sickness strikes a local soldier
War in Iraq: Austin Lipps has suffered from flu-like symptoms
ever since his return home
By Bill Engle
At a glance
Austin Lipps, 20, of Richmond has been fighting flu-like
symptoms since returning to the United States from Iraq in
Lipps is stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., where he has seen Army
doctors and civilian doctors.
He is waiting for a diagnosis.
Austin Lipps might not be going back to Iraq when his U.S. Army
unit, the 64th Armored Regiment, saddles up in January 2005.
That's because Lipps, the son of Bobby and Pam Lipps of
Richmond, brought a little piece of the Iraqi war home with him.
It follows his every step, from Richmond, where he returned in
August 2003 to take his leave, to Fort Stewart, Ga., where he is
trying to prepare for another trip to the Middle East.
Lipps, 24, has been sick almost every day since returning from
the war. He has a mysterious disease that has flu-like symptoms
and leaves him with mild discomfort some days and absolutely
knocked-down, knocked-out sick on others.
"It's been hard,' Lipps said from Georgia this week.
"They've got me on all kinds of different pills to stop the
major symptoms. Sometimes they work, sometimes they work for a
He has been examined by Army doctors and civilian doctors, he
had his appendix removed and has been treated for Crohn's
disease. He stayed behind when the rest of his unit went to
California for more training.
It has been difficult, he said, not knowing what is wrong.
"It's kind of depressing,' Lipps said. "They've told
me I might be getting a medical discharge or a (job
reclassification) to another job. Right now, I've just been
Pam Lipps said she is still waiting for a diagnosis.
"It's hard to know what to think or feel until we get the
final results,' she said. "He was going to make (the
military) a career so I know it's hard for him. For me, it's
kind of a mixed blessing. If he didn't have to go back to Iraq,
that would be OK.
"But I would never want it to be something that threatened
his health,' she said.
The Lipps' other son, Joe, is a U.S. Marine serving in northern
During the 1991 Gulf War, more than 4,000 veterans came back
from the Persian Gulf with a mysterious illness, called Gulf War
Syndrome, that included symptoms like running nose, diarrhea,
fatigue, rashes, intestinal problems and sores.
As of yet, there have been few cases of soldiers returning home
from Operation Iraqi Freedom with ongoing medical problems.
Austin Lipps said he and other soldiers first became sick from
drinking water in Iraq. But he said doctors have not been able
to tell him if that is related to his current illness.
But Lipps is not letting the illness affect how he views the
rest of his life.
"I'm not one to get down on something like this because it
just happened,' he said. "If they are going to give me a
medical discharge, I just wish they would do it so I can get out
and go back to school.
"But I'm not going to cry myself to death,' he said.
"You just have to move on. I've just got to adapt and move
shared by Hawk March 21, 2004
pagel of Indiana told me that
when his group secured the airport during the first gulf war, the
whole group of them had extreme diarrhea.
212th MP CO
Gulf War Vet
I think this is part of the flu-like symptoms & also a major sign of
an exposure to 2-butoxyethanol.
Any time I get around paint fumes that are strong or some strong
cleaning chemicals I've become like a canary in the coal mine. I get
instant, severe, diarrhea. Kind of a human barometer I am (odd, isn't
3 soldiers in recent months died after 'flu-like symptoms' and the
doctors watched as they died. No answers for the widows. Well, with
severe attack such as this, why not ask what they were doing differently
just before this (like 15 minutes before) What chemicals were they
Staff Sgt James Alford's dad shared with me that his son had seen
the doctor several times for his horrible headaches before coming down
with this 'mad cow' disease. I asked him to check his son for blood in
urine and red blood cells that were immature. Check him for autoimmune
hemolytic anemia even though the blood info doesn't suggest that doctors
Brian's brother who was a seasoned paratrooper has practically the same
health damage only his has gone to his bones
& he has become in a serious state. In his case, I suspect the
strong chemical things like CLP
and stronger that he used repeatedly when cleaning weapons. He was also
the weapons Sgt
for some of these extra things to rule this chemical exposure in or out
believe there is help here
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