- "In a random survey of 1,253 guard and reserve pilots
and aircrew, the GAO found 84 percent suffered minor reactions [to the
anthrax vaccine] and at least 24 percent major multiple "systemic"
reactions, the latter more than 100 times higher than the estimate by the
- CAMP LEJEUNE -- A Marine
Desert Storm veteran who refused on religious grounds to receive an anthrax
vaccination in December was dismissed from the Corps on Tuesday and ordered
to serve seven months in prison.
- During a general court-martial at New River Air Station,
CH-46 Sea Knight pilot 1st Lt. Erick Enz pleaded guilty to disobeying the
order of a senior commissioned officer.
- Enz, a father of five and described by his superiors
as a "natural leader," faced a maximum punishment of five years'
confinement, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from service.
- Although military judge Lt. Col. Martin Sitler sentenced
him to seven months confinement, Enz could serve as little as 30 days in
the brig based on a pretrial agreement.
- Enz, a member of New River's Marine Medium Helicopter
Squadron 162, Marine Aircraft Group 29, originally pleaded not guilty during
a June arraignment and asked for a court-martial with a jury of at least
- Enz reversed that decision Tuesday and chose to plead
- Reported adverse reactions to the anthrax vaccine have
been the subject of debate since the vaccine's widespread use during operations
Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s.
- The matter came to the forefront again this year when
thousands of troops were ordered to be vaccinated prior to the war with
- A devout Christian and Bible study group leader, Enz
did not feel right about the vaccination, witnesses testified Tuesday.
He sought guidance in prayer that led him to seek more information about
the vaccine and ultimately refuse the shot, fellow Marines, friends and
relatives said during testimony.
- In an earlier defense motion pertaining to the case,
Military Judge Col. Steven Day ruled that Enz's objection on religious
grounds could not be admitted into court as lawful evidence on his behalf.
- Department of Defense officials contend that the vaccination
is safe, as do military doctors at Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital. But a September
2002 U.S. General Accounting Office report to Congress says that the rate
of severity of adverse reactions to the vaccine are considerably greater
- In a random survey of 1,253 guard and reserve pilots
and aircrew, the GAO found 84 percent suffered minor reactions and at least
24 percent major multiple "systemic" reactions, the latter more
than 100 times higher than the estimate by the manufacturer.
- A Desert Storm veteran, Enz, whose age was not immediately
available, was described by superiors and his peers as a natural leader
before and after refusing the vaccination.
- Nearly every witness for the defense and for the prosecution
said that he was well liked, respected and even admired among those in
- He was on a fast track to promotion, trained ahead of
many of his peers, and the papers that would move him from a reserve commission
to augment him as a regular officer in the Marine Corps remained unsigned
at his unit administrative office.
- "The people who refuse this are not the dummies
or the troublemakers," said former Air Force F-16 pilot retired Lt.
Col. John Richardson of Raleigh, a critic of the vaccine. "I get two
to three unsolicited calls or e-mails a week -- sometimes as many as five
a day -- from kids who are sick. Someone has to stand up and do the right
- For more information on Gulf War Illness visit www.ngwrc.org
and for more information on reactions from the anthrax vaccination visit