More than three million Veterans have served in Southwest Asia. Many of you were exposed to airborne hazards like open burn pits. I know during my time in Afghanistan we were downwind of a burn pit and exposed to a constant amount of particulate matter in the air from sand and other materials.
Join even if you don’t have health problems
Of all the Veterans who served in those theaters, fewer than 300,000 have signed up for our Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. I encourage all of you to sign up and learn more about how participating in the registry can help you get connected to VA health care and services you have earned.
Even if you’re not having any health problems currently, joining the registry can help us to really understand the potential health effects of these exposures and provide better care for all Veterans.
Join even if you aren’t enrolled in VA health care
Joining the registry cannot negatively impact your VA claim or access to care. You can join even if you aren’t enrolled in VA health care. That said, you can submit your registry information to support your claim if you choose. I also strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free, optional health evaluation that is a part of the registry.
I encourage you to come forward, talk to your doctors and medical teams, sign up, and ensure that we are better able to help all Veterans in the future.
Acting Under Secretary for the Veterans Health Administration Dr. Richard Stone is a retired Army major general and Veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Michigan and is a proud alumnus of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.