Fort Bragg Family Claims Proof of Gulf War Syndrome
Posted June 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
FORT BRAGG — Ever since the Persian Gulf War, a Fort Bragg soldier and his family have struggled with health problems. All along, they suspected their conditions were tied to the war.
Now, they believe they have proof they're victims of biological warfare. Staff Sgt. Bob Jones and his family just got test results back from an institute in California which point to a bacteria-like infection caused by a group of micro-organisms. The institute thinks the bugs came from a biological agent released in the desert.
Jones doesn't have all the answers to the question of why his whole family has had medical problems, but he's now convinced a biological agent released during the Gulf War is to blame.
Bob's wife Debi has suffered the most. She's been to hospitals and doctors' offices more than two hundred times.
Bob Jones has had many of the symptoms consistent with Gulf War syndrome. The couple's two older children often complain of headaches, and the youngest gets a recurring rash.
Frustrated, the family turned to the institute in California, where a doctor analyzed their blood. The doctor diagnosed chronic infection, caused by tiny organisms that may have come from Iraqi weapons.
Bob and Debi Jones say the family now has high hopes for a prescribed batch of anti-biotics.
Bob Jones says they'll begin receiving the anti-biotic treatment at a Virginia naval hospital next week. The institute says this treatment has helped many Gulf War vets recover from their illnesses.
It's important to point out that the Pentagon has never acknowledged any exposure to biological weapons during the war although the White House is working hard to answer questions about gulf war illnesses. Earlier this year, President Clinton announced a 10-year extension for vets to file for benefits and accepted recommendations to increase studies into why so many Gulf War vets are sick.
Finally, the President formed a panel to study lessons learned in the Gulf War to make sure future deployments are more safe.