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Gulf veterans urged to join registry

By Vincent Z. Whaley
Johnson City Press Staff Writer

(Published Sunday, Oct. 1, 2000)

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Not all of the more than 67,000 veterans listed on the Department of Veterans Affairs' Persian Gulf Veterans Health Registry are ill or have experienced symptoms associated with Gulf War Syndrome.

But Phyllis Deel, a nurse practitioner and Gulf War coordinator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, encourages all Gulf War veterans to fill out an application to be included in the registry.

"Even if a Gulf War veteran hasn't experienced any problems after the war, it's still a good idea to go ahead and get the free exam and get listed on the registry," she said. "It's all a part of helping to keep the veteran healthy.

"The 10-page application and medical exam results become a permanent part of the veterans' medical record. So they would have that taken care of in the event they ever needed any help from the VA in association with their service during the Gulf War."

Deel said local Gulf War veterans must first contact the Compensation and Pension benefits office at the VAMC at 1-877-573-3529 to schedule an appointment to complete the registry appliaction.

"Once the veteran fills out the application, it usually takes about or less than a month to go through the examinations," she said.

Active duty personnel with questions or concerns about their service in the Persian Gulf War can contact their commanding officer or call the Department of Defense Gulf War Veterans Hotline at 1-800-796-9699 for an examination.

Gulf War veterans seeking disability compensation for illnesses incurred in or aggravated by military service can contact a veterans benefits counselor at the nearest VA regional office or call the VA Gulf War Information Helpline at 1-800-749-8387.

For more information, consult the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site at www.va.gov or the American Legion's Web site at www.legion.org.

Story © 2000-2004 Vincent Z. Whaley and the Johnson City Press, 204 W. Main St., Johnson City, Tennessee 37605, 423.929.3111.
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47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
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