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Army Dismisses Court-Martial Against Ailing Vet

AWOL Charge Is Dropped

By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page A04

The U.S. Army last week dismissed a court-martial against an officer and Iraq war veteran who is in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

First Lt. Jullian P. Goodrum will not be dishonorably discharged, will not face imprisonment and will not forfeit his much-needed medical benefits now that he is no longer charged with being absent without leave.

Lt. Jullian P. Goodrum left his base to seek civilian medical attention.

In November 2003, in the throes of an emotional breakdown, Goodrum checked himself into a civilian psychiatric hospital in Knoxville, Tenn., after an Army clinic at Fort Knox, Ky., his home base, turned him away. The Post first wrote about Goodrum and his case in the Style section in November.

The 16-year veteran, who served in the Iraq and the Persian Gulf wars and remains under psychiatric care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, still faces two non-judicial charges.

"They don't want to admit that 'Maybe he was right, maybe we were wrong,' so they give him an Article 15," James R. Klimaski, Goodrum's attorney, said Monday. An Article 15 is an administrative charge.

Army officials declined to comment on any aspect of Goodrum's case.

Goodrum, 34, yesterday called the decision to quash his court-martial "the fair and legal thing to do, and just." Still, he remained concerned about having to face a hearing on the other charges, this one on April 1.

His case became a rallying cry for veterans activists angered at the military's handling of PTSD cases emerging from the war in Iraq. Goodrum believes that Army commanders have pursued charges against him as retaliation for his complaints about lack of preparedness and command ineffectiveness during his deployment to Iraq in 2003.

After investigating Goodrum's case, Army Lt. Col. Michael L. Amaral recommended a full court-martial.

"Lt. Goodrum has been diagnosed with PTSD, though this should not be reason to not pursue court martial action," Amaral wrote late last year in a report sent up the chain of command.

But Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman, commander of the Army Military District of Washington, downgraded the case on March 15 when he dismissed the AWOL charge.

At his hearing next week before Jackman, Goodrum will defend himself against a charge of "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." This charge stems from Goodrum's refusal in November 2003 to obey a captain's admonishment to leave Knoxville and return to Fort Knox. The charge sheet does not mention his treatment in Knoxville for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Goodrum also is charged with fraternization with a female sergeant. This charge dates to Goodrum's prewar mobilization at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, when he allegedly kissed and embraced the woman. It also mentions alleged fraternization in Kuwait and Iraq in 2003.

Both Goodrum and the sergeant have denied the allegations. Some witnesses at his earlier court-martial -- where these charges first were aired -- debunked them as part of a vendetta against Goodrum.

If found guilty, Goodrum could face sanctions such as a forfeiture of pay or official reprimand.

However the case turns out, Goodrum will likely be leaving the military, Klimaski said. An Army medical board that already has examined his case is set to recommend that he be medically discharged.

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