Higgins, Reynolds & Slaughter Applaud the News
Congressmembers Brian Higgins, (NY-27) Thomas Reynolds (NY-26), and Louise Slaughter (NY-28) announced that word came today from the United States Army that disabled Army Specialist James Raymond will not be redeployed for active duty. Army personnel told SPC Raymond today that he will be placed on Standby Reserve for one year, a non-deployable position, and following that year he will have fulfilled his obligated service.
SPC Raymond, who served in Afghanistan, was honorably discharged four years ago after suffering a knee injury that required surgery. During that same tour, SPC Raymond also lost complete hearing in one ear, injuries which earned him a ten percent disability rating by the Veterans Administration.
In early April SPC Raymond was shocked to receive military orders requiring him to report for duty in Iraq this May.
“Thousands of veterans like Jamie have made significant, irreversible, physical sacrifices to preserve this nation’s freedoms and keep our country safe,” said Congressman Higgins. “We appreciate that the Army took into consideration our request for a reevaluation of Specialist Raymond’s unique situation and we are thankful that upon their review the Army clearly made the best decision for all involved.”
On April 18, 2008, Western New York Congressmembers Higgins, Reynolds, and Slaughter issued a joint letter to the Department of Defense urging reconsideration of military orders calling the disabled veteran back to active duty. In the letter, the Congressmembers called for an immediate postponement of existing orders which will allow for SPC Raymond to complete his courses and graduate from the University at Buffalo. In addition the lawmakers asked for sincere considerations of what they believe will be a strong appeal by SPC Raymond against future activation.
"SPC Raymond has served his country admirably and deserves our outmost appreciation," said Representative Thomas M. Reynolds. "He has done his duty, I am pleased to see that common sense has prevailed and Army Specialist Raymond will not be redeployed for active duty."
One April 29, 2008 Army staff contacted Congressman Higgins’ office to let him know they will be reviewing SPC Raymond’s case, a delay that allowed Raymond to complete exams and finish the semester at the University at Buffalo.
“I am happy that justice prevailed with my case and I hope that other disabled veterans won’t have to go through what I have,” said SPC Raymond.
“Continuous redeployment of our soldiers has placed an excessive strain on service members and their families,” said Rep. Slaughter. “I am thankful that the Army recognized the exceptional circumstances of Specialist Raymond’s case and reconsidered their decision to return him to active duty. I believe that this situation has worked out in the best interest of both parties.”
Nearly 1.7 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001 – more than 592,000 have been deployed more than once. Nearly 29,000 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq since the war began.