A Sense of Duty

By Lieutenant General (Ret.) Dale Vesser

After I retired as a lieutenant general in 1987, I worked as the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary of Defense in the Pentagon. There I organized the plans of support to our forces in the Persian Gulf prior to and during the Gulf War. It is what I saw after this war that will lead me to support Hillary Clinton on November 8.

Following the war, veterans across the country came forward complaining about various symptoms they believed were connected to their service in Kuwait and Iraq. Numerous countries had reported the positive identification of chemical weapon use and the soldiers’ difficulties matched with possible exposure to deadly sarin gas. Still, no one investigated these allegations or their connection.

During her work as First Lady, Hillary Clinton caught wind of these concerns. She took them on. Though a Department of Defense science board had been dismissive of the soldiers’ claims, the White House formed a presidential advisory committee on Gulf War veterans’ illnesses.

Hillary Clinton sat before the committee on August 15, 1995 and testified, saying that no stone should be left unturned in investigating why thousands of veterans returned with undiagnosed illnesses. An investigation, she said, was the duty and responsibility of the government for putting these soldiers in harm’s way.

I then spent four years working in the Gulf War illnesses office. She and her staff kept tabs on our research. Though sarin gas wasn’t the sole culprit, as a result of our work and the support of Mrs. Clinton and the President, we were able to contact over 100,000 people who had been in danger of exposure and get them help.

Her compassion for our soldiers and sense of duty is one reason I will vote for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8. It would have been easier to defer to the so-called experts. But she listened to our servicemen and women — and made sure that our government did everything possible to make sure that their service-connected injuries were addressed.

As the former first lady, Clinton grasps the duties of the president. As a former senator, she will know how to work with Congress. As a former secretary of state, she will be a commander-in-chief who stands up to dictators like Vladimir Putin, can make tough decisions, and recognizes that the world is a very complex place and is not shaken by it.

I’ve held various positions in the military, including during 500 days in Vietnam — first in the 1st Infantry Division as an operations officer and acting commander of an armored cavalry squadron, then in the 1st Cavalry Division as the deputy first brigade commander, and later as an air assault infantry battalion commander. I earned a Purple Heart. I say this not to boast, but to explain that I’ve seen every level of the military, met others in combat, and then developed strategy for soldiers going into it. My entire life has been dedicated to my country, military, and fellow soldiers. My expectations are as high as the stakes in this election.

I have seen Hillary Clinton keep our country safe and stand up for the men and women who have served our country. I would be unequivocally proud to call her commander in chief and ask that you join me in supporting her November 8.

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Dale Vesser is a retired Army Lieutenant General, Vietnam veteran and leader of soldiers from the company through division level. He has worked as a strategic and policy planner and on arms control issues for the Army staff, Joint Staff, Defense Staff and National Security Counsel Staff. As a civilian political appointee in the Department of Defense he worked on Gulf War illness issues to help veterans.

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