DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
1010 DEFENSE PENTAGON WASHINGTON, DC 20301-1010
MEMORANDUM FOR PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS CONCERNING KHAMISIYAH, IRAQ
The Department of Defense is continuing its wide-ranging investigation of incidents that might be related to Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses. We are asking for your help in providing us with important information.
Evidence from an ongoing investigation indicates that chemical weapons were present when U.S. forces destroyed a series of ammunition storage bunkers and crated munitions in an open pit area at a complex called ''Khamisiyah'' or "Tal al-Lahm," about 15 miles southeast of "An Nasiriyah" in southern Iraq. Our records show that your unit participated in the demolition operations at Khamisiyah in March 1991.
To our knowledge, service members at that time did not report the symptoms associated with acute exposure to chemical agents (nerve gas), but our search for information continues. Since you may have been part of the demolition operations, we need to hear from you, not only about your experience at or near the site but also any health problems you think may be a result of your service during Operation Desert Storm/Operation Desert Shield.
We urge you to call our PERSIAN GULF INCIDENT HOTLINE at 1-800-472-6719. When you call please indicate you were a member of the Khamisiyah demolition team. The person answering the telephone will ask you a few simple questions and then, if you desire, refer you to an appropriate medical facility for medical evaluation and care. We want to be sure you receive any health care you may need for health problems related to your service in the Gulf War.
Be assured, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are working together to bring all necessary resources to bear on this issue. But we can not do it alone. To understand the events at Khamisiyah and to address the concerns of our Gulf War veterans, we need your help in this effort.
We are indebted to each one of you for your service to our country during the Persian Gulf War.