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Gulf War Vets


I was an NBC specialist and can tell you that I have no idea what we were given as shots as we were waiting for and boarding the plane for Southwest Asia but I do know that nothing was EVER recorded (to include the PB pills) and as a forward unit, when incoming came and the 256 read (+) for whatever....we were just told to shut up. Guess that wasnt recorded either.

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Our M8 started screaming at about 3am one morning. We all MOPP'ed up in a hurry but nothing happened. It just seemed to be forgotten.

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I can't tell you how many times our chemical alarms went off and we were told to ignore it.

I was at King Fahd Airport when SCUD missiles shot towards Dhaharan were intercepted by Patriot missiles almost directly over our heads. We were warned about the incoming missiles but no one thought to MOPP up after the overhead explosions. After we deployed forward, we had multiple alarms on a daily basis. The only time we were ever told to MOPP up was after receiving a warning of potential incoming SCUDs while we were deployed on the Saudi Arabia/Iraq border.

While still at King Fahd we were lined up on a daily basis and had to take our PB pills in front of our company commander or platoon leader. Back in the US, we got a ton of shots before deploying. What we were injected with I can't tell you.

I always thought it was ironic that, before we deployed, the NBC threat was a much talked about issue and in theater it was almost a joke. From the outset, there was a huge concern by command and the line troops that Saddam would unleash his chemical arsenal on coalition troops, particularly when he got backed into a corner. After years of learning about and training for Soviet NBC munitions, once the reality that such weapons might actually be used against us hit us pretty hard. Things like the anthrax vaccine and the PB pills were knee jerk reactions to an actual threat we hadn't faced since WWII. There was no time to the FDA to study the drugs and deem them safe. Nope, we were given meds that were considered experimental and no one new what the outcome would be. They said the risk was worth the benefit.

On one hand, command was willing to take whatever steps necessary to protect troop assets but once we actually got in the field they turned a deaf ear and a closed eye to all the chemical alarms. When did the concern turn into ambivalence? Perhaps more importantly, why did that happen?

20 years later its clear we were exposed to chemical toxins and that stuff like the PB pills made it all worse instead of better. The sucky part is that GWI just keeps getting worse as time goes on.

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