With a serious case of PTSD directly attributed by the Veteran’s Administration to his service in the first Gulf War, Tim Coil was discharged honorably after serving a five month tour of duty in Iraq, followed by a stay in Germany. While in Iraq, even though he worked in a direct support supply unit directly behind the front line of combat action, Tim Coil did “battle” with what could only be described as his own private hell.
Inside Iraq, Tim Coil experienced numerous retributions for taking a Conscientious Objector (i.e., non-killing) stance. He was threatened by a fellow soldier who informed Tim that he was going to kill him. None of the men in his company wanted anything to do with Tim - and thus, he existed in social isolation. Due to his moral stance on being a Conscientious Objector, he was held in general disdain, called a coward, and received threats of physical harm. From his supervisors Tim faced the reprisals of being delegated the very worst jobs imaginable, such as being put in charge of burning human feces.
Another such job given to Coil, because he was, as he described it, seen as “the most expendable” [due to his non-killing stance] was being the soldier made to drive the unit’s most dangerous vehicle, the oldest five thousand gallon diesel fuel truck. During one such excursion, a fellow soldier was overheard saying that he found out that he had to ride with Tim, and announced that if Coil slowed him down, he would shoot him and simply say that a sniper did it. On another occasion, a high-ranking commanding unit officer, upon discovering that the truck Tim was driving broke down, reportedly told him, “Sergeant Coil, if I find out that you intentionally damaged this vehicle, I will shoot you here and now”.
On another occasion, another person in his unit placed a scorpion inside his boot. Once, another soldier’s gun was placed under Tim’s bunk and the claim was made that he had stolen it. Continuously throughout his five month stint inside Iraq, Tim was threatened with bodily harm from inside his own unit, and even those he thought of as friends were antagonistic due to his refusal to engage in missions that included killing. As Tim sadly admitted, “Not only did what we consider the “enemy”, which is the Iraqis, did I have to worry about being shot or killed or blown up by them, but I had to watch my back around the people I was with”.
As the only Conscientious Objector in his unit, Tim was treated as the “black sheep” with whom no one wanted to associate. After spending five months in Iraq, Tim was sent back to Germany where he filled out paperwork to be released from the Army officially as a Conscientious Objector. After submitting his paperwork, he expected that his superiors would take up to the ninety (90) days allowable by military regulations to either approve or deny his request. Instead, Tim claims that his paperwork sat on a General’s desk for between six to nine months. [Note: According to an unconfirmed source, orders were given from high in the chain of military command during that time period that Conscientious Objector requests were not to even be considered].
Meanwhile, Tim Coil was harassed and given an unlawful order that he would not perform, and an attempt was made to try to intimidate, then Court Martial him, and transfer him to another unit. According to Coil, the charges were groundless and were subsequently dropped. It appears that everything possible was done to make Tim Coil’s military experience as unpleasant as humanly possible.
Adding injury to his insults, however, Tim did not realize it at the time, but he was, unknowingly facing an even more formidable threat. In Germany, Tim was starting to exhibit some new and unusual symptoms including those befitting the diagnosis of PTSD with severe anxiety, thoughts he considered uncharacteristic of him, a constant desire to be alone, and fits of uncontrollable rage.
Despite the fact that a VA psychiatrist stated that Tim had PTSD and/or other mental illnesses as a result of the Gulf War, the VA has awarded him no disability monies. Now struggling with the near-impossible task of not only locating members of his unit from 16 years ago but finding any who might be sympathetic who served with him in 1991 and might verify his experiences in order to get awarded military related disability benefits is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.
To this day, Tim continually entertains the possibility that he was poisoned with Uranium from munitions used in Iraq. As the driver who rode first in a line of diesel fuel trucks that routinely moved through battlefields, his truck would be the first to drive over ammunition - unexploded ordnance and rocket-propelled grenades. Many times, Coil’s truck would pass only ten to fifteen feet from tanks that were blown up and contaminated with Depleted Uranium with the charred corpses of soldiers who had tried to climb out of the tanks, now motionless on the ground, out in the open air.
At other times, in the distance, Tim could see the glow of tanks ablaze and contaminated with burning radioactive Uranium aerosols. On one occasion, a Cobra helicopter filled with Uranium munitions was hit while still in the air, exploding approximately one-quarter mile away. During all drives in his diesel fuel-carrying vehicle, dust was kicked up from the sand, and four inches of the radioactive ultra-fine sand particles stuck to Tim’s truck on top of the sticky diesel fuel residue. The truck was not air-conditioned, and Tim and other soldiers were, out of necessity, forced to keep the windows open and inhale the circulating dust and eat their food inside the dusty vehicles.
After experiencing a multitude of mental problems and medical issues, four years ago Tim started going to the Veteran’s Administration for testing and treatment. He was told that a urine test was done there for Uranium and that the results were normal.
According to information on the Uranium Medical Research Center website ( www.umrc.net ) when testing a veteran’s urine, the military uses data from The National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/ to rule out any veterans with less than 50 ng/l of uranium in their urine excretions.
This, according to the UMRC, does not properly represent the biokinetic facts of uranium contamination due to inhalation, and it also reportedly misuses the Center for Disease Control findings. The UMRC website states that “By the time a veteran sees a DVA physician, post-deployment (and the rule is that no urine is collected for DU analysis in the theater of war) the levels of uranium will have dropped, often below the cut-off of 50 ng/l. DU becomes incorporated into organs, lung tissue, bones and the circulatory system. Through incorporation and clearance of the contaminant and possible dysfunctional effects on kidneys, the veterans may not present with the quantities considered Significant”.
Uranium poisoning affects behavior. In 2005, while hospitalized due to serious mental issues, a VA psychiatrist told Tim that he had one of the worst cases of PTSD he had ever seen. Tim clearly stated his belief about his contamination by Uranium on the battlefield: “I do believe that I do suffer with Depleted Uranium poisoning, because going through the battlefields, and the dust that was kicked up in front of me, there was four inches of hard-packed dust mixed up with diesel fuel on the back of my truck and there was dust all over inside my truck. The inside of my truck looked like sand”.
These days a host of complications plague Tim Coil’s daily existence. His symptoms are numerous: a low thyroid condition necessitates medication for the rest of his life, as well as hot and cold flashes, night sweats, irritable bowel syndrome, frequent fatigue, a non-healing rash on his fingers, breathing difficulties that require use of an asthma inhaler, low testosterone levels, back and joint pain, obesity due to thyroid imbalance, sensitivity to light, rotting teeth due to loss of blood flow caused by teeth clenching, night sweats, anxiety, flashbacks that cause major sleep disorders, and metabolic imbalances. Next month Tim will undergo an MRI as physicians suspect that Tim is suffering from an organic brain dysfunction.
After describing his symptoms Tim adds, “There was radioactivity in the dust. When these weapons blow up, a lot of that dust wound up being 5 microns. I’m sure that I breathed it in. I was wallowing around in it all. It was all over my skin and clothes. I know that I was exposed to it…. You can’t tell me that I wasn’t exposed to Depleted Uranium”. NEXT PAGE