The Untold Stories of America’s Heroes: Ft. McClellan Veterans

PolitiChicks.comRecently I wrote an article about the toxic exposure at Ft. McClellan, where the Department of Defense is keeping the exposure under wraps. Since then, I have received an outpouring of emails from Ft. McClellan Veterans, talking about their service and the conditions they’re now dealing with. These are a few of their stories.

“I was at Military Police (MP) training from February 1982 – June 1982. I also completed Basic and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). I was diagnosed with precancerous Colon polypos, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. In 2013, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, high cholesterol and Fibromyalgia.

-Cathy Denny

“I served at Ft. McClellan from April 10, 1998 – July 31, 1998. I was there for basic and One Station Unit Training (OSUT.) I drank copious amounts of tap water and rolled in the dirt, etc. Shortly after arriving to Ft Drum, NY – my first Permanent Change of Station (PCS) – I began to form these tumors. I had one pea sized one partially removed from my waist area. I developed dozens of them rapidly. I have since had 4-5 more removed – dime sized to golf ball sized. They seem to be pocketed at nerve endings. After these developed, they basically stopped forming. I don’t have any new ones per say, but I still have around a dozen in my body. Two on my back near my spine that feel like hot pokers. The doctors could not explain them. I have no medical history of them. When I transitioned out of the Army in 2003, the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) process and the VA assisted me in obtaining a 10% rating for “residuals Lipoma removal left hip.” My other medical issues are chronic fatigue, acid reflux, dry skin patches, mental focus issues, arthritic conditions. I reported these symptoms and was screened for diabetes at 22 years old in 2002.  I’ve not seen a VA doctor since I got out. They have all been civilian. The VA hepatitis issue scared me off. I have a good family stock without these medical conditions. My grandparents are in their 90s! Vets at least need to be recognized as exposed to this junk. I know I don’t feel like a normal 35 year old should feel. It’s not fair. We at least need to be monitored & treated.”

-Sgt. Burke Rhoads, U.S. Army, 1998-2003

“I spent my Basic and AIT Training (Military Police) at Ft. McClellan. I started getting sick about a year after leaving Alabama but did not know why. It took many years before I become fully incapacitated to the points I was unable to work. I now have multiple heart conditions and various other health conditions. I have Pulmonary Hypertension (Fatal) and I am in heart failure. I have no way of proving that my Pulmonary Hypertension is service connected because it came on later in life; however I started having breathing issues within months of getting out of the Military. I had considered it asthma that I knew ran in the family. Little did I know it was a death sentence caused by the chemicals at Ft. McClellan. I need HR 411 to pass any the government to step up and make this a service connected issue for those of us who deserve it.”

-Kevin Burger, U.S. Army, 1981-1984

Write or call the House of Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and their Subcommittee on Health and encourage them to pull H.R. 411 out of committee and onto the floor for a vote! If this bill dies in committee at the end of the year, the Ft. McClellan Veterans will have to have another bill introduced in the House.

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

The Honorable Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman

The Honorable Michael H. Michaud (D-ME), Ranking Member

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Phone: (202) 225-3527

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Subcommittee on Health

The Honorable Dan Benishek (R-MI), Chairman

The Honorable Julia Brownley (D-CA), Ranking Member

Click here to submit a letter via their online form.

Each individual member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs can be reached at:

Chairman Jeff Miller (FL) – (202) 225-4136

Vice Chairman Gus M. Bilirakis (FL) – (202) 225-5755

Ranking Leader Michael H. Michaud (ME) – (202) 225-6306

Doug Lamborn (CO) – (202) 225-4422

David P. Roe (TN) – (202) 225-6356

Bill Flores (TX) – (202) 225-6105

Jeff Denham (CA) – (202) 225-4540

Jon Runyan (NJ) – (202) 225-4765

Dan Benishek (MI) – (202) 225-4735
Tim Huelskamp (KS) – (202) 225-2715

Mike Coffman (CO) – (202) 225-7882

Brad Wenstrup (OH) – (202) 225-3164

Paul Cook (CA) – (202) 225-5861
Jackie Walorski (IN) – (202) 225-3915

David Jolly (FL) – (202) 225-5961
Corrine Brown (FL) – (202) 225-0123
Mark Takano (CA) – (202) 225-2305

Julia Brownley (CA) – (202) 225-5811
Dina Titus (NV) – (202) 225-5965
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) – (202) 225-3361
Raul Ruiz (CA) – (202) 225-5330

Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA) – (202) 225-6161

Ann McLane Kuster (NH) – (202) 225-5206

Beto O’Rourke (TX) – (202) 225-4831

Tim Walz (MN) – (202) 225-2472

Beth Baumann

Beth Baumann is a California native, who grew up with an interest in politics from a young age. Beth attended Northern Arizona University, where she was a member of the NAU Conservatives, an activist organization dedicating to spreading conservative ideals. She also founded the NAU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, took part in the Flagstaff Smart Girl Politics chapter and helped a local conservative run for Flagstaff City Council. Beth has received national attention due to the First Amendment restrictions on her college campus. She defended her Freedom of Speech when she was ridiculed for handing out flags in remembrance of 9/11. Although she faced misconduct charges, up to and including expulsion, she stood by her Constitutional rights and beliefs. With the help of the Leadership Institute and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), she was eventually exonerated of all charges. During her tenure, she was copy editor for the newspaper, marketing director and film festival director for the campus TV station, and news correspondent for political talk radio. Beth was the Communications Assistant at The American Conservative Union, where she helped with planning and executing different aspects of CPAC 2014, including social media, media strategy and crisis management. Beth works at a well established public relations firm in Southern California. Her work has been featured in The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, World Net Daily and Human Events. Follow Beth on Twitter: @eb454

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