A paralyzed Green Beret's heroic actions could cost him his career and health care coverage.
Sergeant First Class and decorated Green Beret Tim Brumit left his career as a U.S. Army Ranger to qualify as a Green Beret. He participated in hundreds of raids and firefights and served 11 deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2013, the veteran was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
He is now fighting to save his military career after breaking his neck in an attempt to save a drowning girl.
As The Daily Beast reports, the U.S. Army has judged that Brumit’s actions on that fateful July night in 2015 — when he dove from a boat to rescue a young girl and was left paralyzed — to be reckless because he was using alcohol and drugs. The hospital toxicology report showed that he had 0.1 percent blood alcohol in his system at the time of the injury along with traces of cocaine and amphetamines.
Brumit, who is unable to move from chest down, now faces a possible “other-than-honorable” discharge from service and possible loss of his military medical care. He only has three weeks to get the Army’s decision overturned.
“I’m going to take responsibility for the fact that I had a coping problem,” the 33-year-old told The Daily Beast, adding that he dealt with his PTSD and other issues by drinking and sometimes taking drugs. “But the day of the injury, I had not used anything, and I wasn’t even drunk.”
Following his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the veteran had begun suffering from nightmares, sleeplessness, hyper-vigilance and violent mood swings. The fact that his wife left him during Green Beret training and took their two children with her only made the matter worse.
However, he said was clear-headed when he heard the Coast Guard alert about a missing girl and then spotted what he thought was the girl struggling in the waters.
“She did not seem too far. I was a good swimmer. I felt the responsibility and felt very capable of doing something, even with the storm,” Brumit explained. “I have a daughter. I would want someone to do the same for her.”
So, he removed his phone and wallet and dived into the waves. He expected it to be chest-deep but due to the raging storm, misjudged the shallowness.
“When I dove in, the water seemed to slip away and the sand bar was right there, and there was no turning back, and I hit my head,” the Special Forces soldier recalled. “I tried to shake it off…and realized I’d heard something break. I thought, oh my God, I’ve broken my neck.”
When his friends saw him face down in the water, they jumped in to pull him out and called the Coast Guard still looking for the missing girl to come rescue him. The girl, identified as 13-year-old Mary Sane, was found safe and sound on the shore.
Later, when Army officials visited Brumit at the hospital, they somehow obtained his toxicology report without his permission, leading to the year-long legal battle that is about to cost Brumit everything.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Athit Perawongmetha