AWOL Soldier Ordered Back to Afghanistan

Army Spc. Jeff Hanks says he was absent without leave from the military because he couldn't get treatment for mental health issues. CBS

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - A Kentucky soldier who went AWOL after he said the military wasn't treating his mental health issues has been ordered to deploy to finish his tour in Afghanistan.

Spc. Jeff Hanks, who turned himself in on Veterans Day, said his command has ordered him to return to Afghanistan immediately.

The Fort Campbell-based soldier told The Associated Press on Friday that he will not disobey the order, although he still feels like his issues have not been adequately treated.

The 30-year-old Army infantryman went AWOL during his mid-tour leave last year but turned himself in on Veterans Day.

AWOL Soldier Returns on Veterans Day
Army Reports Record Number of Suicides

Since returning to the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, he said he has been given medications to treat his headaches and nightmares and has been told to seek counseling in Afghanistan.

In November Hanks told CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian that he came back home from a deployment in Afghanistan angry and panicked, a stranger to his wife and two young girls.

Hanks got evaluations from three civilian therapists who all recommended he get tested for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, with one doctor stating his "current functioning is clearly severely impaired."

Hanks said he asked the military for help. Instead, he claims, a superior officer at Fort Campbell ordered him back to Afghanistan, just days before he was set to get a mental health exam.

So Hanks walked away - going away without official leave, or AWOL.

"I felt like I had no other choice," Hanks said.
  • CBSNews.com

Comments