Former Lincoln University Student, WWII Vet Wants Army to Upgrade His Discharge

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Image of Nelson Henry via Jessica Griffin, Philadelphia Inquirer.

Nelson Henry, a former Lincoln University student and veteran of World War II, wants the Army to upgrade his discriminatory “blue discharge” to an honorable discharge nearly 75 years later, writes Melanie Burney for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to Elizabeth Kristen, a lawyer with Legal Aid Work, which is handling Henry’s appeal, “blue discharges” were handed out disproportionally to black and gay and lesbian service members after the war. It was considered neither honorable nor dishonorable, but it denied veterans benefits.

Henry received his blue discharge after being disciplined for minor infractions, which his lawyer maintains were unsubstantiated.

“It left a bad taste in my mouth, a cloud over my future,” said Henry.

He applied for the change after seeing a lesbian service member, who was expelled from the Air Force in 1955 due to her sexuality, get her discharge upgraded to honorable in 2018.

Now that his lawyers have filed a petition with the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records, the 95-year-old hopes the decision will come while he is still living.

Read more about Nelson Henry in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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