May 13, 2008, Washington, DC – Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during 1990–1991 will have their own special advocates before Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake, thanks to a new advisory committee Peake established to respond to issues unique to them.
The 14-member, independent panel will advise the Secretary and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on the full range of health care and benefits needs of those who served in the conflict.
“Gulf War veterans made an invaluable contribution to national security and peace in a volatile region,” Peake said. “This new panel will ensure that VA benefits and programs adapt to the needs of these veterans, just as our services have adapted for veterans of other conflicts.”
Serving on the committee are Gulf War and other veterans, veterans service organizations’ representatives, medical experts, and the survivors of Gulf War veterans. Members were selected to provide a variety of perspectives, experiences and expertise.
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 Department created an advisory committee to assist VA’s secretary 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.
A list of the members of VA’s Gulf War Advisory Committee is attached.
VA Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans
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.
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.
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.