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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 534-98
October 16, 1998

DOD ANNOUNCES GULF WAR ILLNESSES OUTREACH VISITS TO MARINE CORPS INSTALLATIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Bernard Rostker, special assistant for Gulf War illnesses, and a team of subject matter experts and medical specialists will conduct outreach visits to Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, and Marine Corps air stations Cherry Point and New River, North Carolina on October 19-21, 1998.

The purpose of these visits is to ensure that all who served in the Gulf and their family members are informed about available medical care and the investigative efforts underway to better understand the nature of these illnesses. These visits are also intended to inform those still on active duty about how we will apply our findings to future deployments.

The outreach team consists of personnel who are subject matter experts on various Gulf War illnesses issues. The team will provide briefings at various locations on the bases for Marines, their families, Reserve Component personnel, veterans, and interested community members.

Convention-style displays will be placed at the Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point base exchanges during the visits. "We may not reach everyone, but we'll be readily accessible to almost everyone," said Dr. Bernard Rostker. Information on Gulf War illnesses issues is also available on GulfLINK, an interactive Internet site at http://www/gulflink.osd.mil.

The two-day outreach will culminate in a town hall meeting held at the American Legion Post 265 in Jacksonville, N.C. on October 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. The town hall meeting is open to the public. Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will join Rostker at the town hall meeting to answer questions on their organization's programs.

This is the fifth in a series of Gulf War illnesses outreach efforts held on military installations this year. Installations visited to date include Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Campbell, Ky. Last year, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars hosted Rostker at meetings in 13 major metropolitan areas across the country.

"Last year, we concentrated on large cities to try to reach the most veterans possible," said Rostker. "This year, we're focusing specifically on large military installations to reach Gulf War veterans still in the military. We also plan to address force protection measures taken since the Gulf War, so the meeting should attract service members who aren't Gulf War veterans."

For more information on this outreach visit, contact Mr. Randy Richards, Camp Lejeune Office of Retired Services at (910) 451-3212, extension 110.