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Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, who has constrictive bronchiolitis, adjusts his uniform at home on July 2, 2014 Chad Hurst—NBC News

Life After the 'Burn Pit': Iraq Vets Struggle to Cope

Jul 08, 2014

A new federal registry of U.S. troops and veterans possibly sickened by toxic smoke in Iraq and Afghanistan has gathered nearly 11,000 eligible names -– including the ill airman who inspired the site but expected to die before it launched.

“What I really feel is relief. It's been a battle,” said Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, 54, a member of the New Mexico Air National Guard. He and his wife, Maria, began pushing for the registry in 2010. “When I started, I figured I might not be alive to see it.”

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