Burn Pits: The "Agent Orange" of the Iraq War

CONTACT US

Research Blog and Updates

An ongoing series of information and updates on research

Survey opens!

July 1st, 2018

Today is a big day for the team, after a over a years worth of academic research and over 60 pages of in depth literature reviews, we have formatted our survey, determined the most relevant questions to ask veterans about their burn pit related exposures - taking into account their pre-deployment physical fitness status and symptoms, their during-deployment symptoms, military occupational specialties, items burned, bases they were stationed at and their post-deployment physical fitness status and symptoms.


The survey can be accessed here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/OIFBurnPits


or you can scan the QR code to the left! The survey will remain open from July 1st to August 25th!

Meeting with the Governor's Office

July 3rd, 2018

The team received word yesterday and confirmed an appointment with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's direct Veteran Liaison Kasim Yarn (Navy Veteran) on July 24th. Special thanks to Iraq Veteran and VetCenter Outreach Specialist, MSgt. Paul Santilli, BA for making this meeting happen!


The meeting will discuss who we are, what we are doing, why we are doing it, how we plan to use the information and request the assistance/support of the office of the Governor of Rhode Island. With the support and blessing from Kasim Yarn, more doors will be opened to other members of the political branch and their resources; overall spreading the word about Burn Pit Toxicity in OIF/OEF veterans!


Click the picture to the left or go to @RIVetsDirector on Twitter to check him out

Wheels in the Government Cog

July 16th, 2018

The team has sent out numerous requests to speak with area government officials, it has been a partial success, this Wednesday, members of the team will meet with Massachusetts State Senator Richard Ross; Mr. Ross is a highly respected member of the local communities and districts in Massachusetts, this meeting should be productive and educational.


Secondly, a request was sent to Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton (pictured: https://twitter.com/sethmoulton ), a 4x Iraq War Veteran who served as an infantry captain in the USMC. However, due to his "busy" schedule, he is unable to meet personally - but we were offered the opportunity to meet with his Defense Legislative Fellow Shannon Fietz in Washington D.C. or via phone. So we will follow that lead up with Mrs./Ms. Fietz!


MSgt. Santilli and I are set to meet up on the 20th before our meeting with the Governor of Rhode Island's office to discuss our game plan, and determine what they can do for us! Any suggestions??

Social Media Sites

July 17th, 2018

The team just launched a few campaigns on social media!


Check us out on instagram: @Hunter7Seven

And on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hunter7Seven/


Government Updates - Good News!

July 21st, 2018

Last Friday we spoke briefly with Shannon Feitz, a Defense fellow from Rep. Seth Moultons' Office; she was very interested in what we had to say, our research and asked very relevant questions. Personally, the team felt the meeting would have gone better in person, but given the distance and short time between the team and Washington; the phone was the best route.


Mrs. Feitz requested more information about our research, we sent everything over that afternoon, hoping to hear back soon!


The State of Rhode Island is on board!

July 24th, 2018

Huge progress was made yesterday; members of the team met up with Mr. Kasim Yarn (pictured left with RI Adjutant General Christopher Callahan), the Director of Veterans Affairs for the Rhode Island Governors office and Navy veteran. Director Yarn was 110% on-board, very supportive, asked great questions, provided excellent answers and opened doors to further our research, assist us in our research and provide us with direct routes to numerous government contacts and establishing meetings with VA officials, Massachusetts Veterans Directors, Congressmen and State Senators.


Director Yarn provided us with his strategic planning, communications and policy administrator who is also a RI Army Guard Major and Afghanistan War Veteran; he too was also very responsive and eager to help!


Without a doubt the State of Rhode Island will be leading this charge and addressing the issues on these potential exposures. Thank you for your outward support and the support of your staff and office Director Yarn!


http://www.vets.ri.gov/

Twitter: @RIVeterans


"Working Together to ensure Every Veteran has the Opportunity to make it in Rhode Island"


#OverhaulTheVA -Veteran Warriors Advocacy

July 29th, 2018

Members of the team had the pleasure in speaking with YN1 Lauren Price, USN (Ret.) - Co-founder of the organization "Veteran Warriors Advocacy" out of Florida along with her husband and fellow Navy veteran Jim Price.


Veteran Warriors is a national veterans' advocacy group working relentlessly in enterprise-wide advocacy for VA process and legislative improvements (working closely with Sen. Gus Bilirakis). Mrs. Price is the investigative front-facing expert, and Jim is the logistics expert and caregiver support for Lauren who suffers from constrictive bronchiolitis related to direct exposures during her deployment to Iraq in 2007-2008.


This veteran-duo holds the ambition and has been the media outreach and government contact for the veterans whom lost their "voice". They stand firm against resistance and are avid in holding those responsible and accountable.


Talking with Lauren for over an hour and a half, we share many of the same interests, and together as a team we believe we can push forward and force the government and dept. of veterans affairs to acknowledge the "presumptive" conditions related to these burn pit exposures. With over ten years exploring this issue, Lauren and Jim Price are leading the charge to Washington!


Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VetWarriors1

or at www.VeteranWarriorsAdvocacy.com



TASK FORCE DAGGER

August 6th, 2018

Our team had the opportunity to speak with a member of "Task Force Dagger" - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity foundation that supports the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). TFD works hard to fill the gaps in coverage that exist and serve where needed.


Special Operations Forces (SOF) Health Initiatives: the program is a mind, body, spirit and purpose driven program focused on finding the root causes of illnesses and treating them with functional medicine. The SOF HIP offers a full systems, patient-centered approach to medicine and creates an environment conducive to healing and recovery.


Speaking with one of the members who still serves after 16 years, numerous deployments and also medical conditions, shares the same interests and motivation as we do. We look forward to meeting, discussing and helping assist their efforts!


Check them out at: www.taskforcedagger.org and on instagram @taskforcedagger



VETERAN-OWNED SPONSORSHIPS

September 9th, 2018

- Merica Bourbon (Houston, TX) - @mericabourbon

- Task Force Dagger (Dallas, TX) - @taskforcedagger

- Ben Cantwell Art (San Francisco, CA) - @bencantwell_art

- Kooks Only (Jacksonville Beach, FL) - @official.kooksonly

- Jessie G Music (Nashville, TN) - @jessieGofficial

- Team Room Designs (Panama City, FL) - @teamroomdesignsllc

- Green Devil Garage (Virginia Beach, VA) - @greendevilgarage

- SSG Matthew Pucino Foundation (Cape Cod, MA) - @mattpucinofoundation

- Dustoff Brewing Co. (Rock Hill, SC) - @dust_off_brew_co

- Duskin & Stephens Foundation (Fort Bragg, NC) - @duskin_stephens

- Iron Resurgence (El Cajon, CA) - @iron_resurgence

- Tactical Neuroscience (Sioux Falls, SD) - @tacticalneuroscience

- Mahi Mike Brand (Boston, MA) - @mahimikebrand

- Garibaldi Inshore Fishing (Pensacola, FL) - @garibaldiinshorefishing

- Seal1, LLC (Coronado, CA) - @seal1_


PROVED OUR HYPOTHESIS!

September 25th, 2018

If only it was that easy right!


We formed the hypothesis: “Veterans deployed to Iraq are more likely to show an increase in chronic symptoms post-deployment and a decrease in overall fitness standards when compared to pre-deployment.


Since we put a very high value on accuracy and evidence-based practice, we reviewed the literature, cited our statistical survey question(s) and ran the numbers through and through. More to come!


LEGISLATION IN THE HOUSE

October 17th, 2018

H.R. 6582 - "Protection for Veterans Burn Pit Exposures Act of 2018)

Formed by Florida Representative Gus Bilirakis and Combat Veteran Lauren Price of Veteran Warriors! This is the bill we are looking for! Includes presumptive conditions, additional research and board specific to OIF/OEF toxic exposures and service-connected symptoms based off of chemical exposures.


Very impressive piece! Keep Kicking A*S Lauren!


Click the photo to read the congressional house resolution, monitor its progress and to see if YOUR local congressmen have signed on to co-sponsor veteran health!


PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, STARS & STRIPES MAGAZINE

November 20th, 2018

Thank you Rhode Island College, The Providence Journal and Washington D.C.-based Stars & Stripes Magazine for recognizing our efforts in helping those exposed to burn pits by gathering academic and statistically relevant data and information!


We as a team, work EXTREMELY hard to keep our information as non-bias, academically sound, honest and truthful through IRB approvals, SPSS data sorting, CITI training and the list goes on and on!


Thank you to the above for keeping it truthful and spreading the word!


GRANTS AND NATIONAL CONFERENCES

November 27th, 2018

LtCol. Sheri Boucher, master's degree-prepared registered nurse an the HunterSeven team received a grant from Army Captain Matt Higgins to fund their travels to Orlando in January to present at the Student Veterans of America National Conference.


Cpt. Higgins, also a member of the local VFW in Smithfield, Rhode Island is also a supporter of the HunterSeven Foundation, the mission and end-state goals, being an Afghanistan combat veteran and Bronze Star Recipient.


Thank you very much Cpt. Higgins and VFW Post of Smithfield!


LOCAL POLITICS ON A FEDERAL LEVEL

December 19th, 2018

The team has been on the political forefront in attempt to gain co-sponsors for HR 6582 and HR 5671 while also attempting to gain a "companionship bill" on the Senate side. Few updates:


- SENATOR SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (RI): We thought we had his support after we presented the information and data to his Veteran Affairs Assistant in July 2018, however after the Providence Journal featured our story, the office of Sen. Whitehouse stated they are "undecided whether or not to jump on board" and that "it didn't meet this sessions cut, it must have been pushed aside". Not to impressed with the situation, its one thing to say something pre-election/campaigning, but it is a whole other to follow through, post-election. We requested a meeting and are standing by to hear more from his office.


- CONGRESSMAN DAVID CICILLINE (RI): We had the chance to meet with Rep. Cicilline one-on-one (yes, he took the time to personally sit down with us and meet - very impressive on his end). He was attentive and responsive, upset and angry with the issue as a whole and he vowed to support HR 5671 (which he did co-sponsor) and HR 6582 (waiting to have his name added). We met with his staff again today and they were both great in terms of advocacy! Rep. Cicilline is definitely the leading politician from Rhode Island, spearheading this issue.


- CONGRESSMAN JIM LANGEVIN (RI): The team met with members via WebCam to Washington D.C. with top veteran affairs liaison Leigh Maiden. We explained to her the issues at hand, the bills in the house that we are requesting support for, and why we are requesting support, issues with the current system (i.e. Burn Pit Registry, current onging use of burn pits) and she was very responsive towards us, was in-tune with the issues and said she would bring the discussion forward to her staff. We will email to follow up tomorrow!


- CONGRESSMAN JOE KENNEDY III (MA): .... We emailed his office in the summer, never heard back, emailed again in September, never heard back, emailed in November, heard back in December, when we did hear back, his chief of staff, Greg Mecher stated the congressman was available from 09:30 to 10:30 for "open office hours" on Saturday. Ha. And he is MY local representative, covering my home, my address. Ouch.