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Vietnam veterans sue U.S. military for discharge upgrades over PTSD


BOSTON, March 3 (Reuters) - Five Vietnam War veterans sued the U.S. military on Monday, saying they were denied some veterans services after receiving other-than-honorable discharges for actions that resulted from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The men, including one who was the victim of a poison gas attack on his first day inVietnam and another whose duties included sorting through body parts of soldiers killed in combat, called on the military to upgrade the discharges of veterans of the conflict who suffer from PTSD.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, seeks class action status for what it estimates are tens of thousands of veterans who can now be shown to suffer from PTSD, a condition not recognized by the military in the 1960s and early 1970s at the time of the U.S. war in Southeast Asia.

"The military gave these service members other than honorable discharges based on poor conduct such as unauthorized absence without leave, shirking, using drugs, or lashing out at comrades or superior officers," the lawsuit said. "These behaviors, however, are typical of those who have recently experienced trauma and were symptoms of the veterans' underlying, undiagnosed PTSD."