The 1997 Force Health Protection law and DoD directives 6490.3 are not being followed. These mandates require our troops to undergo medical and mental examinations, including blood sampling pre and post overseas deployment. One soldier sent home ill died on August 1, 2003 from a 'virus' Many more are sick.
March 25, 2003, Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., questioned Defense Department officials about why a two-page questionnaire was substituted for hands-on physical exams of troops before they were deployed for the war with Iraq.
"I'm pretty clear when we voted on this law what that meant to me," said Shays, chairman of a government reform subcommittee. "I'm curious to know why we are not seeing it implemented."
The Pentagon had the thousands of troops in the war with Iraq fill out questionnaires about their health status before deployment.
The law passed in 1998 was intended to provide "pictures" of the soldier's health before and after deployment.
Witnesses said that the lack of that sort of information is one reason Gulf War veterans have been unable to get diagnoses or treatment for illnesses they've suffered since the war.
Dr. William Winkenwerder, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, said the law called for a medical examination, which is not synonymous with a physical examination.
However, the DoD 6490.3 directive policies 4.7 - specifically states there shall be a serum (blood) respository for medical surveillance for clinical diagnosis and epidemiologic studies to be exclusively for the identification, prevention and control of diseases associated with operational deployments of military personnel.
Policy 4.8 - specifically states that comprehensive, continuous and consistent medical surveillance to implement early intervention and control strategies using joint technologies, practices and procedures, before, during and after deployment in a manner consistent across the Military Services.
The surveillance is not accurate if there is no baseline blood work on file to compare to the post deployment blood work!
This is appalling and in no way demonstrates that our current administration is Supporting Our Troops as they claim.
The Gulf War veterans have the highest number of service connected illness of any veteran era.
Our soldiers returning from the Middle East as veterans will be faced with an uphill decades long battle to claim their deserved benefits and VA compensation related to their service connected illness.
Please, sign this petition and ask that a bill be proposed to demand that our soldiers' health be protected.
Please, contact your representative and urge them to support this petition and protect our troops.
What better method can we Support Our Troops than by protecting their health?