Wisconsin veteran wants the VA to recognize his Gulf War service caused cancer.
Retired Staff Sergeant Rodney Dean Kerksieck talks about his military career, including service in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm and its effects on his current health while serving during the Gulf War. Tyler Rickenbach/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
His doctor says his cancer is likely caused by what he was exposed to in the war. The U.S. government won't extend benefits.
MARSHFIELD - Rodney Kerksieck's Gulf War was short: January through March in 1991. During those three months, he fired thousands of 200-pound shells from an 8-inch howitzer as a gunner for the U.S. Army.
His unit supported Marine infantry as the Americans faced off against Saddam Hussein's army, including the infamous Republican Guards. They were an intense, dirty and violent three months.
Shortly after the Gulf War, the Spencer native left the regular Army but re-joined the National Guard, and he and his wife, Billee, and their children moved back home to central Wisconsin. When he retired in 2004 as a staff sergeant, he thought he had left the war behind.
Today, Kerksieck is gaunt and tired, in another fight for his life. He was diagnosed with