Wilfred Franklin left the Navy at 18 with a less-than-honorable discharge for “conduct unbecoming.”
His departure came after a night of drinking and youthful indiscretion, and it has haunted him since then.
Thousands of other members of the military had similar experiences and, like Franklin, ended up with no job, no degree and no access to Veterans Affairs benefits or unemployment. Some less-than-honorable discharges are rooted in post-traumatic stress disorder or other combat-induced conditions; some veterans were discharged just for being gay.
Franklin went home to South Carolina and turned to drinking. He made money working on the fringes of the drug trade.
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