Are Sailors and Airmen eligible for Gulf War Illness?
Gulf War Illness is an issue affecting a lot of Veterans. As we stated before, the VA has a list of presumptive conditions in which Veterans, who served in specific areas, can service connect. Headaches, Joint Pain, Fatigue, and several other issues, are on this list. When discussing Gulf War Illness, many people think of Marines and Soldiers as the Veterans affected by it, but are Sailors and Airmen affected too?
Granted, if you stepped foot on any of the countries listed in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations, you are eligible for the presumptive conditions. This is often referred to as “boots on ground.” However, many Sailors and Airmen who served in this area over the past 20 years without stepping foot in the countries listed. Are they still eligible? The answer is yes.
Let’s say you were serving in the Air Force and were stationed at Incirlik Air Base during the first Gulf War. It is in Turkey. Turkey does not qualify for Gulf War Presumptive Conditions. If you stayed on base and in the country of Turkey you would not be eligible. However, if you flew in the airspace above any of the areas listed, then you do qualify for the Gulf War presumptive conditions. The airspace above all of the countries is considered eligible for the presumptive conditions.
As I learned by watching “Top Gun,” the Navy has planes too. (I actually knew that, but wanted to get a “Top Gun” reference in today.) Navy pilots are eligible too. Once again the airspace is open to all who served, regardless of the branch. Not all Sailors go for the glory of being in the air, most stay on the ground, or on the ship, to keep everything running properly. Obviously Sailors who were in country qualify, but if you stayed on your ship the entire time, you may be eligible too. Not only are several countries and airspace listed as, but several waterways/seas are too. If you were on a ship in the following areas, you qualify: Gulf of Aden Gulf of Oman Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea.
I have friends who served in all branches of the military. My buddies who served in the Navy and Air Force are the first to state that Marines and Soldiers get all of the attention. While I am not sure that is true-I think they may be biased-Sailors and Airmen aren’t the first to come to mind when we think of Gulf War presumptive conditions.
If you would like to learn more about the GWI, or would like to discuss our services, give me a call. 1-877-526-3457. Fill out this form, and I will be happy to give you a call.