Injured during training, Sylvester had surgery but was denied medically ordered Convalescent Leave, causing an unpaid second and third surgery. His true story is below.
Hi, my name is Sylvester Emanuel Wilson Junior. I am a Combat Veteran and this is my true story.
I joined the United States Army to serve my country following the tragic death of thousands due to terrorism on 9-11.
My basic training was at Fort Knox in Kentucky. I became a United States Army Tanker M1 19-Kilo (or M1 19K), an Armored Crewman on an M1 Abrams Tank. I was proud to be one of four soldiers who operate the M1 Tank. I loved the training and met some great friends I cherish to this day.
Following basic training I was stationed in Baumholder, Germany. I underwent extensive training in Germany to become the Guidon (Company Flag-Bearer) and rose to the rank of Specialist E4.
My unit was shipped to Kuwait. During extreme hot-weather training I suffered injuries and underwent surgery to repair a stomach hernia. Post surgery I was given Convalescent Leave, by the medical staff, to heal properly but that’s when things took a drastic turn in my life. My First Sergeant denied my leave. He said, ”We need all boots on the ground in Iraq”. I was confused, because if anyone was injured near me I was in no condition to help battle carry them, as I did before my surgery.
In Iraq we were shot at and bombarded with mortar daily. I remember one rocket striking the compound we were in. I was knocked to the ground and found myself in even more pain. Army superiors required me to carry out tasks and walk distances that I should not have and those actions made my surgical site worsen. My unhealed surgery became infected. I was bleeding almost daily and puss and mesh were coming out of my stomach. I asked to be relieved of my duties but instead I was sent to the Sick Hall where I was given 800mg of Ibuprofen and told to drink water.
My situation worsened until I was eventually given R&R Leave back to the states. I went to a civilian doctor who told me my wound was infected and I needed immediate repair surgery. I underwent revision surgery which caused me to be late for my return to Iraq (I had to wait until I was healed enough to be able to defend myself and others).
At Fort Knox I was “administratively separated” from the US Army with an “Other Than Honorable Discharge”. I was in disbelief. I was injured due to neglectful acts of the US Army and they turned around and got rid of me like an old pair of boots.
Today, I still have issues with my stomach which have caused more hernias. I’ve had groin hernia surgery as well. I tried to get my discharge upgraded but had no luck. I sucked it up, dealt with the pain, and have not had help from the government to this day.
The stress of my health condition and lack of government help caused my wife to leave me; she took my oldest son with her. I was depressed for years, drinking at the crack of dawn and smoking weed to ease my pain and depression.
Thanks be to the Lord who helped me snap out of the rut I was in and gave me the strength to move forward in life.
Years later I remarried. I had five more beautiful children with my second wife who has been there for me since we met.
I went back into the workforce and obtained my Commercial Drivers License. Three months after graduating, a drunk driver pulled in front of my truck on the highway and I found myself injured again. I lost the job that was providing for my family. I was home healing but my neighborhood was known for gang activity and the daily and nightly sounds of gunshots caused my PTSD to kick back up. My civilian wife was demonstrating signs of PTSD too so we abandoned the house we were living in.
We moved to New York to live with my disabled dad where it feels safe for my wife and children. I’m back at work, driving tractor trailers, and saving up every dime to move my wife and kids down south, to Georgia, where I’d like to start my own trucking company. I want to provide a safe environment for my family and help other Veterans get the help they deserve and, if they desire to, start businesses for themselves. I hope to realize my dream and launch this important business that will help Veterans but first I need to get my rights back from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Recently, thanks to the Lord, I met Bernie, one of Kevin Jackson’s friends, while helping a civilian push their car out of the road. Bernie and I struck up a conversation and I shared how I’m being denied support from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) even though I served in the armed forces.
Bernie outreached to his friend, Kevin Jackson, and Kevin’s company ARCinAction.com. Then a blessing occurred. ARC in Action is now helping me to bridge funding while I fight to get my VA rights. ARC in Action will help me get the VA to KEEP ITS PROMISE too. If you’d like to be an ARC (Americans for Real Change) hero, and help me in my quest to get my VA rights, I’d be very grateful for your funding support through ARCinAction.com.