AN ARMY bomb disposal expert who saved countless lives in war-torn Afghanistan says he has been betrayed by the military after he was discharged while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Major Wayne Owers was honoured three times by the Queen during his 27-year career and defused nearly 100 bombs in Afghanistan.
But when the 46-year-old, originally from Whitnash, near Leamington in Warwickshire, asked for help tackling his nightmares and extreme anxiety from Army doctors, he was given a medical discharge.
He underwent two years of treatment and was showing signs of improvement – but he was given a medical discharge and just £6,000 compensation rather than a non-operational posting.
He told the Mirror: “The Army was my life but in my darkest hour when I most needed help I was told, ‘You are no longer fit to serve’.
“I was mortified. It was a devastating blow. I could have continued serving.”
In 2013 the Sun reported how Owers crawled forward in the middle of the battle to defuse a bomb in a school in Afghanistan.
When asked if they may be booby trapped and go off in his face when he touched them, the brave soldier grinned as he said: “Probably not.”
Major Owers received the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service after serving in the Iraq War and the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and the MBE for two tours in Afghanistan.
The dad-of-one described the pressure his unit faced and the horrific injuries some endured.
“I have since been contacted by five other bomb disposal officers who have been suffering in the same way,” he said.
He says the Ministry of Defence’s claim that it is serious about tackling PTSD is nonsense and says he knows soldiers who have lied about their recovery because they don’t want to lose their jobs.
An Army spokesman said: “We are absolutely committed to the mental health and wellbeing of soldiers and work hard to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, encouraging those who need help to come forward.”