Veterans who believe they're suffering health problems
>> from secret chemical and biological weapons testing conducted years ago
>> will testify before Congress the week of 9 JUN on House bill H.R.5954
>> introduced on 1 MAY by Rep. Mike Thompson, Mike [CA-1]. Thompson and some
>> of the bills 25 cosponsors  have been trying for nearly seven years to
>> get
>> the U.S. Defense Department to acknowledge that the tests occurred and
>> that affected veterans should be compensated and given treatment for
>> their
>> diseases.  The bill is to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide
>> veterans for presumptions of service connection for purposes of benefits
>> under laws administered by Secretary of Veterans Affairs for diseases
>> associated with service in the Armed Forces and exposure to biological,
>> chemical, or other toxic agents as part of Project 112, and for other
>> purposes. It also requires the secretary of Veterans Affairs to notify
>> all
>> veterans subject to the testing of the potential hazards.  It is
>> estimated
>> there are about 500 veterans still surviving that were affected by the
>> project. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) said in a prepared statement, "This is
>> great news for all of the Project 112 veterans who have waited decades to
>> receive proper health care. It's obvious we've gotten the committee's ear
>> and they're interested in finally righting this wrong."
>>     The Defense Department now says 6,440 service members took part in 50
>> tests under Project 112 between 1962 and 1973, including open-air tests
>> above a half-dozen U.S. states. In testimony prepared for the hearing,
>> obtained in advance by The Associated Press, Bradley Mayes, the Veterans
>> Affairs Department's director of compensation and pensions, calls the
>> legislation unnecessary, "due to the lack of credible scientific and
>> medical evidence that adequately demonstrates any statistically
>> significant correlation" between the tests and participants' diseases.
>> Last year, the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on
>> medical and health matters, found no specific health effects as a result
>> of Project SHAD Rep. Thompson and others argue that the report was
>> shoddily done and left out key information. During the tests, conducted
>> amid Cold War concerns about the Soviet Union's weapons capabilities, the
>> military tested germs such as bacteria that could cause tularemia and Q
>> fever, serious diseases more commonly found in animals. Also used were
>> nonlethal simulated agents, including E. coli now known to pose health
>> dangers. Some of those veterans now suffering from various maladies say
>> test participants were given experimental vaccines but weren't told of
>> any
>> risks, only that the shots were a protective measure.  Dr. Michael
>> Kilpatrick, the Pentagon's deputy director for force health protection
>> and
>> readiness, acknowledges that some participants weren't fully informed
>> about the project they were part of but says safety precautions taken
>> then
>> were appropriate for the time.
>>     Among the various Project 112 tests was SHAD, an acronym for
>> Shipboard
>> Hazard and Defense, which was conducted during the 1960s. SHAD
>> encompassed
>> tests designed to identify US warships' vulnerabilities to attacks with
>> chemical or biological warfare agents and to develop procedures to
>> respond
>> to such attacks while maintaining a war-fighting capability. The Defense
>> Department for years denied that the testing occurred. Although it now
>> acknowledges the tests, it won't provide health benefits through Veterans
>> Affairs for those exposed veterans who are now suffering various cancers
>> and illnesses. During the SHAD tests crewmembers were inside ship's
>> sealed
>> quarters when they were sprayed with biological and chemical agents in
>> the
>> Pacific Ocean. Participants claim that paper filters designed to prevent
>> the agents from getting through the air ducts to the sealed spaces often
>> deteriorated.  They were required to wash down the boats after the
>> spraying, but they wore the same gear every day and it was cleaned with
>> cancer-causing agents. Their bunks, clothes and lockers also were exposed
>> during the cleaning.   The following are ships used in the SHAD operation
>> along with the tests they were involved in:
>> . USS George Eastman (YAG-39): 63-1 Eager Belle I; 63-1 Eager Belle II;
>> 64-2 Flower Drum I;  65-17 Fearless Johnny; ; 66-13 Half Note; 65-4 Magic
>> Sword.
>> . USS Granville S. Hall (YAG-40): 63-1 Eager Belle II, 63-2 Autumn Gold;
>> 64-2 Flower Drum I; 64-4 [Red Beva] Shady Grove; 65-6 Big Tom; 65-17
>> Fearless Johnny; 66-13 Half Note; 68-50 Speckled Start [68-11]; 69-32.
>> . USS Hoel (DDG-13): 63-2 Autumn Gold.
>> . USS Berkeley (DDG-15): 65-13 High Low.
>> . USS Navarro (APA-215): 63-1 Eager Belle II; 63-2 Autumn Gold.
>> . USS Okanogan (APA-220): 65-13 High Low.
>> . USS Fort Snelling (LSD-30): 69-10.
>> . USS Tioga County (LST-1158): 63-1 Eager Belle II; 63-2 Autumn Gold.
>> . USS Wexford County (LST-1168): 65-13 High Low.
>> . USS Carpenter (DD-825): 63-1 Eager Belle II; 63-2 Autumn Gold.
>> . USS Herbert J. Thomas (DD-833): 66-5 Purple Sage; 66-6 Scarlet Sage;
>> 69-31.
>> . USS Power (DD-839): 65-1 Copper Head.
>> . USS Fechteler (DD-870): 65-13 High Low.
>> . USS Carbonero (SS-337): 65-6 Big Tom; 66-13 Half Note; 68-71 Folded
>> Arrow.
>> . USNS Samuel Phillips Lee (T-AGS 31): 70-C.
>> . USNS Silas Bent (T-AGS 26): 70-C
>> [Source: Billings Gazette Mike Dennison article 6 Jun 08 ++]

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