I had a recent case at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio involving a client who was facing a separation board. What was so interesting about this separation board is that my client seemed like a very accomplished NCO who did not seem to have any mental or emotional health issues from what I observed. He was intelligent, articulate and no doubt anxious about the situation he was facing. This was understandable. However, in preparing for his separation board, and during my representation of him, it was clear to me that his command was making baseless allegations that he had some mental health issue that prevented him from doing his job. This was how they were attempting to get him kicked out of the Air Force and out of their command. This isn't the first time that I have seen this happen. I have spoken to potential clients and represented other clients who were being "accused" or whom the command was claiming was dealing with mental health issues that prevented them from doing their jobs. My client was being accused of personality disorder, and I just didn't see it. The command was able to get a diagnosis of personality disorder from the Air Force psychologist. We were able to obtain 3 other opinions, however, that did not reflect what the Air Force psychologist claimed, and that my client did NOT have a mental health issue. The board was able to see and observe my client and what was really going on when he took the stand and defended himself. Here's what happened in the case:
June 21, 2022, U.S. vs. E-5, United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Staff Sergeant in the Air Force receives a Notice for Administrative Separation on the basis of "Personality Disorder or Mental Disorder Not Constituting a Physical Disability". The Staff Sergeant's leadership claims he had mental disorders resulting in disciplinary issues. Staff Sergeant's commander orders him to report for a psychological evaluation with Air Force psychologists. After conducting an evaluation, the psychologists diagnose the Staff Sergeant with "Unspecified Personality Disorder with paranoid and histrionic features and Delusional Disorder, Persecutory type". The Staff Sergeant denies any mental disorders contends his leadership is faking the results in order to kick him out solely because of differences in opinions regarding politics and culture. Staff Sergeant knows that future employment in the Air Force or in the civilian world would be seriously hindered due to this fake diagnosis. Staff Sergeant retains Mr. Gapasin to represent him at his board. Gapasin immediately attacks the diagnosis. Gapasin's client gets evaluated by two civilian psychologists and a civilian social worker to engage in similar psychological evaluations in order to determine whether or not the Air Force psychologists made the proper diagnosis. The client's civilian psychologists came to the scientific determination that although certain traits did exist, that Gapasin's client was NOT diagnosed with "Unspecified Personality Disorder nor Delusional Disorder "under the DSM-5. At the board, Gapasin calls both psychologists to testify as witnesses. Gapasin also cross-examines the Lieutenant Colonel and the Major who testified against Gapasin's client. The Major even testifies that on one occasion he believed the client was going to kill him with a firearm when he heard a door swinging open behind him. However, Gapasin further questions the Major and elicits how none of the leadership ever followed any of the protocol with regards to safety concerns or active shooter concerns despite testimony about how concerned they were for their own safety. Gapasin also cross-examines the Air Force psychologists who render the diagnosis. Gapasin illustrates the suggestive bias that the Air Force psychologist exhibits based on communications with the client's chain of command. RESULT: This 3-Day Separation Board composed of All Officers RETAINS Gapasin's client in the US Air Force. The Board also finds any mental or personality disorder to be COMPLETELY UNSUBSTANTIATED.
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