(COLUMBUS, Ohio – NBC4i) —Thousands of American veterans suffer from Gulf War Syndrome and now the Veterans Affairs Department says it’s re-examining the disability many soldiers blame on their war service.
“We were about 100 kilometers from the boarder. So the biggest threat we had from the intelligence people were the scud missiles,“ remembers Air Force veteran Alan Briggs.
Briggs served 10 years in the military. His tour of the duty during the Gulf War lasted seven months while serving as a communications/navigation systems specialist in Saudi Arabia.
Even before coming home Briggs felt ill. Then a year after returning to the United States his health grew worse.
“I started having problems with weakness, muscle aches and pains. It was harder to maintain my physical training standards,“ said Briggs.
Doctors finally diagnosed Briggs with Gulf War Syndrome. Once out of the military, he entered the Veterans Administration healthcare system. Doctors would find his thyroid tumor destroyed, riddled with benign tumors which eventually led to surgery. But soon after, things at the VA changed.
“They quit talking about it. It’s seems like something came down and said this isn’t established, don’t use this term,“ he said.
Now the government is talking. The Veterans Administration is opening a new chapter on Gulf War Syndrome, armed with almost 20 years of research and annual physicals of thousands of veterans who served during that time.
“If this announcement is a result of hey we’ve got the data now, we think we can figure what this is. How to treat it, that’s good. There’s an expectation that if these kind of things happen they’re going to take care of you,“ stated Briggs.
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