Who Was At Khamisiyah

On 7 August 1996, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs designed and conducted a telephone outreach to veterans who may have participated in the operation at Khamisiyah ASP. Based on a search of the ESG database and over 100 interviews, the PGIIT was able to determine units potentially involved in this operation. Individuals were selected for the telephone outreach based on their Gulf War assignment to one of these units.

DMDC identified 1179 individuals assigned to units thought to have participated in the operation. Of those identified, 542 individuals were contacted and completed the survey, 14 were uncooperative with telephone operators, and 12 individuals are deceased. The telephone outreach effort concluded in October 1996. All individuals who were not able to be contacted via the telephone were mailed a certified letter, informing them of the incident and requesting they share any information pertaining to the incident through the 1-800 hotline. 259 individuals received the certified letter but did not contact DMDC, and 352 individuals have yet to receive a letter because either it is in the process of being forwarded to them or they have no known address.

The personal descriptions of the incident offered by each individual completing the survey were analyzed to screen for potential leads for the continuing investigation. The PGIIT used the data as a basis for follow-up interviews. Of the total 542 contacted, 39 individuals mentioned chemical alarms sounding during this period. These 39 reports, and all subsequent reports of chemical alarms sounding, are the subject of continuing examination and further analysis by the investigators of the IAD, the successor organization to PGIIT.

Given the uncertainty concerning the fallout from the "pit" demolition on 10 March 1991 and after careful review of the CIA's preliminary results, DoD decided to be conservative and notify all those who were thought to be within a 50 kilometer radius of Khamisiyah ASP between 1 March and 15 March 1991. Letters were sent to approximately 21,000 Gulf War veterans. The intent of these letters was to inform them of the incident; to inform them of the potential for low-level exposure to chemical warfare agent; to explain how to sign up for examination in the DoD or Department of Veterans Affairs registries; and to notify them of a forthcoming survey to query for specific unit/individual location information, chemical exposure data, and health and medical program participation questions. The most important part of the letter was:

We need to hear from you, not only about your experience in the vicinity of
the site, but also about any health problems you think may be a result of
your service during Operations Desert Storm/Desert Shield. Your timely
response to the survey will provide us with critical information. If you
have information that you believe would be of immediate value to us
pertaining to the events at Khamisiyah, please call the PERSIAN GULF
INCIDENT HOTLINE at 1-800-472-6719.

If you are experiencing health problems you believe to be a result of your
service in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield and you are eligible for
health benefits through the Department of Defense, please call the
If you are eligible for benefits provided by the Department of Veterans
Affairs system, please call the PERSIAN GULF HELPLINE at 1-800-PGW-VETS [95].

Mailing of the survey started 10 January 1997 and is still continuing [96].

This case is still being investigated. As additional information becomes available, it will be incorporated. If you have records, photographs, recollections, or find errors in the details reported, please contact the DoD Persian Gulf Task Force Hot Line at 1-800-472-6719

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