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Gulf War Syndrome

August 20, 1995

* Regarding "Government Study of Veterans Finds No Evidence of a 'Gulf War Disease,' " Aug. 2:

First we had Desert Shield, and then Desert Storm and now we have Desert Head-in-the-Sand. The Defense Department's yearlong investigation claiming that there is no connection to sick returning Gulf War veterans is an insult to me as a parent of a Gulf War veteran, to the American people and especially to the very ill Gulf War veterans who continue to suffer.

When my son Ruben, a career Navy Seabee of 14 years, was sent to the Persian Gulf War he was a healthy young man weighing 185 pounds. When he came back four months later he had lost 20 pounds and his health. He continued to lose weight for over a year but the doctors at Port Hueneme and his command did nothing. Not until I had my congressman, Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D-Monterey Park), intervene on his behalf was our son admitted to the Naval Hospital in San Diego--a year after arriving from the Gulf War a very sick young man. He then spent over a year in the hospital, until he was medically discharged from the Navy--no better off than the day he was admitted. Yet, my son continues to suffer, as does his family.

My son has served his country very well, for more than 14 years. He has been deployed all over the world, and in just four short months in the Persian Gulf he comes home an invalid.

Now Dr. Stephen Joseph and the Department of Defense can bury their heads in the sand. But my son and his family have to live with it the rest of their lives.

REYNALDO NEGRETE

El Monte

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