The Gulf War Ground Assault: 20 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the ground assault of Operation Desert Storm began on February 23, 1991. The air war had begun on January 17—as Brandon Friedman recalled in a recent entry—and now our time to begin operations had arrived. On that day, I was commanding a field artillery battalion in the 1st Infantry Division positioned along Saudi Arabia’s border with Iraq. As on the eve of every war and battle, there were a lot of unknowns, a lot of questions, and a lot of concerns as we prepared to carry out the mission assigned to us.

Although many of the specific memories and details of that day—and of subsequent days after we had advanced into Iraq and Kuwait—have faded, some memories have remained very clear. Among them are the character, the personalities, and the faces of the Soldiers it was my privilege to serve with and to lead.

Like American Soldiers of every generation, those with whom I served were a great and diverse mixture of young people—from every part of our great country and from every culture, ethnicity, and economic background. But their differences did not define them. What defined them, in my memory, was their willingness to serve, their dedication, and the way they put their hearts and souls into every assigned task—no different than the young men and women serving today, and over the past decade, in Iraq and Afghanistan.  All of them personify the four simple promises of the Soldier’s Creed:

• I will always place the mission first.
• I will never accept defeat.
• I will never quit.
• I will never leave a fallen comrade.

Two decades ago, I wasn’t thinking of the day I’d be a Veteran myself, or of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I never dreamed I’d get to help serve Veterans at VA. But when Secretary Shinseki provided the opportunity for me to come back into government service, I didn’t hesitate. And as he’s often said about serving at VA, it provides an opportunity to give back to the Soldiers with whom we served and those we went to war with—and that’s a rare privilege not extended to every former service member.

For many Veterans of the Gulf War, the intervening years have not been without trouble and trials. And some of the problems they’ve faced and the conditions they suffer are related to their honorable service.  Many studies have been made of Gulf War Syndrome, and it is still not possible to say, with certainty, exactly what causes the conditions associated with it. It’s important to continue searching for causes of these illnesses, but a primary mission at VA is to care for and treat the Veterans who suffer from them—period.

That’s why VA recently provided presumption of service connection for nine new diseases associated with service during Operation Desert Storm. That’s why the work of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses and the Gulf War Advisory Commission, both established in 2008, are so important. That’s why we must re-double our efforts to care for Veterans, their families, and their caregivers—of every generation.

VA will complete its mission to care for Gulf War Vets. VA will not accept defeat. We will not quit, and we will not leave behind a Veteran who has fallen to a Gulf War illness.

20 years is a long time, and for me those years have flown by quickly. But the Soldiers with whom I was privileged to serve, part of the more than 22 million Veterans who have kept this country free and safe, remain foremost in my memory.  It is an honor to serve them, and to seek better care, services, and benefits for every generation of our Nation’s Veterans.

John R. Gingrich (pictured on the left) is the Chief of Staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He served in the U.S. Army for 30 years and commanded a Field Artillery battalion in the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Desert Storm.

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81 Comments to “The Gulf War Ground Assault: 20 Years Later”

  1. Jim says:

    It is hard to believe 20 years have passed. I try to forget the old days yey I still have an expended round fired from an A-10 I got from an enemy tank. It serves to remind me of the horrors I hope todays solders need not endure.
    Best of luck and thank you for taking care of us

    • 5th CCGP gator says:

      Please tell me your not sitting there at your desk fondling a 30mm depleted uranium round you kept as a souvenir!

    • Solomon Dominguez jr says:

      It’s ironic that you use the soldiers creed. The VA does not recognize the soldiers creed. At least the doctors I’ve been to see. I’ve seen the PR, and the lies. I’m suffering from GWVI, over 70 different symptoms recognized by the VA. Which where ignored by the VA doctors. The first told me I was full of shit. His words, not mine. I am that soldier you left behind. How many of us desert storm veterans have to die. I’m not blowing smoke up yours. Please don’t blow smoke up mine.

  2. Yancy says:

    The ground war didn’t start until February 24th, 1991. I know this because I was with the Army’s 1st “Tiger” Brigade of the 2nd Armored Division whom was attached to the 2nd Marine Division. We were a part of the first wave into Kuwait until we secured Kuwait City. Of course the start date depends on where you were on that day. In Saudi Arabia/Kuwait, it was February 24th, 1991 at 1530 when the ground assault started. Here’s the proof. It’s my commander’s chronology of our unit’s move through the desert. http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassimages/army/19970220/970203_sep96_decls23_0004.html
    Thank you my fellow veterans for getting me home safely and able to enjoy my freedoms. I hope you rest in peace SPC Palmer and SSG Witzke. Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice.

    • Rhandie says:

      I belive you Yancy I was Just a truck driver with the 180th Army reserve…. but I was Attached to the armys 2nd army tiger brigades that got attached to the marine unit…….In fact I drove the lead 915 A-1 that night!!! Thanks for the link!!!1

    • Jim says:

      for those of us in the FA units the ground war started before the 23rd. We went into Iraq and fired at this units. then we would pull back as his artillery would firer at us. That is when the Q36 &Q37 would lock in on the Iraqi guns so the MLRS could fire back.

      BTW VII Corps went in first to cut off the Iraqi retreat when the USMC came in next.

    • 1400 RSP SQ says:

      You are right, I remember because it was the day before my birthday, which was the 25th.

    • Scott says:

      Hey Yancy,

      you were attached to the Tiger Brigade – you were on our left – I was with 2nd Marine Div, 8th Tank Bn. Hey, was SPC Palmer KIA – was he and his Lt. and I believe a gunner, did they run into a mine field the first night of the ground war? I believe they were attached to the Tiger Brigade?

      I remember that night… as if it were a day ago…
      Scott

  3. William Fuzi says:

    I was in 3rd LAI. 1st MARDIV. We lost 4 Marines in combat Jan 25th 1991, and 10 more on Jan 29th 1991 in the battle for Khafji. So we had been fighting for a month when the ground war started. We had two task forces, Grizzly, and Tarrowa 12 miles into Kuwait on Feb 22 to clear mines from the breech points. Kind of sad that everyone thinks the war only lasted 100 hours, even sadder when the VA can only remember 100 hours. It made it almost impossible to get a PTSD claim granted.

  4. Jim, SF Retired says:

    I was sent up to the border in October. I was a member of one of the many A-Teams sent up from 5th Special Forces.

    When they called it, we had a few hours to drop off the border about a mile. Then, we watched the night sky light up. We pulled off a day or two later. One of their mortar squads moved up on the border and took a shot at us. Shortly after, 4 Marine Cobra’s came up and showed them what return missile fire is all about.

    Now, can’t run. Hurt all over with nerve damage. And constantly fighting the VA to acknowledge the damage done. All the crap we inhaled. It kind of reminds you how the Viet Nam vets were treated due to Agent Orange.

    Makes you want to make the final exit for the big bird in the sky?

    • VA Suicide Prevention Hotline says:

      Jim it concerns me to hear about the difficulties you are having and that you are thinking about making “the final exit for the big bird in the sky.” There are VA employees that can help 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255 (and press 1) Or go to our live Chat service at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans/Default.aspx and click on the green button at the bottom right corner of the page. It says “Click to chat live online.” A counselor will talk with you anonymously.

    • Ron says:

      I also remember everything like it was yesterday, but I am unable to remember what I did here yesterday! I was with the best transportation unit that was in the Gulf. We took every mission that we could get because we did not sit around well! We supported the Marines, and various other units. We kept hauling fuel north, then when it was all done, we hauled it all back and put that contaminated fuel in the aircraft that took our guy’s home.
      I have had my 20 year fight with the V.A. also; I now have been diagnosed with memory loss, chronic fatigue, fibromyaliga, irritable bowel, headaches, and can hardly walk across the street without assistance! It took many years to get help and I thank God for the D.A.V.
      SSG Ron Hawkins

      • SSG Cheryl Arends says:

        Thanks everyone for your service. I too was stationed right across from Log Base Echo with the 13th Evac Hosp. I too have the GWI. They can call it CFS/Fibromyalgia but I know that it is organophosphate poisoning and the Government has failed to acknowledge such things. They don’t want people to know they poisoned us. Why DID they chose the Guards/Reserves to be up front? Because they believed that Saddeam would use his WMD, we were all sent on a DIP mission in abvance for the regular Army. Then brainwash everyone that we are “malinger’s” because “nothing happened”.
        Retrograde operations blew up the WMD after the war was called off. Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies. Anyone can find it on the web and if they were in the fallout area. Political correctness run a muck!!!

    • Walk says:

      You might want to check with The Vet Centers.
      http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/
      They provide counsulars and it is paid for by VA. My understanding is, you do not have to be service connected or have VA health care to see them.
      Nobody comes out of combat without baggage, and that baggage gets heavier as time goes by unless you get help. And there is nothing wrong with getting help. I waited about 35 years to get help, I now see that if I had had help early on I would probably still be able to work.
      The bottom line is, get help. Self help doesn’t work, We have all tried that.

      A Vietnam Vet

  5. Keith says:

    I was with the 101st and flew in to make the longest and largest air assualt in history. It has been 20 years and yet it seems like only yesterday.

    • Rob says:

      Keith, I was with the 101st also, Alpha Company “Hard Rock” 1/502nd Inf. Honestly, didn’t realize today was the 20th year Anniversary, but it does seem like yesterday.

      • paul says:

        Yes I was also with the 101st Aco 2/502 Inf.I also air assaulted into Iraq. With strike force Aco 2/502 Inf. Many of you are saying that the ground war had started the 24th well think about the time difference. The air war to me began on the 16th because of the time difference, Just a thought. Thank you all my fellow comrades and R.I.P. SPEC. Steven S. Genoves. HHC 2/502 Inf.

      • Tyler Lewis says:

        A Co 3/187 up on highway 8. Shot the hell out of that thing. Rakkasan! Part of the problem with the VA system, is that it varies from state to state, and even county to county. I had my problems when I got back with PTSD, but it seemed to clear up for a while, then 9/11 and everything after put me right back down the rabbit hole. I finally in desperation went to one of our County Service Offices, which is basically trained VA advocates in the Employ of the County. I got an excellent one, and through his tireless efforts I was able to get my rating in 2007.

        If you had been getting the run around in the past, things did get better, so keep trying. As far as the GWS goes, I get tired too easily, and chemicals of any type can cause a bad reaction, but that’s nothing compared to what other guys have gone through.

        The war may have lasted only “100″ hours, but many of us will be fighting that war for the rest of our lives.

      • Jose says:

        Steve was under my supervision, and I had the sadest but priviledge to carry his remains back to Texas to his final resting place and believe me it is not a day that goes by that I don’ t think about his tragic dead.

    • Don says:

      I was with the 101st also, 1/327. Didn’t go in by air, went in on the ground assault.

    • steve thurlow says:

      D 3/187 Rakkasans, was also a part of that Air Assault that day. Never Forget it!

      • wes whiting says:

        I served with Thurlow with the RAKKASANS and the D3-187th Infantry Reg. Proud of my time served. Parts of me wish we never stopped when we did and just went in and finished them off when we had them the first time. Would of saved alot by just getting it done back then, I’ve have health issues since my ETS and went to the VA and they sent me a letter saying it was a figment of the soldiers immagination. What a slap in the face. So typical.

        • Redleg35 says:

          I served with the 1st Cav Division Artillery. I have been diagnosed with Pancreatitis,Renal-Kidney Cancer and pending test results on Bladder Cancer. I guess we have completed our 20 yrs of non-acknowledgemenet just like the Vietnam vets did. Research has it that over 100k of DS Vets are dead. I was told by a VA employee that our war was only 100 minutes long and that we were not authorized benefits or care. At times I regret having served 20 yrs in the military. I just hope I get to see my 50th birthday.

        • Frank Burch says:

          So has any one else in your company had any problems. I know I have a few.Besides the fact that 20 years ago on the 24 of Feb. was G day it was my B.D. too. What up brothers.

  6. K99 says:

    • I will always place the mission first.
    • I will never accept defeat.
    • I will never quit.
    • I will never leave a fallen comrade.

    Only wish is after these 20 years is that VA would recognize these attributes instead of making excuses about the lack of trasined professionals and very long delays on compensation claims. We went to war for this nation and that includes the VA. VA is now headed by the leadership that lead us through the Gulf Wa yet nothing remarkable has been done. We have been dropped from Catagory 5 to 6 to nothing on the medical catogory listings. The nations memory is short to short only 20 years ago you sent us to the desert to save another country from abuse. Don’t abuse us.

    • Hermann P says:

      K99 – How can you say nothing has been done. There are many things that have been done that starts with healthcare. VA and DOD are working together to provide medical information through perspective systems in order to provide better response, better care, better treatment for Veterans. Neew Fisher Houses are opening up all over the Nation. There are 152 medical centers affiliated with 107 of the best medical schools in the Nation, 784 community-based-outpatient clinics, 300 Vet centers, and a number of outreach and mobile clinics serving Veterans in rural areas. In addition, VA operated the country’s largest national cemetery system with 131 cemeteries. VA is second only to Department of Education in providing educational benefits of more than $9 Billion annually; VA guarantees nearly 1.3 million individual home loans and has a foreclosure rate among the lowest in all categories of mortgage loans; and VA is the Nation’s eighth largest insurance enterprise with $1.3 trillion in coverage and with a 96% customer satisfaction rating. So far 365,000 Veterans and family members have taken advantage of the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, including myself, and when you include VA’s other education programs, that number rises to over 800,000. I hope you understand that VA is there to help all Veterans. There is criterion representing each benefit that must be met, but that is part of the benefit. I recommend to anyone seeking VA Service Connected Compensation that they seek assistance in filing their claim with a Veterans Service Organization. All of them provide excellent service and do an excellent job in serving our Nations Veterans. I am sure if you do that you may see things in a different light. Good luch to you K99.

      • PARSONS says:

        YOU MUST WORK FOR THE VA ,I HAVE BEEN IN THIS DELIMA WITH YOUR VA SINCE 94 AND THEY STILL HAVENT OR WONT RECONIZE MY DISABILITIES WAR RELATED. BUT THEY GAVE ME A 30% DISABILITY FOR PTSD,MY STESSOR WAS FOR BEING IN A CHEMICAL INVIROMENT . LOL ??

  7. Twenty years later the VA has made tremendous progress with respect to Gulf War Illness, but at what expense? The VA continues to fight veterans over Benefits that they so rightly deserve. Main point being that these are Benefits. They are not handouts or something other than what veterans and current soldiers were promised for their service… Ever heard of the phrase, “deny till you die”? Take a moment and think about it. How many veterans have been turned away and have not had the time nor the know how to challenge this enormous governmental agency. Sickening at best. Although some progress has been made, the VA will not admit to a whole lot being related to Persian Gulf Service. They never have and probably never will. Good luck to those of you still suffering some twenty years later. It’s scary to think of what the current combat troops are gonna have to face for the next twenty years. Hopefully their fight will turn out better than ours. God Bless.

  8. Dear John,

    I am truly disappointed in the sloppy report on Gulf War veterans.

    VA has abandoned too many Gulf War veterans, a clear violation of your policy, taken from the Soldier’s Creed, to “never leave a fallen comrade.” That’s about a quarter million veterans left twisting in the wind under your failed leadership.

    http://www.va.gov/vetdata/docs/SpecialReports/GW_Pre911_report.pdf

    Here’s why.

    First, VA didn’t bother to contact stakeholders to prepare, review, or announce the release of the report. So much for your propaganda about working with veterans: you mislead us. If it wasn’t for the Persian Gulf Veterans Act of 1998 that I and other veterans fought hard to pass, there would be no IOM and RAC reports to counter hundreds of millions of dollars in public relations garbage spewed out by VA and DoD starting in 1991 saying Gulf War veterans were not ill, or that any conditions were only psychological.

    Second, I do see some material VCS requested was in the report (such as some costs). However, the report lacks totals (for example, for healthcare costs). There are no costs for some areas (disability compensation, education, etc.). There are made-up terms with no basis in law that are very confusing (what the heck is “Pre 9/11″). Some areas need more salient data (such as combined degree of disability just for the deployed population).

    If a veteran, legislator, or reporter asked the question, “how many unique Gulf War veterans have ever sought VA healthcare or filed disability claims after deployment, and how much did it all cost?”, VA can’t answer. That means VA failed the most simple question. You seem to be living in a cave, wandering out only to toss out a press release or report, yet otherwise do nothing for the 250,000 who remain ill without treatment after 20 years.

    Third, the report again whitewashes history. The U.S. took offensive action to invade Iraq and Kuwait only AFTER the U.S. gave the green light to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein that the U.S. wouldn’t get involved in a border dispute. How sad, that, 20 years later, VA has treated more than one million patients from the two-decade disaster. I see VA still holds to the “quick victory, low casualty” lie first started in March 1991. The U.S. shamefully stood by while Iraqi Republican Guard troops with tanks and helicopters killed innocent civilians who were encouraged to revolt by then President George H. W. Bush. Every time our government fails to admit these failures, including the failure to care for our veterans in a timely or honest manner, then the more likely the chance our government will repeat them. You are the leaders now and you have a responsibility to set the fact straight.

    I regret to say that, without increased funding for research and treatment in the tens of millions of dollars per year, plus much more involvement of Gulf War veterans, the final verdict is that VA’s Gulf War Task Force was a complete failure (but VA did put out a few pretty press releases and reports).

    The only time you, as Chief of Staff, ever spoke directly with Gulf War veteran leaders on policy matters, you failed to respond, as you promised. At the top of our list was depleted uranium research. As of today, VA has done nothing substantive in this area. That’s disgraceful.

    While VA may be dramatically improving in some areas, especially billions of dollars in new funding advocated by VCS, Gulf War illness remains your greatest continuing significant failure. And there appears to be no relief in sight. VCS and other groups are left to use FOIA to obtain information VA refuses to otherwise release voluntarily. And even when we do submit FOIAs, VA refuses to respond.

    VA’s new leaders have had two years to clean up the Gulf War illness mess you inherited; too bad VA only made it worse. Shame on VA.

    Best, Paul.


    Paul Sullivan
    Executive Director
    Veterans for Common Sense
    http://www.VeteransForCommonSense.org
    900 Second Street, NE
    Suite 216
    Washington, DC 20013
    (202) 558-4553

    “Please assist our veterans today.”

  9. Here’s more for VA to consider:

    For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Zaid
    February 24, 2011 202-498-0011
    mark@markzaid.com

    EX-CIA ANALYST: “BUSH IGNORED OUR WARNINGS”

    On Desert Storm Ground War’s 20th Anniversary, Newly Published Intelligence Memoir Reveals Former President, Advisors Ignored Warnings Saddam Intended To Invade Kuwait

    (Washington, DC) — President George H. W. Bush and his senior advisors ignored a steadily growing stream of alarms from a key U. S. intelligence agency in the week before Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, a former CIA analyst charges in a new book.

    “From July 20, 1990 onward, Bush and his key advisors were warned on a daily basis about the Iraqi military buildup on Kuwait’s border,” said former CIA analyst Patrick G. Eddington. “But instead of listening to his intelligence professionals, he ignored them.”

    Eddington makes this and other charges in his newly published book, Long Strange Journey: An Intelligence Memoir, an account of his nearly nine years at the CIA. Eddington’s tenure at the Agency spanned the transition from the Cold War to the new era of American interventionism in the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. The book draws upon Eddington’s direct experience reporting on the events described in the book, as well as thousands of pages of previously classified documents secured through litigation he pursued during the last decade with the help of Washington, D.C. attorney Mark S. Zaid (www.MarkZaid.com).

    “Patrick Eddington has been on a dogged crusade for nearly 20 years to force the CIA and Pentagon to reveal the truth of what took place before, during and after the first Gulf War, especially on the still crucially important topic of chemical weapons. Few federal employees have ever been willing to sacrifice their career the way Eddington has in order to ensure the public is informed of its government’s secret knowledge,” said Mr. Zaid.

    In the book, Eddington asserts that detailed satellite-imagery derived intelligence reports on the Iraqi military build up were transmitted daily from the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) to the White House, Pentagon, State Department and elsewhere in Washington, but that the warnings were disregarded in preference for the assurances from King Hussein of Jordan and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt that Saddam was bluffing.

    “Had our warnings been heeded, it’s possible action could have been taken in time to prevent the invasion, and the larger war that followed,” said Eddington.

    Other revelations from Long Strange Journey:

    That the CIA’s much-publicized failure to accurately characterize Iraq’s chemical warfare capabilities actually goes back decades and spans three wars.

    That Saddam’s intent to invade Saudi Arabia was real and was only averted by President George H.W. Bush’s dispatch of American troops to the desert kingdom, contrary to what journalist Tim Weiner has claimed in his recent book, Legacy of Ashes.

    How Saddam Hussein’s forces trained for the invasion of Kuwait, how that activity was missed or misinterpreted by the American intelligence community in the year before the attack, and how U.S. intelligence sharing with Iraq may have given Saddam the confidence that he could redeploy forces off his border with his arch enemy Iran and send additional Iraqi forces south to occupy Kuwait.

    That the federal government deliberately attempted to suppress evidence of chemical exposures among Desert Storm veterans.

    How the CIA’s post-Desert Storm tilt towards deepening its support to Pentagon operations compromised the Agency’s independence, and the role the CIA played in supporting Pentagon operations in Haiti and the Balkans in the 1990′s.

    Eddington’s book has drawn praise from government watchdog groups and former Congressional investigators.

    “This is a ‘must read’ for the Obama White House and concerned citizens, alike,” said Burt Wides, who headed the Church Committee’s investigations of the CIA and was Special Counsel to President Carter for oversight of all U.S. intelligence agencies.

    “Partly an examination of Eddington’s life as an analyst and partly a story of his difficulties in trying to convince officials to acknowledge the chemical-agent danger, Long Strange Journey is a valuable narrative about a talented young officer’s experiences–and anguish–while serving in the middle ranks of America’s premier secret agency,” said Dr. Loch Johnson, Regents Professor at the University of Georgia and also a former Church Committee investigator.

    “Long Strange Journey gives us a peek into the bowels of the intelligence community, and it isn’t a pretty picture…Part spy thriller, part scandal, part love story, this book will make you hope there are more like him fighting for truth and justice behind the CIA’s veil of secrecy,” said Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel for National Security and Civil Liberties at the ACLU.

    “Long Strange Journey is a gripping depiction of Eddington’s struggle to force the CIA, Pentagon and Congress to acknowledge the Gulf War Syndrome’s causes,” said Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight. “It follows an idealistic young intelligence analyst’s painful realization that the government institutions he loved would resort to hiding behind secrecy, intimidation, retaliation and deception rather than own up to its mistakes and take care of the veterans it had sent in harms way. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how the intelligence community really works.”

    Concurrent with the release of the book, Eddington is also posting a number of partially declassified intelligence reports cited in the book on his blog, http://www.longstrangejourney.com. The book is available in paperback and electronic form from amazon.com.

  10. Steven King says:

    Just an old worn out medic from 3/2 ACR.
    Still proud of my comrades, and miss those who did not come back.
    Studied the rules the VA has to follow and submitted my claim.
    Got all that I deserved, didn’t want anything else.

  11. HAROLD FENSTER, MD, FACS says:

    ON THIS DAY I REMEBER TRAVELING UP PIPELINE ROAD AT NIGHT IN A MAJOR DUST STORM IN A JEEP TO THE EDGE OF THE 18TH AIRBORNE CORPS TO PARTICIPATE IN TRAUMA CALL AS THE LAND WAR WAS STARTING. THERE WERE THREE OF US IN THE JEEP AND A LOT OF UNKNOWNS, WE WERE HAPPY TO FINALLY ARRIVE AT OUR DESTINATION SAFELY.

  12. John Saunders says:

    My story is very similar. However I served as a Marine infantryman. I remember being stuck in a mind field, my company commnader standing behind me calling in close air, and most of all I recall the men I served with.

    I am proud to say that although I have retired and miss the Corps each day of my life, I have found much honor in serving the men and women that seek assistance through the Department of Veterans Affiars.

    Well written Mr. Gingrich.

    Semper Fidelis!

    GySgt Saunders
    USMC Retired

  13. Bruce Cox says:

    I was the senior medic for A co 1/41st FA 24th Inf. Div.
    I still thank GOD everyday for keeping us all safe during those times. I suffer from PTSD,Fibromyalgia,Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,and Migraines.Thanks to the DAV, I have a 100% service connected disability rating.
    Working for the VA has been a real blessing for me. I have the opportunity to assist veterans, in my town of 40,000, with their health care. Being a combat veteran I can relate to their concerns. Our clinic sees about 120-180 pts per day walk thru our doors. Since we are a small community located 60 miles west of Las Vegas, our patients rely heavily on us to provide them the best care possible. I am so very proud to be a part of the VA.

  14. 20 years, WOW. Where did the time go?
    For almost 20 years I have been dealing with my health issues from the Gulf War, convinced it was just me and nobody else. I learned to cope with so many of those problems that I have managed to function enough to get by all these years. I finally filed claims last November and of course the VSO doesn’t feel I will be awarded much if anything because I was not seen by doctors for any of it while in the service. I got out less than a year after returning from the Gulf.
    I have not been able to find anyone from my unit, therefore I cannot confirm anything I put into my claim and because of this, apparently I am just wasting the VA’s time.
    I took the PB pills, I got the “God only knows how many and what” vaccinations before and while in the desert, I lived coated with a light film of oil for several weeks, I walked a part of Highway 80 and still walk it to this day every time I think about it. I guess I’ll get passed over like so many other veterans and that is a shame. As much a shame as my marriage is, she can’t handle me anymore and I am only waiting on her to file the papers.
    I salute every one of you this day, I am honored to have served with all of you and to have done my part to protect my country, now if it would only protect me.

    Robert Isbell (PTSD, Tinnitus, Ear canal disease, Sleep Apnea, Rashes)
    HHC 2nd Brigade 1st Infantry Division

    • Gerald Minor says:

      I was a US Navy corpsman, I deployed with 3rd AABN out of Camp Pendleton and I took care of 43 marines before, during and after the liberation of Kuwait. I say this to Robert and all of the vets who feel the same way, and you think just forget it because the VA will only ( pass me over ). Don’t give up, don’t give in, you did what was asked of you just like we all did.
      You earned the right to receive medical care and compensation, one avenue is Disabled American Veterans ( DAV )
      They are a service organization like the VFW and the American Legion except the DAV steps up whena veteran nmeeds serious help.

      Gerald Minor
      HM -2 Ret

    • Brenda Hayes says:

      Robert,

      How did you get rated for Sleep Apnea? Why was yours Service Connected?

      This is one of the disorders that is often denied by the VA.

      I’ve seen a lot of Vets get S/C for COSA secondary to PTSD. But, I also have seen a lot denied? If you check BVA/COVA you will see the connections.
      ************************************************************************************************************************
      I asked the questions previously, “why doesn’t the VA accept COVA decisions as precedent and make sure all the VA claim raters know about this?” (I STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN AN ANSWER)?????
      ************************************************************************************************************************
      My take…it’s OBVIOUS…that there is a connection to exposure to toxins.

      I tell all Vets who have had exposures to toxins; make sure you get outside testing for sleep apnea(S). Often the Chronic Obstructive Sleep Apnea is showing up in the VAMC sleep studies; but NOT the Central Sleep Apnea which not only required the use of CPAP, but Oxygen as well.

      Both are serious; but the CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA is VERY SERIOUS.

      The VA is ignoring this and all their Primary Physicians and Sleep Doctors should be looking for Central Sleep Apnea as well; It is a More Likely Than Not…issue!. I also had to ADVOCATE for my Veteran on this issue as well.

      If Veterans stayed in service; the Docs weren’t looking for it; especially prior to the last few years where more people have been educated regarding this and just how dangerous it is.

      I think there were several professional athletes–football players and wrestlers– who died in their “sleep” which these disorders went undiagnosed; as well as the Brain Disorder that has been uncovered also in the last several years–brain Encephalopathy (I can’t remember the exact name) from multiple head closed head traumas (concussions

      Please take heed; ANY toxins exposures….you should be checked for Sleep APNEAS; including CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA. It is a Central Nervous system disorder which includes the brain that is affected by toxins; including Agent Orange (dioxin); and the 50 Plus to which the VN Vets were exposed; the additives in the vaccinations, the Malaria medications, etc. Same goes for any Vet exposed to any toxins; including toxic waste sites on old or present DOD bases.

      Vets should be able to count on their VA Primary physicians knowing what they need to be looking for especially for each known possibilities due to their Vet’s era of Service.

      Do you know how many Veterans and family members think that if you are on the Agent Orange Registry that you have been “tested” for A/O?

      Just exactly what is the Registry for A/O do for VNV Vets? Is there a Registry for Gulf War Vets? Any difference in the purpose and what it does? Is this mandatory? If a Vet comes in the VA system do they automatically get on “the Registry”? I don’t think so and it makes sense to me that it should be?

      What is being done differently for the Gulf War Vets than the VN Vets?

      What is the current VA research (partners) regarding the exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq?

      I think Humanitarian Aid….should start at home. If you send Vets off to War/Conflicts/Humanitarian Aid efforts; then make sure you count the back end which is ??? times the front end!! Not sure why this is never considered?

      BH
      Vet wife Advocate

  15. Here is a posting by Jim Bunker, who served under John Gingrich during the Gulf War. Bunker now leads the National Gulf War Resource Center.

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/02/24/james-a-bunker-desert-storm-vets-still-fighting/

    Desert Storm Vets Still Fighting Twenty Years Later

    By James A. Bunker for Veterans Today
    Executive Director NGWRC

    Twenty years ago this country’s best men and women were engaged in combat with the forces of Saddam Hussein after his August 2nd, 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In February 1991, my men and I knew we had what it would take to liberate the people of Kuwait. We had years of training and good leaders in our chain of command, as did many of the other units in the U.S. Army.

    We were confident in our combat capabilities, yet we had great concern about the prospect of having to face the chemical weaponry that we knew Iraq possessed. For weeks before the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm began, the prevailing winds had been blowing out of Iraq. We prayed that on G-day the winds would turn in our favor and blow back in the direction of Saddam’s forces. This we hoped would minimize the chances that the Iraqi Army would use their massive chemical stockpiles against us.

    Due to our superior training, our well-seasoned and courageous leaders, and our overwhelming firepower, the ground phase of Desert Storm lasted less than four days. As the guns fell quiet and Saddam’s remaining forces high-tailed it back to Baghdad, many of our soldiers started to show signs of illness. No one knew what was causing this unusual medical phenomenon.

    Our higher Headquarters suggested that the illnesses might be the result of the desert heat; but my Battalion Commander knew this was not the case because the temperature was in fact quite mild; less than 90 degrees. For someone like myself; born and raised in Kansas, 90 degrees is a bit on the chilly side. Beyond the suggestions that our troops were ill because of the heat, no one gave much thought to the possibility that the Iraqi chemical ammunition stockpiles that were being destroyed by U.S. forces not far away might be the source of our ills.

    Our brave warriors came home from the Persian Gulf War to an unprecedented hero’s welcome; but it wasn’t long before news reports began to document a mysterious illness plaguing many of these American heroes. Men and women who had previously enjoyed robust health and exceptional physical fitness were suddenly victims of unexplained skin rashes, joint pain, debilitating fatigue, and a host of other very odd health-related problems that even the most highly trained medical professionals were unable to diagnose.

    As more and more ailing Persian Gulf War Veterans began to come forward and share their stories it became clear that one of the most common factors that nearly everyone could relate to were the significant number of “false” chemical alarms that had activated in theater. Persian Gulf War Veterans from virtually all branches of the military have described how these highly sophisticated devices kept going into alarm mode, to the point that finally USCENTCOM passed the word that our troops were to unmask and disregard the alarms. According to higher headquarters, the NBC alarms were malfunctioning and the alarms were “false”.

    In 1993 many of us worked with members of Congress to get the first bill passed to provide compensation to Veterans suffering from Gulf War Illnesses (GWI). Public Law 103-446, enacted in 1994, authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay disability compensation to disabled Persian Gulf War Veterans suffering from undiagnosed illnesses.

    Despite the new law few Veterans saw any relief because of the prevailing attitudes of those in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VBA did not and still does not like to grant service connection for GWI. Despite clear direction by Congress and the President, skepticism continues to abound within the VBA. Many of the Veterans Affairs Regional Offices (RO) actually go out of their way to deny GWI claims.

    In 1997, we again worked with Congress to amend the law in the hopes it would help our ailing Persian Gulf War Veterans. The changes helped some, but not many. The most recent change came in 2002 when we were successful in adding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to the list of “undiagnosed illnesses” that were to be considered “presumptive” to service in the Persian Gulf War. Yet to this day thousands of Veterans continue to have their claims denied despite clear and convincing medical opinion that they are indeed suffering.

    Today I see many claims denied for reasons such as; “your claim cannot be granted under the undiagnosed illness provision as you have a diagnosis.” For example; if a Veteran is told by their doctor that he or she has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, even though that illness is now clearly defined in the law as an “undiagnosed illness” many VBA Claims Adjudicators ignore the law and deny the Veteran’s claim. In many cases Veterans have had to fight this kind of injustice all the way to the Court of Veterans Appeals (COVA), which typically takes years. COVA cases that have already clarified and corrected these mishandled claims should have served to prevent these same mistakes from repeating with other Veteran’s claims but sadly it continues to occur on a regular basis.

    A common error among many VBA Claims Adjudicators is when a Veteran files a claim based upon the “presumptive” provision in the law (e.g. GWI), yet the Claims Adjudicator processes the claim as if the Veteran is requesting direct service-connection for the illness. There is a clear difference between an illness or injury that is directly related to military service versus an illness that is supposed to be treated as “presumptive” under the law. I have assisted quite a few Veterans in reopening their claims because of this common error made by VBA. Some of these cases go back as far as 1998, while others are more recent.

    Currently the “presumptive” period for GWI is set to expire on December 31, 2011. In order to be considered “presumptive” for GWI the Veteran must show signs and symptoms of one or more of the conditions listed in the law for a continuous period of six months or more, and be severe enough to warrant a disability rating of ten percent (10%) or greater.

    A Persian Gulf War Veteran came to me not long ago asking for help with his claim for CFS which had recently been denied by VBA. The Veteran had not been able to work for the past three years because of his CFS yet had already been approved for Social Security Disability compensation.

    Nevertheless, the VBA Claims Adjudicator denied the Veteran’s claim. The reason for denial? The Claims Adjudicator stated that the CFS had to have started while the Veteran was still in the service. The Claims Adjudicator clearly failed to follow the law on this Veterans claim. It’s simple; if a Persian Gulf War Veteran has FM, CFS, and/or IBS and it meets the 10% rating level, the law states it is presumed to be related to the Veteran’s service in the Persian Gulf War and that the Veteran is to be awarded service connected for the illness. GWI claims are not hard to do if the VBA would get the Claims Adjudicators to follow the law correctly and to get past their own personal feelings and bias concerning GWI.

    I have worked with hundreds of Persian Gulf War Veterans this past year and I have seen many injustices perpetrated on these American patriots. Some of the time the injustices result from a Claims Adjudicator’s personal bias, and other times the denial results from a lack of training on the part of VBA. Sadly, when new Claims Adjudicators come aboard VBA, very often they are trained by more tenured Claims Adjudicators who themselves are uniformed as to the most recent provisions of the law concerning presumptive conditions for Persian Gulf War Veterans.

    Persian Gulf War Veterans are tired of fighting! First and foremost we want our health back. Secondly, we want Claims Adjudicators at the VBA to do their jobs right the first time around. We want VBA to assign specific Claims Adjudicators to handle claims involving GWIs so that all of these Veterans are treated fairly and consistently.

    Last year Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki made a promise to reopen all of the Gulf War Illness claims that had previously been denied in order to ensure that none of these Veterans are disenfranchised. Then, just one month later the VA’s Chief of Staff, John R. Gingrich told a group of Persian Gulf Veterans that the VA cannot reopen claims on their own accord. Mr. Gingrich clarified that it is the Veteran’s responsibility to request that their claim be reopened, not the VA.

    I would like to ask the Secretary why it is that the VA is currently reopening Agent Orange claims on their own initiative, yet they say that they can’t do the same for Gulf War Illness claims? Mr. Secretary; your promise to Persian Gulf War Veterans is now beginning to look like just another in a series of broken promises that VA has made to Persian Gulf War Veterans over the last several years. And how much longer will we have to fight to get VA physicians on staff who are properly trained to recognize the conditions and symptoms that are by law to be considered related to service in the Persian Gulf War?

    Instead of VA physicians who dismiss these symptoms as psychosomatic, as happens so often in the Tampa, Florida and Fayetteville, North Carolina VA Medical Centers, let’s get physicians in there who understand what Gulf War Illnesses are, and what Congress has directed them to do for Veterans suffering from these debilitating conditions.

    James A. Bunker
    Executive Director
    National Gulf War Resource Center
    2611 SW 17th Street
    Topeka, KS 66604
    Toll free 866-531-7183
    http://WWW.NGWRC.ORG
    Face Book
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&gid=7500982521

  16. Craig Ratcliff says:

    It is exceptionally difficult to grasp the reality that twenty years have passed since Desert Storm. I remember that period very clearly, it really does seem like yesterday. I served with LTC (Then) John R. Gingrich and remember when the photo was taken. I might have even taken it as we (the S3 shop)wrote a book (sic)for the BN and had it published so that each Soldier had a written record of the Bn’s service in the operation to look at someday and remember the service and the sacrifice made by each Soldier and their families.
    I am reaching the end of my career now. A span of time that has allowed me to serve as a Vietnam Era Veteran and to contribute as a Veteran in many other periods since. Thank you VA for being there each and every time I asked for help and many other times when I didn’t ask, but you offered knowing I might need it.

    Craig Ratcliff
    LTC, FA
    1974-2011

  17. Linda Austin says:

    After going thru Iraq to Kuwait I became so sick I couldn’t even drive my 915, I had to rely on my buddy to do all the driving back into Saudi. I laid down on the floor stretching my body behind my buddy’s legs as he drove. Those of you who have driven one you know how hard that task is. When we got back to Saudi we had to pressure wash our trucks and double stack trailers that took around 10 hours or more and being sick at the same time was horrible. I reported to our NBC Sgt about our NBC papers turning green at different places in Iraq but was told it was the diesel fumes from the trucks that caused the change in color. All I know is that my buddy and myself have been sick since we went into Iraq and have never recovered. I’ve been disabled since 1997 because of these illnesses and back injury I can’t work and the VA Regional Office in Winston Salem,NC has reduced my disability benefits just on my back alone from 40% to 10% saying my back had improved! They started taking the money from my check in Feb 2010 and I have it on appeal and the DAV told the VA that they are not to take my money until the appeal but the VA wouldn’t listen. That money was half of my house payment so now I’m behind on my mortgage and Bank of America has started to foreclose on my home of 17 years. My overall disability rating with the VA was 70% and now it’s 60% but not officially, yet. The appeal has yet to be heard and believe me, I will take this all the way to D.C.

    I was one of the veterans along with Paul Sullivan, Joe Poe, Denise Nichols and many others who kept going to D.C. in the 90′s making our elected officials see us and hear what we had to say about our illnesses and that it was connected to our service in DSDS and we demanded our elected officials to not ignore us and start doing something FOR us, not against us.
    I just can’t believe that the VA Regional Office can do this to a veteran with no proof that my back has improved, but with boxes of proof that my back has actually worsened and there is no way it can improve unless God himself has healed me. Whats even worse, they sent me a decision saying my back had not improved not long before they sent me a decision saying it had. Plus, I’ve been denied service connection for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other illnesses I’ve been diagnosed with since my return home because they said there is no proof my illnesses started while in service.
    All of this is what I think of every day of every year especially Jan and Feb. I can’t help but think about it and that’s a shame.

    • Linda,

      Thank you so much for your posting.

      I sure hope that VA Chief of Staff John Gingrich actually reads these postings and replies ~ and then acts. We keep waiting, and he only gives us lip service, and that means propaganda and spin without healthcare and benefits.

      We’ll see if this is just more VA propaganda, or if VA will actually help us veterans ~ all 250,000 of us before we die from toxic exposures in a war that should have never happened.

      Always remember this: According to Presidential Review Directive 5, released by the White House in 1998, the goal of VA, DoD, and the Federal Government is to use public relations (“risk management”) to downplay our illnesses rather than use science to determine the causes, to find treatments, and then provide benefits and care to our veterans.

      The official government myth was that the U.S. “responded” to Iraq’s invasion on August 2, 1990. That’s a lie. In July 1990, our U.S. Ambassador gave the green light encouraging Iraq to invade Kuwait. That means the war and the casualties were preventable.

      Another government myth is that the war was “low casualty,” when they cite the ~300 deaths, as shown in VA’s Gulf War Task Force and other Gulf War-related reports. The government misleads the public by failing to mention the RAC and IOM reports confirming between 210,000 and 250,000 Gulf War veterans remain ill due to toxic exposures out of the more than one million treated by VA after deploying to Southwest Asia since 1990.

      Yet another government myth is that the illnesses are psychological. The RAC and IOM scientists debunked the VA/DoD lie in two independent studies in 2008 and 2009, respectively. However, in 2010, VA continued with the myth, by spending millions more on bogus “stress” studies.

      Why the government myths? Because of the billions or more per year in medical and benefit costs for DoD and VA. According to academics Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, the final post-war veteran costs may be one trillion dollars or more over the lifetime of the surviving veterans.

      Why these myths for 20 years? Because of the embarrassment of revealing our troops were at significantly increased risk of illness after exposure to these toxins, and that the Gulf War – turned Iraq War – has resulted in one million new VA patients over the past 20 years.

      When scientific research finally linked agent orange poisoning to the Vietnam War (another war started based on the Gulf of Tonkin lie), VA was forced to pay billions of dollars in benefits and provide billions more in medical care to hundreds of thousands of surviving Vietnam War veterans. Remember, VA and DoD fought hard against independent research into AO. VA responded only after massive press coverage, many veterans testifying before Congress, and Congress passing new laws.

      All we have left, Austin, is our moral compass. We have one. VA does not. VA refuses to meet with veterans for substantive conversations. All VA does is issue misleading reports and press releases, hoping we well go away.

      Now, VA is just waiting for us to die.

      At least Brandon Friedman is reading the blog posts. He is responding to veterans still distraught over the war 20 years later. He gets it. But Gingrich and Shinseki, they don’t get the Gulf War illness issue. How very sad and unconscionable.

      So hang in there Austin. We keep fighting. At least history, science, and the facts are on our side. We keep preventing VA and DoD from editing history, downplaying our illnesses, and trying to make us disappear so VA and DoD can continue with their myths.

      VA didn’t respond to our Congressional testimony last year:

      http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/Testimony.aspx?TID=2831&Newsid=2254&Name=%20Paul%20%20Sullivan

      I just have to ask for my fellow veterans, how do some of these DoD and VA officials sleep at night knowing they betrayed so many Gulf War veterans who have died or who still suffer? Have they no shame?

      Best, Paul.

      • SSG Cheryl Arends says:

        No, invisible illnesses are not recognized….perhaps had they been exposed and were having the frustrations we have, they would be more empathy.

  18. Herb Tetzke says:

    Twenty years of pretending nothing was wrong with me or I was totally crazy. I am very proud of my service and had to handle years of believing I no longer fit in at home. Divorce, jail time, and self medicating was the result of the VA help I received until I found an attorney to handle my case. I was recently awarded 50% for PTSD. I am gratefull for that but it also seemed like a slap in the face. The VA would give me a different diagnosis every time I went in. Then to top it off I only get compensated back to 3 years ago. The Gulf War was twenty years ago and I learned to cope with my issues, not in the healthiest manner at times. I still have had a miserable life since returning home and have to battle every day to make it a good day. I feel for all vets who are still fighting the good fight every day, God Bless you and stay srong. Carl you will never be forgotten. Still in the Fight!

    • Tyler Lewis says:

      Herb. When I first got rated, they only gave me 50%… Some hard work by my VSO, and we got that increased to 70% with Individual Unemployability, which puts it a 100%. It took a long time, and I was very lucky to have the support of my VSO officer, and my family through it all, because throughout the process, it’s almost all you can think about. I am probably never going to be “healthy”, in the traditional sense, but I won’t want for food, and I can support my wife. So keep at it. It took me till 2007 to finally get it all squared away.

  19. cpl kelly task force ripper 1/7 marines says:

    god is in a season of blessing my brothers & sisters don’t give up they want that to say money for more hurt and pain obama is helping so submit & 21-)#;%3 3$1( $&91 3″ 6%1 %3 )= peace be with you all god bless

  20. Dayna Whitehead says:

    If you want to serve the veterans’ families, why is my husband not covered by dependent’s healthcare? I have been determined 100% but only temperary even though my condition continues to worsen. He now needs to provide nearly 24 hour care for me because the VA will not provide an aide to assist with bathing and meals. That means he cannot hold a job that has healthcare. While I am happy with my care, I’m sorely disappointed with his lack of care. I realize I wasn’t “issued” a family, but the family is the backbone of the service members and discharged service members. My husband provides the care that the VA should be providing. When does he get relief?

  21. Dave Wilson says:

    I ETS’d in mid-95, I began having health issues almost immediately after returning from the gulf. In 94 I had a good sized portion of my right lung removed because it was “infected”, with what I still dont know, at least i’m not being told. For all these years i’ve been told I had asthma to which I replied no I do not. It wasnt until June of 2010 the pulmonary docs came in and said, well, you dont have asthma, you have Pulmonary Lymphatoid Granulomatosis, this may have been caused by the Hydrogen Sulphide I inhailed 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the 2-3 months my unit spent in Kuwait City. I have been fighting the VA since 95, I have had a continous claim going for over 15 years now. They send me a decision, I go to the DAV and file a disagreement with the decision, this has been going on CONSTANTLY since 95. I went to the K.C., MO VA on one certain appt., I was in the Rheumatology department for a consult with a douchebag Dr. named Sanders Glatt, I will never forget this, he told me that he felt that there was nothing wrong with desert storm vets and it was all in our heads. Hmm, I told him to sit still while I went to my car to get my 357 magnum I had under the seat and I was going to come back in and blow his head off. I never seen a fat man run so fast as he darted out of the room, locked me in there and came back with the VA police force and a shrink, needless to say that I got a 10 day stay on the nut ward, I guess it was all in my head. Every time I go to the VA my blood pressure goes through the roof, when they take my vitals they make me sit for 10-15 mins to wait and see if it will come down, often times it only goes up. I am currently rated at 90% with 4 claims on-going now, I stuck my foot in their ass and I aint about to back off, it’s been a rough long battle, with the VA, drugs, alcohol, you name it I probably did it. I want to encourage all vets to keep plugging away at the VA, it may take time but it is doable.

  22. Michael Burec says:

    I recently became a mentor with a wounded warrior program called the CCRP, and we had a conference in san antonio this weekend and all the gulf war vets including myself were talking about the 20th anniversary of the ground war.

    I was with the 101st Airbornes Eagle Dustoff, we were the first medevac unit in country in saudi and we all were exposed to the same BS pb tabs, experimental shots(not anotataed in the records) and everything you all were exposed too, minus the depleted uranium.

    in 2004, 13 years after in left campbell, i was diagnosed with Congestive Heart failure at 38 years old, then the diabetes set in, high blood pressure and more. after 2 years of the Heart failure i was almost dead, my heart was at 7% ejection fraction(blood output to the body). In march 2007 i received a heart transplant and am still alive today. I still have the diabetes and all too.

    in 2005 i went to the VA for a gulf war exam and to be added to the Gulf War Registry. i filed a claim with VA at the time and was out right denied. I let it go and didnt follow up on it. Until nov 2010 when i decide to file for VHA to help with rejection meds and care. i filed a VA claim and a VHA claim, i sent in all the paperwork i had from the hospitals, doctors and everything and am still awaiting a decision. yesterday my ex gulf war commander who is running the Wounded warrior project hooked me up with a group out of Fort Lewis called the OasisGroup, a http://www.oasisgrp.org . This group deals wih VA claims tha were denied and fights for soldiers rights.

    It is hard for me to say this but “Keep fighting the fight”, all hope has seemed lost lately, but things are hopefully going to start looking up, so hang in there baby!

    /salute to all the Gulf War Veterans and Current fighting soldiers out there!

  23. J M says:

    I’m reading some interesting things here, I too am a Vet of that war, am disabled, have been filing for 20 years for assistance…When do you think I will read “VA has started processing Gulf War claims”…This year? I have been on hold and denied, and told “It don’t exist for so long now…what do we do? Can we expect the VA to start taking some concrete actions this next 20 years?

  24. Jim says:

    Twenty years ago this country’s best men and women were engaged in combat with the forces of Saddam Hussein after his August 2nd, 1990 invasion of Kuwait. In February 1991, my men and I knew we had what it would take to liberate the people of Kuwait. We had years of training and good leaders in our chain of command, as did many of the other units in the U.S. Army. We were confident in our combat capabilities, yet we had great concern about the prospect of having to face the chemical weaponry that we knew Iraq possessed. For weeks before the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm began, the prevailing winds had been blowing out of Iraq. We prayed that on G-day the winds would turn in our favor and blow back in the direction of Saddam’s forces. This we hoped would minimize the chances that the Iraqi Army would use their massive chemical stockpiles against us.

    Due to our superior training, our well-seasoned and courageous leaders, and our overwhelming firepower, the ground phase of Desert Storm lasted less than four days. As the guns fell quiet and Saddam’s remaining forces high-tailed it back to Baghdad, many of our soldiers started to show signs of illness. No one knew what was causing this unusual medical phenomenon. Our higher Headquarters suggested that the illnesses might be the result of the desert heat; but my Battalion Commander knew this was not the case because the temperature was in fact quite mild; less than 90 degrees. For someone like myself; born and raised in Kansas, 90 degrees is a bit on the chilly side. Beyond the suggestions that our troops were ill because of the heat, no one gave much thought to the possibility that the Iraqi chemical ammunition stockpiles that were being destroyed by U.S. forces not far away might be the source of our ills.

    Our brave warriors came home from the Persian Gulf War to an unprecedented hero’s welcome; but it wasn’t long before news reports began to document a mysterious illness plaguing many of these American heroes. Men and women who had previously enjoyed robust health and exceptional physical fitness were suddenly victims of unexplained skin rashes, joint pain, debilitating fatigue, and a host of other very odd health-related problems that even the most highly trained medical professionals were unable to diagnose.

    As more and more ailing Persian Gulf War Veterans began to come forward and share their stories it became clear that one of the most common factors that nearly everyone could relate to were the significant number of “false” chemical alarms that had activated in theater. Persian Gulf War Veterans from virtually all branches of the military have described how these highly sophisticated devices kept going into alarm mode, to the point that finally USCENTCOM passed the word that our troops were to unmask and disregard the alarms. According to higher headquarters, the NBC alarms were malfunctioning and the alarms were “false”.

    In 1993 many of us worked with members of Congress to get the first bill passed to provide compensation to Veterans suffering from Gulf War Illnesses (GWI). Public Law 103-446, enacted in 1994, authorized the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to pay disability compensation to disabled Persian Gulf War Veterans suffering from undiagnosed illnesses. Despite the new law few Veterans saw any relief because of the prevailing attitudes of those in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VBA did not and still does not like to grant service connection for GWI. Despite clear direction by Congress and the President, skepticism continues to abound within the VBA. Many of the Veterans Affairs Regional Offices (RO) actually go out of their way to deny GWI claims.

    In 1997, we again worked with Congress to amend the law in the hopes it would help our ailing Persian Gulf War Veterans. The changes helped some, but not many. The most recent change came in 2002 when we were successful in adding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) to the list of “undiagnosed illnesses” that were to be considered “presumptive” to service in the Persian Gulf War. Yet to this day thousands of Veterans continue to have their claims denied despite clear and convincing medical opinion that they are indeed suffering.

    Today I see many claims denied for reasons such as; “your claim cannot be granted under the undiagnosed illness provision as you have a diagnosis.” For example; if a Veteran is told by their doctor that he or she has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, even though that illness is now clearly defined in the law as an “undiagnosed illness” many VBA Claims Adjudicators ignore the law and deny the Veteran’s claim. In many cases Veterans have had to fight this kind of injustice all the way to the Court of Veterans Appeals (COVA), which typically takes years. COVA cases that have already clarified and corrected these mishandled claims should have served to prevent these same mistakes from repeating with other Veteran’s claims but sadly it continues to occur on a regular basis.

    A common error among many VBA Claims Adjudicators is when a Veteran files a claim based upon the “presumptive” provision in the law (e.g. GWI), yet the Claims Adjudicator processes the claim as if the Veteran is requesting direct service-connection for the illness. There is a clear difference between an illness or injury that is directly related to military service versus an illness that is supposed to be treated as “presumptive” under the law. I have assisted quite a few Veterans in reopening their claims because of this common error made by VBA. Some of these cases go back as far as 1998, while others are more recent.

    Currently the “presumptive” period for GWI is set to expire on December 31, 2011. In order to be considered “presumptive” for GWI the Veteran must show signs and symptoms of one or more of the conditions listed in the law for a continuous period of six months or more, and be severe enough to warrant a disability rating of ten percent (10%) or greater.

    A Persian Gulf War Veteran came to me not long ago asking for help with his claim for CFS which had recently been denied by VBA. The Veteran had not been able to work for the past three years because of his CFS yet had already been approved for Social Security Disability compensation. Nevertheless, the VBA Claims Adjudicator denied the Veteran’s claim. The reason for denial? The Claims Adjudicator stated that the CFS had to have started while the Veteran was still in the service. The Claims Adjudicator clearly failed to follow the law on this Veterans claim. It’s simple; if a Persian Gulf War Veteran has FM, CFS, and/or IBS and it meets the 10% rating level, the law states it is presumed to be related to the Veteran’s service in the Persian Gulf War and that the Veteran is to be awarded service connected for the illness. GWI claims are not hard to do if the VBA would get the Claims Adjudicators to follow the law correctly and to get past their own personal feelings and bias concerning GWI.

    I have worked with hundreds of Persian Gulf War Veterans this past year and I have seen many injustices perpetrated on these American patriots. Some of the time the injustices result from a Claims Adjudicator’s personal bias, and other times the denial results from a lack of training on the part of VBA. Sadly, when new Claims Adjudicators come aboard VBA, very often they are trained by more tenured Claims Adjudicators who themselves are uniformed as to the most recent provisions of the law concerning presumptive conditions for Persian Gulf War Veterans.

    Persian Gulf War Veterans are tired of fighting! First and foremost we want our health back. Secondly, we want Claims Adjudicators at the VBA to do their jobs right the first time around. We want VBA to assign specific Claims Adjudicators to handle claims involving GWIs so that all of these Veterans are treated fairly and consistently.

    Last year Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki made a promise to reopen all of the Gulf War Illness claims that had previously been denied in order to ensure that none of these Veterans are disenfranchised. Then, just one month later the VA’s Chief of Staff, John R. Gingrich told a group of Persian Gulf Veterans that the VA cannot reopen claims on their own accord. Mr. Gingrich clarified that it is the Veteran’s responsibility to request that their claim be reopened, not the VA.

    I would like to ask the Secretary why it is that the VA is currently reopening Agent Orange claims on their own initiative, yet they say that they can’t do the same for Gulf War Illness claims? Mr. Secretary; your promise to Persian Gulf War Veterans is now beginning to look like just another in a series of broken promises that VA has made to Persian Gulf War Veterans over the last several years. And how much longer will we have to fight to get VA physicians on staff who are properly trained to recognize the conditions and symptoms that are by law to be considered related to service in the Persian Gulf War?

    Instead of VA physicians who dismiss these symptoms as psychosomatic, as happens so often in the Tampa, Florida and Fayetteville, North Carolina VA Medical Centers, let’s get physicians in there who understand what Gulf War Illnesses are, and what Congress has directed them to do for Veterans suffering from these debilitating conditions.

  25. DARREN SMITH says:

    I was with the 82 Airborne 2/325 AIR for desert storm and i still think they are not telling us everything. help us instead of waiting until more than half are gone

  26. Article by Bill Wilson, a member of the Scottish Parliament:

    “Tell the truth, but keep one foot in the stirrup”

    Recently I had an article in the Scottish Left Review which was also published on a number of websites. It described the horrific situation in Fallujah where women have been advised to avoid becoming pregnant due to the very high risk of gross birth deformities in their children. It is notable that the first signs that something odd was happening (changing birth gender ratios) appeared shortly after the first gulf war. Since then, evidence has been mounting that a significant factor in the very high level of genetic abnormalities is the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons. Generally I open an article on DU with the events in Fallujah not because Fallujah is an isolated case, but because the situation – doctors advising an entire city of women not to become pregnant – is so extreme. However, the use of DU was not limited to Fallujah. In Basra there is a new cancer hospital, necessary due to the substantial rise in childhood cancers, and man’s inhumanity to man extends beyond Iraq. Think of the nations of former Yugoslavia, think Gaza, think Afghanistan. Though does it stop even there? Once in a while dust will arrive in Scotland from North Africa. Once DU particles enter the water, once they become dust, where does the pollution end? Even if the dust never arrives, the effects will. Our servicemen and women are no more immune from breathing in, or drinking, the DU particles than are the civilians in the target zones. Of course the MoD and the DoD (US) continue to deny that DU presents a risk. Yet the Italian government paid some 170 million Euros in compensation to their soldiers, and a coroner’s report in the UK quite specifically identified DU as the cause of death.

    However, it is not my intention to discuss the evidence or effects of DU in this short article. Those interested can check my home page (www.billwilsonmsp.com) and use the search function to find all the articles and information on DU, or you can read the article on SLR (online). One could even push the boat out and do both? This article looks specifically at disinformation. When challenging the vested interests of the powerful, it is not unusual to have to deal with disinformation campaigns (think of smoking and climate change, for example). Such campaigns are fairly standard. So that there is no room for doubt, I am not referring to genuine scientific debate, but specifically to disinformation:

    1) the use of errors in minor details to cast doubt upon an entire case;

    2) the distortion/misrepresentation of facts;

    3) the creation of new facts lacking any evidence for such (might also be referred to as lying);

    4) character assassination.

    It did not take long for me to become aware of a disinformation campaign surrounding DU and its effects. Perhaps the first clear indication I had was from a former US Colonel, who wrote an angry email to me noting that the DU campaign was based on lies, that there were no such things as DU weapons. He insisted that the use of the word weapon was misleading. He insisted that “There is no such thing as a uranium weapon. That is term that they made up to make DU kinetic energy penetrators look like weapons of mass destruction instead of tank killing bullets”. As the argument goes it certainly fits into category 2), I cannot really see any difference between a bullet and a weapon; an attempt at 1), even if a bullet is not a weapon the end result, particulate DU, is the same; certainly 3), DU is also used in ‘bunker busters’ and other munitions used to attack buildings and is not restricted to use against tanks (hence its use in Gaza where the Palestinians have a distinct lack of tanks). In case you think that I am splitting hairs, I should note that this self-same Colonel went on to argue that DU could not have been used at Fallujah because there were “no tank battles in Fallujah”. In effect, he was using the ‘fact’ that DU was only used in anti-tank shells to cast doubt on their use in Fallujah. Thus the point is not one of hair-splitting but rather more significant than that. All this within a matter of hours of my dipping my toe into the DU nightmare!

    Dr Doug Rokke is a retired army major. He was appointed by the Pentagon to devise the protocols in handling DU, and how/if it might safely be used. Doug duly provided the Pentagon with the required report and protocols. Doug also had responsibility for the limited clear-up of some sites in Iraq. There is a tragic side to this paragraph: Doug Rokke, an honourable and decent man, is dying, and many of his team are dead or likewise dying. He has no doubt why they are dying; DU does not just affect civilians.

    Why the short detour to describe Doug Rokke and his team? Well the disinformation did not stop at modifying or redefining facts. It went on from there. I was reading a blog article on DU and glanced at the responses below. I was immediately confused. A respondent angrily attacked Doug Rokke because he had been supporting the DU lobby in viciously attacking him when the respondent had written on DU. This was bizarre, really bizarre. Doug was actually accused of working with a man who had regularly smeared him. More confusing was that Doug, arch anti-DU campaigner, had suddenly become a DU supporter. What the heck was going on? It was clear the original author of the blog was equally dumfounnart (the Scots word for dumbfounded). There then followed a confused and lengthy exchange between the blog author and the respondent. It moved on to the respondent wondering about Doug’s email address: it looked a little odd, his IP address seemed similar to a notorious DU supporter – even odder. To cut a long story short, the respondent, after a very lengthy exchange, finally concluded with, “I am now watching the real Doug Rokke on YouTube”. Somebody had gone out of their way to make it appear that Doug was working with the pro-DU lobby. A man seriously ill from the effects of DU, who is furious that the Pentagon has ignored his advice and protocols – insult to injury!

    The above would certainly fall into my fourth category of disinformation: character assassination. A pretty unpleasant form of character assassination, given the circumstances: to be portrayed as a supporter of DU. But of course it does not stop there. I have received a large number of emails specifically attacking the qualifications and character of various individuals with whom I have corresponded or to whom I have referred in my articles/press releases. Doug Rokke is specifically accused of having lied about his army service, lied about his depleted DU findings, and having very unpleasant connections (apparently somebody he knew had written something which may have used something else which may have come from an organisation with dubious repute – no, seriously!), and finally he is accused of smearing the man who sent me the email smearing Doug Rokke (I assume the latter works on the principle of distracting people from your own thieving by shouting, “Catch the thief!”) I have concentrated on Doug not because he is the only individual about whom I have received unpleasant (and dishonest) allegations, but rather because he seems to have earned the most vitriol.

    I became rather tired of all this, so I wrote to the US ambassador asking if the individual who had been putting out many of the smears (I named him in the letter), worked for or had worked for, the US Government. I await the reply with anticipation.

    Let me end with some useful (Arabian) advice for Doug and my other correspondents fighting for justice, “Tell the truth, but keep one foot in the stirrup”.

  27. Lyle Smith says:

    I was deployed as a mechanic 63TC20 for the 2nd AD FWD 4/3 FA battalion out of Garlstedt, Germany. Our HQ’s maintenance platoon was assigned to the combat trains of our sister unit 2nd AD out of Fort Hood, and were part of the curve ball attack unit. I was a squad leader/ plt sgt E-5(p) and my squad got the job of clearing bunkers after the ground attack went through only being 1/2 mile behind the FEBA we had little sleep and constantly on guard for stray bmp’s or tanks that had managed to escape the overwhelming ground attack. This was an experience I will never forget yet one to remember never have I seen such teamwork and unity of force in this stature
    God bless all those who served, and are know serving, and less not forget our fallen comrades who gave their life to defend our lives and our country’s freedom.

  28. Major Doug Rokke, Ph.D says:

    for over a week now the we have read about toxic exposures, injuies, and wounds and resulting lingering medical problems associated with operation desert storm and consequently the delayed, denied, and ineffective medical care. as each of you can read those of us who have tried to resolve these problems have been subjected to continuous retaliation. it is time for the nonsense to end. i am calling upon president obama, general shinseki, and colonel gingrich to finally end this nightmare. warriors should not have to fight for medical care that we earned and we should not have to endure retaliation from those WHO SHOULD BE OUR ADVOCATES BUT INSTEAD who want to prevent accountability and thus limit liability for caring for those of us who are ill, injured, or wounded.

  29. Charles Marcinko says:

    I like you also find it hard to believe it was 20 years ago that we were over their fighting. I was a Sgt. leading a FM/Retrans team from Delta Co. 25th Signal Bn from Fort Bragg, NC when the ground war started.

    Like you guys I do remember alot of things that we say or had done to us, that I dont believe we were ever told the whole truth. Will it ever come out, I dont know. It probably will but only after I’m gone and buried.

    My fondest memory of the war was on the night of Jan 14th when my team got to our Bn HQ and I saw a good friend of mine from S-3. The SSG was congratulating me on the birth of my newest child. A son who was born on Jan 11 and I found out on the 12th. While still holding my hand after shaking it he told me I could use the Bn Cdr’s phone to call my wife and talk to her, and to inform me for my team and I to take our nerve pills because tonight starts the air war.

    My jaw hit the floor and I did my best not to tell her when we did have our 15 minute talk.

    To me that moment and getting to throw a snowball at a general along with about 100 soldiers including officers having a snowball fight on the tarmac in our desert BDUs, as our plane had to refuel in Canada on the way home to NC was the fondest memories of that conflict.

  30. Jane says:

    I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (embrocation.50webs.com), also called White Flower Oil

  31. J G says:

    I was a M-1 Tanker with the 1st Infantry Division. We went through Iraq at the beginning of the war. I took the pills, shots, and drove through the burning oil fields. I knew I was in trouble when I touched my nose and got smut off my finger. I have some of the same problems listed and have been told the same things by doctors. Don’t give up. You did a remarkable job. God bless you all.

  32. rather than keep telling my squads story over and over, I created a website:

    http://johnwestlakeods.weebly.com/

    You know what is making GW vet’s ill, dying early????

    DU. Chemical warfare agents. Undocumented and unapproved vaccines and pills. Steadily inhaling smoke from oil well fires. Insect repellent. And those are just the biggies.

    That area of operations was the most toxic any military has operated in since WWI.

  33. Edward Bryan says:

    Mr. Edward J. Bryan
    685 Broadway St. Unit # 74
    Malden, Mass. 02148
    Tel. 781-321-3161

    The Honorable Scott Brown
    317 Russell Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510
    Phone: (202) 224-4543

    Subject: Illnesses and Diseases without Treatments

    Re: Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees

    February 28, 2011
    Dear Senator Brown,
    The gulf war in 1990/1991 caused many health issues for thousands of veterans and as a result of the above mentioned illnesses approximately 70,000 or more veterans have died and our own Government doesn’t acknowledge these veterans. We need to fix the VA system, it‘s broken. To date the U.S. Government only has one biopsy of the brain from any veteran from the 1990 war, this is un-called for. The VA doctors should do history exams on the gulf war veterans equivalent to the history’s done on the Vietnam Veterans found out about their illnesses or diseases. The U.S. Congress has had many hearings both positive and negative but without treatments. Gulf War Veterans are dying every year due to the lack of real treatments that our government will not issue. The only answer I have is to put the gulf war advocates to work under VA control and the treatment issue will go away. We do need a Neurologist as a primary care doctor and referrals to Environmental / Industrial Doctors to asses treatment plans. The VA must do more on Navigating gulf war health issues along with our returning veterans health issues. There are no coordinators at VA to help you. You have to accidentally or by chance Find this information or hunt for doctors offices, the VA is still in the dark when it comes assisting veterans. We must have focus groups and coordinators that have group meetings on how the VA systems works, as of today, there is none. The U.S. Congress should make federal regulators issue medical treatments for sick or injured gulf war veterans and returning veterans. We have tried with IOM and the institute found that military treatments were not peer reviewed and as a result couldn’t issue treatments or understand the exposures from chemical weapons or environmental insults. We need to start finding better ways to a treatment process. It has been 20 long years and veterans are dying. Please help our veterans. The treatments and planning should have been processed in the last couple of budgets, Congress should start with an emergency funding that has a starting figure of at least $ 250 million dollars to help these veterans. Dr. Haley study should be looked in to for further treatments of the brain.

    Sincerely yours,
    Edward J. Bryan

    Researcher for Gulf War Illnesses 1992-Present
    Edbryan@email.com
    Life Member Whitman DAV # 119
    Life Member Medford VFW # 1012
    U.S. Army ( Retired ) 1974-2000
    U.S. Firefighter ( Medford ) Retired 1986-2000
    Health Care Liaison ( VA-BU ) 1994-2001
    Researcher for Gulf War Illnesses 1992-Present
    VISN-1 Mini-Mac member 1998-Present
    Walter Reed Veteran Health Advisory Council ( VHAC ) Deployment Health, 2000-2002

  34. Edward Bryan says:

    We need to talk and get the best possible treatments for our veterans

  35. Kirt P. Love says:

    Its really pointless to post here because both Secretary Shinesky and COS John Gingrich are indifferent to outside opinion. They do not respond back to request, make empty promises, and so far are giving the illusion of progress when in fact things are going backwards.

    I was on the VA “Advisory Committee for Gulf War Veterans”. It was mishandled, wrapped too early, and produced a really lame report that I contested. I asked Gingrich himself at our last meeting if he could keep me part of the process after our committee disbanded. Since then I have been black balled by him and his staff. So now I have to go through Congress to get through to VA since it doesnt seem to want to talk directly with Gulf War vets like me anymore. That includes the non-responsive Col Jeff Peters who doesnt return calls.

    The only way to make progress here is to make things law through Congress because these VA folks are not objective or listening. I should know having dominated the GWVITF commentary website that VA ignored in there final report. Not to mention that they ignored a official letter from the Chairman of House Appropriations considering the conduct of the GWVITF.

    Posting here is a waste of time. You all should be contacting the VA House subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation demanding a follow up to last years GW hearing ( which by the way I provided testimony ). Dont waste time posting to blogs that no one reads. This is just lip service and empty promises. As long as the UDX service connection governs GW claims they will continue to fail, or have vets labeled as personality disorders.

    If you want to stay in the dark, your in the right place. If you want progress and answers then things need to go a different route. Stop letting VA dictate to us through there invisible secret internal task force that doesnt even have a website of its own. Then slam the RAC with R&D telling them what the research will be sans the steering committee.

    Who cares about 20 year old treacle, where can we go today and give our lives meaning again ( real medical relief ). I damn sure havent found it with VA. Then again, VA has made it pretty clear to me it could care less.

    Folks, go talk to Congress and lets change these messed up GW laws. Make it mandatory for VA to deal with rather than let them just find new ways to reshuffle the deck back to somatic illness.

    Sincerely
    Kirt P. Love

  36. jameskdom says:

    Those veterans really deserves recognition. They have risks their lives just to protect others, fight war to reestablish fallen governments and fight to serve their mother country. That huey chopper also deserves recognition. It has been serving war for decades.

  37. Outlaw (TFGrizzly) says:

    It sure has gone by quickly. Thanks to all of my brothers and sisters who served alongside us. God bless the wingers for their exacting support in times of critical need.

    As for the VA and the government; nice cloak, can I borrow it?

    Thank you again for your service as well as those who supported us. Cheers

  38. Wesley Crawford says:

    What you see from the VA is mostly propganda at it’s finest. Agent Orange Deep Water Navy vets are denied service connection. The Secretary of the VA has went out of his way to ensure that they will never be service connected.

    I am Desert Storm Navy sub veteran. I served during Desert Shield/Storm. I have genetic blood enzyme condiditon known as G6PD. This condition reacts badly to both shots (including the anthrax shot) and chemical weapons, as well as chemical spills. I served on the USS Pittsburgh. I am denied service connection by the VA. I would like like to known the reason of how I got sick when I should be healthy I have documentation similar to other vets. The differenc is the laws which John R. Gingrich totes only applies in certain areas. The VA is extremely vocal in denying veterans that got sick in the wrong areas. The VA is extremely focused on rewriting history stating that troops did not get sick before deployment. The VA is extremely determeined to deny research that might focus on any kind of vaccine or chemical weapon exposure from scud etc. The law of presumtion is similar to the what the Agent Orange Vietnam veterans go through. I am experiencing it first hand as Navy veteran from Desert Storm. The soliders creeds does not apply you will be left behind if you served in the Navy in the wrong areas. The soliders creed does not apply if you got sick before deployment. The soliders creed does not apply if you do not meet the new boots on ground ideology. I have medical proof to back up my claims the VA just choses to ignore it. After all the first time around when they told veterans to go away it’s all in your head we would still be there if not for the work of fired researchers who stood up for us. This includes Dr. Haley and other. The VA recently was so bold as to remove Anthrax vaccine injections from the list of possible causes of Gulf War Illness. To hear them talk they would have you belive cases like Sgt Lavester Brown of the Air force who had reaction do not exist. Again the VA is filled with propganda if you as veterans continue to allow it to occur then you are paving the way for again more injustice to fellow military memebers who got sick. Remeber your oath to the Constitution of United States you all swore. Forget the mythical tale of we take veterans. The secretary of the VA has one agenda it is to take care of Soldiers. Discrimination against Navy veterans is very obvious now days, however, what can you do sue the VA for armed forces discrmination? If you think justice is being served with disabled Navy veterans you would be wrong.

  39. Wesley Crawford says:

    I do not often agree with Kirt Love but his earlier letter does hit the mark about the truth of the “new and improved” VA. It is shell game desigined to show something positive,to the media and the press,while denying what actually happened 20 years ago. I am Navy veteran who served ask why are they denied in certain areas. Ask why are Agent Orange Deep Water Navy veterans are denied. Ask why people who got sick before they deployed to Desert Shield are denied. Ask why instead of saying good job.

  40. I was with the 2222 Trans, we set up the log bases early on. Later I worked at WSRO issuing the armor out to the units coming in from Europe. I had my Deuce and a half all over the theater the whole time, making daily trips to Dahran and back to KKMC and points west for much of the time. We went in on the 23rd, late at night/early in the morning, behind the 25X(can’t remember the last digit now, sorry) Combat Engineers, also AZ ARNG, when they breached the “wall”, we were carrying some infantry up to the highway north of Hafr al Batin. Yes. Seems like yesterday.

    When I went into a VA center in 1994 to seek help for what has turned out to be Gulf War Syndrom, constant pain, headaches, digestive issues, tremors, the guy at the front desk here in Phoenix gave me a rant about “real wars” and tore up my 214. I haven’t even looked or listened to the VA since.

    I’ve bounced from job to job to job, been homeless twice and it’s fixing to go there again. They’re never going to admit what they did. There has only been a fraction of 1 percent of the records from that action declassified, Desert Storm is more secret than the Manhattan Project.

    I was activated from civilian status with no reserve time owed after 10 years’ service. The Guard company I was assigned to was shot SO FULL of vaccines. On one day we got 19 shots containing 72 different “medicines”. All three of our supply sergeants have died since coming home. I was lucky with my own truck, I just stayed detached to other units whenever I could and stopped taking the nerve gas pills.

    Everyone I was there with has GWI to some degree or another. We were right in the middle of the Scuds on KKMC. The guys investigating the debris from the rockets set up their headquarters in our tent, because we were at the geographic center of the debris fields, with two Patriot batteries going off around the clock, along with the M8s keeping us from getting any real sleep. I was there and saw it when they blew Khamisiyah.

    But nothing’s wrong with me, it’s all in my head. All old soldiers have these problems. Maybe I need some counseling. Right. Maybe I need my government to stop lying to my children.

  41. Edward Bryan says:

    Dear John R. Gingrich, 10-19-2011

    We need our medical treatments and compensation along with the presumpution law moved forward. I am asking your office to intervine and take action to help the war hero’s.

    Mr. Edward J. Bryan
     

     
    Ph. 781-321-3161
    Edbryan@email.com
    Life Member Whitman DAV # 119
    Life Member Medford VFW # 1012
    U.S. Army ( Retired ) 1974-2000
    U.S. Firefighter ( Medford ) Retired 1986-2000
    Health Care Liaison ( VA-BU ) 1994-2001
    Researcher for Gulf War Illnesses 1992-Present
    VISN-1 Mini-Mac member 1998-Present
    M.F.M. Board member 2006 – Present
    Walter Reed Veteran Health Advisory Council ( VHAC ) Deployment Health, 2000-2002.

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  43. Kenneth Tennant says:

    This Vet Endures Gov’t Sponsored Abuses. The VA now rates me at 100%”Service-Connected” after they got National attention for sending Homeland Security agents to intimidate me into silence by “arresting” me at gun point on trumped up charges that were dismissed upon my pro se appeal. They terrorized my wife and children. Google: Kenneth Tennant to read the story in American Conservative mag. Apr 2005 article: The Knock On The Door. They have yet to award an Earlier Effective date consistent with my service (1987 is when the DoD injected me with experimental vaccines that caused my conditions) The Iowa delegation has done little to nothing as this is yet “pending.” The SSA is worse. I applied for soc sec disability in 1991. The medical exams determined disability, but the lawyers & judges (ALJ Don Holloway & US Dist Ct., S. IA “Judge” Ron Longstaff) cheated me with their skills at putting objectivity on the back burner. I need Debra Bice, Chief ALJ, ODAR to re-open my case. I sent her a US registered letter, yet she has a cadre of incompetent & dishonest employees tell me that my ONLY option is to “re-apply” despite the fact that this is NOT an option as I haven’t worked since leaving the military in 1989 & have no “work credits.” Where is the oversight ? Accountability ? Iowa delegation ? USDOJ ? – Kenneth Tennant, 3935 Rolling Hills Dr., Bettendorf, Iowa (563) 355-7073

  44. jimmy says:

    First and foremost thank you for all your sacrifices and service I’m not a Desert Storm vet but I am an Iraq and Afghanistan vet total time almost 3 years total deployed and my last time in Afghanistan I took a round to my left hip and the bullet bounced I to my spine requiring a spinal fusion surgery I can’t run play sports with my kids or do any of the things that I used to love my quality of life is not horrible thanks to my friends and family but its nowhere it should be and the might VA gives me a 40% rating after 2 appeals I thought the VA was supposed to be here for the veterans no matter what.