Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic

Former Marine Conley Monk Has Discharge Upgraded

Nov 4, 2015
Craig LeMoult

When former U.S. Marine Conley Monk, of West Haven, Conn., received paperwork telling him that he’d won his decades-long fight to have his service recognized by the military as honorable, he was speechless.

“I didn’t even have any words. I was just so happy,” Monk remembered, leafing through the papers that came in the mail when his discharge was upgraded. “You know, I just wish my father and mother was alive because I wanted them to see this day.”

It has been a decades-long quest for Monk to clear his name and have his service in Vietnam recognized.

Craig LeMoult

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is applauding a new policy announced this week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel regarding less-than-honorable discharges of Vietnam veterans who were later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

In a memo released earlier this week, Hagel pledged that the military will carefully review each petition for a change in discharge status based on a PTSD diagnosis.

Craig LeMoult

A legal clinic at Yale University in New Haven filed a federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of five Vietnam veterans and three veteran organizations. The suit is against the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The lawsuit seeks relief for tens of thousands of veterans who they say were wrongly denied benefits.

An Army National Guard veteran from East Haven, Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday saying the Army discharged him with an incorrect mental health diagnosis. Lawyers for the man say thousands may not be receiving needed benefits as a result of misdiagnosis.