August 18, 2011
Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Lanier blesses the meal with his family at his home Thursday in Hinesville, Ga. A combat veteran and father to four daughters, Lanier can't remain in the military because of a back injury so serious he was medically evacuated out of Iraq because of it. But he can't yet accept a civilian job because he doesn't know when the military will discharge him. He has no clue how much the government will pay him in disability compensation related to his injury, so he can’t make a future budget.
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Thousands of troops are not fully fit to serve the U.S. military but are in limbo waiting to be discharged under a new system that was supposed to be more efficient than its predecessor.