Senator Murray Hears from Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans

Apr 19 2005

VA Hearing is Part of Murray's Effort to Ensure Returning Troops Get the Assistance They Need

Watch the Hearing

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray spoke with two veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom to assess how well returning soldiers are being served by the Veterans Administration.

"I think how we treat our soldiers when they return home [and making sure] the transition back into civilian life is as seamless as possible is really critical," Murray said.

"We have to listen to the soldiers who are returning and making sure that we do the best job possible," to meet their needs, Murray said.

At a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Murray heard testimony from Army Lt. John Fernandez and Army PFC Tristan Wyatt. Lt. Fernandez lost both legs below the knee in a friendly fire incident. PFC Wyatt had his right leg amputated above the knee after he took shrapnel wounds in a fire fight.

After hearing from both soldiers, Murray asked them about the care they have received and what they've heard from fellow veterans. She also asked about the availability of care for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a chief concern for those returning home.

Murray said she's heard that many service members are being pushed out of the Department of Defense and into the VA system, which does not have adequate funding.

"I'm hearing from many soldiers that they are being pushed very hard to be discharged [from the Department of Defense and into the VA healthcare system]. As along as that pressure is there, we better have the funding for veterans and it's one of the reasons I fought hard for this," Murray said, referring to her attempts to boost veterans funding. (Details)

For details on the hearing, and to read statements from Lt. Fernandez and PFC Wyatt, visit: