Gulf War Veterans Advisory Committee: Advocates or Administration Surrogates

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Gulf War veterans suffer from what has become known as 'Gulf War Syndrome.' This, even if that illness has yet to be clearly defined or 'recognized' within the VA. What the current administration has done is put together a 14-member panel to advise the VA on such matters. To the extent I found one, I have included URLs that contain information concerning each member. Only time will tell if this panel is truly a veterans advocate, or just an administration surrogate. We can hope...

VA Names Members of Gulf War Veterans Advisory Committee

Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during 1990-1991 will have their own 'advocates' to respond to issues unique to them [as I said, we can only hope]. The 14-member panel will advise the VA on the full range of health care and benefits needs of those who served in the conflict.

Serving on the committee are Gulf War and other veterans, veterans service organizations' representatives, medical experts, and the survivors of Gulf War veterans. The committee will be chaired by Charles Cragin, a retired Navy captain, who has had several senior level positions within the federal government, including Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and Chairman of VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals.

In January 2002, the VA created an advisory committee to assist on research into the medical problems of Gulf War veterans. That older committee will retain responsibility for research involving veterans of the 1990-1991 conflict in the Middle East.

This committee's first meeting will be held in mid-June in Washington, D.C. It is expected to complete its work within 18 months. Committee meetings will be open to the public.

The 14 Members

Charles Cragin, (Chair) of Raymond, Maine. Currently serves a senior counselor for Maine Street Solutions, LLC (


Martha Douthit of Ashburn, Va. Surviving spouse of Gulf War Army veteran, member of the Gold Star Wives of America, currently an international trade analyst with the U.S. Department of Commerce (


Dr. Henry Falk of Atlanta. Retired rear admiral and former Assistant U.S. Surgeon General. Currently director for the Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (


Mark Garner of Lorton, Va. A retired Marine Corps chief warrant officer-three and Gulf War veteran who served as a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense Officer.

Dr. Lynn Goldman of Chevy Chase, Md. Vice chair of the Institute of Medicine Gulf War and Health Study; currently professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University (


Dr. John Hart of Plano, Texas. Past president of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, currently professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (,2356,80056,00.html


William (Rusty) Jones of South Riding, Va. Retired Marine Corps colonel, and veteran of Gulf War and Vietnam War.

Kirt Love of Crawford, Texas. An Army veteran of the Gulf War, currently serving as director of the Desert Storm Battle Registry.

Daniel Ortiz of Whittier, Calif. An Army veteran of the Gulf War, currently serving as department service director with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Daniel Pinedo of Oceanside, Calif. Marine Corps colonel currently serving as the comptroller for First Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Thomas Plewes of Annandale, Va. A retired Army lieutenant general and former chief of the Army Reserve. Currently a senior program officer with National Academy of Sciences ( from CNSTAT March 23, 2007 PDF.pdf


Valerie Randall of Savage, Md. A retired Army sergeant first class; currently with the Department of Homeland Security.

Edward (Randy) Reese of Washington, D.C. An Army veteran of the Gulf War; currently national service director for the Disabled American Veterans.

Steve Robertson of Fredericksburg, Va. A Gulf War veteran who served both in the Air Force and Army National Guard. Currently director of the national legislative commission for The American Legion.

This Week's Almost Not Commented on Story - They are the best, at saying they are the best...

VA'S BOGUS AWARD: RATES VA PERFORMANCE REPORT ON READABILITY, NOT ACCURACY OF CONTENT -- Mercatus Center: "The purpose... is to ascertain how well agency reports inform the public... It is not intended to evaluate the quality of the actual results..." Whenever the VA puts out a press release congratulating itself on a job well done, the alarm should go out: "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" Here we have another instance of just that. The VA's latest press release is titled: Report on VA Performance Honored for Ninth Year in a Row ... Peake: VA "Best of the Best" in Providing Clear Information. The key here is this: The REPORT was honored, NOT the CONTENT of the report. The Mercatus Center of George Mason University does this "scorecard" every year. The Center's criteria are listed as follows: The purpose of the Mercatus Center's assessment of federal agencies' annual performance reports is to ascertain how well agency reports inform the public about the results they produced. It is not intended to evaluate the quality of the actual results that federal agencies produced or to determine if the reports adhere to reporting guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget. So, the actual award to the VA from the Mercatus Center is for READABILITY and NOT accuracy. This is like telling your child that they produced a good looking report for class because it was printed on high-quality paper, but not examining the content of the report for accuracy. The VA is not known for the accuracy of their reporting... like, suicide numbers and budget requests, to name a few. So, congratulations to the VA for another self-serving press release about an award that means absolutely nothing!

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt