EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: DOD Keeping Toxic Exposure to Veterans Hidden from Public
Veterans and civilian workers who worked at Ft. McClellan, Alabama between 1935 and 1999 were exposed to a number of toxic chemicals. Ft. McClellan was used for a multitude of purposes, including Military Police Corps, Women’s Army Corps, Chemical Corps and Vietnam Training. At any given time, Ft. McClellan had a population of 10,000 people. 5,000 were permanently assigned and 1,500 civilians were employed.
The base closed in 1999 and the Military Police School and Army Chemical School were relocated to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Currently, the Alabama National Guard operates Ft. McClellan, where the National Guard Officer Candidate School takes place. The Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Domestic Preparedness is also housed on base.
Those who were at Ft. McClellan from 1935-1999 experienced toxic exposure from: Agent Orange, Agent Blue, Sarin, VX, Uranium, Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) and Trichloroethylene (TCE). Army post
Here’s what these chemicals are used for:
- Agent Orange: used by U.S. military as means of killing plants in a regional area (known as herbicidal warfare program during Vietnam War)
- Agent Blue: kills plants by drying them out
- VX: no known uses except in chemical warfare as a nerve agent
- Uranium: tinting and shading in early photography; ammunition, shielding material used to store and transport radioactive materials
- Polychlorinated Biphenyl: primarily used as dielectric and coolant fluids
- Trichloroethylene: drying out remainder of water for production of 100% ethanol; dry cleaning solvent; clean kerosene-fueled rocket engines
What does this mean for our veterans? It means they have been exposed to toxic chemicals without knowing it. They are beginning to have serious health issues without knowing the root cause of the problem.
Cancer. Tumors. Leukemia. Kidney failure. Malignant Melanoma. Fetal death and miscarriage. Problems with short-term memory. These are just a very few of the side effects. A website dedicated to helping Ft. McClellan Veterans has a page dedicated to the symptoms caused by each of the known toxins.
There have been multiple bills that have been introduced into the House of Representatives, the most recent one being H.R. 411. Under H.R. 411, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs would:
- Establish and maintain a database known as the Fort McClellan Health Registry, which has the names of all Military personal who were stationed at Ft. McClellan between January 1, 1935 and May 20, 1999
- Notifies individuals in registry of research on health concerns due to potential exposure during service at Ft. McClellan.
- Provide community outreach to ensure health examinations, consultations and counseling are provided to effected Veterans
- Allows those Veterans to:
- Apply for medical care from the VA
- File for disability compensation due to service
- Die and have immediate family members claim for dependency and compensation due to service of the provider
- Request a health examination to be conducted by the VA
- Receive health examination and request for inclusion in registry
As of now, there is bipartisan support for the bill, with 78 cosponsors from 30 states and Guam. What the Feds don’t want you to know? The Department of Defense’s Elizabeth King, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, doesn’t want Congress to uphold H.R. 411 because it would “generate a significant financial and resource burden upon the Army.”
When someone takes an oath to fight, protect and die for this nation, there should be absolutely no question about the Federal Government doing all they can to protect our service members. Knowingly withholding this information from our Veterans is not only cowardly but it is down right wrong. These brave men and women deserve to know that their illnesses are not any fault of their own. They deserve to have the medical attention they desperately need.