The Air Force delays
the planned discharge of
the ex-isle resident
WAILUKU >> Air Force Secretary James Roche has suspended the discharge of a former Hawaii resident who is recuperating from bone cancer surgery and whose husband died in a terrorist bombing in Israel earlier this month.
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2003
>> Air Force Airman Courtney Linde's discharge had been scheduled for today. A Page A1 story in yesterday's morning edition incorrectly reported that the discharge, which has been suspended, had been scheduled for yesterday.
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Airman Courtney Linde, 21, was scheduled to be discharged today and had been worried about her medical coverage once she became a civilian. Linde grew up in Hawaii Kai, and her parents, Skip and Lyn Brown, live on Maui.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, after reading about Linde in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, asked Roche on Oct. 17 to review Linde's discharge.
Col. Thomas Shubert, chief of the Air Force's Congressional Inquiry Division, said Roche directed that Linde's separation from the Air Force "be placed in abeyance pending reconsideration of her case."
The Air Force Surgeon General's Office will conduct a review, Shubert said in a letter released yesterday by Abercrombie's office.
Roche will make the final decision.
Linde's 30-year-old husband, John Linde Jr., was among the three DynCorp employees killed when a terrorist bomb ripped through their vehicle Oct. 15 as they were escorting a U.S. diplomat to interview Palestinians for Fulbright scholarships.
John Linde, a former Marine whose funeral was Saturday in his hometown of Washington, Mo., had taken the job as a security specialist with DynCorp to help his wife while she was recuperating from surgery to replace her right femur and patella with a titanium rod and knee cap.
Some family members said Air Force officials had taken the position that she had cancer before she entered military service and that they were not responsible for her medical treatment after her discharge.
Linde's mother, Lyn Brown, said the Air Force had no proof of a pre-existing condition and had given her daughter a thorough physical exam before she entered the service.
John Linde's older sister, Kim Jasper, said the Air Force should have reviewed Courtney's case thoroughly from the beginning and given her the medical coverage she needed for the rest of her life.
"They should have taken care of her," Jasper said. "It's awful."
Jasper said her brother joined DynCorp to provide financial support for Linde after her discharge, because the Air Force had refused to continue her medical coverage.
Jasper said her brother had left the Marine Corps for a brief period and tried to re-enlist but was refused by the military.
"They pretty much told him no because of her illness," Jasper said.
His father and grandfather were career Marines.