Mr. Myers, having served during the Vietnam era, has spent his career fighting for those struggling with the lifelong effects of the stress they experienced while serving.
Over the last 10 years, public awareness regarding the symptoms and dangers of PTSD has increased. Mr. Myers was among those that spoke out in defense of our warriors.
In 2007, Mr. Myers publicly called on Congress to change the laws for veterans with PTSD. In a National Public Radio interview, Mr. Myers was quoted saying:
"So advocates like Gary Myers, a former Army lawyer now in private practice, call on the nation's leaders to declare amnesty. They say lawmakers should restore full benefits to all troops who were discharged for misconduct or other behavior after they returned from combat if they were diagnosed with mental health problems such as PTSD.
'Congress needs to change the law," Myers says. Myers says commanders have to discipline troops who misbehave or it would destroy military discipline. But Myers adds, 'We can no longer treat this as business as usual.'"
The efforts of Mr. Myers and countless other veterans were rewarded in September 2014 when the Secretary of Defense authored revised guidelines in discharge review cases involving PTSD. Since then, the firm has assisted many veterans in obtaining review of their discharges under the revised PTSD guidance found here.
The reality is that too often we have seen veterans discharged or subjected to disciplinary action for self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, taking unauthorized absences because of the stress, or engaging in other misconduct.
Unfortunately, sometimes service members distrust their command and even the professionals there to help. Talking to an experienced lawyer can sometimes be extremely beneficial to a service member in crisis.
The Veterans Administration has provided significant resources to assist veterans suffering from PTSD. Those are valuable resources and have extensive discussions about the symptoms of PTSD.
Revisions to the diagnostic criteria have moved PTSD from its previous classification as an anxiety disorder to a new class of trauma and stressor-related disorders. This has had important implications for older veterans seeking to have their discharges re-reviewed by the Discharge Review Boards. We can certainly help in those cases.
Below is a transcript from an interview Mr. Myers did on NPR in 2008. The commentary remains relevant to this day.
The Bob Edwards Show: Gary Myers interviewed regarding PTSD - Quotes
December 27, 2008
Mr. Edwards: Not easily identified enemy. You've represented quite a few individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from their time in the military. Tell me how you discovered these individuals or did they find you?
Mr. Myers: Once again, it is not a matter of us trying to ferret out these individuals. They come to us as a law firm seeking relief in one form or another. They've been coming to us since Viet Nam. The troubling part about Iraq was, in the beginning that there was no institutional memory of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so there was something of a dismissive attitude towards it amongst those who were in the military infrastructure. And that was troubling because they hadn't learned from history. But slowly, ever so slowly, it became clear that our young people returning from ground to ground combat, just as they did in Viet Nam were having difficulties. And those difficulties ranged from an unwillingness to be around people; to irritability, to flashes of anger, to hypervigilance; you know, driving down the middle of the road; walking around their lawn at night to patrol their area before they went to bed. On and on and on.
Now these folks that I'm talking about in those circumstances needed, and some received - not early enough or frequently enough- medical attention. The ones who fall through the crack are the ones that I really worry about. And they're the ones who engage in self-medication or self-help. And what happens with them is that they utilize some drug, typically marijuana - maybe cocaine, to self-medicate; frequently alcohol and that's the initiating drug is alcohol. Or, in the alternative, they simply go AWOL. And the problem here is, they are no less sick but they have now engaged in misconduct. And the military regrettably has treated this as more of a misconduct matter than a medical matter so when they leave military service with a misconduct charge, Other than Honorable Discharge or a Bad Conduct Discharge adjudged by a court-martial, that they are denied fundamental medical benefits from the VA.
What that means  is this is the next generation of our veterans lying on heated grates in our major cities. It's a very complex problem, Bob, because on the one hand you cannot excuse misconduct. On the other hand you cannot ignore the seriousness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The military has yet to achieve a balance there. My personal view is that there is a need to declare that any person diagnosed with PTSD, moderate to severe level, irrespective of the misconduct involved, if it involves self medication or AWOL, should be receiving VA treatment and it does not matter what the character of the separation is because they are in such dire straits that if we don't help them they will be lost - to themselves, to their families and to society forever. That is not a generally shared view by some elements of the military who take the view that others with PTSD do not engage in misconduct and therefore the ones that do engage in misconduct have to be treated as though they are criminals. I do not share that view.
Mr. Edwards: So as a result Soldiers may behave in ways that the Army would regard them as a disciplinary problem and that's where you come in.
Mr. Myers: Yes. And we have been able, through negotiations and sometimes not so polite negotiations, to suggest to senior parties at various installations that a man who has had two combat tours and seen his best friend turned into cherry mist in Afghanistan, who goes home to Seattle and curls up in a fetal position on his bed for three months is not a criminal and that he needs to be separated with a medical discharge. And that's an actual case I had. Parents called me and said, "What can we do? Our child has returned from Afghanistan. His best friend was eviscerated," and that's where he is. "He's in bed." And we were able to work that out without a court-martial. But that does not happen with great frequency.
Mr. Edwards: Is there a cost factor for interesting the Army in denying treatment to Soldiers?
Mr. Myers: This is not provable, at least by me. But anecdotally I can tell you that there were many attempts to have diagnoses done that did not include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but instead relied upon a diagnosis called Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment Disorder is a basis for separation but does not give rise to a medical board and therefore does not give rise to compensation. That was a despicable period of time and anyone who participated in that, particularly those who took the Hippocratic Oath, should have a difficult time sleeping at night. But the cost of this compared to what? We're talking about men and women who have gone into combat and served their country. You know, I don't want to have a band playing in the background here but frankly I know of no nobler person than a man or woman who has engaged in ground combat. The foregoing of human dignity in the defense of your country while you're in the midst of ground combat should be thought about by every citizen. It is not a nominal event. It is a horrific, life altering event and we should give these folks a very wide berth when it comes to being critical of them. And as I often say to military people in courts-martial and at administrative boards, an Other-than-Honorable Discharge compared to what? Compared to the junior class at Princeton who'll never see a day of service? Sometimes the military gets a little myopic in its view of what is honorable and unhonorable. I try to give them a little more expansive and global view because I think it's important to understand that any young person who has volunteered to serve his country in uniform puts himself and herself at great peril today.
Mr. Edwards: What's the process? A soldier goes to the doctor? The doctor makes a diagnosis there or does it go to some sort of review board?
Mr. Myers: Here's the way it works. First of all there has to be identification of a problem and the military has done far better lately in identifying people coming back home. There's a screening process and if there are hints of this or  changes that occur, the command will either refer the individual over to the medical side or the individual will simply seek medical help and it's diagnosed there. Once it's diagnosed, the inquiry becomes, "does he meet or she meet retention standards?" By that I mean can they still serve in the military? If the physician concludes that they do not meet retention standards he, along with two other physicians, draft up a document referred to variously but typically as a Narrative Summary of the disorder and that becomes a medical board. That medical board is forwarded on to central locations in each service to a physical evaluation board which makes a determination as to whether or not the Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airmen, Coast Guardsman is fit or unfit. And they also ascribe a percentage of disability. If the Soldier agrees, it's all over. If he disagrees, he has the right to a formal board.
What I've just told you, however, will not be the law for long. The Wounded Warriors Act has changed that and has shifted most of these processes into the VA. And I have my own view on that. I am just so very hopeful that the VA will become, as a result of this, an efficient operation which it has never been in the past. And I am very hopeful that the active duty Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman and Coast Guardsman will be properly treated. I did not see as much of a problem with this as some did and there was a rush to change the procedures because of the Washington Post stories about mold at Walter Reed. I just hope we haven't rushed into what is an agency that doesn't work very well.
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