Shannon was shot in the head during a firefight near Ramadi, Iraq, in November 2004 and has languished at Walter Reed ever since, awaiting plastic surgery so he can be fitted with a prosthetic eye. Paperwork for his retirement from the Army has been on hold.
But his ire yesterday was less about his own treatment than about the sense of betrayal he feels for younger soldiers he has tried to shepherd through the bureaucracy at Walter Reed.
"I will not see young men and women who have had their lives shattered in service to their country receive anything less than dignity and respect," said Shannon, who at times said he is having difficulty controlling his anger.
He said some injured troops encounter so much bureaucracy that they give up and forgo benefits to which they are entitled. "I have seen so many soldiers get so frustrated with the process that they will sign anything presented to them, just so they can get on with their lives," he said.
Shannon, who wore a patch over his missing left eye, also said the cost of treating thousands of service members wounded in Iraq should be dealt with honestly. "The system can't be trusted," he said. "And soldiers get less than they deserve from a system seemingly designed and run to cut the costs associated with fighting this war."