Gulf War Illness Investigators to Pinpoint Unit Locations
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 30, 1997 DoD has asked former Gulf War division and brigade operations officers to help identify unit locations in the DoD Persian Gulf Registry.
During April and May, selected officers of units that were in the vicinity of Khamisiyah, Iraq, will meet at the Armed Services Center for Research of Unit Records, near Fort Belvoir, Va. They will gather in small groups for a week at a time to assist in clarifying unit locations throughout the war, according to Bernard Rostker, DoD special assistant for Gulf War illnesses.
Participants represent the XVIII Airborne Corps, 101st Air Assault Division, 24th Infantry Division and 82nd Airborne Division.
The meetings will focus primarily on determining the units' daily locations, Rostker said. However, the officers also may provide investigators information on possible unit exposure to Iraqi chemical agents or other environmental hazards, and on the location of operational records from the war.
Both issues are part of DoD's ongoing investigation of Persian Gulf illnesses. U.S. soldiers destroyed Iraqi weapons at Khamisiyah in March and April 1991. Subsequent reports issued by the Central Intelligence Agency confirmed Iraq had stored chemical weapons at the site. Rostker's team and more recently the DoD inspector general have searched for missing logs of nuclear, biological and chemical incidents maintained by the U.S. Central Command during the war.
The meetings will be conducted in conjunction with the Gulf War Declassification Project. Deputy Secretary of Defense John White established the project in March 1995 to conduct a DoD-wide review of all operational records for information on Gulf War illnesses. The information is posted to GulfLINK, the DoD World Wide Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/GulfLink/. As of Dec. 31, 1996, about 5.4 million documents have been reviewed and more than 65,000 pages posted to GulfLINK.
Officials said the current meetings will improve their ability to track unit movements and understand hazards American soldiers may have encountered.
Toll-free numbers are available for Gulf War veterans to report information or to receive medical evaluations. The number is (800) 472-6719.
Active duty members experiencing health problems they believe might have resulted from service in the gulf can call the Comprehensive Clinic Evaluation Program at (800) 796-9699. Nonactive duty service members who have health questions can call the Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) PGW-VETS (749-8387).