Army Sergeant Tracy Jones who got hit by an Iraqi
- January 31, 2006 Previous Post
David Martin Dispatch: Some Of What Isnt Making The Evening News Tonight
Pentagon correspondent David Martin has been working up a piece for tonights Evening News and tells PE about the challenges of getting so much information into a short block of time and gives us some of what was left out.
Working in television news, you get used to cramming three minutes of information into a two minute piece. So it may sound churlish to complain that tonights piece on soldiers recovering from injuries suffered from Iraq is only three minutes long. But it should have been twice as long.
We profiled two soldiers an Army Captain named Jason Scott who got hit by an I.E.D. and Army Sergeant Tracy Jones who got hit by an Iraqi water tanker. Jason lost his right arm and is blind in his right eye. Tracy is much worse off. Hes paralyzed from the neck down. So heres the first piece of information that I had to leave out. Because he was injured in a traffic accident, Tracy does not count as one of the more than 16,000 American servicemen and women wounded in Iraq. If you were to count all the members of American military who have had to be medically evacuated from Iraq for any reason enemy fire, accidents, illnesses, etc. the number would be double the official number of wounded. All of them no matter how they were injured or contracted an illness have to be cared for at taxpayer expense first by the military and, after they are discharged, by the Veterans Administration.
Which brings up the second piece of information I left out. Tracey, who is 100 per cent disabled, went weeks without receiving any pay either from the Army or the Veterans Administration. There is a provision in law which says that a soldier can not receive a disability check in the same month he draws an Army pay check. Tracy was discharged from the Army on November 5, 2004. That means the Army would have paid him for the first five days of the month, but he was not eligible to start receiving a disability check from the V.A. until December. So for the rest of November, Tracy and his wife had no source of income. In December he became eligible for disability pay, but the V.A. doesnt issue its disability checks until the end of the month, so there was no money coming in during all of December as well. You can be sure I am going to do a story about this problem first chance I get.
Finally, the last cut we had to make in the story to get it down to three minutes had to do with the wheelchair friendly house no stairs, voice activated appliances, wide door frames built for them by a charitable organization known as the Coalition to Salute Americas Heroes. Tracy had to pay just $50,000 for a house worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the suburbs of Atlanta. Im not allowed to plug charities, no matter how worthy the cause, but Id just like to give you one last piece of information the Coalitions web site is saluteheros.org.
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