Having served as a Marine during Operation Desert Storm, I have a keen understanding of the battles faced by Gulf War veterans.The Gulf War was indeed a victory. Over the past 21 years, however, many veterans have fought a different kind of war – one that has not only claimed lives but plagued our nation’s warriors with chronic fatigue, rashes, and neurological conditions. I personally can attest to the affects of living with chronic fatigue, headaches, arthritis, and PTSD as well. Not only have I endured many hardships but so have my my wife and children..
I am quite certain countless men and women were told by the Veterans Administration it was all in their heads, but the grim reality is that Gulf War Illness symptoms are crippling for some and is a result of exposure to battlefield toxins. Despite military success, there was poorly recorded data related to possible exposures and a lack of validation by leadership in our nation’s military and government. Only through the diligence and transparency of Gulf War veterans, politicians, non-profits, civilian government employees, and military personnel have we arrived at providing effective research and treatment for my brothers and sisters.
At the tip of the spear has been the CDMRP. Having participated as a consumer reviewer on Gulf War Illness, I have witnessed a dedicated group of caring professionals aggressively pursue much-needed research. I believe all involved in Gulf War Illness desire to find treatments that will improve the quality of life for Gulf War Veterans. I have been honored to represent so many Gulf War Illness survivors and their families. This battle I fight is also for the past warriors who have passed away as a result of disease or illness related to their service.
In closing, I give thanks to God for allowing me to keep moving forward during some difficult times in my life. The reality is Gulf War Veterans are tired of empty words and want action that will lead to a practical and real treatment for their illness. Being a combat veteran, I pose a challenge to all of us in this fight. We are only as good as the man or woman to our right and left. None of us are any better or less than the other. I choose to fight the good fight and never give up.