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