The Defense Department released today its final case narrative on Al Jaber Air Base related to its ongoing investigation into Gulf War illnesses. The narrative assesses the presence of chemical warfare agents as "unlikely" near Al Jaber Air Base, southwest of Kuwait City from the evening of Feb. 24, 1991, through the morning of Feb. 26, 1991.
The final report concurs with investigators' original findings released as an interim report in 1997. The report's findings are based upon interviews of Marines in the area, documentary evidence, the lack of evidence of chemical weapons delivery means, chemical injuries, or chemical weapons storage; and the assessment of the United Nations Special Commission that Iraq did not move, store or use chemical agents in Kuwait during the war.
Seven chemical warfare agent alerts were investigated. On the night of Feb. 24, 1991, and morning of Feb. 25, 1991, Marines five times misidentified artillery smoke from Marine guns as possible Iraqi chemical warfare agents. The investigation found no evidence of exposure. No information was found about a sixth alert reported at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25, 1991. Although contemporaneous written records place the alert in a Marine unit near Al Jaber, none of this unit's Marines could recall specifics except that the tests did not identify agent presence. The seventh alert was detected by an XM93 Fox Reconnaissance Vehicle during an oil well fire. The unit was alerted to a possible vapor presence of a blister agent. The alert ceased after several minutes. All units complied with prescribed procedures by donning protective equipment and testing for chemical warfare agents. Upon further testing there was no identification of any chemical warfare agents.
Although this investigation is now closed, veterans who may have additional information or who can clarify these events are encouraged to contact the special assistant's office at (800) 497-6261 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Case narratives are part of the Defense Department's continuing effort to inform the public of its efforts to better understand the nature and possible causes of the illnesses being experienced by some Gulf War veterans.
This narrative, as well as all other Gulf War-related reports, is posted on the GulfLINK web site at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/al_jaber_ii/ .