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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 286-95
May 24, 1995

"TOLL-FREE" GULF WAR INCIDENT-REPORTING TELEPHONE LINE OPENED

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry announced today the opening on May 30 of a new toll-free telephone hotline for all military and civilian members who served in the Persian Gulf region beginning in August 1990. This Gulf War incident reporting line offers these veterans the opportunity to report details first-hand of incidents they believe may have led to a medical problem they or others have experienced since returning from the Persian Gulf. This toll-free service will also accept calls from health care providers who have theories requiring further investigation based upon their evaluation of patients with illnesses possibly related to service in the Persian Gulf War.

The new toll-free number is 1-800-472-6719 and will operate daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (EDT), beginning May 30, 1995.

"As the President and others have said before, we will leave no stone unturned to get at the reasons why some Gulf War veterans became ill after they returned from the war," Secretary Perry said. "We want to examine first-hand accounts directly from those who were in the Gulf to make sure we don't miss anything important that might shed some light on these illnesses."

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch set in motion an effort to make documents available concerning service in the Persian Gulf. Later this summer, the Department will begin to make available via the Internet, all relevant declassified medical, operational and intelligence documents from the Persian Gulf War.

In addition to the new Gulf War Incident Reporting Line, the Department operates a separate toll-free hotline at 1-800-796-9699 for military members and their eligible family members to call to register for medical examination and treatment. Gulf War veterans who have left active duty can call the Department of Veterans Affairs hotline at 1-800-749-8387 for similar medical assistance.