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Thanks to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for directing VA attention to Persian Gulf War veterans. A special task force has nearly completed a comprehensive report that will redefine how VA addresses the pain and suffering of ill veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.

The mission of VAs Gulf War Task Force is to identify gaps in services as well as opportunities to better serve veterans of the war. Of the almost 700,000 service members who deployed to Operation Desert Shield in 1990 and Operation Desert Storm in 1991, there have been 300,000 Gulf War veterans withclaims decisions, more than 85 percent were granted service connection for at least one condition, and more than 14 percent were not granted service connection for any condition. The chairman of the Gulf War Task Force is John R. Gingrich, chief of staff at Veterans Affairs and retired Army officer who served during the Gulf War.

“Reaching out to Gulf War veterans is not only essential to our transformation of VA; for many of us it is also personal,” Mr. Gingrich said. “Having commanded troops in the Gulf War and then witness some of them fall to mysterious illnesses has been very difficult to watch. With this task force, I am hopeful we can provide these men and women a better quality of life.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, DC 20035-5900; fax: 301/622-3330; call: 202/257-5446; or e-mail