Re: could it be?
I wish I could share with you, all my opinion letters that have appeared in the newspaper. I've been trying to get the readers to make the connection that the current operations in Iraq are part of an 18 (going on 19) year war that started in 1987 with Operation Earnest Will.
If you remember, Reagan agreed to protect the tankers (they had to be re-flagged) letting the US step right into the Iran-Iraq War. If you read the excerpt from one of my letters below, you'll see that there hasn't been any lapse in war medals since 1987. In other words, we've been militarily involved one way or another over there since 1987. (Even though covert operations date back further than that).
I agree that Persian Gulf Veterans should include ALL veterans who have served there since Operation Earnest Will up to the present. We are all actually “Veterans of the War in Southwest Asia.”
Anyone in the Navy or Marines remembers the MAGTF deployments to the Gulf of the late-’80s. The Gulf was the hot spot.
As far as health concerns resembling Gulf Syndrome for Earnest Will, Prime Chance, & Praying Mantis veterans? They're out of luck unless the VA would change the criteria dating back to early 1987.
As far as collectively gathering all vets of the SW Asia conflict under a veterans organization for representation, write to the head of the NGWRC addressing the issue of inclusion of the ‘87-’89 vets. The NGWRC currently doesn't include 1987-1989 Gulf Vets as ones that they represent. They've included all the vets since 1990 thru the present in SW Asia. They even include Afghanistan Veterans. I'm sure they'd be glad to ad a whole new bunch. The more numbers, the more voice.
See if you agree with my excerpt...
“Casualties from this 18-year involvement and the fact that it hasn't ended make this conflict absurd. Starting with Operations Earnest Will and Praying Mantis, through Desert Shield, Storm, Strike, Thunder, Fox, Southern and Northern Watch, Southern Focus, and Iraqi Freedom, it's been the same war.
Anyone knowing history is familiar with how long we were in Vietnam. While most casualty figures cover 1964-1973, the conflict was from 1958-1973, plus 1975. The Vietnam Medal covers 1966-1973, while the Expeditionary Medal covers 1958-1965, and 1975.
Likewise, the Expeditionary Medal covers Gulf service from 1987-1990, and 1995-2003. Special issues Southwest Asia Medal, covers 1990-1995, and Iraq Medal, covers 2003 to whenever. There has been no lapse in issue of these war medals.
There have been at least twenty operations including escorting tankers, defending Saudi, liberating Kuwait, cruise missile and air strikes, and blockading, invading, and occupying Iraq.
Remember the USS Stark, the 150,000 plus Gulf Syndrome Veterans, Khobar Towers? It's the same war and I'm curious to know the total figures.
Our presence in the Gulf region has lasted so long, as time and enemies change, we forget how we got there. Some of the troops dying there now aren’t even old enough to remember when we shot down the Iranian airliner, or destroyed oil platforms...”