The Coast Guard doesn’t care about my wife’s condition. They are just throwing her out like a piece of trash and letting the VA handle her. I lost my wife in August because of this mishap. She sleeps on the couch because of the nightmares and is on edge at all times. I don’t want to see this happen to another Coast Guard member. I hope my story helps someone.

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