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Opening Statement of Hon. Corrine Brown, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for calling this hearing today.

Gulf War Illnesses have bedeviled the doctors of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. 

About 670,000 troops from the United States served in this conflict. They served from just after the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 until June 13, 1991.

While the troops have long been returned home from this conflict, their suffering continues, 16 years later.  For years, the VA and DoD rejected the complaints of the veterans that they were sick and were told they were imagining things.

Well, they were not imagining things and the experience of war affects everyone differently.  We are learning that from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What have we learned from the Persian Gulf War?

Are we taking these lessons and protecting the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I know the Department of Defense is collecting data from soldiers.  Is it the right data?

Is the VA and DoD cooperating in the discussion of symptoms and illnesses soldiers are coming home with?   Are they sharing the data.

Do we have numbers of veterans complaining of unknown illnesses?  We have a pretty good idea of those suffering from TBI or PTSD.  What about what we don’t know?

I look forward to hearing the testimony today.