Wednesday, July 12, 2017

6,000 Veterans Waited Decades for Answers on Experiments

Lawmakers want Defense Department to declassify info about experiments on troops

STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: July 12, 2017
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., has been questioning the Defense Department about the testing since he was elected to the House in 1999, when a Navy veteran who had been subjected to chemical agents asked Thompson to look into it.
Airman 1st Class Harry Leonard, postal clerk, sorts mail while wearing nuclear-biological-chemical gear during a test to evaluate his unit's ability to perform under fallout conditions in October, 1978. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
WASHINGTON – Three lawmakers introduced a measure Wednesday to force the Defense Department to declassify records about chemical and biological testing that the government performed on servicemembers in the 1960s and 1970s, in an attempt to connect the affected veterans with Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and health care.

The Defense Department conducted the land- and sea-based tests, known as Project 112 and Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) from 1962 to 1974 to learn the effects of chemical and biological agents such as nerve gas and E. coli. About 6,000 servicemembers were affected, according to the VA.

“Veterans were exposed to some of the most extreme and hazardous agents during the SHAD project and 112 and now suffer from debilitating health care conditions,” said Ken Wiseman, associate legislative director with Veterans of Foreign Wars.
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