Soldier neglected while health deteriorated to extreme conditions

For the purposes of not bringing unwanted public attention to the individual, the name of the soldier in this article will be changed.

A soldier in 1-62 ADA (Air Defense Artillery) is currently fighting for his life after suffering hundreds of seizures over the last seven months.

SPC John Smith was deployed to the Middle East and serving as a Patriot System Repairer. He told me that he was exposed to a direct burst of radiofrequency (RF) from the Patriot Radar System, and he felt like his teeth were going to explode and brain was on fire.

Shortly after, he started having seizures for the first time in his life. He was eventually sent out of country to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center where he spent a week, then a hospital in Maryland for another week. He was then sent back to Fort Hood, TX, the duty station he’s stationed at and deployed from.

The Army medical team that treated him told him there were no studies to substantiate the claim that a person can get radiation from RF. They told him his epilepsy was likely incurred from the extreme hours his team was working while deployed. I did some research, and while scientific testing fails to support someone getting cancer from RF, radiation appears to be entirely possible.

“After more than 60 years of research, there is no established evidence that RF exposure can cause cancer.”

Marvin C. Ziskin, MD, Emeritus Professor of Radiology and Medical Physics, Temple University School of Medicine

“If RF radiation is absorbed by the body in large enough amounts, it can produce heat. This can lead to burns and body tissue damage.”

National Cancer Institute

Smith re-joined the Rear Detachment (Rear-D) element for his deployed unit upon return to Fort Hood sometime in November of 2020. His seizures not only continued, but they progressively began to get worse in severity and occurrence. Initially he was taken to the Emergency Room when the seizures would occur, but it slowly tapered down until he was only being taken to the ER when he’d have a third seizure in a single day.

When Smith would come back from the ER, he would be heavily medicated which caused disorientation and extreme drowsiness. He missed multiple formations in the morning because of this. There are two reasons. First, he would sleep through the formation because of the medication. Second, his barracks are 10-15 minutes from his place of duty, and he’s not allowed to drive.

Special Smith’s current condition at time of publishing

One member of his unit told me, “He has a profile prohibiting him from driving due to seizures, and in almost every formation we wait for our names to be called out by roster, by 1SG. When SPC Smith’s name is called out, no one know where SPC Smith is at, or no one cared enough to pick him up and take him to each formation.” This person went on to state that when he has a seizure, leadership tells people to take him back to his room and “no one goes to check on him.”

Multiple individuals corroborated this statement be telling me that days would go by where Smith was not checked on, and no one would bring him food.

SPC Smith started waking up in the middle of the night to the smell feces and would immediately know that he had defecated on himself. From November until late March/early April, Smith’s health continued to decline and he started to show signs of malnourishment from missing meals and going days without eating. During this time, he was counseled multiple times for missing formations.

His chain of command (CoC) blamed alcohol for his absence and conduct. His commander counseled him for substance abuse due to alcohol consumption. Smith told me his CoC was convinced his behavior was due to drinking. His health conditions were never addressed by his commander, and Smith has never spoken to his battalion commander. Smith admitted that he drank alcohol, but he insists it was not the cause of his medical issues or absence from work. He was enrolled in SUDCC (Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care), though the issues continued afterwards and his health continued to decline.

During a formation in early April, Smith began to feel a seizure coming on and stepped out of formation. Witnesses say he was sharply rebuked by his platoon sergeant, a Staff Sergeant. He then fell on the ground from his seizure and hit his head which resulted in a concussion.

Members of his unit told me they realized after this incident that his condition was bad enough that they needed to intervene and start taking care of him. They would check on him multiple times a day of their own volition. There were multiple times he was found on the floor of his barracks room after he had fallen out of bed due to a seizure and was covered in his own feces and urine. They began bringing him food and caring for him.

On one occasion, numerous individuals separately described finding Smith in his room covered in blood, soiled in his own waste, and aimlessly wondering around in a disoriented state. He would often bite his tongue when he had seizures, though I’m unsure if this was the cause for the blood in this incident.

I’m told by multiple eye witnesses that his platoon sergeant told him she didn’t feel bad for him because she had delivered a baby. In fact, his first line supervisor, and at least one other NCO, were sympathetic and defensive of his situation, but I was told the PSG was so toxic that he was unable to approach his commander or 1SG without fear of reprisal.

Smith told me he didn’t realize this wasn’t normal. Based on my brief conversation with him and what I’ve gathered from his friends and co-workers, Smith comes across as an individual who won’t speak up because he doesn’t want to rock the boat or cause issues for others. It explains his determination to stay in the middle east regardless of his seizures, and why people were unaware of how bad his situation had become until April.

I spoke with his brother who told me, “he’s one of the most stubborn and resilient people I’ve ever met in my life, and he hid his state from us for a long time. Our little sister passed unexpectedly about a year ago, and I don’t think he wanted our parents to worry about losing another child. When he felt healthy enough he would ask us to visit, but at times would cancel out of the blue. He would do that because of seizures we know now. I think he said he was just eating the shit sandwich and thought that he had exhausted his options for better care. His mother says he’s lost a lot of weight and his memory is not the same. And his mental state has deteriorated from depression and anxiety.”

As of the publishing date of this article, Smith currently weighs 60.4kg, which is about 133lbs. This is due to a large amount of weight loss from missing so many meals. I was shocked when I saw him as he looked sick and extremely gaunt. When I spoke to him he sounded exhausted. We were only able to speak for about 15-20 minutes before he had to lay down again. His brother told me the day after our conversation that Smith had two seizures that night.

SPC Smith’s weight in KG at time of publishing

When I made this story known, officials from Fort Hood reached out to me to inquire what the story was about. I gave them all of the details to include the soldier’s name and unit. The information was quickly brought forward to the Commanding General of Fort Hood and III Corps, LTG White. When I spoke to Smith, he told me his commander had reached out to his parents for the first time to check on him. This was shortly before we talked, which was well after I’d made the information known to Fort Hood Officials.

An official statement from the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, the parent unit to the 62nd ADA, stated, “The 32d AAMDC is committed to the well-being of our soldiers, our families and the unit. SPC [real name redacted], assigned to 1-62 ADA, 69th ADA Brigade, is in stable medical condition after being admitted to the hospital for medical concerns while he was on approved leave with his family. SPC Smith’s leadership took immediate action upon notification that SPC Smith had been admitted to the hospital and is engaged at every level and remains in communication with him and his family at this time. Additionally, the 32d AAMDC takes all allegations of toxic leadership seriously and is working closely with 69th ADA BDE to determine the facts and circumstances of this claim. Our command continues to ensure that all of our Soldiers and their families remain our number one priority.”

The parents of SPC Smith have stated their intent to obtain a Power of Attorney over their son to provide him with proper medical treatment going forward.

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Responses

  1. Its been a bit, whats the update on this Soldier? I’ve had him on our prayer list. Just wanted to know if he’s doing better and is there anything else we can do to help.

    1. I stopped commenting on it due to some things I can’t discuss. He went home with his parents and the brigade commander and CSM called him. I was told by members of his unit that everything changed when they searched his room. I know for fact that GEN Garrett (FORSCOM CG) got involved.

  2. As usual, lower echelons close ranks and cover up in order to CYA. I still see this crap as a DA civilian and it makes me so damn sick and tired. I really hope this young man gets the help he needs and deserves. God bless him and his family.