All posts by Dave

David is a graphic artist, illustrator, web designer and writer. He worked for years as a designer and art director for various corporations and has authored two books. One is about his childhood growing up in the suburbs of Chicago and the other is for veteran's benefits. He lives in Howell, MI. He is also a veteran of the Gulf War and is an advocate of Gulf War Illness as he suffers from these conditions. His interests are in writing, art, music, veterans , graphics and film. You can find out more about David by visiting daviddockery.com or help spread awareness of gulf war illness by visiting his blog gulf illness veterans at http://tinyurl.com/j3d3ajg

Farewell to our General (from USA Today)


On Thursday, December 27, Gulf War veterans have lost their commander, General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the Coalition military operations in 1990-91 to militarily force Iraqi troops out of illegally occupied neighboring Kuwait.  Schwarzkopf died at age 78 in Tampa, his death reportedly the result of complications from pneumonia.  

Like many Gulf War troops, I met General Schwarzkopf only once, in my case on a military compound outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Christmas Day 1990.  He was coming out of a mess tent, having been there to greet U.S. troops having a Christmas dinner, and a friend and I were just entering.  His security nearly bowled us over, and I remember thinking how odd it seemed he was apparently being protected from us, his own troops.  

I was struck by how tall and big of a man he was, his presence genuinely commanding, and how deep and booming his voice was as he greeted us, chatted for a moment, and wished us a merry Christmas.  

During the war, I would have occasion to regularly brief several of his staff officers by satellite phone, but never again encountered the legendary general himself.  


Schwarzkopf emerged from the 1991 Gulf War a national hero, with a liberated Kuwait and relatively low U.S. and Coalition casualties for a war of such scale.  

However, his silence and denials regarding Gulf War Syndrome — the enduring legacy of the war — were disappointing for many among the estimated 250,000 affected Gulf War veterans, or roughly one in three among Schwarzkopf’s 697,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 Gulf War.  (Read more here)

The USA Today obituary, below, provides a synopsis of General Schwarzkopf’s life in memoriam.

May his wife and loved ones find peace and comfort in their, and our, loss.

-Anthony Hardie

*****

General Colin Powell‘s public post on Facebook regarding the passing of General Norman Schwartzkopf:

With the passing of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, America lost a great patriot and a great soldier. Norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years. The highlight of his career was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. “Stormin’ Norman” led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government. His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation. He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy. I will miss him. My wife Alma joins me in extending our deepest condolences to his wife Brenda and to her family.

*****

Source:  USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/27/norman-schwarzkopf-obit/1795095/

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.
A sister of Schwarzkopf, Ruth Barenbaum of Middlebury, Vt., said that he died in Tampa, Fla., from complications from pneumonia. “We’re still in a state of shock,” she said by phone. “This was a surprise to us all.”
A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as “Stormin’ Norman” for a notoriously explosive temper.
He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.
Schwarzkopf became “CINC-Centcom” in 1988 and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait three years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, he commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.
“Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the ‘duty, service, country’ creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises,” Bush said in a statement. “More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend.”
At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf — a self-proclaimed political independent — rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC.
While focused primarily in his later years on charitable enterprises, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000 but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted. In early 2003 he told the Washington Post the outcome was an unknown:
“What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That’s a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan,” he said.
Initially Schwarzkopf had endorsed the invasion, saying he was convinced that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had given the United Nations powerful evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After that proved false, he said decisions to go to war should depend on what U.N. weapons inspectors found.
He seldom spoke up during the conflict, but in late 2004, he sharply criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included inadequate training for Army reservists sent to Iraq and for erroneous judgments about Iraq.
“In the final analysis I think we are behind schedule. … I don’t think we counted on it turning into jihad (holy war),” he said in an NBC interview.
None

U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands near a tank during Operation Desert Storm on Jan. 12, 1991, in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf, 78, died on Dec. 27.  Bob Daugherty, AP
  • U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands near a tank during Operation Desert Storm on Jan. 12, 1991, in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf, 78, died on Dec. 27.
  • When Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Schwarzkopf commanded Operation Desert Storm, a coalition force of 30 countries organized by President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.
  • Schwarzkopf points to photos of Kuwait's Ahmadi Sea Island Terminal after a U.S. attack on the facility on Jan. 27, 1991.
  • Schwarzkopf answers questions during an interview on Sept. 14, 1990, in Riyadh.
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell, left, confers with Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 8, 1991.
  • Schwarzkopf talks with Saudi Arabian Lt. Gen. Khalid Bin Sultan, area commander of multinational forces, on Dec. 19, 1990, in Riyadh.
  • Schwarzkopf points to a chart showing bomb damage at Iraq's  Al Taqaddum Airfield during a press conference in January 1991.
  • Schwarzkopf speaks at a press conference.
  • Schwarzkopf and President Bush watch the National Victory Parade on June 8, 1991, from a viewing stand in Washington.
  • President Bush congratulates Schwarzkopf on July 4, 1991, after presenting him with the medal of freedom at the White House in Washington.
  • Schwarzkopf waves to the crowd on April 22, 1991, after a military band played a song in his honor at a welcome home ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
 

Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J., where his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case, which ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard Hauptmann for stealing and murdering the famed aviator’s infant son.
The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his “H” stood for, he would reply, “H.” Although reputed to be short-tempered with aides and subordinates, he was a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who didn’t like “Stormin’ Norman” and preferred to be known as “the Bear,” a sobriquet given him by troops.
He also was outspoken at times, including when he described Gen. William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, as “a horse’s ass” in an Associated Press interview.
As a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder Schwarzkopf trained the country’s national police force and was an adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran.
Young Norman studied there and in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, then followed in his father’s footsteps to West Point, graduating in 1956 with an engineering degree. After stints in the U.S. and abroad, he earned a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught missile engineering at West Point.
In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army’s Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor — including one for saving troops from a minefield — plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.
While many career officers left military service embittered by Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was among those who opted to stay and help rebuild the tattered Army into a potent, modernized all-volunteer force.
After Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role by helping to persuade Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come.
On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government facilities. The six-week aerial campaign climaxed with a massive ground offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt.
Schwarzkopf said afterward he agreed with Bush’s decision to stop the war rather than drive to Baghdad to capture Saddam, as his mission had been only to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.
But in a desert tent meeting with vanquished Iraqi generals, he allowed a key concession on Iraq’s use of helicopters, which later backfired by enabling Saddam to crack down more easily on rebellious Shiites and Kurds.
While he later avoided the public second-guessing by academics and think tank experts over the ambiguous outcome of Gulf War I and its impact on Gulf War II, he told The Washington Post in 2003, “You can’t help but… with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, ‘Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.'”
After retiring from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography, “It Doesn’t Take A Hero.” Of his Gulf war role, he said, “I like to say I’m not a hero. I was lucky enough to lead a very successful war.” He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
Schwarzkopf was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness and for Recovery of the Grizzly Bear, served on the Nature Conservancy board of governors and was active in various charities for chronically ill children.
“I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I’m very proud of that,” he once told the AP. “But I’ve always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I’d like to think I’m a caring human being. … It’s nice to feel that you have a purpose.”
Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and Christian.
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Beware of Certain Veteran Advocates


vaIf you are working with VSO, or veteran’s service officer, and you’re happy that’s great. Most of them are great and follow the rules and guidelines the VA sets up for them. unfortunately some of them will give you bad advice or refuse to do what they get paid for. I am currently working with the Disabled American Veterans because of this and this is just my preference. I don’t want to blame my problems on every hard-working VSO because I know that you guys work hard and it is not an easy job. A lot is piled on you and it’s sometimes overwhelming, I’m sure. However, I believe that sometimes certain VSO’s do not stay up to date with the latest information regarding Gulf War Illness as mine did. So I made the switch. I was also told to not appeal my request for service-connected disability and that is wrong according to everyone I’ve talked to at the VA since.
The same VSO tried to pry into my private life for some reason as well, promised to help me go over my medical records and then would not and he also got mad at me for getting audio books from the Library of Congress which is my right as someone with carpal tunnel and arthritis in my hands. In my opinion people like this are not advocates at all, they are more like a hinderance to disabled veterans and should be avoided.
va7The other problem I have found out is that no matter what the VA says or does regarding the presence of Gulf War Illness as a recognizable medical treatment there are some old school-type people who no matter what they are told will still always take it upon themselves to try and prove that Gulf War Illness is not real and discourage us from filing in claims for it. This VSO was so convinced that I could not do it that he encouraged me to give up. Which to me means don’t ever give up. It backfired with me because once you tell me I can’t do something I will prove you wrong if it kills me and I hope you do the same. Just be careful, even if the VSO seems nice and helpful. They are still working for a government agency that doesn’t want to just hand over the benefits without a fight and some of these people think the money belongs to them.
Don’t forget you can also hire an attorney if you feel you need to. They will take all your back pay if you win, but some feel it is worth it to receive the benefits. Just make sure you do some research on the attorney to make sure they have experience handling veteran’s cases. Ask them what their case record is and good luck.

Gulf War veterans display abnormal brain response to specific chemicals


Engineering Evil

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center

This is Dr. Robert Haley from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

 

DALLAS – March 20, 2009 – A new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers is the first to pinpoint damage inside the brains of veterans suffering from Gulf War syndrome – a finding that links the illness to chemical exposures and may lead to diagnostic tests and treatments.

Dr. Robert Haley, chief of epidemiology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study, said the research uncovers and locates areas of the brain that function abnormally. Recent studies had shown evidence of chemical abnormalities and shrinkage of white matter in the brains of veterans exposed to certain toxic chemicals, such as sarin gas during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The research, published in the March issue of the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging,enables investigators to…

View original post 611 more words

Researchers Still Actively Examining Gulf War Syndrome


CBS Baltimore

CBS CHICAGO — The story of the returning veteran never ends. A researcher in Peoria is investigating Gulf War Syndrome, more than twenty years after the end of the short-lived conflict with Iraq.

Steve Lasley, assistant head of the Department of Cancer Biology & Pharmacology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, said it took years for people to shed their skepticism of the illness, marked by a “general malaise,” depression, aches and pains, etc.

“It was difficult to see (the symptoms) as a unified and distinct syndrome … the Department of Defense didn’t recognize there was a problem there,” he said. “There was a great deal of skepticism from physicians, and from the research community, about the authenticity of these complaints. And it took seven or eight years for the scientific and clinical communities to understand that there was really something there.”

Anti-nerve gas drugs are now thought to…

View original post 108 more words

Welcome to Gulf Illness Veterans (G.I.V.)


givlogo

Well, I just wanted to start out with a quick and simple first post. I have Gulf War Syndrome or as the VA now calls it, Gulf War Illness. It’s hard to get used to calling it that, but I am trying to follow the rules as much as possible. (not that I’m afraid to break them) Thousands of veterans are struggling with this cluster of medical conditions each year and it has been this way since the end of the first gulf war in 1991 and is still popping up with sailors and soldiers returning from the gulf today.
I have asthma, sleep apnea, hypertension, acid reflux, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, fibromyalgia, arthritis, five damaged discs, nerve damage in legs, bilateral neuropathy, polymyalgia rheumatica, bursitis in shoulders, spondylosis, depression, anxiety, mood disorder, carpal tunnel, a sensitivity to light and household chemicals such as cleaners and aerosols, and chronic fatigue syndrome. (I am sure this list will grow in time as it has in the last few years). The causes from what the VA states on their website so far is injections for immunizations, exposure to chemicals such as depleted uranium and pesticides and oil fires. I personally think there is more to the story than this, but for the government purposes and to try and prove a claim I am going with what they give us. I suggest you do the same or you will be labelled as a “conspiracy theorist.” I once posted a link to a video about the “truth” and I had a VFW rep tell me I was one so I yanked it It’s pretty sad to know that I am being watched that closely or that she would take the time to even look at this site, but it’s associated with everything I do online so I’m not surprised. So for all of you looking in – I am doing my best to adhere to the guidelines of the VA for claims and follow all procedures, but there are many of us who do not agree with them and would like our voices to be heard as well.
new1I have to say that since the VA secretary Shinseki took over he has done a good job at trying to update the VA website with more information about Gulf War Illness, he has urged the claims officers to clear our cases up faster and he is trying to implement a way to get doctors more educated about our many medical conditions associated with the illness, but so far I have yet to go to a primary care doctor at the VA who will even discuss Gulf War Illness and that’s a big problem for me. I have written several of my elected officials including the president and still my doctors hand me back letters ordering them to help me and refuse to do it. I am fed up and I need your help to start the campaign to raise awareness. Fellow soldiers and sailors; I am calling on you today to take whatever strength you have and muster up the courage to contact the media, your elected officials, the VA and whoever else will listen. We need to get organized. If you are interested in helping me with this campaign please use the contact form below or search around the site – my contact is all over. There is also plenty of information about contacting your officials along with plenty of links to organizations that can help us.
gw16It also seems to me that there is a media blackout on gulf war related subjects altogether. Lately they seem to preoccupied with whatever story the government decides to feed them or what Snooki is up to or some stupid shit. We need to wake them up to the sad truth about how men and women of the armed forces are treated when they are out of the military and sick. They love you when you are young and dumb, but when you are old and weak you get shuffled to the side and I personally, will not lie down for this. I am fighting for my life. I have not yet received a diagnosis for anything that is terminal, but I do have some serious conditions that could cause heart attack or stroke. I feel that my death is going to be a long-prolonged drawn out painful affair. As it is right now I am in the process of updating this welcome page and since it’s first publication, my pain has at least tripled. I have done everything the VA asked of me such as physical therapy and trying to walk as much as I can and the pain has increased due to the nerve damage in my legs and the arthritis and fibromyalgia throughout my body. My quality of life is terrible and I cannot stand it. The pain medication I receive does not kill the pain enough after using it for a certain amount of time. Each month it works less and less. I am trying my best to fight it, but it is not easy. I need your help because I know that if you are reading this you either have it or you have a loved one with it. I also urge anyone else dealing with any disability to feel free to comment and join in the discussion. We have a very open and relaxed format for this blog and I love to mix it up once and a while.
gw28My main goal with this site has always been to try and help others. I have learned a lot from other veterans who have commented or e-mailed me about various subjects and I get a lot of followers on Twitter due to the blog. I benefit and feel so much love from others for my writing and I really appreciate that, but it really is my pleasure. I have laughed my ass off and cried my eyes out over your stories. My fellow veterans, those serving now, and families and friends of veterans are so kind and thoughtful. I have received letters, e-mails and tweets from mothers who lost their sons or daughters, grandfathers from World War II and Vietnam who are onboard with us and shared their experiences of trying to get service-connected from Agent Orange and much more. I thank each and every one of you and again, I encourage more and more to get involved with Gulf Illness Veterans so that we can grow into a helping organization spear-heading the fight to get vets the rights, treatment and benefits we deserve.
gw23I look forward to comments and suggestions. If you would like me to do an article on a certain subject please feel free to contact me and let me know. I will accept anything that will benefit veterans or active duty military as long as you don’t try and spam the site. I will also consider guest writers. Just keep it fairly clean and respectful of others.
Welcome to Gulf Illness Veterans site and please make sure to check out the many links I have compiled as they are very helpful. If you have a link you would like me to post contact me any time. I am a very easy-going guy until you piss me off. but that takes a lot. God bless you and God bless America!