GULF WAR: The Terrible War After the War and the Enduring Stain Of Neglect


As we look at twenty years since the Gulf War 1990-91/Operation Desert Storm the writer has to wonder have we made headway? The writer wants the President, the VA, the DOD, the legislators both US Senators and Representatives to hear from the veterans that counted on our government to do the right thing morally and ethically. If we had really been tuned into the history of the veterans of World War 1, Atomic Veterans, and Agent Orange Veterans we would not have been so deceived. Maybe the All Volunteer Force would not have been reality. Maybe a draft would still be in affect. But the troops felt it a DUTY, A Sacred Duty to serve their country. They were well educated and trained. Many were college graduates, almost all had completed high school and had a beginning on college level education, in total a different profile than the Vietnam Veterans. Many had families with military traditions and service.

These were strong healthy, physically fit, and well trained active duty and then we had reserves that had on the whole prior duty experience that wanted to continue in some form their duty to the military and the country.

So it is with that background that we sent healthy and educated troops to the Gulf War in 1990-91, they were not shrinking violets or gold brickers far from it, they were the ones that would shun going to sick call! They were achievers! They were active duty at the same time of being college students and they were prior service military serving in the reserves, also holding full time demanding professional jobs, while pushing themselves in higher education courses for advance post graduate degrees, and all along many married with active children and giving of themselves in civic organizations like scouting, etc. These were multi talented high level individuals functioning in managerial and higher level positions and using executive multitasking functions. They have lost so much. But more than that they were betrayed, abandoned, mistreated, neglected, disrespected, maligned, and it has not been corrected yet.

Here are just the top 25 comments that I have been sent by fellow veterans, family members, and a researcher that reached out to help very early on. Please read them slowly, re read, and realize each of us gulf war veterans’ and advocates have hundreds and thousands of these over 20 years. These are in the last 3 months that I chose to select randomly. I have protected their names and identities because each one represents hundreds of thousands. I encourage the White House, the VA, the DOD, and the elected representatives and senators in DC and at state houses throughout 50 states to read, share, and place this in official records and acknowledged from the floor of the House or Senate in DC by reading or refering to this open article and the comments of the veterans of the Gulf War 1990-91:

  1. Need input from any information of those in Desert Storm and after that was exposed to the many low level of VX [Nerve Agents]. Blister, Blood, Biological and all the stuff government induced plus environment that are now visual impaired. I am legally blind. can not stand bright light, basically see black and white – shiloetes and aid of special computer to due this. Slowly came on until 2004 and still fighting with VA to recognize connection. MedPub has shown study of mice brain white matter/gray matter DNA mutation/change because of chemicals [sarin, cyclosarin, soman], innoculations and so on. Please post valid sources for any medical answers. I am interested if any other veterans have had vision problems and blindness and if VA has recognized your situation. Any inputs from all would be welcomed…..GOD BLESS..
  2. As a former dir of a county veterans office and counselor for veterans, I recall seeing hundreds of military medical records that did not have the following: no records of anthrax shots, no records of any of them given the pyridostigmine pills. Incidentally, since I was a Gulf veteran I submit the following that four two weeks we were subject to scud missile attacks any time of the day. The VA will not award those units of the Marines, Army, Air Force or Coast guard personal PTSD because they have said it is not a combat zone. They call it anxiety. The day I left the office I served I was still fighting the VA over Gulf war issues. But anyway, it was troubling the important info in the troops files were omitted. I also should add the building where 65 were killed by a scud missile that was not shot down was two blocks from my compound. I wonder if the VA considers that area a combat zone.
  3. It’s a sad situation for this second Gulf war but they need to address the First Gulf War veterans. My husband has experienced shortness of breath ever since he got out in 1993. The VA docs just blow him off and say his PFT’s are fine. Horse#$^$
  4. There are so many malformations and illnesses within many of Desert Storm Veterans, to include myself. I have done years of research of documentations and studies for myself and other Veterans. It is the “Battle after the War” that discourages Veterans when it comes to trying to obtain a justified claim. To many Veterans give up on pursuing a denial of their claim because it is to hard for them in many ways. Four years the Doctors said, “It is all in your head.” The irony of it is that I have diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I guess it is all in my head.
  5. My symptoms from Desert Storm include: – Respiratory issues – Rashes and other irritating skin issues – Regurgitating Mitral Valve.  I just recently watched a special on the Military Channel “Conspiracy Test: Gulf War Illness”. How can we get this test done and if we can- will the VA cover it? Can we get our children that were conceived directly after deployment tested? My daughter conceived after deployment has an unexplained birth defect. It’s been a while since I went to the VA; I got sick of the denial of any problems and them stating that it’s just Post Traumatic Stress. It’s has been 20 years and the symptoms are still here with no explanation. Any help or feedback would be great. Thank you.
  6. At the age of 40 I developed A-Fib, after research I found I had sleep apnea. With sleep apnea studies show your more likely to develop Hypertension 4-5 year after getting sleep apnea, and your chances of developing Hypertension increase 3 fold. So I was Diagnosed with Hypertension in 1996(5 years after Desert Storm- I have no family history of and I am in good shape). With sleep apnea and Hypertension together your chances of developing heart problems increase a lot. So I was diagnosed with A-Fib in 2007 and finally had to have heart surgery (because it was bad and meds were not helping me) in 2010 before it killed me or I would of had a stroke. When I had my sleep study the technologist told me she worked at Ft Bragg NC during Desert storm and stated she saw a lot of young kid coming home and being diagnosed with sleep apnea, which was very uncommon according to her. I did further research and found I never snored before The Gulf War and did after. A good friend of mine who severed with me died 1.5 years latter and I just found out a guy in my unit died a couple years ago at the prime age of 40 also ( he was a marathon runner in great shape also)
  7. I’m a 90/91 Gulf war seabee vet that just turned 40. I been toughing through chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and sudden nose bleed for years. This story hits home.
  8. Please Gulf War Veterans/Desert Storm Veterans and Significant Partners do not ignore your symptoms!!!! Please go to civilian health care/ER in a situation of having any chest pain, palpitations, accompanied by fatigue, and/or sudden nose bleed. Please do not tough it out? Scary, Scary.. This happens to me quite often. I don’t tell anyone because I don’t like Dr.s.. But if your go to the Civilian ER will the VA cover the cost? The nearest VAMC is 150 miles away.
  9. I have had the calf pain, and the heart doing weird things, sounds like a lot of us stormers are still having problems, but it of course is all because we do not exercise.
  10. I have migraines, sore and painful joints around my ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, neck, and back. I went in for help at the VA hospital in Fayetteville, AR in the mid 90’s and the Dr. had the nerve to look me straight in the eye and say it was because I wasn’t exercising enough. That’s is the type of care the VA provides.
  11. I had Severe nosebleeds for years after returning from the Gulf war. They would just HAPPEN no reason. I would be at work and someone would say Your nose is bleeding! I Started having SEVERE constant migraine headaches. I had had them before like once a month growing up. Now i Take imitrex Injections almost every day. I have Fibro/Chronic Fatigue Body joint aches pains. Memory problems. Cant sleep Respiratory issues. Back/neck problems and other health problems VA has been a Roadblock from 1993! It is time for them to HELP all of us. If the 911 crews are getting help from the government for their Exposures what about US we were exposed to a Hell of a lot more than they were!
  12. When I was writing my book, In Harm’s Way, about my Desert Storm husband dying at age 44 from cancer – I did an awful lot of research. I contacted the American Cancer Society to find statistical data on cancer deaths and Desert Storm Vets. I could not believe it when the lady told me they had never tracked it! If they know how many children die from cancer, how many women of a certain age die from cancer…what’s up with not taking into account the number of “American Soldiers” die from cancers.
  13. I’ve been sick for 20 years and I know the PB + nerve agent + stress + poor diet decreased all of our immune systems and disrupted the blood brain barrier. I have chemical sensitivity from it. Not to mention mycoplasma incognitans in my blood. The problem is different exposures of environmental things on the ground…they had us live in chicken coops we cleaned with bleach (we scrubbed the floor, so we were in the building breathing the fumes. I was exposed to different things than troops who were not on KKMC for instance… anyway, PLEASE don’t give up. WE ARE the forgotten ones…they hope we’ll just die off and go away. Life in the mean time sucks. I went to the war related illness and study center for an evaluation. I had to sit there as the doctor told me all the shots in a very short period of time, the nerve agent, the pesticides, the cark paint…all exposures DID NOT MAKE ME SICK. Since I was perfectly healthy before setting one foot in Saudi Arabia, I have to disagree. YOU ARE RIGHT, ad I’m sorry that fighting for us did that to your career…..but I gave my life over there…I have no hint of a normal life. I know a lot of GW vets who are worse than me…so please don’t give up. And thank you. You’re probably one of the only ones who cared.
  14. I’ve got the idea for the grant, but can’t get funding because, for my efforts, I have been hammered out of research positions, for 20 years, from which I could apply for the grant. Nobody seems to give a shit, so there are diminishing reasons I should give a shit about sick Gulf Vets. The only thing that keeps my attention now is the future effects on my family’s health. Pretty sad, I’d say. My turning my back on this research may do more damage to health than a big war.
  15. When I first got out of the army, at the end of my enlistment (1992), I went straight to the local VA rep. and filed a claim. At first I was rated around 60%, but as time progressed that was reduced to 30% and eventually (around 2001 or so) to 10% for something non-PGW related. I continued to file as problems advanced or further research indicated further connections or discoveries, but it took a doctor with a chip on her shoulder against the VA to finally diagnose my problem and see that I was compensated for it. As of 2/2009 I have a 70% rating. I also saw a program today on the Military Channel that seemed to indicate the possibility of chromosomal damage due to depleted uranium as a possible cause. Does anyone know if there has been any mass testing of Gulf War veterans’ chromosomes to see if there is any correlation? The television program only had the results from five veterans, but it was done in 2008 (wonder if that had any bearing on 2/2009 for me?).
  16. My husband became EXTREMELY ill after his third anthrax vaccine, a friend in his unit almost died, and we (Protecting our Guardians–a 501c4) went to DC with several delegations of experts and veterans. some senators made promises but did not keep them. No help came out of it for any of the veterans who became deathly ill after taking their anthrax vaccines. It is criminal to do nothing after being educated about the subject matter.
  17. The feelings of being cut off from people, lack of sleep, the excessive startle reflex, i have so many symptoms…and avoid people it just starts feeling like normal. Put a claim in for depression too. If they ever treated you while active duty it helps…And appeal it, use an NSO from like amvets or one of the smaller groups. Then you are not just another case to them. they will read all your records and piece together the supporting data for you. I was on KKMC with scud pieces raining down on me. Combat is combat and I know I have never been the same. I can’t even imagine up where you were. The fear of an invisible enemy ie nerve agent is just as damaging as a mortar round or a machine gun. your body reacts to to the threat and your nervous system is rewired permanently. Oh yeah, and the cocktail of crap you were exposed to CAUSED the depression. And of course the reaction of family, friends, doctors, fellow soldiers etc to your symptoms can make you REALLY DEPRESSED. Having a disorder that is invisible is fun, huh? Doesn’t make it any less real.
  18. I was in country with the 82nd airborne div in Desert shield/storm. August 90-April 91. My unit was guarding the ammunition dump where the chemical weapons were accidentally blown up. I have letters from the “commission on gulf war illness” that tells me there’s nothing wrong with me and that low level exposure “is not likely to cause harm although no long term studies have been attempted” I asked for help with nightmares in 1996 and was blown off. I asked for compensation in 2004 and was denied. I was told that I didn’t have PTSD but that i was “severely depressed” and then shoved out the door. i have again applied for PTSD and have not been given a rating yet, I applied last April, 2010. The VA needs to be replaced by an agency that works. Or we should be allowed to receive civilian care under VA support. My VA psych told me “they said you guys didn’t see any action when you came home” and thats what it has felt like. Like we are all liars and don’t deserve help.
  19. I am a Gulf War Veteran having served during Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia from Oct 1, 1992 to 18 March, 1993. Currently rated 60% combat related disabled by VA resulting from a “nexxus” being formed “as a result of service in the Gulf War Theater Of Operations”. I had then, and still retain, all the “classic symptoms” of the illness that began there and has endured since.
    Please be gently reminded that Gulf War Veterans such as myself are often not referred to in reports to legislatures and lawmakers, VA officials, and the public as we are outside the 1990-1991 ground war but yet, afflicted nonetheless and served all the same in the Southwest Asian Theater under Desert Storm. I struggle with this plethora of persistant symptoms and conditions to this day. Although gainfully employed; I am mentally and physically reminded each and every moment of any given day since then that I will never be the same as I was prior to Oct 1, 1992. Thank you for the Nicols Team and your continued support, research, and search for reasons, treatments, cures. I served proudly and am honorably discharged with 12 years active, 3 years Reserves in the USAF. I would do it all again without question. I post this for all who serve, have served, and in particular those of us Gulf War Vets who have become somewhat forgotten as combat veterans.
  20. My philosophy since my ETS in September 2000 is simple. All my fellow Desert Storm veterans out there, here is the score. It is no longer the Iraqi Republican Guard trying to kill us, its our own government. The sooner we all realize that simple fact, the better off we will all be. Once you open your eyes and truly see, everything becomes crystal clear. It all makes perfect sense, once you break the code. The Iraqi army are little more than boy scouts compared to the VA, DOD, and Congress at destroying us.
  21. A Captain of Field Artillery remembers when the air campaign began in Desert Storm. He was at the end of his military career (and a mustang)! Having fought in Vietnam he was under no illusions regarding the mystic of warfare. This was his last war. The young soldiers were excited as young soldiers tend to be. They had not had their first combat. There was no thought given to the long term effects of Desert Storm. I wish I could offer words of encouragement. Sayings like “Hang in there” mean nothing. All Vets can do is keep at the VA and elected representatives and hope (and I do mean hope) they can prevail. The VA is an adverserial organization requiring proof of disability and service connection (for the most part). Vets – you have nothing coming. So much for a nation that claims to honor its Vets. We get only what we fight for, again and again and again. This situation will not change folks. It is simply a part of the Vets life. Thank you for your service – Desert Storm Vets.
  22. I was diagnosed back in 2005 with H-Lymphoma. I know I got it from being in the Gulf War, the VA has not acknowledged that. I got sick in the theater and it continued. I thank God and my medical team at Kaiser for being alive! I will continue my fight against VA!
  23. I have had all the symptoms of cfs and “Gulf War Syndrome” along with other bio\chem exposure symptoms since coming back in 91. I have been told that it was “All in my head” by the VA. and am sick and tired of it. I can barely walk some days as you know, but still the VA will not acknowledge my problems nor do anything except tell me to “Live with it” I have been living with it for 20 years now and it just gets worse. Someone please get eyes open and Help us, I know that I’m not the only one that is getting this run around, there is a lot of other Marines out there.
  24. “We hae been trying for a year or so just to get XXX medical records. we are using the help of a gentleman who works for the American Legion. We got a letter in the mail that states that “if” they find his records we may not get them 100% because they can elect to edit the information contained. XXX now has CIDP which is similar to MS. there is no cure. He has 30% less lung function that we believe is due to him being right where the oil wells were but from what we understand they denied this because other wise there would be lots of vets coming home with the same issue. currently he has 30% disability. He goes every 2 weeks for Plasma infusions that thankfully is covered by my insurance. every day I see him get weaker. everyday I see him lose hope. everyday he is in constant pain. but they say that this does not show in his records and therefore he cannot use this in his claim. they don’t even have his records that we can tell….. 🙁 He was PROUD to serve his country! and I am Proud of him!”
  25. “Burning semen ? Wife has complained over the years about that. Where do I find that info? Scary… been over 20 years and still told doesn’t exist all in my head.” It is time, past time, for the government from the highest levels to the lower levels to admit their mistakes, to be accountable, responsible, morally upright, and ethically correct NOW. IT is past time to do RIGHT. The question is yet again: Will you? This is a continuing stain -Mark of Dishonor of this Country to its own Veterans! I encourage all to distribute this to bloggers, twitter world, web sites, press, elected representatives, use it. I am just the nurse officer that served with you in theater, also affected, that is honored to have served with you, I was there because you were, I have done whatever I could to try and help, I will not quit, I will stand with you, help you to stand, encourage you in all ways, assist you in all ways, direct, guide, whatever!


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