Don't let the title fool you. I wasn't shot in the war. Heck, I wasn't even over there yet. But before we could go, we had to have a series of shots.
I recently learned that these "secret experimental cocktail" shots are linked to Gulf War illnesses known as the Gulf War Syndrome. Here is what I found in an article written in 2004:
A senior army doctor has provided the first official support for claims that the cocktail of vaccines given to soldiers before the 1991 war in Iraq probably caused illnesses that became known as Gulf war syndrome, it was reported today.
For 13 years, the MoD has denied that vaccines could be blamed for the illnesses. Independent research has also failed to find conclusive proof of a common link between the vaccines and a Gulf war-related syndrome.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Howe, clinical director of psychiatry with the British forces health service in Germany, has made a link between the vaccines and illnesses associated with claims of Gulf war syndrome.
This had previously been reported, but the Times today revealed new details of a report written by Lt Col Howe in which he makes the link.
The report was written for the war pensions agency, and relates to former Lance-Corporal Alex Izett, who suffered from osteoporosis, which also caused depression.
The lance-corporal received "secret injections" ahead of his expected deployment to the Gulf, but his unit was ultimately not needed.
Lt Col Howe wrote: "It seems most likely certain that Mr Izett did in fact receive classified 'secret' injections prior to his expected deployment, and that in turn these have most probably led to the development of autoimmune-induced osteoporosis."
No causes other than the vaccine were cited, because Lance-Corporal Izett did not go to war.
The inoculations were not recorded on his medical documents because they had officially been classified as "secret", it was reported.*
I'm including a letter I wrote home to my grandmother dated 12-1-90 at 7:02 am EST that references these shots, if you can read it. I won't necessarily include photos of all of my letters, as there are some things I just can't or don't want to share. The ones I do share I will black out sensitive information that I cannot or choose not to share.
As you can see, I provided my field address where I could receive letters overseas, my social security number is blacked out. The letters I received, as well as care packages, went along way in keeping me going. I mentioned in my Welcome! post that I wanted to show the difference in morale between an Iraqi soldier and myself. Getting letters and packages from home certainly made a huge difference. I'll write more about that later.
The other thing that kept my spirits up was my faith in God. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was going to be tested and strengthened in many ways.
"He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength."