David Kirby on Autism and the Military: One Very Brave Captain
By David Kirby
I often receive letters from parents of children with autism, from all over the world. They are moving, gratifying, and powerful. They keep me going.
Yesterday, I received a letter that I will never forget. It was from a Captain in the U.S. Army, who has risked his life in the name of his country. He also has three sons on the autism spectrum, and he blames vaccines.
"To be honest, the vast majority of military families dealing with autism that I know, think that vaccines are the cause," Capt. Joe Mickley told me in a phone interview.
One colleague had a son born in the same military hospital, at the same time, as his own, youngest son – the most severely affected of his three children. The two boys both developed normally together, and then began to regress at roughly the same time, Capt. Mickley said, eventually developing the same symptoms and signs of autism.
He told me that the parents of that child recently bought Jenny McCarthy's book, "Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism," and, within a week and a half of starting chelation therapy and other biomedical treatments, "that child started recovering. He started speaking again."
This is not the last that we will be hearing from Captain Mickley. He and many other military families are getting ready to come forward and tell their stories en-masse.
It's easy to dismiss and ridicule me (and it is part of my job description, so I don't really care). It's more difficult to do so to a battle hardened Army Captain. Yes, people will try. But I don't envy them.
Here then, is Captain Mickley's letter to me. Anyone wishing to contact him should email Angela Warner HERE. Please include CAPTAIN MICKLEY in the subject line. Angela runs the blog Autism Salutes, she will forward the letters to him.
I just wanted to write you a quick note to thank you for the work that you are doing toward uncovering what is happening to our children, more specifically the work that you have done for military families. I am a Captain in the United States Army, with 11 years of dedicated service to the nation.
I have recently become disheartened with how autism is being dealt with in the military. I am the proud father of three young boys whom all enjoy a spot on the spectrum. I read on your site and others that the military has a very high rate of dependents on the spectrum, although I would swear to you that six months ago, when autism first exposed itself in my family, my wife and I felt like we were the first family to go through this, and over the recent months I have met others whose stories are almost identical to ours. You have helped me realize that we are not alone and that something is going on to trigger what equates to be brain damage, instead of what I thought was autism.
Sir, as I follow your words it inspires me to gather together the members of the families who have gone through the same hell as mine. To let our voice be heard so that action has to be taken. I and others like me would like accountability why we lost our children. I have video of my son months prior to the vaccines that I believe triggered his withdrawal. He is engaged, alert, talkative and happy.
Following the shots, he began a steady withdrawal and decline. The most painful part was that we watched him slip away, and before I knew it, he was not the same. We also have doctors' records documenting our concerns as well as a military doctor's summary stating that our concerns were more than likely unfounded.
After visiting that doctor, we fought for more than seven months through more red tape than anything I had experienced in ten years of service to obtain a diagnosis. Little did I know that this would just be the beginning of our battle to save our boys.
As a Soldier and combat veteran of multiple tours I have fought against our nation's enemies. I have seen the dark side of humanity and survived it. That experience pales in comparison to the horror of watching your child suffer a regression.
Again sir, I thank you and hope that you may never grow tired in your efforts, because my family and many others count on you.
Captain Joe Mickley
United States Army
David Kirby is author of Evidence of Harm, a contributor to Age of Autism and a founding contributor to Huffington Post.
Thank-you for your service to our country and I'm sorry you have joined our ranks. As opposed to the War in the Middle East, this is a war we can win. Eventually the truth will out. Our children are veterans in a way too, the victims of "friendly fire" from a public health war gone bad.
Posted by: AutismDad | December 13, 2008 at 08:00 PM
I understand and share your frustration. My son, now approaching 4, was diagnosed just after his second birthday. Like your son, my son was developing normally, until a series of vaccinations and he regressed. Were you aware that the military stockpiles vaccines? He was born in 2005, yet some of the vaccines were from 1998. My husband had retired from the Air Force just 6 months earlier, and the "mental health" portion of Tricare was unavailable to my son, due to the retirement. My congressman, Jeff Miller (FL), has helped raise awareness and write legislation to help children of military retirees recieve ABA services. It was sent to Congress in Sept. Lord willing, it will pass. Please know that you are not alone, and that although it is a long journey, we will beat this thing called Autism.
Posted by: Dawn BErge | December 13, 2008 at 01:52 PM
Dear Capt Mickley,
Thank you for your service to our country. I admire your bravery to share your painful story of losing perfectly healthy children to vaccine toxicity.
We share children on the Autism Spectrum who were vaccine damaged. My son is almost 13 and a lot has been learned since we first entered the fray.
We have seen radical improvement through the GFCF diet and highly recommend it as a first line of defense. Since my son reacted to the MMR vaccine, our next step will be the Vitamin A Protocol, followed by chelation starting this summer.
I run the Special Needs Community Calendar for Los Angeles and have read hundreds, probably thousands of accounts from parents who have recovered or significantly improved their children with these protocols.
Wishing you and your family a healthy recovery.
Please feel free to contact me if I may be of assistance.
Posted by: Rick Brown | December 12, 2008 at 12:50 PM
Don't give up hope. You have so many who believe you. Joyce Reilly of The Power Hour who got Gulf War syndrome after getting the vaccines only during the war believes that the vaccines not only cause autism but Gulf War syndrome. Our military has been abused by folks like Donald Rumsfeld who saw to it that aspartame was approved despite the objections of FDA scientists. These are the folks who are A-Ok with giving our military families powerful vaccines with glutamic acid in them despite all the latest evidence pointing to a glutamate-autism link. Perhaps Joyce would have you on her radio show. She just recently appeared in The Beautiful Truth Documentary that will be opening in San Francisco in January. She talks about her experiences in the film.
Posted by: Carol Hoernlein | December 12, 2008 at 11:04 AM
Thank you Captain Mickley for your service to our country and to also to this community of autism that we find ourselves in. My local Congressmen is Chris Smith, who has written legislation for both communities. And for your service, the least I can do is write a letter asking for help for our military families dealing with autism. Military kids should have the rights to the same vaccine exemptions that kids outside the base are entitled to. Their higher rates of autism need to be explained urgently, and there needs to be a more appropriate approach to treatment other then forcing kids who don't transition well to move on a routine basis and start over repeatedly. Finally, all of our kids deserve a 10 fold increase in research spending that focuses on the environment(including vaccines) and treatment, even in these difficult times
And once again – thank you DK for working so hard on this issue.
Posted by: Ben's Dad | December 12, 2008 at 08:28 AM
This is incredible. Captain Mickley, thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth in the face of such adversity (for our military men and women speaking the truth is a whole new level of bravery).
DK, thank you for sharing this beautiful letter with us. And know that we all feel the same way as the Captain.
Ang, speaker of truth, you rock! ;) Sorry, just had to get that in.
Posted by: Jeanne | December 12, 2008 at 07:48 AM
Thank you so so so much David, I don't know what we'd do without you.
Posted by: Lisa Sigismondi | December 12, 2008 at 12:45 AM
Captn Mickley, I commend your efforts. I personally would not let my child enter the army expressly due to this concern (over-vaccination) and I think The military needs to know this. My son (11) has recently commented on a military service commercial where an ex-military welcomes a returning soldier home. What a shame!
Posted by: jen | December 11, 2008 at 08:24 PM
As the very proud wife of an Army Officer, and very proud mother of a child fighting autism (successfully), I thank you. Mr. Kirby, thank you for continuing the fight to get to the truth. And CPT Mickler, we share your experience, your frustration, and your outrage. Thank you for words.
Posted by: Coolinda | December 11, 2008 at 05:58 PM
A couple of days ago we once again witnessed people lining up along the "highway of heroes" to honor those Canadians who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
I don't even feel worthy of trying to understand that kind of sacrifice. "W" once said "you're either with us, or against us" when selling his war to the masses. I'm with you, captain Mickley, and all those in uniform, where ever you are. But I'm not "with" these idiots who send you to fight (and die), and then preach to the world that we don't really respect you, if we don't buy into their agenda.
I don't pretend to understand any of what you've experienced in your career, on the battlefield, at home, wherever, but I admire and respect your courage, then and now.
Posted by: Randy | December 11, 2008 at 05:13 PM
Thankyou Capt Mickley, Stories such as yours give us the energy and purpose to go on in the war against autism .
Posted by: Cherry Sperlin Misra | December 11, 2008 at 02:55 PM
You will never have to worry about ridicule here. You have friends and people who admire you to no end on this site, and you are always a welcome person in my book. Please keep up your efforts.
You, sir, are the very definition of honor. You are the very definition of bravery. You are the very definition of what it means to be a soldier. It is appalling that you and those like you that defend this country with your lives every day are subjected to this injustice; that you must watch your children suffer because of the greed and avarice of a Megomaniacal Doctor and ultra powerful corporations. It sounds like a James Bond movie, but it is real life to us.
I thank you, my autistic son thanks you, though he can't speak. I call you a friend, though I have never met you. If you read this site, I hope it gives you comfort that your sacrifice and your efforts are appreciated every day. If I ever meet you, I would like to shake your hand and tell you how much of a hero you are.
As usual, the government started this war, and it will be our troops who finish it. I look forward to the day when I can walk up to a troop and thank them from the bottom of my heart for saving our children and protecting our country.
Posted by: Craig Willoughby | December 11, 2008 at 02:16 PM
"Sir, as I follow your words it inspires me to gather together the members of the families who have gone through the same hell as mine. To let our voice be heard so that action has to be taken. I and others like me would like accountability why we lost our children"
Captain Mickley, thank you for your powerful words and for your courage.
Thanks too, DK, always and forever grateful for your continual fight for all of our kids.
Posted by: Teresa | December 11, 2008 at 02:13 PM
I think it's criminal that military families with ASD kids have to move every 2-4 years!
Instead our family stays where there are services and Dad moves around the world.
But, the "military life" directly HURTS children with autism and their progress. We are grateful for the benefits and insurance, but the living situations just plain suck.
Good luck Capt. Mickey~!
Posted by: Christine Heeren | December 11, 2008 at 01:58 PM
Wow, what a coincidence. Parents who are in the military, who are Somalian immigrants, who write to David Kirby and RFK jr., and thousands of parents who marched on Washington D.C., thousands who filed claims in the autism omnibus proceeding -- all believe that their children's autism was caused by vaccines? But all are considered to be mistaken, according to our gov't agencies and pharma companies and even Autism Speaks. How long will it take for these voices to be heard by those who have power over autism research dollars and our vaccine program?
Thank you so much, Captain Mickley, for your courage in raising your voice, and for your sevice to our country.
Thank you so much, David Kirby, for your ongoing work, and for letting the mud that is slung in your direction just slide off without slowing you down.
Adriana, I too was wondering, based on some prior articles and comments, whether "vaccine injuries were being acknowledged, treated and compensated. Maybe even prevented" in the military. It's a shame that, based on these comments today, it sounds like there is a lot of the same repression/supression going on inside as outside the armed forces.
May the voices of soldiers succeed in crumbling some walls. Surely at least our senators and congresspeople must listen to those who have served our country in uniform.
Posted by: Twyla | December 11, 2008 at 01:31 PM
Someone asked, "What does it say about our current society that the groups of people who are supposed to be deemed the most sacred and due the most consideration and respect-- infants, children, our elders, those who are fighting or have fought our wars-- are now the first to be picked off for profits, often used as guinea pigs, silenced and left to rot?"
It speaks volumes about where we are at morally & ethically, doesn't it?
In 1994, Mother Teresa stated flat out to then-President Clinton, Hillary & many D.C. elites that "if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"
A nation that does not protect it's weakest, most vulnerable members, but instead treats them as if they are disposable or uses them for spare parts and experimentation is going to have no problem viewing other segments of society in the same way.
If we view only some human lives as sacred, rather than all - then this utilitarianism is the outcome that should be expected. Clearly many see our children, not as human beings of inestimable worth, but as acceptable collateral damage.
Posted by: Grace | December 11, 2008 at 01:20 PM
Dear Captain Mickley,
First of all, thank you for your service to our country. Secondly, thank you for speaking out about your children's autism.
My husband is a disabled vet, and we have five children with autism. We should have known that the US gov't would treat their culpability in the autism epidemic the same way they have treated injured soldiers. Remember Gulf War Syndrome wasn't real? And here, all vets with PTSD are not diagnosed with PTSD but with bipolar disorder. Funny how all the vets in AZ are supposedly manic-depressive, and therefore not eligible for service-related benefits...
I am sorry you have had to join the ranks in the army fighting autism, but I am glad you have joined in our battle!
Posted by: Denise Derusha | December 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM
Capt. Mickley You deserve the medal of Honor for Bravery!
There are so many military families who know their children were injured by vaccines and regressed into autism. You have provided them a voice and an opportunity to speak up. Thank you.
For those of you who question why this is so hard... I will speak out as it has happened in our own family. Our members and spouses are fearful of retribution from military leadership. Period. As a spouse, i had to over come my own initial intimidation of stripes and ribbons. When my family was intimidated and implied threats were made, that is when I said enough is enough! I am a person and I wake up with bed head (although I was thinking something else...) just like they do. I have the right to make our families truth and my children's truth heard, I don't care how many stripes you have on your uniform.
On the flip side, many remain fearful, and they should NOT be faulted for this. Many are in positions where they simply can not speak up or they will lose their career and thus the ability to provide for their child(ren).
Maureen - you are right... this mantra is old. I'm sick of hearing it too. This is 2008, not 1950. Get with the times. Our members have families and chidren!
And David... our military families are so grateful to you and Age of Autism for opening the door for our community to be heard and unify. You all will NEVER know how grateful I personally am to you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Posted by: Angela Warner | December 11, 2008 at 12:38 PM
I am moved beyond words. Thank you David and thank you Captain Mickley.
Posted by: Allison | December 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM
I was very moved by Capt. Mickley's remarks that seeing his children regress was worse than combat. It's something that civilians who go through this loss suspect, though we're by no means entitled to make that kind of direct equivocation. It takes this kind of testimony to give the rest of us something by which to really measure the horror.
What does it say about our current society that the groups of people who are supposed to be deemed the most sacred and due the most consideration and respect-- infants, children, our elders, those who are fighting or have fought our wars-- are now the first to be picked off for profits, often used as guinea pigs, silenced and left to rot?
What happened to Captain Mickley's family and the families of other service members are all compounded tragedies. First, this represents multiple offenses-- the injuries and the the cover-up and neglect of the injuries of the children of service members. Secondly, there's the issue of how these service members themselves were subjected to multiple forced vaccinations, which could have reprecussions for their health down the line.
When reading the coverage of the military vaccine website's inclusion of "autism" as a risk of DTAP, many of us were probably wondering if there was an alternate reality in the military where vaccine injuries were being acknowledged, treated and compensated. Maybe even prevented. No one would have begrudged it and I think we all would have had hopes that this model would eventually be extended to civilians-- that it could have been a wonderful sign that the CDC's reign of damage, denial and silence was crumbling. From what Capt. Mickley writes, this is far from the truth.
It used to be the tradition for many children of career veterans to volunteer for military training and enlist. I wonder if that tradition will survive under the present circumstances. The remaining military kids (or any kids, for that matter) who are even fit to serve or command may not wish to see their own future children maimed and neglected in thanks. It's not the kind of thing that recruitment centers advertise on their promotional material.
It's incredibly brave of these families to follow the "call to duty" again for all our sakes. Of course it's horribly ironic that, this time, they're having to go up against the government they served.
Posted by: Adriana | December 11, 2008 at 11:54 AM
There is a saying I have heard very often as the wife of a Marine, "if the military wanted you to have a family they would have issued you one". That may have applied to our troop in years past but that was before it was an all volunteer force. If the military doesn't start give us answers to why the rates are higher, the same wives and husbands that take care of the home front will choose to take our kids out of the line of fire.
Also, military children bare the bearden of a nation. The are the ones that are asked to scarifies the most. They deserve better care then this.
Proud wife of a Marine
Proud wife of a child with ASD on the road to recovery
Posted by: Maureen | December 11, 2008 at 11:48 AM
Captain Mickley - I'm so sorry that this has happened to your family. Thank you for having the courage to speak up. My heart breaks for every child with autism or in reality (brain damage) because this insanity should have stopped after the Simpsonwood Meeting in 1999. I was speaking with a young military mom just yesterday and I asked her what she thought caused her son's autism. She got very nervous and was almost afraid to answer me so I answered for her and I said "it's the vaccines." She had a look of relief and went into detail about her son's seizure right after his vaccines and regression into autism. I'm not military so I don't understand what she was afraid of but my point is that being in the military it takes EXTRA courage to speak up - thank you.
Posted by: Maggie | December 11, 2008 at 11:45 AM
"I have seen the dark side of humanity and survived it. That experience pales in comparison to the horror of watching your child suffer a regression."
This is a powerful and haunting statement that has left me in tears. Captain Mickley, thank you for your service to our country and now to our children. I pray that your children's health will be restored.
Posted by: Wendy Fournier | December 11, 2008 at 11:25 AM
Capt. Mickley: Thank you for serving our country and now fighting for all families worldwide. You are truly a hero.
And David, thank you for all of your work on our behalf. I don't know why you continue to subject yourself to ridicule and criticism but I am so grateful that you do.
Posted by: Dana Read | December 11, 2008 at 11:17 AM
Captain Mickley, it is by reading letters like yours that I can believe that maybe the truth will finally be believed (since I think that the truth has already "come out"), and that there is hope. Something hard to come by in this battle.
I pray for the welfare of all solders on the field and our little soldiers in a battle in their minds.
Thank you David for continuing support, knowing that there is nothing easy about standing with the vaccine-injured...ever....
And same question here, Keith, how will Offitt spin this?
Posted by: Kathleen | December 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM
Thank you, David, and thank you, Captain Mickley. It's so tragic that the people who administer the agents of harm are the same people expected to help and heal our children. These pursuits should not be mutually exclusive....
In 1950 a postwar book was published called "German Faces," by Ann Stringer and Henry Ries. It featured profiles of people who'd supported the Third Reich -- not just military officers, but average citizens.
Obviously communications technology then was limited, but still these people had to have read or heard about prison camp atrocities. I was struck by a singular thread running through the narrative -- regret, but the wrong kind. One young man who'd been in the Hitler Youth spoke nostalgically about missing the rallies and the perks, the sense of mission and belonging.
I see a similar unhealthy ideological framework in the network of coalitions built by public health administrators. Chains of one-sided information with no place for consumer input. Consumers who question their handling of vaccine safety are treated like an affliction.
Posted by: nhokkanen | December 11, 2008 at 10:33 AM
"As a Soldier and combat veteran of multiple tours I have fought against our nation's enemies. I have seen the dark side of humanity and survived it. That experience pales in comparison to the horror of watching your child suffer a regression."
I understand exactly how Capt. Mickley feels. I now see the dark side of humanity in the likes of Offit, Gerberding, Fombonne, Allen, and the rest of the vaccine zealots. Their fanatic belief in vaccines as the saviour of mankind is terrorism.
Posted by: Harry Hofherr | December 11, 2008 at 09:36 AM
Wonder how Offitt will spin this?
Posted by: Keith | December 11, 2008 at 09:31 AM