A look at the Veterans and the Issues Surrounding American
and Allied Veterans of The Gulf War
Gulf War Illness (Part 1 of 2)
www.Desert-Storm.com is proud to host a copy of the Gulf War Illness Awareness packet presented below. It is not meant to be a comprehensive exploration of GWI and its surrounding issues. Thanks go to Tonia Goertz for providing this compilation. If you wish to download this presentation in a more printer friendly format please right-click on the following link and choose Save As: gwi_packet.doc
The intent of this packet is to make you aware of the problems faced By Persian Gulf Veterans. It is NOT meant to be comprehensive, rather a more personal look at the victims of this War. American citizens, and Veterans who have proudly served this country and are now suffering due to the apathy of the public, the lack of media attention similar to the POW and Agent Orange issues faced by our predecessors, and inadequate and inappropriate medical care.
The goal of this packet is to make you aware of the reality of the life of our Veterans since the war, Included are the publicly available statistics, and the number to call for current statistics, excerpts of documents on major contributing factors, and Personal stories from the Veterans themselves.
Thank you for your consideration of this issue, and for more information please contact: E-mail: tinkerBel992000@yahoo.com
The stories contained herein are the stories written by the Veterans themselves, or their spouses. One is a Life magazine article about a group of Veterans and the issues faced by their children.
This packet also contains a few excerpts from some of the many documents available for your reading pleasure on things like the safety of Depleted Uranium, the anthrax vaccine, and the agents that the US government knew the Iraqi’s possessed because WE sold them.
I would like to publicly thank each person that has contributed to this effort through the sharing of their story, the passing of the word that I was working on this, or simply for sending up prayers that this has some impact or makes some kind of difference. I would also like to thank each of you, those reading this, for your time and interest in the lives of our Veterans.
For more complete information on this issue, here are a few of the sites available for answers to any questions you might have:
1. American Gulf War Veterans Association www.gulfwarvets.com
2. National Gulf War Resource Center: www.ngwrc.org
3. Desert Storm . com: http://www.desert-storm.com
4. New Hampshire Gulf War Syndrome Association: www.nhgws.org/index.htm
5. The Reigle Report: What veterans have been exposed to and a look at the U.S. government’s involvement: www.gulfwarvets.com/arison/banking.htm
A few personal looks at this issue:
Tom Colosimo: www.tomcolosimo.com
Candy Lovett: www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/1683/enter.html
The Mandatory Anthrax Vaccine and why it is a problem for All Gulf War Veterans, and All Veterans who have served since that time:
Major Sonny Bates: www.majorbates.com
Anthrax Vaccine Home Page: www.anthraxvaccine.org
Also, you can search Squalene, Gulf War, Gulf War Illnesses, Illnesses in Gulf war Veterans, Birth defects in Gulf War Veterans Children, or any variation of these topics and come up with thousands of links.
To begin, I will outline the issues, outline only due to the extensive nature of the information available on each of these on line. I will also state that I am not a doctor or any form of medical personnel, I am not a researcher, and I am not attempting to do anything other than make you aware of the FACTS that the media and government seem to chose to discount. My story is included herein and when you read it and the others, I hope that they will in some way motivate you to start asking some serious questions of our elected officials. We are but a few of those suffering.
A. Chemical weapons like nerve agents, mustard gas, etc.
B. Depleted Uranium- from the tank armor to the spent rounds, to the destroyed Iraqi equipment.
C. Experimental vaccines and drugs:
1. Anthrax vaccine
2. Botulism Toxin Vaccine
3. Pyridostigmine Bromide (anti nerve agent pills)
D. Biological Weapons and viral agents engineered by man
E. Environmental Exposures:
1. Diesel fuel
2. Diesel fumes
4. Chemical agent resistant coating (CARC)Paint
F. Indigenous diseases
II. Medical Care
A. Denied claims
1. Inability to prove service connection due to missing records.
2. Inability to understand claims process due to lack of support from service organizations.
3. Denial of appeals due to missing deadlines due to not understanding the forms.
4. Denial of claims due to improperly submitted evidence.
5. Claims denied on the basis of being “not well grounded”
6. Claims approved on illnesses not requested for, or approved with no compensation.
B. Medical Treatment
1. Lack of care all together
2. Lack of appropriate care for illnesses presented
3. Lack of appropriate diagnostic tests being run
4. Denial or omission of positive test results
5. Treatment for psychological problems, unnecessarily, in the presence of heart, liver, or kidney problems.
6. Improper or limited diagnoses.
7. Being told by VA doctors that they, and I quote, “WE DO NOT TREAT GULF WAR RELATED ILLNESSES, BUT WE CAN REFER YOU TO PSYCHOLOGY.”
8. Refusal by both civilian and VA doctors to recommend diagnostic tests- VA based on the statement above, civilian due to the fact that they say go to the VA.
C. Family Issues:
1.Birth defects in our children
2.Learning disabilities in our children
3.Infection of our spouses and children with indigenous diseases and genetically engineered things.
4.Exposure of our families to our chronic illness, financial hardship, and in some cases even homelessness.
5.Inability to find causes if illnesses and issues in our children/ lack of medical care for them as well.
I am sure that I have omitted some of the things we face on a daily basis, but this is a fairly reasonable overview. The illnesses and problems faced are unique to each person. It seems as though no two people present exactly the same way. Each family faces different challenges and concerns, and the bottom line is that many are dying or already dead.
We are VETERANS, and the families of Veterans, we do not want your pity, or sorrow at our loss. We want your action.
For accurate up to date information contact: The Special Assistant
Four Skyline Place, Suite 901
5113 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
Our e-mail address is: email@example.com or call: (800) 497-6261
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of March 1st 2001
– 696,661 U.S. troops served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and July 31, 1991 — these are considered “Gulf War Conflict” veterans by the VA;
– Of the 696,628, 504,047 are separated from service and eligible for benefits through the VA;
– As of December 1999, more than 263,000 sought medical care at the VA;
– Of the 504,047 eligible veterans, 185,780 (36%) filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities;
– Of the 171,878 VA claims actually processed, 149,094 (80%) were approved in part (note — most claims are made up of multiple issues, if any one issue is granted, VA considers it approved);
– Of the 504,047 eligible for VA benefits, 149,094 (29%) are now considered disabled by the VA eleven since the start of the Gulf War; and
– Another 13,902 claims against the VA still pending.
– More than 9,600 Gulf War veterans have died.
– Conflict veterans are 51% more likely to have their claims denied than “theater” veterans (those who served in the Gulf since August 1, 1991)
– Veterans who served at Khamisiyah and Al Jubayl are 37% more likely to have one or more service connected conditions than era veterans. Conflict veterans are 8% more likely than era veterans to have one or more service connected conditions. Theater veterans – those who served in the region since August 1, 1991 – are 16% less likely than era veterans to have service connected conditions.
According to the Department of Defense, by 1999, the military revealed
– As many as 100,000 U.S. troops were exposed to repeated low-levels of chemical warfare agents, including sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard gases;
– More than 250,000 received the investigational new drug pyridostigmine bromide (PB pills) the Pentagon “cannot rule out” as linked to Gulf War illnesses;
– 8,000 received the investigational new botulinum toxoid (Bot Tox) vaccine;
– 150,000 received the hotly debated anthrax vaccine;
– 436,000 entered into or lived for months within areas contaminated by more than 315 tons of depleted uranium radioactive toxic waste possibly laced with trace amounts of highly radioactive Plutonium and Neptunium, almost all without any awareness, training, protective equipment, or medical evaluations; and
– Hundreds of thousands lived outdoors for months near more than 700 burning oil well fires belching fumes and particulate matter without any protective equipment.
– Each of these exposures took place while troops were either engaged in combat, serving in a war zone, or stationed in the volatile region for a number of months.
My brother was a happy guy with out a mean thing to say bout anyone. He always smiled & joked with all that he met. He was the oldest of 5 children born in our family. He always got along with everyone. He decided to join the Army & was in the Paratrooper & was in Special Forces. When the fights began for what was later called Desert Storm & Desert Shield, he was called to go over there. He went willingly to help our Government. He was one of the first sent out & one of the last to return.
The brother that came back was not the same one that had left. For on the outside he still did all the things that he did before but his heart wasn’t there. Only his family could see the changes that had taken place. Though there wasn’t anything that we could do to lessen the pain or the horror that he witnessed. He was one of the many that were given clean up duty.
Such a ridiculous name for such a ghastly duty.
They were sent to check out those that had fallen to be sure whether or not they were dead.
They also collected the dead bodies of both our soldier’s & the fallen enemy. Many were in parts that had to be collected. Many of the enemy bodies were booby trapped so care had to be taken. Not a job that anyone would want to have to do.
When he came back, he was like many other soldiers that had been there.
Loud noised would put him on alert, he couldn’t stay inside for to long for he was used to being outside, he felt better being outside.
He was still fighting those that he was sent to fight; the war was not over for him.
Many soldiers never recover from this, nightmares continue to plague them, & they never cease to have them. They come in the daylight hours & when they least expect them.
My brother was one of the lucky few that was better able to cope with the things that he had to do. The sadness remained even though he went on with getting his life together.
His life was cut short only a few years after returning to us.
He died on May 16, 1998.
Though the Lord called for him, he remains in our hearts & on our minds with every passing day.
Robert and Sheila
My name is Sheila Allen. My husband, Robert Allen, of just 8 months came down with Primary CNS Lymphoma. This was in the brain only. He was diagnosed on April 22, 1999. After extensive treatment, he still went home be with the Lord on Feb. 19, 2001. He served in Gulf war, and was in the service from 1977-1997. He was on the U.S.S. O’Brien over there floating around in the waters right off the gulf. Fortunately he did get a full service disability status. If you need more info, please feel free to write me, and ask. I would be happy to share with you. Also, I came down with thyroid disease in March of 99. Hashimotos disease, which is an autoimmune thyroid condition.
I read what they said on the fibromyalgia/ cfs. It pretty well describes me I have been to doctor after doctor. Yesterday I was dx with fibromyalgia imaging that.
I was laid off last year in February. The year before I was taking off more work due to sickness than I ever have. When I was laid off it was a God sin because they were going to rid me because of my attendance.
Below is the letter I mailed to Congress last October and to several of our Hierarchy.
I have not returned to work. Sometimes I can’t even move or I am just paralyzed to all the symptoms I have. My memory has been altered. I am being punished because I go beyond appellate dates. Well you know something I find it hard to concentrate and I actually forget things.
Thank you for using www.Congress.org to send your important message to your elected officials. Congress.org is a public service Web site operated by Capitol
Advantage whose goal is to empower citizens to communicate and share their views with the nation’s leaders.
Message sent to the following recipients:
Chief of Staff Card
Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace Security Clarke
Message text follows:
October 13th 2001
To whom it may concern:
I know my letter is long but please at least read it and see if you can do something. Here is websites for desert storm http://www.ngwrc.org and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gulf-chat/message/9596 also feel free to browse it. Bottom line I need help now, not a year from now.
My life has been taken away from me because of this unknown disease. It has affected my family, my career path and everything I have worked for.
I served my country I was not drafted. I volunteered and for almost 14 years you had nothing but dedication. Now I need support and I feel that everyone is out to get me. Pretty soon I will have no income yet I find it hard to seek employment as I live in a nightmare. Am I angry, suicidal, homicidal, emotional, upset with the system, anxious and/or depressed?
I am having problems and they have been worsening since my time spent in the gulf. I don’t know whom to turn to because I’m having a problem focusing on the stuff in front of me. I am ok some days with moderate pain and able to function. Other times I am debilitated.
As I write this letter, I am hardly able to swallow. My tongue has some kind of virus that VA doctors can’t identify. My eyes water, I’m sensitive to light, my joints are aching, I’m bitter, angry, depressed, I gasp for breath, I’m fatigued and I’m just at my wits end. I lay at night, wondering, if I have given my family something.
I feel afflicted with a disease that has left me sick. I have suffered enough and reports show many have died. I am destitute and have depleted my savings in an unsuccessful search for an explanation for my ailment. I am a military veteran of the Gulf War. The only thing I am asking is for nothing more than the assistance I have earned. Refusal on my immediate assistance leads me to question the integrity of the nation I served.
I have cysts in my arms, and legs and also soars forming, headaches, chronic fatigue, upper respiratory problems and I feel like I am losing control sometimes because for the last 9 to 10 years I have been led to believe I was imagining all this. After Desert Storm, I went into the work force in Dec 94 and left Feb 2001, thank GOD I got a severance package because Lord knows what I would be doing now. The last year I worked, I took off so much work because of symptoms.
I am being told I have to wait for a decision. The proof is in the pudding, I am living it. Instead of putting the burden of proof on us soldiers why can’t the government open their eyes and prove we did not get a disease over there. Why must we have it documented while we were over there in medical records? As a matter of fact, I don’t care if it was anthrax, biological warfare or etc. Also, just because it might have not affected someone else in my unit or any other unit for that matter, they could have had a certain antibody for this anthrax and/or biochemical crap. It’s not going to do me any good to pinpoint my location in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. I just want it fixed so I can go on living a normal life.
Am I angry, suicidal, homicidal, emotional, upset with the system, anxious and/or depressed?
I have recently gone to VFW, and I will try and get justice. I am concerned however that the law states a veteran only has a year from the decision of a disability to include the family for extra pay. I was awarded 30 per cent yet sometimes the things I endure are debilitating. I have recently found out that I should have been drawing just a little more income for my spouse and son to help financially, however VFW told me the DAV didn’t put in for this and I didn’t know anything about it. Now that I know the law they say I cannot get back pay for something that was in fact owed to me, yet I didn’t know about. I should have been receiving pay since 93 my award didn’t start until 96. I am confused on how the system works because during my claim process, the DAV and the Appellate board knew I was married. My wife spoke in my behalf. Go figure. The law should be bent because DAV had my power of attorney. I should not be denied this.
The pain I experience is excruciating at times, I go into meditation as I was taught to endure pain via military, but I can only take so much at times so I have to rely on other resources when needed.
Sometimes I burst into tears for nothing at all because I feel worthless. I was so great and rising fast yet now I feel like my whole world has fallen. I was an account executive for a major firm, I served as an inspector for the 102nd Arcom, I was a maintenance sergeant and etc. I wiped a lot of noses in and out of service but I am having difficulty wiping my own.
What is it that we as veterans suppose to do with this disease of the unknown? VA can’t pay you compensation because it takes months to be approved at the appellate board if it is approved at all, and social security takes months if it is not denied. What are we to do in the meantime? Why isn’t there something set up for the obvious?
I don’t go to the VA every time I have a headache, nor do I when all my other ailments occur yet I must provide proof via a doctor these things are happening. So here I have severe apnea, which is one of the signs and it took me to go to a private doctor to finally discover this. I have chronic fatigue, upper respiratory problems, in which my chest hurts and the doc wants to maybe take a piece of tissue from my lung, I have rashes, cysts, soars that inflame and become unbearable to touch, my back aches yet I try and exercise and do normal things, and I always try to stay positive. For if all of this is in my mind please help me remove it so I can live and press on.
I wished you people were in our shoes; no I don’t because you wouldn’t be in the same position, and you would get something done, because you have power. Well why can’t you use your power for us.
May 14th 2002
Paul F. Yelton Jr.
To whom it may concern,
Chances are if this letter is being displayed, a great friend of mine deemed it necessary to do so. I joined the service in 1987, a graduate from high school I wanted to make my parents proud. I joined the service so I could continue my education in the engineering field. Much to my dismay, this furthering of my education never happened. All throughout my history in The United States Army, I wore the uniform proudly, and served my country honorably. When tensions in the Middle East grew in the early nineties, apprehension of a conflict was in the air. Though I never served in the theater of Iraq during the war, my unit was deployed to Turkey. Before deployment our unit received multiple vaccinations, these we were told were necessary as to fight off any infections, or ailments resulting in going to foreign lands. Though not a glorious mission, ours was to help the refuges, also known as the Kurds. Once our mission was finished we returned to Germany, from there I was out processed, as I was involuntary extended under the circumstances surrounding the war. Many of times during my stay in turkey, many off us would awake to choking on the sprays, the Turkish soldiers used for the control of insects. Upon my returning to civilian life, the years passed by without a problem. I had often heard of other soldiers getting sick from the injections and shells that were used. None of the problems that plagued my brethren and sisters affected me so I did not worry about it. A decade after the cease fire, in the fall of 2000, the county where I live, decided to spray for the west Nile virus. Two months later, I became deathly ill. While driving a tanker trailer, I had a seizure. From that point in my life my world crumbled at my feet. Upon the diagnoses of seizure disorder, my life was to be changed forever.
No longer could I continue my career. Being a Professional Driver, having a seizure disorder ruined my career. The career that I had loved for so many years was gone in a flash. Having two young children and a wife at home my heart was crushed. I knew I had to start another career, after a few months I was returned to the work force. Working for a home improvement store now became my profession. Though not the first choice for a truck driver, being in retail started to give me a sense of well being, with a chance to move up into management in a short period of time. After two years one career destroyed, and a year to rule out any genetic link, my world once again has crumbled at my feet. Now facing financial ruin, and a potential loss of my home, I am disappointed in the people of the United States.
The Va. has diagnosed me with seizure disorder, possible ms, and cardiac murmur, all of which I self diagnose as Gulf War illness. I say Gulf War Illness because I spent a year ruling out any genetic link, and have found that far to many other gulf era vets have very similar problems. After two years of research myself, I believe my problems originated from the multiple vaccinations. Many Government experts believe this is not the case, I believe it is. The toll this has taken on me is very great, I struggle each day to try and remember yesterday, or the day before that, or the day before that. I watch, as my young son looks at me and says, dad, you didn’t remember we were going to do this, or that. The emotional struggle from day to day, as to whether or not I will remember the past, as so I won’t make the same mistakes in the future. Being in retail as a customer asks a question, I can’t remember so I ask what was asked, the reaction of anger towards me. As things in this life are always changing, so has this illness changed me. I used to be a quiet, simple man, now I have become a man driven, driven by the desire for my Government to answer my questions and tell me why and how come. A man at 34 yrs old who has made his peace with his maker, yet a wife a two children that do not understand his anger.
I served my country proud, I would serve my country again, and I am discouraged as to why my country will not answer my call. I have written our leaders numerous times, only to have my pleas, fall on deaf ears. To have other Veteran groups look down upon you, simply because our soldiers came home with yellow ribbons, and a parade. The battle for this group of veterans is not over, the mission a failure. The media tells all of no casualties, there are over one hundred thousand, and we are still falling daily on the average we lose two gulf era veterans. Folks, there are fifty thousand names on the wall, one hundred thousand gulf era veterans do not have a wall in which to have their names placed, only tombstones. The gulf veterans are not only who is affected by the war, our children are sacrificing for their country to, though they never signed their name. Many of our veterans’ children are born with birth defects. Not only our children, but also the children in Iraq are also suffering. Because of our nations agenda to apply sanctions, many children are suffering there as well. These diseases slowly wear at ones body, and eventually take ones mind.
I believe we all have an obligation to make a stand. The very freedoms we all fought for, in any war are threatened. New laws are being passed everyday, slowly taking away the very rights that our constitution was founded on. Freedom of speech, freedom of statement, our kids can no longer pray in our schools, how can we expect our God to answer our calls. I ask each of you who may read this to take a step back. Take a good long look, and ask yourself, what has happened, why have I allowed this to happen. All wars were lost, as the very principals we fought for have become tarnished. America has become so relaxed that we have allowed domestic enemies to infiltrate into our governing bodies. Take a look and ask, is this what I sacrificed so much for? Is this what I am going to allow to continue? I pray for our service men and women today, as they to will return, to have America turn her back on them. As George Washington once said, “The willingness of our young people to serve in any war, no matter how justified, is how they perceive the way those that went before them were treated. Will we allow America to continue to lose her honor? Anyone with any questions of this Veteran is welcome to contact me to validate the words I have written.
Thank you and may your god bless you.
Paul F. Yelton Jr.
A once proud Veteran and very disappointed citizen
Freda and Lyle
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Freda H. Babinski and I am the wife of Lyle S. Babinski who had served with the 155th Engineer Co. National Guard Unit in Waverly, Tennessee 37185. Rank E-4, His unit was activated and sent to Saudi Arabia to serve in Operation Desert Shield/Storm from Jan. 1991 to June 1991.
At the time his unit left, my husband was in excellent health and state of mind. When me and Mr. Rogers (a young man who has lived with us since we were married in 1986) picked him up from the Nashville Airport, we both immediately smelled a very unusual odor on him, his uniform and all his belongings. It was not from lack of showering, this odor was very different. This odor had a chemical smell and the reason I know this is because I also served in the U.S. Army and I know that smell. You never, NEVER forget that odor.
After he was at home for about a month, I started to notice changes in him. The diarrhea would last for two or three days. It would stop for a week or so and then it would start up again. I see him get mad and upset over absolutely nothing and for no reason. His concentration span is very short. As he tries to do the normal things here at home like he use to, he’ll suddenly quit in severe anger or from exhaustion or bothMy husband can’t breathe through his nose and his nasal passages are swelled. He coughs and sneezes allot. With-in a month after he returned, I noticed that his nose got very red and dry and he complained of it hurting all the time. We tried all kinds of creams and ointments but nothing would work. VA has also given him nose sprays, hich helped for a couple days and then stopped. The redness on his nose is now across his forehead and cheeks. Also blood actually runs out of his nose several times a month. I thought he developed high blood pressure but I check it quite often and it’s normal most of the time. I use to be a Registered Nurses Assistant for twenty yrs. so I do know what I’m doing. There are times that his blood pressure will rise suddenly and then in minutes go back to normal.
During these times (which are several times a week now) his skin turns gray in color. Before this, the gray color was only happening at night when he slept. He can no longer sleep in the bed. He has to sleep in his chair or on the floor (when he does sleep and it’s only for a few hrs). This has been going on in the past yr. He yells in his sleep and he moans like he’s in severe pain while sleeping. Every night I have to keep checking him to see if he’s breathing because his skin has that gray look as if he’s dead. Also in the last few yrs. he has been getting lost coming home from work.
He said that he will suddenly find himself on the interstate wondering where he is suppose to be going and then he will remember. So I had to get him a cell phone so when this happens, hopefully he would know to call me and I could help him. This past yr. he’s come home disoriented many times. He acts like he’s not sure if he’s suppose to be here or not. He gets confused so easily. This will last about an hour or so. The headaches are more severe now than they were before and they are every day now. VA in Nashville advised me to request guardianship over him which I’ve already done yet have not gotten an answer from them as of yet. My husband hurts so bad in his joints and muscles and he is so exhausted all the time. He can only work part time now but I feel that even that is too hard on him.
The people he works with are wonderful because they watch him for me and they too have noticed some drastic changes in him. They see his how he hurts and what he goes through. He’s been missing allot of work lately because he feels and hurts so bad. The doctors there are seeing how sick he is now and are asking why he looks so bad. I have a civilian Neurologist check him constantly where he works and she found nerve damage in his lower spine and severe Carpal Tunnel in both wrists. After she did her exams she wrote a statement that he is whole body 70% disabled and that’s not counting his Gulf War symptoms. He is slowly losing the use of both hands and VA in Nashville TN. doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem. He also has a pocket of fluid in his brain that wasn’t there before and VA once again, doesn’t see that as a problem.
I’m by far not a physician but I do know that his symptoms and his pains are very real. Since June 1991 when he returned from the Gulf War his symptoms have increased at least 75%. It is not in his imagination nor is it in mine. He has also received both letters stating that his Unit WAS in the area of Khamisiyah and the letters were dated 7-24-97 and 12-05-00.
My husband and I do very little socializing but the friends we do have are the people he works with. He works at a hospital and if the Higher Ups knew how sick he is, I am sure he would lose his job. They already got rid of the other GWV’s. You see, I’m 100% disabled now and we barely make it from paycheck to paycheck. He is our main source of income. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how he makes it day after day. His age serves no purpose in this matter. Before Desert Storm, my husband could work any younger man into the ground, I’ve seen him do it and you know why? He always took extra good care of himself by exercising and eating right also he does not drink nor does he smoke. This man very seldom took an aspirin.
As for myself, it has increased all of my illnesses plus I now have other illnesses that I didn’t expect. I have epilepsy, which contain two or three seizures daily, degenerative bone disease, two discs missing in my spine. I’m always having pinched nerves in my spine and lower neck (usually about two times a month). These were illnesses I already had but now I suffer from severe migraines that have been diagnosed. When I get these migraines, I also get ruptured blood vessels in one eye (the side the pain is on). I also have severe low sugar and a hiatal hernia. My arthritis is so severe now that I have a worse time sitting, standing or walking for any distance. My husband and I recently found out that we both have Hep. C.
I also had 3 dogs and 2 cats that are ill. We already lost one cat to a kidney infection that our Veterinarian seemed very puzzled about because the cat wasn’t that old and was very healthy. Both of the larger dogs have strange knots all over their bodies, different sizes and shapes. One dog (who recently died this past Easter am.) has had four surgeries removing these knots but they kept returning. They all have kidney infections at least once a month. They all have rectal bleeding at times. They all have severe arthritis and all but one are sensitive to loud noises and that’s because she is completely deaf. They hide all the time as if they’re scared. The one dog that recently died was completely blind. The smaller dog is on medication for her lack of bladder control. All of them are very sensitive on the top of their heads like they’re in severe pain. They all get diarrhea periodically and run fevers for no reason. Our pets didn’t act or hurt like this before my husband went to the Gulf but they do now and it began after his return.
Washington DC knows about our situation and our pets and have had other reports of pets being ill with the same symptoms. It has been admitted to me by Jim Reeves who is now retired from OSAGWI that most Veterans will not report this problem much for two reasons and they are:
1) People will not believe them.
2) They haven’t connected it to the ill Veteran yet. If another family member can get this illness, then why not the pets?
Which should also tell you that this illness is contagious.
You see, I’ve only given you the short version of what all has happened to us. our lives and our future since my husbands return from the Gulf. By the way, I nearly forgot, we’ve already had to file Bankruptcy plus my husband is also a Vietnam Veteran who now has the nightmares again and how much more can this Country expect him to tolerate?
I certify that everything I have said here is the truth to the best of my knowledge. I AM AN AMERICAN VETERAN MYSELF THEREFORE I DO NOT LIE FOR ANYONE!!
May 14, 2002
Thank- You for your time….
Feel free to contact me ANYTIME if you want verification of my story and I will gladly go into more detail.
Freda H. Babinski
(The State that sent the most volunteers to the Gulf)
Robert D. Smith
Hello this is Smokey from the AGWVA B/B w/ the personal stories you were requesting. I have no problem w/ anyone asking questions about this story. You may feel free to reveal my web page or e-mail address to any who would scrutinize this story or your work. For me, the story begins w/ being attached to the 101st Air Assault Div. 1st BDE 2/327 inf. Right after the invasion of Kuwait the division went into action. Preparing for deployment. Part of this prep was being vaccinated for overseas duty. I received numerous shots that day just like in basic and before deployment to Panama. This time 2 new ones were added to the mix, Anthrax & Botulism Toxin. Around the end of Aug 91 we were in country and as best I can remember all was going well. Soon after arrival we were issued the PB tabs w/ instruction from our squad leader that he would hold formation after every meal and supervise everyone taking his or her PBs as ordered.
I made it through the conflict and came home. I can’t recall when I started noticing something wrong. Others noticed my change before me. Shortly after my return, I was reassigned from my inf. unit to the NCO academy as an instructor. This was due to my illness and not being able to adjust. Kind of a friendly light duty gesture from my CO at the time. I finished out my 4 yr tour there. But not without incident. My health was deteriorating.
I was removed from field exercises twice by ambulance when I went to the medic w/ my complaints. They were having a hard time locating a pulse and my blood pressure was nowhere to be found until I got to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and hooked up to a heart machine. I knew something wasn’t right but what had started out as flu or cold had become more serious. I left the service in ’93 after only 4yrs in. (I went in thinking of it of as a career) Prior to my discharge during one of the out processing meetings. I was asked if I wanted to file a claim w/ the VA. Being advised they would take care of any follow on care I required. I agreed and filed my claim. In it I listed the following as my symptoms. 1stomach condition, 2chronic fatigue syndrome w/ dizziness & memory loss, 3lung condition, 4nervous condition, 5back pain, 6residuals of a fractured finger. I turned in this paper work and was discharged about a month later in Dec.
I arrived home and found work w/ the USDA Forest Service in April that yr. I still wasn’t doing good but needed to work to support my family. It was tough back then. I was having trouble keeping anything down. Other times I would have a mouth so watery that you either bent over and let it run out like a faucet, or swallowed and saw it all at once later. I would get cramps and muscular spasms, watery eyes and headaches from hell. It wouldn’t happen everyday but about 4 times a week. I was waiting to hear back from the VA papers I had put in. All I ever got for that whole year from the VA was ” We are having trouble locating your service records”.
Then eventually in mid 94 they made a decision. Out of all the listed complaints all but one was considered “not well grounded” Because the Army would not release my records to the VA. The one approved, the finger I broke while carrying a dragon missile for a friend. The rating was 0% for the entire muscle skeletal system. I took this news very hard. So hard I was becoming violent and near homicidal toward them. They had just called me a liar basically. I never appealed their decision. I didn’t know how.
All I knew was the people, who were supposed to help, left me to die. So with no med insurance from my gov’t job ( Because I was only a seasonal firefighter.) and no help from the VA. I suffered through the next 4 yrs. constantly contemplating suicide or at least leaving my family to spare them the pain of having to tend to my needs. (I spent a lot of nights w/ a trashcan next to my bed to vomit in every night.) Things were so tight I had to choose between going to a doctor or letting the family go hungry. It wasn’t till late 94 after that denial that I first heard o f Gulf War Syndrome. In 98 I had met a few other local vets. All of whom were Vietnam Veterans. We talked and I explained my situation.
They sincerely tried to help but the VA was not budging saying I missed the appeal and had no new evidence. But like last time all was not lost. They gave me a “not well grounded” on all the items I had claimed but granted me 10% for something I didn’t claim and never mentioned out of embarrassment. That was Irritable Bowel Syndrome. About this time I had caught wind of the Persian Gulf Registry exam. I signed up and things started happening for me. They were beginning to recognize my illness for what it was. Multi symptomatic. The exam took only 3 months. I had appt’s almost daily. I ended up w/ some diagnosis that made sense.
They include PTSD, which was the nervous condition I applied for originally (I did not know what to call it then). Also a motor tremor, severe hypothyroid problem, Acid reflux disease w/ Barrettes Esophagus. An Inguinal hernia, a bulging C-5 & 6 vertebrae in my back. It wasn’t till after that exam and on my 3rd claim for the same conditions over again that I received a Service Connection, but only for the PTSD. Everything else they deny. I’m starting to loose my focus, and need a break. I hope this helps explain to others what is going on. If I can ever be of any assistance, please let me know. I don’t think I said all I wanted too, but only what I can remember at this time. I know I’m not the only one suffering, and as sick as it sounds it’s a relief for me to know I’m not alone in this struggle. Sgt. Smith Robert D. A Co.2/327 infantry 1st BDE. 101st Abn. Div. 1989-93.
Hope I’m not too late:
My husband joined the US army in February 1970. He served in Vietnam 1971-1972 with B 159th Aviation and 362nd Aviation Co. attached to the 229th attached to the 1st Cav. and the Persian Gulf August-September ’90-101st Airborne Division. He was on profile for a back disability while sent over to Saudi and was evac’d back about a month later because of it. He never should have been deployed in the first place. He recalls MOPP 4’s many times during this one month of service in Saudi. They slept in tents on the concrete airfield in sleeping bags. He remembers that he had dehydrated and the company chaplain had difficulty in arousing him. Back state side he was in charge of HHC and handled baggage of other returning soldiers after the war. He retired honorably in November 1991.
Presumed service connected disabilities at time of discharge: Cervical spine strain, migraine headaches, lumbar strain, and dysthimia.
The lumbar disks were herniated with osteophytes, neural foraminal narrowing and documented in 1989 SMR CT report in the claim file, but they only gave him 10% for a “strain” He was on profile for Sciatica, and bilateral Radiculapathy (nerve involvement from the disks) the whole last year of his service but he didn’t have a problem on the day of his VA C & P, so they gave him “strain” 10%. They never ordered MRI. Treated at that VA facility for 9 years. 2000 the new VAMC finally ordered an MRI after he fell down the basement stairs backwards onto the concrete due to a side effect of a VA psychotropic medication, which caused him to lose the loss of use of his legs. Has had chronic radiculopathy (nerve pain) in both thighs but they say they can see no reason for it. New VAMC only recognize one lumbar disk and never investigates the c-spine. Completes EMG on the wrong side (as it was ordered) and reports negative findings. When brought to their attention they repeat it this time on the PROPER SIDE-they do a “limited” study and again report it as normal. EMG testers were inexperienced interns and inflicted undue pain. EMG was repeated via civilian Dr. (A board certified neurologist) and positive findings were found. 2002 comp still says its just a strain and raises him to 40%. (Claim for increase et al filed 1999-3 years earlier).
C-spine. Injured in in-service auto accident, whiplash injury. 1991 C-spine exam shows loss of normal cervical lordosis et al, but no problem found with the disks. Got a copy of the 1991 VA x-ray film. 2002 got a civilian MRI. MRI found two herniated disks causing MARKED flattening of the spinal cord-compared to 1991 X-ray-NO CHANGE. 2002 Comp maintains 10% cervical strain.
Migraines: Have increased in frequency and severity. 2002 raised to 40%-should be 60%.
Dysthimia: Is purportedly a “temporary” condition per VA. Have outside MD and an expert PhD witness for SSA and VA state that this is NOT dysthimia, but is PTSD-related to combat in Vietnam. But the VAMC doctor’s say it is “anxiety-related” disorder and NOT PTSD. Have a signed statement from the CO of the unit served in Vietnam. Filed a complaint with OIG for failure to diagnose & treat PTSD. Records documenting the disorder are in the VAMC medical record, but the Director fails to inform OIG during the investigation and OIG conveniently overlooks it. Case closed no merit. (OIG had the information from us). VAMC wants to use psychotropic drugs and “anger management classes”. Receiving treatment via civilian PhD for PTSD was approved for SS disability for PTSD. Cannot take medication due to fact of liver disease (related to all the drugs used for his back? or a hereditary disorder (according to VAMC). No decision rendered on liver disease.
Dependents: VA knew of impending marriage 6 months prior to and within six months thereafter that it took place per medical records. Took place 6/97. VA has a copy of the marriage license and birth certificate of stepchild. Documentation is in the claim file. Application for Dependency status filed 8/00 (through no request from the VA-I might add). He is still single according to the RO. 2002 Fired The American Legion. They had the case for over 10 years and did not do a very good job.
Well that’s his story in a nutshell. Case pending appeal. “Pamela Hassett”
Michelle and Brian
My name is Michelle Harvey, my husband is Brian and he is the vet. First, some of the paperwork nightmares. The DoD has him listed that he was in General Swartzcoff’s unit (I don’t know how to spell his name- sorry), which means, they think he had hot meals running water and nice hot showers! What a joke. My husband was transferred several times while he was over there. Since coming back his memory is shot and he can’t even remember what unit he served in. So, the gov’t thinks he was in the headquarters and that does not help with our claim. We have been fighting since about 1993-1994 to get benefits for him. The VA hospital has treated him very poorly.
When he presented for his registry and C&P exam he complained of the following (taken from the original list he brought with him): blurred vision, balance problems, dizziness, headaches every day migraines at least 3-4 times a week, nausea, stomach problems, diarrhea (Up to 6 times a day), sharp pains in both legs and arms, numbness and tingling both hands and fingers with the right being greater than the left, very fatigued and no energy, poor memory, difficulty controlling temper, difficulty performing tasks and concentrating, easily frustrated, no appetite, occasional skin rashes, swollen lymph nodes, fevers, and complete personality change- very isolated and antisocial when before he didn’t know a stranger.
What did the VA hospital do for him… an x-ray of his skull- not a MRI just an x-ray. They tried him on Midrin, Cafergot, Verapamil, Nortriptyline, Trilisate, Ibuprofen, Citrucil, Naproxen, Claritin, and Fioricet etc etc etc. They only seemed to want to try drugs, no wonder there are so many drug addicted veterans- they don’t want to treat the underlying causes. Needless to say, nothing worked. We refused to return to the VA hospital for substandard care after that. We went into the private sector with our own insurance and at first met just as much resistance. We were treated as if my husband just wanted to scam money from the gov’t. Like he was a worthless piece of crap.
This is just a portion of what one neurologist in Indiana said about my husband: his name was Charles Rehn.
“Although Brian Harvey would like to blame all of his symptoms on the Gulf War, I think most of his symptoms have a psychosomatic origin.” “He probably does have migraine without aura, but I would be hesitant to blame it on the Gulf War.”
This jerk went on to state how Brian became defensive! Of course, he had been treated terrible already and it was hard to get him to go back to a doctor and when he did, see how he was treated once again. There was a large time period in which he didn’t return to doctors which also hurt our claim- the VA assumed since he didn’t go to the doctor he hadn’t been sick. The truth was no one believed in my husband and treated him like a nut case. He refused to return to anyone who didn’t believe or validate that he might in fact have actual problems with his health.
He has had tons of blood work done, his stool has been check for C-diff, and every known parasite etc, he has had two EMG’s, and when he started having chest pains, he got an EKG, treadmill, halter monitor and I think ECHO done. When someone finally listened to me and ordered a MRI shock shock they found a brain tumor. He participated in a Gulf War research project at the Cincinnati, VA hospital (briefly) They found cardiac arrhythmia’s (multiple PVC’s bigeminy and trigeminy) He quit the study when he was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and the VA here denied our claim because he was no longer an undiagnosed illness. We have sent so many medical records to the VA for his claim and had so many family member write how he has changed it’s unreal. We’ve appealed and appealed, we’ve written congressmen and senators. We’ve testified in some hearing about his illnesses. He finally has received 30% for diarrhea that he has had every day since the Gulf. He no longer has normal functioning bowels.
On bad days when he has numerous bouts he has to use a bucket in the back of his work truck to “bag” one because he can’t make it to a bathroom. We’ve lost our modesty by now so excuse my harsh way of describing our situations! LOL. He got 10% service connection for his brain tumor and removal. He hasn’t received anything for nerve damage in his extremities, fatigue or the residuals from his surgery.
His scar goes from his forehead all the way around and down the side of his head and stops at the end of his earlobe, it is painful at times and numb on the top of his head, he has permanent vision damage in his right eye and memory problems. Since it wasn’t caught early enough he has to be followed closely for the rest of his life. He has to get MRI’s a lot and he’s had tons of CT scans. He is on Dilantin forever now, due to leg pains- he was on it to prevent seizures and a good side effect was that it helped with the daily sharp pains he got in his legs. He still has bad days where he has a little limp but the horrible pains that would cause him to not be able to sleep have gotten better. Since surgery his anger and terrible changes in his personality have gotten better. He no longer throws dressers over and breaks things like he did.
He no longer would forget our daughter was in the bathtub, which he did do when she was about 2 years old! He also left her in our home when he went to a gas station. I was asleep in the basement at the time because I worked night shift. He has gotten most of his judgment back after surgery, which is wonderful. I used to sit up and listen to him breathe before. I was so sure some nights that he wasn’t going to take that next breath. I used to listen to his heart and the way it skipped beats and had such funky rhythms. I would hold him and rub his head when all he could do was lay there and rock from the pain. I was there when he had diarrhea so bad there was blood in it, or when he would throw up blood. I was there when he was such a nasty person that no one wanted to be around him.
I was there when no one cared about veterans and I’m still here. I am taking care of my sick husband not the gov’t. We now get monthly compensation but not near enough for what he goes through. The VA asks what % of your life the illnesses affect you. What a silly question. All the vets are affected 100%- I just grieve over the men and women they could have been. And for all the sick people out there that don’t have support or anyone caring for them.
I know this is getting long! We have a daughter, too. She was born August 1995.I have been trying to get her on the registry for children and spouses since 1999. I have called the beginning of 99, 12/17/99, 10/18/00, 3/5/01, 12/7/01 and probably more times that I haven’t documented. As of May 02 no word yet! As for her health, the pregnancy was uneventful but she has so many allergies. She gets rashes for no reason. She is allergic to chocolate, meat- all meat even fish, broth anything, Penicillin, amoxil, zithromax, ceclor, augmentin and she used to be lactose intolerant. When she has too many milk products she has problems but we limit her. Her allergies were so bad that her school had a mold problem that affected her so badly that we are now home schooling her.
Not what I had planned but when she was on clarinex, singular and they wanted her on allergy shots in order to breathe I couldn’t let her stay there. We have to watch everything she eats, if she has stuffing that has turkey broth in it she will have such terrible stomach cramps and pains and diarrhea it is awful to watch. She is 6 and calls it “splatter poop”. So, my child can’t have chocolate chip cookies, a hot dog or any normal food. We have to get her “fake” corn dogs and chicken, all soy protein. It’s expensive shopping for her.
As for me, I’ve always been extremely healthy until being around Brian. I never believed that this illness could be passed to me. I understood about my daughter but not me. I still have a hard time believing it, but, since 1994, I am no longer able to eat any meat products either. Same response at my daughter and Brian can’t have red meat. I always ate meat, loved it. It never made me ill. I loved my BBQ ribs and steak. Now, only the slightest juice from meat dripped on my food leaves me sick for days. I began getting ovarian cysts that when some ruptured the first time I went the ER thinking my appendix burst. I get weird rashes and still have female problems. We desperately want another child but we’re scared of what will be wrong with it. We are still thinking about it and weighing the risks.
My OBGYN seems to think IF we can get pregnant it will be okay. He is leery but I would be followed up very closely. It is strange how much more consideration Brian gets now that he actually has something to validate some of his symptoms. Since he had a brain tumor and it was removed and the VA service connected him for it, it carries some weight. Plus, they know better than to say something to me. I’ve given many a person quite the earful for saying anything about GW vets.
I have a folder at home with 18 responses from various senators and congressmen, which isn’t even close to the number of letters I’ve sent out. Some were worthless and my DAV rep even said don’t send to them. He said all it does is tie up the claim and they carry no weight. They just pull the claim send a stupid form letter to the members and delay the process.
As if that weren’t enough the last slap in the face is that the veterans were promised a medal called the AAM? Anyway, the story told to my husband was Clinton just took office and he needed to sign or do something in order for the vets to receive the AAM and he still hasn’t received anything. Shock shock.
I probably have much much more but I can’t think of anything right now- I’m fried. Too much information. Right now I am sitting here with 5 large yellow envelopes on the computer bursting at the seams with papers about Brian and his claims and medical records. I will send this to some other vets. I posted about Brian’s tumor on the message board years ago and I wish I would’ve kept the emails I received. I have had so many email me about sons/ husbands etc dying from brain tumors it’s so sad. If you need more information please email me I would be happy to talk to whomever or write whatever I need to in order to get us heard. The GW vets need a voice. Now is a good time to speak up while everyone wants to be patriotic.
Thanks for trying.
Sorry it took me some time. I hope this helps. Please read it and correct it if it needs it.
To all who care
This is my story of what I have gone through for the past ten years. I was born 1964 In Mexico; I was raised here in Detroit, Michigan. I joined the military in July 01 1986, went to Chicago for basic training from there I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia for my four years of active duty on board with Vaw-126 who was a part of the USS John F Kennedy task force where we did our tours in the Mediterranean, Before we left the states I was administered my shots for over seas duty. Here is where I believe that I was affected with an illness. To this day a doctor have not been able to explain why I am sick today. When I joined I was totally healthy when I was discharge I did not start getting the symptoms until six months after. I did not relate my illness with other Vets due to the fact that my illness started with flu like symptoms, Except I was getting the flu every three to four months, this went on for about five to six years. I went to every doctor and not one could explain why. It was not until 97 that I was told by doctors that I should go to the VA and have them investigate my illness.
Now the VA was a nightmare. They had assigned me a primary care doctor who I have been seeing for the past ten years dealing with my illness. Now the VA is not to fond of putting blame on my illness due to my time in the military. They blame it more to my ancestry or something other then the fact that my illness was caused by the military. I have not worked for two years now and my illness does not let up on me. Now I have been diagnosed with FMS/CFS, IBS, Sinusitis, Migraines, and memory loss, loss of thought processes. Those are just some that I have been dealing with on a daily basis. I am one of those vets that was never over in the gulf. What I do have memory is the shots I received that had made me sick for three days straight, every time I received them, which was every six months, I never asked what the shot were due to the fact that I figured they knew what I was given. Well this is my story and I pray each day that they will have the answers for my illnesses.
Beckie Webb, age 44
USAR, retired with service-connected disability March 1992
Public Affairs Specialist
341st Medical Group
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Webb, age 48
Married veteran in May 1993
In May 2002, I read a New York Times news article on the slow and agonizing recovery of the six Anthrax victims who –– so far –– have survived their infections. The Anthrax survivors described their earliest recollection of symptoms: intravenous tubes sticking out from every direction, severe gastrointestinal disorders, lymph nodes swollen the size of cherry tomatoes. And I thought how that description sounded just like me, a Gulf War veteran, between the end of 1990 and the beginning of 1996.
I read further into the description of their recovery since leaving the hospital: debilitating fatigue, shortness of breath, memory loss, symptoms that puzzle their doctors, an accelerated aging process, and the medical community’s shock that none have recovered more fully. If I changed the word “Anthrax” to the words “Gulf War Illness”, the article would be describing me, my sick husband, and thousands of other ailing veterans and their families that I have met since 1993 when Gulf War Illness first became a publicized issue.
I showed the Anthrax article to my husband. His response: “Yes, but at least they got treatment. They had doctors who kept them in the hospital with tubes running out every direction. Not like you, with doctors telling you that your insurance would not cover additional days of intravenous antibiotic therapy. Saying they would have to find some inject-able form of antibiotic or some pill to finish up your antibiotics even though you were still running a temperature. At least the medical community believed they were sick.”
Now I reflect on how much time and money I have invested since 1990 in my recovery from Gulf War Illness, the mystery illness that most refuse to believe is caused by neither age nor stress. And I look toward the future, and how much more time and money I will have to spend in light of the fact that now I am older and will have to factor age into my elusive quest for some measure of recovery.
I describe the GWI based upon my own educated experience, because GWI is to each victim according to that victim’s immune system and general health upon contracting GWI. GWI is an umbrella of diseases with at least seven sub-categories, including
1.) Auto-immune Diseases and Infectious Diseases
2.) Varieties of systemic fungus
3.) Varieties of parasites
4.) Chronic bacterial and microbial infections
5.) Chronic viruses.
Two other categories that do not apply to me are
6.) Exposure to oil-well fires, warfare chemicals and depleted uranium, and
7.) Nerve agent pills prescribed to soldiers who deployed to the Gulf.
The biggest obstacle to leading a normal life is the uncertainty of health on a daily basis. At one point in time, I could count on having four good days followed by three bedfast days. One of my coworkers described my illness as “living to go to work”. These days, 12 years after the fact, I rarely have good days. And when I do, I use them for subsistence: cooking, cleaning, laundry. I no longer have a job.
The single constant is debilitating fatigue, the symptom that irritates me more than all others put together because most people think it is the same as “tired”. Debilitating fatigue means fatigue beyond consciousness and functionality. I have passed out from fatigue. I have lost all memory of what occurred when I “blacked out” from fatigue. My legs have buckled out from under me. I stopped climbing stairs because I consistently collapsed upon reaching the top. I have crumbled in the parking lot when I rose from the seated position behind the wheel to standing position just outside the car. Now I use handicap tags wherever I park, in hopes someone will help me rather than rob me when they stumble upon my unconscious body.
The second factor is actually two factors wrapped into one. I usually have cluster headaches beginning at 4 a.m. throughout the winter. I never wake that early for any functional reason. Either the tears streaming down the right side of my face or the vomiting that accompanies the headaches roust me from what precious little sleep I get.
The third factor is the chronic hormonal imbalance that deprives me of sleep and has cost me my laughter. The mental factor costs me my ability to work on my career and to develop relationships. I lost my social skills because I am embarrassed about losing my ability to finish sentences or losing my speech altogether. I turn down fellowship opportunities because I’m unable to plan anything. I don’t know whether that particular day will be a bedfast one or a medicated one that precludes driving or maintaining balance.
My greatest fear is that the uninformed public and the medical community will continue to believe that Gulf War Illness afflicts only those who physically served in the Gulf during a six month period in 1990-91. They’ve never heard about the hundreds of thousands of stateside soldiers and sailors who were disabled by military vaccines, experimental vaccines, multiple vaccines given too closely together, tainted vaccines and expired vaccines. The public and medical community doesn’t understand how hundreds of thousands of veterans’ spouses and children have been afflicted because the public has been duped into believing the illness was related solely to chemical weapons and Persian Gulf environmental factors.
The reason it is so important to aggressively educate the public and the medical community is that our President has vowed to return ground troops to that toxic wasteland in the Middle East to renew a fight against Saddam Hussein. Once again, soldiers and Marines will be wading through the debris of decades of biological weapons blowing freely across the desert sand. The chemicals and oil fires are — no doubt — no longer a factor in this new war, and long forgotten by all but those who served in the original Gulf War.
The greatest fear for all should be that the infections and diseases us veterans and spouses have survived once, shall surely repeat themselves when this new wave of veterans come back from that barren wasteland with night sweats, chills, strange dreams, self-doubts, diminished physical strength, and a renewed wave of diagnoses called “somaticism”, “depression”, “malaise”, “gold-bricking”, or the best one of all “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”.
Strangely enough, I have the same GWI as my comrades who served in the Gulf 12 years ago. But I never left my home state of Texas during my tour of active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm, and during my Reserve duty for cleaning equipment returning from the Gulf after the cease-fire. But I managed to infect at least one other civilian, who has never met another soldier or sailor.
I believe that Gulf War Illness has grown into an epidemic within the borders of the United States. The only factor containing its growth is the death rate among the sick. The government does not factor in fatal car wrecks due to veterans passing out behind the wheel in its death tally. The government also does not factor in accidental overdoses or dangerous drug interactions because doctors failed to perform adequate blood work-ups to determine medical reasons for veterans’ ill health. And the government never looks beyond the deployment roster to determine the more realistic numbers of victims felled by Gulf War Illness.
My grim forecast is that Gulf War Illness and its next generation of sickness coming back from the Middle East wastelands is the epidemic that will become pandemic: Saddam Hussein has produced weapons of mass destruction with unfettered determination during the past few years. He used the invisible, but deadly, method of warfare in several instances throughout the last 20 years of the 20th century. I seriously doubt he’ll hesitate to use them again early in this 21st century.
The public needs to be fully alert and ever watchful, not comfortable and hypnotized as it was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
I returned from the gulf, and went about my service time waiting for my ETS date. While waiting my health in service started the down hill cycle it is still on today. I was a hard core grunt, and earned my CIB, and was thinking about ranger school, but I started failing my runs on the pt test, and feeling heart pains, the docs at the base did not do too much, so I knew my health was not right, so I attempted to get out of service and pursue my health issues outside of the army, (This was in the FRG). I got out and my wife and I were expecting our first born, and she started having problems, so we went to the doctors, and they admitted her right away, needless to say we lost our first born due to a rare chromosome defect, and the German doctors were livid with anger, we tried to get answers from the base, but too no avail.
We moved on in our lives, and I was working there, I started to get tired real easy, and I started developing a canker in between my big toes, I could hardly walk, I then started getting blisters on my hands, big honkin ones. I went to the doc, and we got the teaspoon deep cankers takin care of. I then got worse with my shoulder pain, and hip pain, and constant headaches, cognitive problems, and energy.
We moved to the states, I worked on a ranch, and was having problems there as well, I came down with pneumonia, and have come down with it every year since 96 I was at the docs all the time, I told them to change my mailing address to the docs, cause I was there so much.
We moved to attend Bible school, and I struggled with memory, and cognitive skills that were no problem before, now came forth in a big way. I could not remember anything I studied. I flunked all the tests. So I had to stop my pursuit of the bachelors’ degree, and settled for the associate.
Being that I had to leave school, I had to work, I worked for a school, as a worker of the grounds, and I could not hack the 75-degree heat, and had to be assigned other duties. I missed a lot of work from going to the doc, with headaches, I stopped sweating and passed out, I could not handle physical labor any longer.
I then went to work at a day care, and was doing all right for a month, and then I got sick again stayed home and ended up resigning and did not work for a time, I then felt better and went back to work at another day care, and once again I got real sick, and had to stop working. I have not worked since 99.
My wife has seen me go through the down spiral in my health, I have become withdrawn, and do not go anywhere, my VA doc said PTSD, and I did not believe it.
I have had my exams, and then I decided to go for compensation, cause a 33 year old, should be a picture of health. I then fought with the delays, and the red tape hang-ups. It took 3 years before I received anything, not that I expected anything, I have been seen by my VA doc, and they mostly say here is a pill for pain, and then when I bring anything up to them, they seem to explain it all away.
I hope this helps, feel free to contact me if you have questions.
(I did not tell everything, cause I did not want to depress you).