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The Nation's First Homeless Veteran of the Invasion of Iraq Speaks Out

September 02, 2003

Upon her return home to Boston, Sgt. Vannessa Turner was unable to receive treatment for damaged nerves in her leg and was unable to have her possessions shipped to her from her military base. She and her 15 year-old daughter are homeless. We speak with Sgt. Vannessa Turner and National Coalition of Homeless Veterans’ Linda Boone.

Sgt. Vannessa Turner was one of approximately 150,000 American soldiers fighting in Baghdad.

On May 18, she collapsed due to the severe 130-degree heat. Her body was full of mosquito bites. She fell into a coma and nearly died. Turner was airlifted for treatment in Germany and was further treated in Washington D.C. until she was released on July 10. She came back to her so-called "hometown" in Boston and faced a new battle. She was unable to receive treatment for damaged nerves in her leg. She was unable to have her possessions shipped to her from her military base in Germany. She and her 15 year-old daughter are homeless.

On her return, she was told by the local Veterans Affairs hospital that she needed to wait close to 3 months to see a doctor. When she attempted to secure a veteran’s loan for a house in Boston, brokers told her that her only option was to move to Springfield or Worcester.

In the past week, things have changed. Through political pressure from Senator Kennedy’s office, Vannessa has now been able to see a doctor in the Veteran’s hospital and is expecting her first disability check. But even with recent media attention and political struggle, she is still having trouble finding a home.

According to the Boston Globe, army officials say she is the first known homeless veteran of the war in Iraq.

  • Sergeant Vannessa Turner, veteran from the Iraqi War interviewed on August 28th 2003.
  • Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans interviewed on August 28th 2003.

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