Guide Lets Gulf War Vets Navigate Bureaucracy

Article excerpt

Dear Abby: I am co-author of "The Viet Vet Survival Guide," a book you mentioned in your column in 1986. The resulting publicity put it into the hands of tens of thousands of veterans and their families in need of information.

Abby, approximately 700,000 U.S. troops served in the Persian Gulf War. Although the fighting was brief, significant numbers of veterans have since suffered a range of unexplained - and often severe - symptoms. The most frequent include chronic fatigue, joint pain, respiratory ailments, memory loss, rashes, hair loss and gastrointestinal disorders.

There has been no definitive diagnosis to explain the symptoms known as Persian Gulf Syndrome. (In fact, there may be no single disease or syndrome, but rather multiple illnesses with common symptoms and multiple possible causes.) Although no conclusive cause or causes have yet been identified, the needs of these veterans (and in some cases their families) who are apparently suffering as a result of their service in the Persian Gulf are real and extensive. There are approximately 60,000 known cases to date.

As co-founder and joint executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), I need your help to inform the veterans about our new "Self-Help Guide for Veterans of the Gulf War." It is a working tool for Persian Gulf veterans and their families who are suffering from illness as a result of their service in the Persian Gulf. This guide provides easy-to-use information to veterans, veterans service officers and others assisting Persian Gulf veterans and their families.

It analyzes the new laws governing Persian Gulf veterans when filing and appealing claims for compensation and medical care before the U.S. …

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