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#5865426 - 08/05/15 09:55 PM Burn Pits Epilogue
Microsktr Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/01/14
Posts: 62
Loc: Floresville, TX
Looking at the calendar today, I came to the realization that it was 8 years since I was deployed to Iraq during the summer (wow, time flies). During that time, I was living less than half a mile from the infamous Balad burn pit, which burned every piece of disposable crap and refuse generated on that base, whether toxic or otherwise (styrofoam, paint cans, amputated body parts, etc). Within 2 months after returning from deployment, I started having headaches and breathing issues. Breathing through my nose got so bad I ended up having a sinus turbinectomy 3 years later to get some relief. To this day I still get horrible sinus headaches when exposed to fine particulates in the air, like drywall dust, wildfire smoke, etc.
Was just curious in asking my fellow DVs that were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan...did you live near a burn pit while you were deployed, and if so, do you still suffer any adverse health effects now? sick
_________________________
AF(Retired)/DV; busted mine to save yours then...bustin' Bambi to save the American hunting dream now!

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#5866934 - 08/06/15 07:08 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
SapperTitan Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/17/10
Posts: 17067
Loc: Killeen/Ft Hood, TX
I did Route Clearance out of JBB and Warhorse in Baquba. There are times we would leave the Balad ECP and drive through burn pit smoke for hours just lingering in the air. I had an unproductive cough for almost a year when I got back. I would just cough and cough and cough. I also had shortness of breath even while just walking and my runtime on my PT test went from 1330s to 15s because of the breathing. I am getting ready to start my MEB very soon but I doubt they will even acknowledge burn pits.
_________________________
Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I could never repay you for the pleasure I've gotten out of your meat package.


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#5974207 - 10/12/15 07:08 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
MikeTX Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 01/08/13
Posts: 177
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Some folks from Balad came back with letters from environmental health that had air quality readings showing there was stuff in the air. The Army and/or VA should do a lung function test if that's part of what you decide to claim. It's up to the MEB or the VA after that.

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#5974603 - 10/12/15 09:59 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: MikeTX]
Microsktr Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/01/14
Posts: 62
Loc: Floresville, TX
I claimed it 3 years ago when I was retiring. Got 90 total disability from the VA, but only got a 10 percent from the VA for my sinuses, and no mention of the burn pits at all in their final disability document. confused2
_________________________
AF(Retired)/DV; busted mine to save yours then...bustin' Bambi to save the American hunting dream now!

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#6129770 - 01/10/16 10:15 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
MountainBoomer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 12/29/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Montgomery County
New guy to the forums here; don't know exactly how I came about this site but I'm glad to see this thread. Oklahoma born and raised but TX resident since 1997; just moved back last year.

I was navigator in the USAF. I did four short deployments (2-4 months each) to the Gulf in the mid-2000s (Qatar, Kuwait, and AFG, with missions all over Iraq and other places in the region), and then a 1-year permanent duty assignment there 2011-2012. However, I was sent home two months early from that assignment due to a mysterious lung problem which, based on X-rays and a CT scan, the docs over there thought may have been cancer. It was most likely some sort of fungal infection, but it was never confirmed as to exactly what it was. My work area had a lot of construction around it--trenching and making a lot of dust of who-knows-what--that may have contributed to my condition. I had several growths inside my lungs/chest, one of which was golfball-sized and actually displaced my esophagus to the point I had extreme pain in swallowing.

Once back in the states I had some biopsies done and they "forgot" to tell me it wasn't cancer for over a month--during which time I thought I had only a few months to live! An infectious disease specialist said it was probably histoplasmosis that I contracted stateside--except from what I gather, histo typically incubates in about a 2-week time frame and I'd been in the desert for about 9 months when I started noticing decreased PT ability and chronic coughing which prompted the initial doctor visit.

Every six months I'd been getting CT scans. In 2014, two years after the initial lung problems, the growths started growing in size and changing in shape. I had a PET scan done, in which the growths showed characteristics consistent with cancer. Another invasive biopsy showed no cancer. Still don't know what's going on.

I retired this summer and got my VA disability rating last month. I claimed all the lung-related stuff. The VA rated me 80% for a long list of stuff we found "wrong" with me over the last couple of years (to include a metal fragment in my head I didn't even know I had!), but though they rated me for residuals from the lung masses, they denied my claim of "infectious disease incidental to Persian Gulf service" and specifically stated there was NO connection of the condition to my time in the Gulf...

Similarly, I registered on the VA's Gulf War Registry and listed the lung problems. They kept reminding me that the Registry had nothing to do with my individual disability claim; I told them I understood, but it was important to me to be able to share my experiences and conditions with others who may be experiencing similar symptoms. However, after my Gulf War-specific medical exam (which was really just a Mental Health interview, followed by some other doctor reviewing my records--a doctor whom I've still never met, let alone spoken to about my concerns), they did not include ANYTHING about my lung condition. I asked them to please include that information, but after AGAIN reminding me it doesn't affect my individual claim (yes, I get it!) they said it was a "closed matter" and I'd have to take it up with the Regional Director. I've tried calling him, but both times he's "in talking with veterans" (odd that as the RD he has that kind of time available), doesn't return my calls, and according to his secretary "he don't do email." I guess my next step is to contact my Congressman? I've seen recent news that Congress is interested in hearing more from the VA on the various reports of Gulf War illnesses from returning servicemen.

The bottom line is that, based on my personal experiences, it seems the VA is not interested in helping vets share information on symptoms and conditions which should be of real concern. That being said, I'm still trying to get my information added to the Gulf War Registry, and if anyone has insight on a similar battle to do so, I'd appreciate it.

Regarding the Balad burn pit letter, I have it electronically if anyone needs it. Flew in there quite a few times and experienced the burn pits there as well as on a longer-term basis in Bagram AFG.


Edited by MountainBoomer (01/10/16 10:24 PM)
Edit Reason: added short intro

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#6131251 - 01/11/16 07:20 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
chemdawg Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 257
My father Died of Agent orange at 57yrs old they denied his claims do to on symptom that he did not have any my mother is out all kinds of befits you have to fight with them i am an Iraq war vet 100% disability for my back that has pinched nerves all down my spine and 4 rods they gave me 10% and they would not even recognize my head injuries were i lost my memory and had to do 5-6yr of therapy despited having to be medicated to germany having purple hears for both I talked with my pain management doctor who use to sit on the va board or appeals then quit when he seen time and time gain poole who deserve proper ratings were denied its like that is what they are suppose to do is turn you down he help me get around it my sending me to civilian specialist having it noted by civilian doctors when i did my refile i sent it copies to the dav to file my claim and the VFW i let them send my paper work in i sent in my paper work 3 times it was prove for every thing the lat time the best advise i can tell you is never take no for an answer even you have to pay for the exam out of your pocket and make sure you are collecting ssid and medicare and get your doctor to tile as well i have a hard time explaining in works my head injury make writing hard but you can call me 254 319 3188 and i can help you out with it if i can

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#6134448 - 01/13/16 06:56 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: MountainBoomer]
MikeTX Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 01/08/13
Posts: 177
Loc: San Antonio, TX
Originally Posted By: MountainBoomer
New guy to the forums here; don't know exactly how I came about this site but I'm glad to see this thread. Oklahoma born and raised but TX resident since 1997; just moved back last year.

I was navigator in the USAF. I did four short deployments (2-4 months each) to the Gulf in the mid-2000s (Qatar, Kuwait, and AFG, with missions all over Iraq and other places in the region), and then a 1-year permanent duty assignment there 2011-2012. However, I was sent home two months early from that assignment due to a mysterious lung problem which, based on X-rays and a CT scan, the docs over there thought may have been cancer. It was most likely some sort of fungal infection, but it was never confirmed as to exactly what it was. My work area had a lot of construction around it--trenching and making a lot of dust of who-knows-what--that may have contributed to my condition. I had several growths inside my lungs/chest, one of which was golfball-sized and actually displaced my esophagus to the point I had extreme pain in swallowing.

Once back in the states I had some biopsies done and they "forgot" to tell me it wasn't cancer for over a month--during which time I thought I had only a few months to live! An infectious disease specialist said it was probably histoplasmosis that I contracted stateside--except from what I gather, histo typically incubates in about a 2-week time frame and I'd been in the desert for about 9 months when I started noticing decreased PT ability and chronic coughing which prompted the initial doctor visit.

Every six months I'd been getting CT scans. In 2014, two years after the initial lung problems, the growths started growing in size and changing in shape. I had a PET scan done, in which the growths showed characteristics consistent with cancer. Another invasive biopsy showed no cancer. Still don't know what's going on.

I retired this summer and got my VA disability rating last month. I claimed all the lung-related stuff. The VA rated me 80% for a long list of stuff we found "wrong" with me over the last couple of years (to include a metal fragment in my head I didn't even know I had!), but though they rated me for residuals from the lung masses, they denied my claim of "infectious disease incidental to Persian Gulf service" and specifically stated there was NO connection of the condition to my time in the Gulf...

Similarly, I registered on the VA's Gulf War Registry and listed the lung problems. They kept reminding me that the Registry had nothing to do with my individual disability claim; I told them I understood, but it was important to me to be able to share my experiences and conditions with others who may be experiencing similar symptoms. However, after my Gulf War-specific medical exam (which was really just a Mental Health interview, followed by some other doctor reviewing my records--a doctor whom I've still never met, let alone spoken to about my concerns), they did not include ANYTHING about my lung condition. I asked them to please include that information, but after AGAIN reminding me it doesn't affect my individual claim (yes, I get it!) they said it was a "closed matter" and I'd have to take it up with the Regional Director. I've tried calling him, but both times he's "in talking with veterans" (odd that as the RD he has that kind of time available), doesn't return my calls, and according to his secretary "he don't do email." I guess my next step is to contact my Congressman? I've seen recent news that Congress is interested in hearing more from the VA on the various reports of Gulf War illnesses from returning servicemen.

The bottom line is that, based on my personal experiences, it seems the VA is not interested in helping vets share information on symptoms and conditions which should be of real concern. That being said, I'm still trying to get my information added to the Gulf War Registry, and if anyone has insight on a similar battle to do so, I'd appreciate it.

Regarding the Balad burn pit letter, I have it electronically if anyone needs it. Flew in there quite a few times and experienced the burn pits there as well as on a longer-term basis in Bagram AFG.


I have a similar lung scar they thought was cancer for a few weeks...possibly from the dust storms or construction dust. It showed up after my PG time but didn't affect my lung function...at least to the point that the VA was willing to link it to anything. I have yet to understand the "presumptive conditions" as I have some of them, but didn't get rated for them. I gave up on any further claims until I retire from the reserves.

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#6135637 - 01/14/16 12:58 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
MountainBoomer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 12/29/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Montgomery County
I had an online chat with a VA rep today. I told her how I thought it was important to share information on my condition with other Gulf War vets who may be experiencing similar symptoms. She said that Congress controls the list of Gulf War illnesses, and for any illnesses to be added to the list, a majority of veterans have to report suffering from the same condition. But the VA won't list those conditions if the veterans report them, so how would Congress know? I told her that was a bit of a Catch-22, and she suggested writing my Congressman. On to that next step now... mad

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#6136489 - 01/14/16 09:28 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
chemdawg Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 257
you can google the cf manual for va disability rating it tell you exactly what the criteria is per disability like my back if i can bed over a certen deg it is on rating if it is les then a certen deg it is a higher rating the max of a back injury no matter what i am able to do how much pain i am in is only 40 percent I had MRIs of my knees showing tears in my knees the doctor notes it in the write up but in his final report said there is nothing wrong and i have full nothing with out pain it took me 2 years in the MEB process to get my disability rating to 100% they only gave me 10% for my back arthritis my head and memory issue 0% TBI 0% you have to fight for it get it in writing civilian doctors are you savior My father died of Agent orange 3 doctors wrote as much but because he was missing on symptom they denied the claim and my mothers befits because i suffer sever insomnia and head aches i i want getting any were with the doctor i had i switched my new doctor said she would not give me anything because the other doctor said was drug speaking behavior I take 2 kinds of morphine long acting 60mg in the morning along with 16mg of fast acting ever 4 hours if i was drug seeking i would be going to them but i never fish my medicines from the pain doctor i washy have some left over because i dont ike to take them i would rather be in pain then druged up all the time to were i cant drive if you need help pm me your number and i can help you out i have help 5 people so far all of them got there ratings busted when we were done and 3 of them got social security and csrc pay for combat related injuries

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#6137174 - 01/15/16 11:33 AM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
MountainBoomer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 12/29/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Montgomery County
Clarification: I have my disability rating from VA, and am fairly satisfied with it (higher than I expected, but for different conditions than I thought would be the "big" items).

My concern is that veterans returning from the Gulf with mysterious lung diseases from OIF/OEF are not going to be recognized as having a condition they acquired over there, because the VA won't put it into its registry of problems those vets have, because Congress hasn't come out and declare these lung issues as a problem. And Congress won't move on it because they have no information on it--because VA doesn't report it. Round and round we go.

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#6138890 - 01/16/16 04:57 PM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
chemdawg Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 257
My fire i rated for a lung condition he was a [censored] up and had to burn [censored] for 2 mons with JP8 and how he can hardly breath and has scars on is long he was treated at 30% for it i usendstand what you saying but you can down load the CF manuel off the va web site it breaks every thing dow body part r organ on the boby what and what the criteria is for each injury by percentage it is also how a log of guys with nothing wrong with them like about theres injury when they go in and get that rating for ptsd or other injuries buy lying and facking it when i went to Barbers school there were about9 of us who were prior serves there were several guys who and fitted they lied on the medboard to get higher disabitlys one has nothing wrong with him when he was getting close to getting out he looked it over and fount the thing that he could face and get a higher percentage he went for 0 to 90 and is perfectly fine and collects social security he faved his ptsd els enrolled in AA as a sever drunk face a few other thing its sicking and hew was just drawing benefits from thos who need it I turned him in and nothing happen to him they didn't ever care


Edited by chemdawg (01/16/16 05:20 PM)

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#6146551 - 01/21/16 10:48 AM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
MountainBoomer Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 12/29/15
Posts: 8
Loc: Montgomery County
If any of y'all have mysterious lung problems that the VA does not acknowledge (i.e. doesn't give a disability rating for it, and/or you tried getting it input to the Gulf War Registry and they didn't put it in your record), please contact me--my congressional staffer would like the info, as she is going to take it to the Committee on Veterans Affairs.

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#6150169 - 01/23/16 08:16 AM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
BassCat'99 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 921
Loc: Stratford Texas
I'm really very sorry for the added pain ya'll are experiencing due to our great Govt. Don't get me wrong, I'd go back again and again if I could and my Country need me.When I came home I never wasted my time with the VA, my brother and I both had dealings, I was 14 months behind him. This last year he finally received his disability rating and financial restitution from Vietnam service last YEAR. I pray you all can find piece and so semblance of your life again. I do thank you for your service and willingness to do what your asked when others can only find excusses for not doing their part. Thank you
_________________________
TS

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#6151422 - 01/24/16 02:43 AM Re: Burn Pits Epilogue [Re: Microsktr]
chemdawg Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/15/15
Posts: 257
I think we wall would go back again and ain if we were needed it does suck the they va wont take care us us like they say they do on tv in stead when you go in there they act they are doing you some great service to to the ptsd like a lot of i have trouble sleeping well my meds went working my depression got works the doctor did to want to do any thing about it he would not even look at me i went to refueled claim and he and put down i was drug seaking for seeping pills now i get 2 kinds of morphone long and short pluse phentenaly 350mcg patches every day now if i was going to drcu seek if would be for the pain killers not nothing to help me sleep that was the last time i ever set foot in a va click do my yearly and i am lucky enough to have try care an live next to FT HOOd for my media MR i wish you luck and if you want to try for a higher disability SSID i can help you i have gotten a lot of guys there payees that they were owed do you get CSRC Pay

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