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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    in the Gulf War and current NGWRC President said that the IOM report clearly documents that three out of ten Gulf War veterans are sick and that this illness is most likely related to service in the Gulf Worley contends that the IOM and the media have turned GWS into a semantic argument over Gulf War Syndrome versus unexplained illness while overlooking the fact that a generation of veterans are suffering with illnesses that are clearly service connected What is often lost within the long controversy over GWS is a deeper matter a scientific challenge of the first order GWS is a medically unexplained illness While it joins a number of other such entities it is uniquely related to military service in harm s way a particular generation of veterans and is subject to both the circus of national media and the shifting tides of politics Medically unexplained symptoms known as MUS among doctors and scientists present a conundrum The family of illnesses that comprise MUS including headaches chronic muscle pain of no apparent origin back pain rashes depression and persistent fatigue are quite simply impossible to diagnose in conventional ways Unlike for example heart disease rheumatoid arthritis or pneumonia MUS related illnesses have no established causes and no straightforward approaches to testing diagnosis and treatment The military is a classic incubator for these enigmatic conditions MUS have proliferated among service members notably among those deployed abroad or in combat theatres Alleged culprits include Agent Orange and other defoliants industrial chemicals and heavy metals that can be found with any army in the field depleted uranium elevated levels of background radiation the anti malarial drug mefloquine other prescribed medications and pre deployment vaccines ut here the discussion runs into the misty vagaries of possibility and potential the great landscape of maybe Could elevated levels of background radiation contribute to illness in some people Maybe Might low grade infections serve as initiating events for what years later emerge as vague but persistent symptoms Maybe Can environmental exposures trigger illnesses that manifest differently in individuals of different genetic make up or ethnic background Possibly Are some vaccines related to serious illness in some people Yes but only some vaccines in some people and identifying these people prior to receiving a vaccine is difficult The history of medicine has been a long journey from a world where at one time all human maladies other than injuries were medically unexplained From the time of Hippocrates medical science has moved through countless theories explaining all manner of illnesses conditions and syndromes As new knowledge emerges old ideas are revised improved or discarded But just as human bodies change over time and the environments we contend with grow ever more complex MUS related illnesses will likely always be with us It seems reasonable that MUS are new variants on old problems what doctors refer to as uncommon presentations of common problems Without research to support one treatment against another management of MUS is sometimes simply a conscientious doctor s best shot at offering relief Within this context military and VA physicians attempt to evaluate GWS and other MUS related medical syndromes It s a complicated stew not readily explained in a news sound bite a short newspaper piece a CNN crawl or a press release In the winter of 2003 Charles Engel an Army physician made a presentation to the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board Engel the Director of the Deployment Health Clinical Center DHCC at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was seeking advice on improving deployment related health care including ways of collaborating with the VA medical system Col Engel launched his presentation by observing that post war and post deployment syndromes have in fact been around a long time Poorly understood war syndromes have been associated with armed conflicts since at least the Civil War he told the Board and have consistently involved fundamental unanswered questions Getting to the bottom of these unanswered questions helps define the work of the DHCC But the evaluation of unexplained symptoms Engel observed can be waylaid by the large and problematic gap between what is proven and what is plausible in medical practice The horns of this dilemma continue to stymie doctors treating veterans those seeking care policymakers and advisory organizations like the IOM Engel has been director of the DHCC since the mid 1990s and from the start brought a strong interest in MUS In fact DHCC was launched in 1994 in response to the emergence of GWS In the wake of the Gulf War we were looking at 15 20 percent of soldiers returning with complaints and concerns that went undiagnosed Engel told me when I visited with him in his Walter Reed office We looked at this situation and asked ourselves What if we focused on this group and tried to get at what was ailing them In addition to being a physician and researcher Engel is a Gulf War veteran I felt a particular sympathy for other vets who had been where I had been and exposed to what I was exposed to Gulf War syndrome is a case of people suffering while we waited for diagnostic criteria to be officially described And obviously that wasn t happening very quickly Today there are care guidelines in place for DoD and VA healthcare providers that assist in managing individuals with hard to diagnose problems Medically unexplained symptoms are not being ignored Engel said Not at all But for individuals suffering with these problems it can be very frustrating The National Library of Medicine lists nearly 500 citations on Gulf War illness dating back to the early 1990s A quick look at one recent study of a group of 2 189 Gulf War era veterans highlights the difficulties facing doctors working with Gulf veterans A report in the Annals of Internal Medicine June 7 2005 investigated various symptoms after deployment noting that the long term prevalence of symptoms and association with deployment remains controversial The researchers studied

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1206/gulf_war_syn.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    being so terrified he started shaking and couldn t stop He was not the praying kind at the time but he prayed anyway Today he is in his twenty seventh year as a Christian minister Fortunately his last three months in Vietnam were considerably more relaxed than the first nine I was assigned to a carpenter detail he said I heard it was going to be a long operation and the rumor was they were going to keep guys who worked hard on it I thought Well that s me I m a hard worker I spent my last three months working on that carpentry detail Dan John and Frank soon followed to Vietnam John and Frank having joined the Marines within a month of each other but not knowing it until they stumbled upon one another in boot camp John lived in Michigan at the time of his enlistment but Frank had moved to California to be with his father The family wasn t in the habit of writing letters and the boys didn t know their brothers plans Frank says John joined first about a month ahead of him John s not so certain I can t say for sure who joined the Marine Corps first me or Frank John said After I d been in boot camp awhile a D I said Do you have a brother named Frank We got together for a short time after that The rest of my time in boot camp the D I was asking why I couldn t be as squared away as my brother Frank went to Vietnam first When John arrived he knew Frank was in country some place but didn t know where and certainly never realized he was just down the road in the Dong Ha area But Frank didn t know John was in Vietnam until the day he was riding in the back of an open truck in a convoy while another convoy came from the opposite direction John was the first to see who was coming toward him We got closer to where you could see the guys and all of a sudden I saw it was my brother Frank John said I hollered to the driver to stop and I jumped off They managed to spend some time together and later it was Dan s turn to hook up with each brother though today he s not sure which one was first Frank was the one I saw first Dan said and then reconsidered Well you know I m not sure which one it was What everyone is sure of is that Frank went from Dong Ha to Danang to see Dan and Dan went up a river from Danang to Dong Ha to see John at his 155mm artillery unit Dan said he fed Frank well on Navy food in Danang a much higher quality chow than Frank was accustomed to in the Marines John marveled at the risk Dan took

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1206/kern.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    17 Broadway to Baghdad special fund raising event The two part evening included a black tie gala show at the HBO Theater on 6th Avenue and a special performance of Tharp s newest Broadway musical The Times They Are A Changin at the Brooks Atkinson Theater The sold out event which drew rave reviews from everyone who attended had several purposes to honor America s fighting men and women to raise much needed funds for VVA s Service Representative Program and to let the world know that VVA is living up to its founding principle Never again will one generation of Americans abandon another We adopted that principle at our first National Convention in 1983 in reaction to the way Vietnam veterans were treated when we returned home from serving our country VVA President John Rowan a New York City native who hosted the Broadway to Baghdad event said in his remarks at the HBO Theater One way we live up to our founding principle is our Veterans Representatives Program We have over 400 service reps who last year helped veterans receive close to 100 million in benefits that they deserved as a result of physical and emotional problems sustained in service to the nation We provide this free program to all veterans no matter when they served Addressing active duty personnel and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Rowan said VVA will be here to help you when you come home Welcome home to all of you Miss USA The overflow crowd at the 5 00 7 30 HBO event included active duty service personnel in uniform New York National Guardsmen and women New York firefighters and police officers many of whom were September 11 2001 first responders and many of whom also served in Iraq or Afghanistan seven severely wounded Iraq War veterans who came as guests of the Seneca Gaming Commission one of the event s primary sponsors along with dozens of VVA members and other Vietnam veterans The VVA contingent included New York State Council Chair Ned Foote Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund Chair Randy Barnes VVA Women Veterans Committee Chair Marsha Four Homeless Veterans Task Force Chair Sandy Miller Public Affairs Committee Chair Keith King Government Relations Department head Rick Weidman and many New York area members Also on hand were Tara Conner and Katie Blair the reigning Miss USA and Miss Teen USA I love doing this Conner said as she took a quick break from posing for pictures with star struck young and not so young soldiers Marines and veterans Being at events like this is one of the most rewarding parts of my job To which Katie Blair added I am very honored and very proud to be here among the troops The HBO program which was emceed by Vietnam veteran Don Buzney included performances by the Leatherneck Pipe Drum Corps a stirring National Anthem sung by Marine Corps Corporal Elizabeth Quinones the song Saving Freedom Precious Freedom sung by songwriter

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1206/broadway.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Welcome To Vietnam Veterans of America
    2008 Jan Feb mar apr may june july Aug sept oct Nov DeC 2007 Jan Feb MAR APR MAY JUNE july aug SEPT OCT Nov DeC 2006 July Aug SEPT OCT nov dec South Dakota Memorial Dedication A Rousing Welcome Home By Marc Leepson It was Hometown U S A welcomes home Vietnam veterans VVA President John Rowan said of the two days of events that accompanied the dedication of South Dakota s Vietnam War Memorial on Saturday September 16 in the capital city of Pierre Rowan along with VVA North Dakota State Council President Dan Stenvold was among the many special guests at the event which drew some 32 000 people South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds the state s entire congressional delegation Democratic Rep Stephanie Herseth Republican Sen John Thune and Democratic Sen Tim Johnson and former South Dakota Sen and World War II veteran George McGovern joined thousands of Vietnam veterans their families and other spectators for the event The festivities began on Friday September 15 The Traveling Wall the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that is part of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute was on display as was a welcome center for visitors Organizers offered a Find a Buddy Locator Service a display of the Agent Orange Quilt of Tears a Fallen Sons and Daughters of South Dakota Remembrance Field Sky Soldiers Huey Helicopter rides and a POW MIA Recovery presentation The day ended with an evening concert by none other than the Beach Boys The Memorial dedication ceremonies began at two o clock Saturday afternoon an event one observer commented that was run with military precision Adrian Cronauer the former AFVN radio disk jockey known around the world for his Good morning Vietnam catch phrase served as emcee Gov Rounds greeted Vietnam veterans in the

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/1206/SD_memorial.html (2016-02-15)
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  • PTSD Help for Children
    A Service Officer Benefits Update Benefits Guides Government Affairs Legislative Agenda VVA Testimony Legislative Action Center Government Affairs Update Public Relations VVA Publications Current Press Releases Public Service Announcements Logos Media Request Sign Up Events National Convention Leadership Conference Other National Events State Council Meetings E Room Reservations Directions To Our Office Publications The VVA Veteran VVA Publications Advertising Kit Forms Agent Orange Site Map Join VVA Agent Orange Other Toxic Exposures PTSD Locate Your Local VVA Chapter Personality Disorder Discharges Chaplains Corner CSCP Contact VVA PARTNER SITES PUBLICATIONS Related Links What is PTSD Tips on Working with Your Service Representative Get Help Apply Develop Evidence Establish Diagnosis Establish Stressor How the VA Evaluates Levels of Disability How to Respond to the VA s Decision Incarcerated Veterans VA Medical Services Help for Children Social Security Benefits Vietnam Veterans of America Lawyers Help For Children The VA generally offers no assistance to children of veterans unless the veterans have been rated at least 30 service connected disabled Such veterans can receive a dependents allowance Children of veterans considered permanently 100 disabled are also eligible to education assistance and health care through its CHAMPVA program Copyright 2004 Vietnam Veterans of America Inc

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/ptsd_children.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Government Affairs On The Web
    utilize VA healthcare services Yet many of those who use the VA often are ignorant of the benefits to which they are entitled and their service related health conditions and health care risks Because the VA has never had a reputation for effective outreach to veterans VVA established the Veterans Health Council The core mission of the VHC is to inform and educate the private sector health care community as well as veterans and their families about veterans benefits and health issues To their credit under Secretary Shinseki the VA has started to use TV and radio advertising and social media to advertise and promote VA services But the VA needs to do a much better job of taking military histories for every veteran and educating VA clinicians about the health risks that veterans have been exposed to The VA does not need more money to do this rather it needs to use its resources more wisely EXPANDING CAREGIVER COVERAGE Almost two years ago Congress passed Public Law 111 163 the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act to great acclaim The new law empowered the VA Secretary to develop regulations to provide compensation and assistance for family caregivers of troops grievously injured or wounded in the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq One subsection reads the Secretary shall submit a report on the feasibility and advisability of expanding the provision of assistance to family caregivers of veterans who have a serious injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military naval or air service before September 11 2001 His report is due this month MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA The VA needs to provide and evaluate gender specific intensive sexual treatment residential programs with an emphasis on meeting the needs of the increasing number of homeless veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma and are without resources to travel to VA facilities Congress should work with the Undersecretary for Benefits to establish a method to identify and track claims related to military sexual trauma to determine the rate at which such claims are awarded or denied and the rating awarded for the various diagnoses PREDATORY FOR PROFIT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING The Post 9 11 GI Bill has been a godsend for men and women who have served in uniform It has also been an opportunity for certain for profit colleges to rip off albeit legally the system They often spend 10 000 20 000 to hook veterans and active duty troops National Guard and Reservists who qualify to enroll in their schools and then spend only 700 a semester on educating them Veteran students are more than disappointed when they find out that the credit hours they worked for are not transferrable to most state colleges or the degree they ve earned isn t worth the paper it s printed on Legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Sens Patty Murray D Wash and Jim Webb D Va who introduced the original GI Bill legislation and

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/veteran/Govt-Affairs/govt-affairs-web.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Membership Notes
    Links Sponsors Membership Membership Brochure Join VVA Renew Your Membership Locate Your Local Chapter Membership Services Benefits Locate A Service Officer Benefits Update Benefits Guides Government Affairs Legislative Agenda VVA Testimony Legislative Action Center Government Affairs Update Public Relations VVA Publications Current Press Releases Public Service Announcements Logos Media Request Sign Up Events National Convention Leadership Conference Other National Events State Council Meetings E Room Reservations Directions To Our Office

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/membership_notes.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Government Affairs Testimony
    to End Veterans Homelessness Complete Testimony May 19 2009 Before the House Veterans Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health Regarding VA Medical Care The Crown Jewel and Best Kept Secret Complete Testimony April 2 2009 Before the U S House of Representatives Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Regarding Improving Recovery and Full Accounting of POW MIA Personnel from all Past Conflicts Complete Testimony March 24 2009 Before the U S House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance Memorial Affairs Regarding H R 952 Complete Testimony March 12 2009 Before the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs Regarding VVA s Legislative Agenda and Policy Initiatives Complete Testimony March 10 2009 Before the Committee on Veterans Affairs United States Senate Regarding The Department of Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 10 Budget Request Complete Testimony March 10 2009 Before the Committee on Veterans Affairs United States House of Representatives Regarding The Department of Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 10 Budget Request Complete Testimony March 3 2009 Before the U S House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Health H R 1211 Women Veterans Health Care H R 784 H R 785 and Emergency Treatment in Non VA Facilities Complete Testimony January 28 2009 Before the Committee on Veterans Affairs United States Senate Regarding VVA Legislative Priorities for the 111th Congress Complete Testimony October 24 2008 Veterans Combat Stress and the Family A Bipartisan Federal Issue Briefing hosted by Witness Justice and supported by VVA Panelists included VVA s Dr Tom Berger Kathryn Power CMHS Director John Baker Attorney Todd Bowers IAVA and Gen Xenakis DoD Complete Testimony September 23 2008 Before House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation Regarding Media Outreach to Veterans Complete Testimony September 16 2008 Before the U S House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health Regarding Oversight Hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Hotline Complete Testimony September 9 2008 Before the U S House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health Regarding H R 3051 Complete Testimony July 9 2008 Statement for the Record of VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA Concerning The Smoking Cessation Drug Chantix Complete Testimony June 12 2008 Before the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance Memorial Affairs of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Regarding 14 Bills Complete Testimony May 21 2008 Before The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Regarding Pending Health Care Legisltion Complete Testimony May 15 2008 Before The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia the Pacific and the Global Environment Regarding Our Forgotten Responsibility What Can We Do To Help Victims of Agent Orange Complete Testimony May 7 2008 Before The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Regarding Pending Legisltion Complete Testimony May 1 2008 Before the Joint Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee on Appropriations Regarding Housing Our Heroes Addressing the Issue of Homeless Veterans in America Complete Testimony April 21 2008 Before the Subcommittee on Health Committee on Veterans Affairs United States House of Representatives Regarding Women Rural and Special Needs Veterans Complete Testimony April

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/testimony.html (2016-02-15)
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