James J. Tuite III knows something about the subject of war-related disease and trauma first-hand. As a medic with the Army's 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War, he spent two years ministering to US casualties.
A quarter century later fate re-introduced him to the subject. He happened to be working as a staff member of a US Senate committee as it opened an investigation into the Gulf War and its effects on the health of US troops who served there. The more he learned as the lead investigator for the Commitee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the more he became convinced that exposure to the fallout from the US destruction of Iraqi chemical-weapons storage sites could account for many Gulf War veterans' ailments.
Tuite's eventual report to the committee documented the presence of chemical weapons at Iraqi storage sites before the war, the detection of chemical weapons fallout in the vicinity of US troops in the early days of the war and a weather pattern suggesting that smoke plumes caused by US aerial bombing might have moved toward American ground troops.
Between the Vietnam and Gulf wars Tuite worked for the Secret Service, protecting Presidents and serving as a forensics coordinator at the agency's headquarters. A graduate of American University, the 47-year-old Tuite has a masters degree in national security studies from Georgetown University and lacks only his dissertation to complete his PhD in world politics at Catholic University.
Now self-employed as an international security consultant, Tuite is an an oft-quoted analyst on issues surrounding Gulf War sickness.