Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

VA still seeking Vets exposed in Cold War Tests (Project 112/SHAD)
U.S. Veteran's Administration ^ | Arpil 14, 2005 | Jeff Head

Posted on 04/14/2005 6:29:28 AM PDT by Jeff Head

VA Contacts “Project SHAD” Veterans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begun to contact veterans (since 2002) who participated in certain military tests involving biological and chemical warfare materials during the 1960s about medical care and benefits to which they may be entitled.

“We are committed to helping every veteran who took part in these tests,” said Anthony J. Principi, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “If we find any medical problems or disabilities we can attribute to Project SHAD, we’ll ensure these veterans receive the benefits they deserve.”

From 1963 through 1970, the Department of Defense (DoD) conducted tests to determine the effectiveness of shipboard detection and protective measures against chemical and biological threats and to determine the potential risk to American forces. The tests were conducted under the broad heading of Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD).

While much about the tests is still classified, DoD has begun to declassify the information VA would need to evaluate a veteran's application for benefits. Medically significant information from twelve tests with 4,300 participants -- "Autumn Gold," "Copper Head," "Shady Grove," "Eager Belle" (phases I and II), and "Scarlet Sage," "Fearless Johnny," "Flower Drum" (phases I and II), "DTC Test 68-50," "DTC Test 69-32," and "Purple Sage," -- has been declassified and released to VA.

VA will review the medical condition of Project SHAD veterans for unusual patterns of illness. Any eligible veteran's medical problem linked to Project SHAD can be treated at VA medical facilities and, potentially, qualify the veteran for VA disability compensation.

Veterans who believe their health may have been affected by these tests should contact the SHAD helpline at 1-800-749-8387 or contact VA by e-mail at

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: biologicaltests; coldwar; militarytests; project112; projectshad; shad; veteranbenefits; veteransadmin
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-52 next last
For the last three years, the US Government has been trying to find, through the VA Administration and other organizations, veterans who may have been exposed to potentially harmful agents during testing from the early 1960's through the early 1970's in the U.S. Navy's Project SHAD program, and the U.S. Army's Project 112.

Legislation has also been passed by the U.S. Congress to also help the veterans. Some of those benefits are due to expire on December 21, 2005.

If any Freepers or any others know any US Army, U.S. Navy, U.S> Marine or other servicemen who may have been exposed, please have them contact the Veterans Administration immediately, and potentially their congressional representatoives because some of those projects remain classified.

Here are some links:

VA Contacts Project SHAD veterans

DOD Announces Expanded Project 112/SHAD Investigation

VA Supports Project SHAD Veterans

H.R. 2433 Health Care for Veterans of Project 112/Project SHAD Act of 2003

VA Site on Project 112/Project SHAD

VA Pocket Guide to Project 112/SHAD Exposure

Vietnam Veterans of America Site on Project SHAD

The VVA Veteran, 2002 Editorial on SHAD/Project 112

1 posted on 04/14/2005 6:29:30 AM PDT by Jeff Head
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: joanie-f; Dukie; Squantos; JohnHuang2; k.trujillo; Travis McGee; jim macomber; Critter; Lurker; ...

FYI...the search for these vets is ongoing and numbers are estimated now at perhaps as many as 10,000 involved. If you know of any vets who may have participated and may have health related issues as a result, please have them contact the VA. They deserve and need the help and every consideration we can give them.

2 posted on 04/14/2005 6:31:49 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch


3 posted on 04/14/2005 6:33:23 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Where is the most complete and accurate list of exposure data?

Been there, done that with the wee wee aye, ESG, and VA over AO!

4 posted on 04/14/2005 6:38:15 AM PDT by Vn_survivor_67-68
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: JohnHuang2; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; SAMWolf

FYI...thought you guys may be interested in getting this a little exposure so no vet misses out on any potential benefits and help.

5 posted on 04/14/2005 6:38:34 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Vn_survivor_67-68
Thge VA Has the two following links:

Deployment LINK - Project 112 Test Chart

DeploymentLINK - Ships Associated with SHAD Tests

But I am afraid that those are only the ones that have been declassified. If someone suspects they were involved in others not declassified, I believe they should contact the VA and their representatives.

6 posted on 04/14/2005 6:43:22 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head


7 posted on 04/14/2005 7:14:04 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave; Washington_minuteman; Noumenon; TheSentry; DoughtyOne; BOBWADE; zip; Betty Jo


8 posted on 04/14/2005 7:15:01 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lancey Howard

Thanks fot the BUMP...hopefully a few vets on these boards or others will find the info helpful and get any help them may require.

9 posted on 04/14/2005 7:15:46 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Thanks for the ping!

10 posted on 04/14/2005 7:29:06 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head


11 posted on 04/14/2005 7:43:38 AM PDT by Eastbound (Jacked out since 3/31/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Eastbound; Alamo-Girl

Thanks EB abd AG. There are still potentially lots of vets involved in that testing who do not know they can get relief...and who need to find out and come forward IMHO. Anything we can do to help them is a trust we owe them IMHO. This is my own small effort here on FR.

12 posted on 04/14/2005 7:50:36 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Kudos to you, Jeff Head! And here's another bump for your effort!

13 posted on 04/14/2005 8:41:27 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Squantos; Taxman; archy; Travis McGee; Jeff Head


Know anyone who was involved? Pass this on please.

14 posted on 04/14/2005 8:47:29 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl

Thanks again AG!

15 posted on 04/14/2005 8:48:42 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch

Thanks for the ping B4...hope it helps some of these folks, or leads to those who can do more.

16 posted on 04/14/2005 8:49:11 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head; Cool Multiservice Soldier; OneLoyalAmerican; Defender2; The Sailor; txradioguy; ...

From 1963 through 1970, the Department of Defense (DoD) conducted tests to determine the effectiveness of shipboard detection and protective measures against chemical and biological threats and to determine the potential risk to American forces. The tests were conducted under the broad heading of Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD).

Legislation has also been passed by the U.S. Congress to also help the veterans.
Some of those benefits are due to expire on December 21, 2005.

17 posted on 04/14/2005 8:50:37 AM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Never Forget)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Oops...that should have been December 31st, 2005, I believe and it involves suspension of copay through that time. My bad.

18 posted on 04/14/2005 8:54:31 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
Thanks for the ping.

Some of those benefits are due to expire on December 21, 2005.

Will that legislation be renewed? What can we do to make sure it is? It should never be an issue to make sure our Vets are taken care of.

19 posted on 04/14/2005 8:55:30 AM PDT by Bella_Bru (You're about as funny as a case sensitive search engine.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head
VA and IOM To Study Project SHAD Health Effects

20 posted on 04/14/2005 8:58:02 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub


21 posted on 04/14/2005 8:59:21 AM PDT by E.G.C.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch

Thanks for those links!

22 posted on 04/14/2005 9:01:24 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: E.G.C. Hazard and Defense Program (SHAD) Disclosure

23 posted on 04/14/2005 9:07:13 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub or call (800) 749-8387

VVA SHAD Contact Team  
Mokie Porter
Director, Communications/Publications
(301) 585-4000 ext. 146
Rick Weidman
Director, Government Relations

(301) 585-4000 ext. 127
Len Selfon
Director, Veterans Benefits
(301)585-4000 ext. 149
Steve Robinson
Media Consultant
(301) 585-4000 ext. 162


24 posted on 04/14/2005 9:11:40 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch

That's a great contact list...hopefully we can have a place here on FR too where vets cane come and find out who they need to contact and how regarding this issue.

25 posted on 04/14/2005 9:14:12 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Hmmm. Wonder if my uncle could get in on this. He was at the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests in 1946. Radiation may have affected him, he's bald as a cueball and still enjoys working in the Texas oilfields to this day. The radiation may have given his permanent energy and caused him to grow through his hair.

26 posted on 04/14/2005 9:28:13 AM PDT by ladtx ( "Remember your regiment and follow your officers." Captain Charles May, 2d Dragoons, 9 May 1846)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head
VA still seeking Vets exposed in Cold War Tests
That's great. I can hardly wait for the VA search to begin in 2035 for the vets exposed to Agent Orange.
27 posted on 04/14/2005 9:31:10 AM PDT by oh8eleven
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head
About Us


Current Deployments
Deployment Preparation
Family Support
National Guard & Reserves


Medical Readiness
Medical Issues
General Information
Related Sites


Past Deployments
Middle East


Contact Us
Mail List

Return to DeploymentLINK Home page

Office of the Special Assistant for Military Deployments Office of the Special Assistant for Military Deployments About Us Current Deployments Medical Readiness Past Deployments Contact Us News Current Issues Lessons Learned FAQs Search

Depleted Uranium
Information Papers
Project 112
News Releases
Project 112 Chart
Associated Ships
Chart Archive
Speeches & Testimony
Outreach Activities
VSO/MSO Update

Project 112

Deseret Test Center Project 112 was a Cold war-era chemical and biological warfare test program. This comprehensive program was initiated in 1962 out of concern for our nation’s ability to protect and defend against these potential threats.

One aspect of Project 112 was known as Shipboard Hazard and Defense, or SHAD. SHAD was composed of test designed to identify U.S. warships’ vulnerabilities to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents and to develop procedures to such attacks while maintaining a war-fighting capability. An accompanying article supplies more details of the tests.

Beginning in September 2000, the Department of Defense actively pursued declassification of relevant medical information from all 134 planned chemical and biological tests in Project 112. DoD committed to providing the VA with the medically relevant information it needs to settle benefits claims as quickly and efficiently as possible and evaluate and treat veterans who were involved in those tests. This required analyzing historical documents recording the planning and execution of SHAD tests. DoD has kept the public informed of newly released information and the investigation’s progress.

The classified information related to SHAD was not completely catalogued or located in one facility. The Deseret Test Center, the organization that ran the tests, was closed in the 1970s. The search for 40-year-old documents and records kept by different military services in different locations was the initial challenge. A separate article offers more details of the investigation.

The accompanying chart details the status of the investigation, dates and other test information that has been released and which planned tests were not conducted. We developed fact sheets for each test that was completely investigated.

Questions? If you need help verifying your possible participation in a Project SHAD/112 test, please call DoD's contact managers at (800) 497-6261, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you'd like to speak with a VA representative, call the Special Issues Helpline at (800) 749-8387 or visit the VA's SHAD page. Many states offer services and benefits to veterans. To find out more about a particular state, select it on the map.


28 posted on 04/14/2005 9:34:39 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: oh8eleven

Well, this is absolutely long, long over due. Hopefully awareness on this issue can stimulate quicker action on others that may have exposed our veterans to such conditions. That's why the post.

29 posted on 04/14/2005 9:47:13 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: All
Here's an email I received from the whacked out Vet that got Jeff and myself started on this.

WAY COOL....!!! ;-)

Good to Be Back Home Again.....

In light of the recent erasure of numerous entertaining and uplifting posts....

I'd like to extend my SINCERE thanks to the Freeper who stood up and elected to assist the Project SHAD/112 Veterans in Canada and the U.S.

With progress coming SO slow and reluctantly it's sometimes difficult to discern or measure any meaningful movement.

Just one thing...once a person DOES realize the current ramifications and the path leading up to them, they cannot turn back down the path of ignorance.


Every micro-millimeter is an astonishing accomplishment in itself.



Will WONDERS never cease...???

THANK YOU, Jeff Head & B4Ranch....


Project 112/SHAD Information

Free Dominion Forum Index Ë Bio-Chemical Warfare and You


It would be GREATLY appreciated, as there is information there which is applicable to ALL Gulf War Veterans, as well as anyone becoming informed about Depleted Uranium Munitions, Bio-Chemical WMD's, and Ionizing Radiation Exposure....!!!

30 posted on 04/14/2005 9:52:11 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Vn_survivor_67-68

>>Where is the most complete and accurate list of exposure data?

Been there, done that with the wee wee aye, ESG, and VA over AO!<<


[The information on the Project 112 portions of this mess are VERY lacking....that would be the Army's LAND BASED exercises in Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, Panama, Utah, California, Alaska & Hawaii....MANY of which endangered CIVILIAN populations.....gee, I WONDER why they don't want to tell folks THAT....???]

Questions? If you need help verifying your possible participation in a Project SHAD/112 test, please call DoD's contact managers at (800) 497-6261, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you'd like to speak with a VA representative, call the Special Issues Helpline at (800) 749-8387 or visit the VA's SHAD page. Many states offer services and benefits to veterans. To find out more about a particular state, select it on the map.

The VA's "helplessline" is a necessary stop,but if a Veterans wants REAL information, they MUST call the DOD line, listed above.

MANY errors and inadequacies of these listings have been pointed out the DOD by the people who were which point in time, the DOD "magically" seems to FIND the necessary data....go figure.....this thing is a real hair puller!

31 posted on 04/14/2005 10:04:54 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch
Here is a link to JB Stone and lots of info on Google from other websites.
32 posted on 04/14/2005 10:19:03 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch
This is a link to a civilian website concerned with Project Shad

I advise all Vets who were involved with Project Shad to join. You learn the 'truth' without any gov't flavors added in. It is a critical resource [NON-govermental] for those seeking the FULL TRUTH in the matter.

33 posted on 04/14/2005 10:38:56 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Thanks Jeff, we'll post it at the Foxhole.

34 posted on 04/14/2005 10:39:30 AM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: snippy_about_it
Thanks snippy...that's a GREAT place for the info to get out.
35 posted on 04/14/2005 10:47:56 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub


36 posted on 04/14/2005 11:00:42 AM PDT by Soaring Feather (April is Poetry month.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: snippy_about_it

For those Vets who aren't familiar with researching on the Internet, here is a couple of tips to make life easier.

When you are searching for multiple words such as 'military servicemen', put quotations at each end like this "military servicemen".

Project 112/SHAD Information can be used as "Project 112/SHAD Information" or "Project 112" or "Project 112 Information" or > nuclear +"Project 112" < or > SECRET +nuclear +"Project 112".

Each one of these variations will bring up different and similar results. If you know of an Officers name who was involved with Project 112/SHAD, try > "Project 112/SHAD" "put in the name and rank" +forum <

Good luck!

37 posted on 04/14/2005 11:13:43 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: snippy_about_it

USS Granville S. Hall (YAG-40), 1953-1972. Originally named YAG-40

The "Liberty" ship Granville S. Hall, built at Panama City, Florida, in 1944, was operated as a commercial freighter until June 1952, when she was laid up at Suisun Bay, California. About a year later, she was converted to a U.S. Navy vessel, designated YAG-40. Following completion of this work, the ship was placed "in service" and employed for scientific support work in the Pacific. Among her duties was the exploration of radioactive fallout patterns during nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands area. Late in 1957 YAG-40 was taken out of service and enered the Pacific Reserve Fleet at San Diego, California.

Reactivated in May 1962, the ship was placed in commission in October of that year and, at about the same time, regained her original name, becoming USS Granville S. Hall (YAG-40). During the remainder of the decade, she served in connection with Project SHAD ("Shipboard Hazards & Defense"), an investigation of the threats posed to Navy ships by chemical and biological agents. This mission ended in the early 1970s and, at the beginning of May 1971, USS Granville S. Hall was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and turned over to the Maritime Adminsitration. She was sold for scrapping in March 1972.

The SS Granville S. Hall was named in honor of Dr. Granville S. Hall (1844-1924), a pioneer in the academic study of psychology. That name was reapplied when the Navy reactivated the ship in the early 1960s.

....Notice the forward mast with the dish under it, designed to 'catch' fallout?

38 posted on 04/14/2005 11:17:46 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: ladtx
Take a peak here about the Shaw Pitman case.
39 posted on 04/14/2005 11:26:49 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch
Also just posted this HERE.
40 posted on 04/14/2005 11:38:58 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: B4Ranch

Excellent thread.

41 posted on 04/15/2005 8:04:03 AM PDT by Roy Wilson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Roy Wilson
Soldiers of Misfortune

Some U.S. servicemen claim they were unknowing participants in military tests of biological and chemical agents. Now, they have medical problems, and Uncle Sam is giving them the runaround.

by Colleen Dougher

In January 1963, Richard Holmes was standing on the deck of the U.S.S. Navarro when it passed through a fog belt in the Pacific Ocean west of Oahu, Hawaii. Suddenly, his chest tightened, and he began coughing and doubled over, unable to breathe. “It’s like I was paralyzed,” the Homestead resident recalls.

Afterward, the teenage sailor visited sick bay, where the ship’s medic documented his inflamed throat, “shortness of breath” and “a tight feeling in his chest when in moist air.”

A few years later, in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Newfoundland, sailors aboard the U.S.S. Power were also getting sick. Joe Newberry, a former machinist mate on the Power who now lives in Jacksonville, says he contracted such a bad case of pneumonia in February 1965 that he was too sick to leave the ship — even to see his newborn daughter. He continued to have breathing problems and still suffers from bronchitis and pneumonia several times a year. Ten years ago, he developed atrial fibrillation.

James Druckemiller, a former junior medical corpsman aboard the Power, says his medical problems began that year, too. In 1965, he developed a lesion on the bottom of his right foot that had to be removed. A year later, he had another lesion removed from the back of his head and developed bacterial pneumonia and a 105-degree temperature. This was his first of several bouts with the disease.

According to Druckemiller, who lives in Topeka, Kan., many of the sailors aboard his ship developed sore throats and respiratory problems that continue to this day. Many developed a host of other ailments, ranging from skin conditions and cysts to heart problems, scarred lungs and cancer. During the time these sailors were getting sick, they were aboard ships involved in secret biological and chemical tests about which they didn’t learn until 40 years later.

Jim Brocklebank, a Palm Beach Gardens resident who served on the Power in the 1960s, says the only people he saw wearing gas masks and protective suits on his ship were civilians who came aboard to gather samples from about 10 “collection boxes” installed on the ship. Crew members say throat swabs and gargle samples were collected from some of the men. Brocklebank says he and some of his shipmates asked the men in the suits what was happening but were ignored.

Robert Bates, who served as an electrician aboard the Navarro, says his inquiries were also disregarded. “I went to the ship’s mess deck to get some coffee while on watch,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee in October. “Near the mess deck, I came across a person wearing a full chemical-biological suit, operating some kind of a machine that I had never seen before. I asked what he was doing. … He didn’t even acknowledge that I was there.”

Bates says he heard through the grapevine that airplanes had sprayed the ship. He also heard the words Autumn Gold for the first time. Bates soon contracted pneumonia and says he was in sick bay four times for severe eye pain. “They called it conjunctivitis one time, something else another time,” he remembers. “The doctor, when I got home, said I had calcium deposits on the inside of my eyelids.”

In 1970, Bates was diagnosed with epididymo-orchitis, a condition he says caused his testicles to swell to the size of softballs, rendering him unable to walk. He was hospitalized for five days and has since suffered recurring bouts of the disorder. A decade later, after he had trouble breathing and was told that his lung capacity had diminished by 20 percent, he filed a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs that mentioned the so-called Autumn Gold tests.

“I was kind of naive back then,” Bates admits. “I figured if I filed a claim, they would tell me about Autumn Gold.”

Instead, he was told Autumn Gold didn’t exist, and his claim was denied. He didn’t appeal, he says, because he couldn’t prove the testing had taken place or state the exact date he began to lose lung capacity.

In 1993, with the help of Congresswoman Jolene Unsoeld (D-Washington), Bates acquired a 30-year-old command-history report that mentioned Autumn Gold but provided no details about it. The following year, Bates explained his dilemma to Eric Longabardi, an independent producer and investigative journalist, who began digging and, in 1997, found a smoking gun — actual footage of Autumn Gold and another test, Copper Head, being conducted.

The film was mentioned in an Army document concerning Autumn Gold, but Longabardi says it took him two years of phone calls and Freedom of Information Act requests to get it. The official answer from the Army and other military branches was that the test didn’t exist, Longabardi says. So he called a military source, who agreed to search for it and retrieved a dusty, unlabeled, 16 mm reel off a closet floor.

After filing another FOIA request citing a 1995 presidential executive order mandating the declassification of most records 25 years old or older, he got the film. But “the smoking, smoking, smoking gun,” Longabardi says, was an Autumn Gold document that cited respiratory dosages and referred to eight men in gas masks as a “control group” and crew members as “test subjects.”

Longabardi called Brocklebank in late 1998 and, soon after, showed the Navy veteran the film at his Palm Beach Gardens home. In the film, Brocklebank says, “they explained what was going on up there, about how these planes would fly out and spray a cloud of chemical and biological mixture. It showed, at the base, the guys mixing this stuff and loading it on the airplanes. Then, they had a guy with a pointer saying the plane would fly over and ships will go through the cloud. … And that was news to me. I never knew any of this was going on.”

Upon learning that his ship, with 185 sailors aboard, had participated in these tests nine times, Brocklebank says he felt disgusted with and betrayed by the Navy for allowing this to happen to him without his knowledge or consent. The following year, when the CBS Evening News reported on Longabardi’s findings, other former sailors finally learned about the testing as well.Code of conductors

The CBS report led to a congressional mandate, a $3 million health study, congressional hearings, an ongoing Pentagon investigation and, as of Oct. 29, a federal class-action lawsuit that pits 22 plaintiffs, who lawyers say represent an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 military personnel, against current and former officials in the Army and departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

At the heart of it all is a series of 134 planned shipboard and land-based biological and chemical warfare tests planned under Project 112, one of 150 objectives implemented after then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered a total review of the U.S. military in 1961. The purpose of the shipboard tests, called Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD) and overseen by the Army’s Deseret Test Center in Fort Douglas, Utah, was to learn how chemical- or biological-warfare agents disperse throughout a ship and to use that information to develop procedures to protect crew members and decontaminate ships. (Deseret was shut down in 1973.)

In many of these tests, conducted on about 14 ships, jets sprayed extremely lethal nerve agents, bacteria, decontaminants and simulants, which mimic more-lethal agents, on ships in tests with names like Eager Belle, Fearless Johnny, Shady Grove and, of course, Copper Head and Autumn Gold. The plan, the Defense Department claims, was for sailors to be provided information about the tests, special training and protective gear. But sailors aboard some of these ships, particularly the ones where simulants were used, say they knew nothing about the tests until recently and weren’t wearing protective gear when the tests were conducted.

The lawsuit, which names Holmes, Brocklebank, Druckemiller and Bates among the plaintiffs, alleges that service members who participated in SHAD were not told about the experiments or offered the option of not participating in them. The suit also claims that records — even medical records, including those documenting swab tests done after the testing — were covered up to protect the government from lawsuits and the cost of service-connected compensation claims.

Austin Camacho, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, which is handling the SHAD investigation, says investigators have explored the logs of all the ships on which tests were conducted, but he doesn’t recall any report of pneumonia or respiratory problems aboard these ships. He says he is also unaware of any missing medical records but concedes that swab tests were not included in the records. He denies that sailors were test subjects. “As I understand it, there was an effort to find out how these materials might spread through the air,” he argues, “not a test to find out how these things might affect someone or if it might affect someone.”

Camacho says these tests were operational and designed to determine vulnerability. He makes the analogy of having a container and trying to determine how water is getting in. Reportedly the swab tests conducted during the Autumn Gold and Copper Head projects were used to determine if the sprayed materials had gotten into the sailors’ systems but not the effect that exposure might have on them. Camacho says this means the sailors were “test conductors” rather than subjects. To be considered a test subject, a sailor would have had to give his informed consent. But that’s not the case with test conductors.

Bates says all he has to do is look at his ship’s so-called “fact sheet” to know he wasn’t a test conductor; conductors would have been fully informed about the tests, had extra training in biological and chemical warfare and worn protective clothing. He points out that he received no special training, no protective gear and no information about the tests. (These fact sheets include the name of the operation, the test date, location, ship involved, agents, simulants, tracers and decontaminants used and other basic information.)

Attorneys from Shaw Pittman LLP, the Washington, D.C.-based firm representing the SHAD vets, say the secrecy of these tests was to protect the military’s wallet and reputation more than national security. Camacho says he can’t understand this line of thinking. “You do understand,” he argues, “that we are doing an investigation into these tests and releasing and continuing to release fact sheets about the tests. What information remains classified — operational information for the safety of our service members — should not be released. It is only after we have revealed what I consider a large amount of information that folks are saying we’ve decided to keep things a secret. I’ll admit that seems odd.”

SHAD vets don’t find it so odd, however. Many say the only reason they weren’t complaining before is that they didn’t know there was anything to complain about. The vets who filed the lawsuit want the court to declare the military’s acts, policies and procedures a violation of their constitutional rights. They also want immediate access to all records containing information regarding any SHAD veteran’s potential exposure, as well as a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

In addition to the lawsuit, a bill was passed last month directing the Department of Defense to present a comprehensive plan to the VA for disclosing all records and information on SHAD that may be relevant to veterans’ obtaining benefits or medical care. Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, says the DOD is already in the process of doing what the legislation requires it to do. Earlier this year, he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that all relevant information about tests that took place from 1962 to 1973 would be declassified and revealed to the VA by June 2003. He also says that because many of the same agents remain a threat to our forces today, these records cannot be casually declassified.

But veterans say they need more documentation, such as their missing medical records and specifics on the dosages of the chemicals to which they were exposed. They’re disturbed that it would take an act of Congress to get information they feel they were entitled to 40 years ago.

Camacho claims the Pentagon is releasing medical information as quickly as it can. As for dosages, he says the scientists never recorded that information, so “those kind of records don’t even exist.”

Earlier this year, Dee Dodson Morris, the retired Army Chemical Corps colonel coordinating the SHAD investigation for the DOD’s Deployment Health Support Directorate Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI), described a process that has investigators combing through paper and microfiche records and searching the DOD database to target places these records may have been “tucked away,” as a DOD press release puts it.

Apparently, because the program was planned by the Army’s Deseret Test Center and conducted aboard Navy ships, both services kept separate records that were never united. Research information was archived but not filed electronically. In some instances, facilities were closed and original records destroyed or forwarded.

To date, the DOD has verified that 46 tests were conducted and 62 were canceled. Twenty-six more remain under investigation.Ask me no question

Some of these tests, which employed service members from the Navy and Marine Corps and a small number of personnel from the Army and Air Force, involved the use of agents such as sarin, the nerve agent that killed 12 people in a Tokyo subway attack in 1995, and VX, a lethal nerve gas described by the Pentagon as “one of the most-toxic substances ever synthesized.” One drop of VX absorbed through the skin can severely disrupt the nervous system.

Camacho says the Army acknowledged the use of live agents in tests in 1992, but the SHAD lawsuit alleges that a letter sent that year from the Department of the Army falsely reported to a member of Congress that “Project SHAD was composed of two [U.S. Navy] ships, the [U.S.S. George Eastman] and the [U.S.S. Granville S. Hall].”

DOD officials say there is no evidence that service members who participated in tests using sarin and VX were exposed without proper protection. However, these officials seem less certain about protection provided in tests using other agents. Among the other agents used in SHAD are Pasteurella tularensis (now called Francisello tularensis), which can cause ulcerating lesions and tularemia, in which the lymph nodes enlarge and drain; Coxiella burnetii, which causes the rarely fatal Q fever, and Serratia marcescens, which can cause pneumonia.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in October, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), a committee member, asked Winkenwerder whether sailors who participated in tests using live agents such as Coxiella burnetii and Pasteurella tularensis were advised about the nature of the chemicals to which they were being exposed. Winkenwerder replied that the sailors were vaccinated against Q fever and tularemia but that the vaccines were investigational, not FDA-approved, and that there was no indication of informed consent for these vaccines in the test records.

Nelson, who pointed out that Florida is home to the second-largest group of SHAD vets, once again asked Winkenwerder whether those sailors were informed that they were the subjects of a test.

“Looking again at the records,” Winkenwerder responded, “it says people were informed. It doesn’t indicate the sailors were informed. And in talking with sailors, I believe that they were not informed.”

The DOD has stressed that not all substances were used in all tests and that many, such as Copper Head and Autumn Gold, used decontaminants, simulants and biological and chemical tracers.

But even agents the DOD once thought of as harmless have become points of concern. Bacillus globigii, a bacterium mixed with zinc cadmium sulfide, was used, military officials have said, because it is similar in size and has the same dispersal characteristics as anthrax. DOD officials stated in recently released fact sheets that BG is harmless to humans, yet during that Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in October, Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director for the DOD’s Deployment Health Support Directorate, conceded that BG has the potential to cause illness and infection in people with compromised immune systems.

According to Mark Wheelis, a microbiologist at the University of California-Davis, BG is part of a species that has been documented occasionally to cause health problems. “That would make me very cautious about using it in any large population — period,” he says.

Studies on the toxic effects of repeated exposure to zinc cadmium sulfide, DOD officials admit, have not been conducted. But the National Research Council devised the following worst-case scenario: If exposure to zinc cadmium sulfide has the same effect as exposure to an equal amount of cadmium, repeated exposures could be toxic to kidneys and bones and cause lung cancer.

Winkenwerder says that in the 1960s, E. coli — the bacterium responsible for a well-publicized meat recall in 1997 — was commonly used as a simulant. The doctor agrees that E. coli can cause anything from stomach cramps and bloody stool to kidney failure and, in some cases, death. The strain of E. coli used in the SHAD tests was not identified in any report that he had seen, he says, and “certainly E. coli would not be used today as a simulant.”

Even betapropiolactone, a decontaminant sprayed over ships is now known to cause cancer, reports the DOD’s Web site.

After running through a lengthy list of simulants and their potential risks with Winkenwerder at the October hearing, Nelson said he wanted “to get this on the record for the obvious reason of what the testimony has brought out, that this is serious stuff.

“As we examine this,” the senator said, “we’re not pointing any fingers of blame. We’re asking policy questions about how our government could do these kinds of tests, and three or four decades later, we are just now getting around to notifying the veterans.”I’ll tell you no lie.

Some veterans feel the potential risks of these simulants has been downplayed by the DOD. They surmise that this could be due to the public outcry that might arise when more people realize that sailors aren’t the only ones who’ve been exposed without consent. From 1949 to 1969, many of the simulants used in SHAD were also sprayed in hundreds of open-air, land-based tests over populated areas.

Leonard A. Cole, an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University, says the Army conducted hundreds of mock warfare attacks using simulants such as S. marcescens, BG and zinc cadmium sulfide over urban and rural areas in or near San Francisco; New York; Minneapolis; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Biltmore Beach, Fla. The purpose of the tests, he says, was to determine how agents would spread while people went about their usual activities.

In the early 1990s, the National Research Council was asked to review the public health risks of zinc cadmium sulfide and to hold public meetings in select cities with people who had learned of their exposures and become concerned.

A subsequent report stated that that residents of Minneapolis, Fort Wayne and Corpus Christi expressed concerns about reproductive problems and cancer clusters. In Minneapolis, a community group called Children of the ’50s reported cancer and other health problems in people who had attended Clinton Elementary School, where zinc cadmium sulfide had been released from the school’s roof and from nearby mobile vehicles. The group tracked down 350 of the 800 students who attended the school and found that many of them had already died, a large number from cancer. Residents also reported difficulty in getting pregnant; miscarriages and other reproductive disorders; respiratory problems; pneumonia; bronchitis; swollen glands; and a number of nonspecific complaints such as coughing, the swelling of joints and the development of cysts.

The SHAD lawsuit refers to land-based tests conducted in Florida, alleging that military officials, after conducting secret, biological-warfare experiments, dismissed subsequent increases in human respiratory ailments as unrelated and did not inform local or state officials of even the possibility of a connection. Sen. Nelson did not return calls for this story, but in recent months, he has doggedly pursued the release of information about tests that occurred in Belle Glade, Fort Pierce, Avon Park and Panama City.

Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that in the 1950s, the Army sprayed Panama City and Key West with S. marcescens, the same bacteria that later spurred a San Francisco family to sue the government. In that case, retired pipe fitter Edward J. Nevin checked into a hospital with chills, fever and general malaise in 1950 and died three weeks later from what doctors said was pneumonia caused by exposure to the bacterium S. marcescens. Ten other people in the area were also reported to have developed these symptoms. But Nevin’s family didn’t learn until 1977 that just before Nevin fell ill, the Army had sprayed San Francisco with Serratia. The court ruled in favor of the Army, which argued that any link to its tests was purely coincidental.

Wheelis says that given “very grave concerns about the Cold War and the capabilities of the Soviet Union,” he is not surprised that this sort of experiment was conducted among a military population of generally healthy, young and vigorous soldiers. But he says exposing a civilian population is another story, especially when tests such as the one in San Francisco could have been conducted in an uninhabited region of the coast.

The Army may argue that the air would be different, Wheelis says, “but I would question whether this justifies exposing several million people. There’s a certain amount of arrogance in thinking that one knows for certain that these are harmless agents.”

The Army’s open-air tests reportedly remained a secret until the 1970s, when word of them leaked to the press. In 1977, the Army testified before the Senate that such tests had been conducted 239 times, including 80 experiments involving live bacteria that at the time were believed to be harmless.

But the investigation currently under way addresses only the tests performed by Deseret Test Center from 1962 to 1973, and because many of these tests took place earlier, the DOD is not in the process of releasing fact sheets about them.

The only land-based test in Florida on which the DOD has released information as part of this investigation was conducted in late 1968 in Yeehaw Junction. The test involved wheat fungus designed to starve Soviets by killing the Soviet Union’s wheat crop. Nelson says he wants to know about other Florida tests conducted before 1962. He’s particularly interested in learning about those tests held at the former Boca Raton Army Airfield starting in the 1950s. A former Army sergeant recently told The Palm Beach Post that he helped conduct wheat spore tests at the airfield in the ’50s. The Defense Department maintains that some information about these tests is classified.

Nelson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he wants to know if people were put at risk, if military personnel or civilians were exposed and if toxins were dumped or buried at the airfield. The senator says an 85-acre parcel of land bordered by the Boca Raton Airport and Florida Atlantic University remains suspiciously unused, while the land surrounding it has been developed.

Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed disappointment at the hearing in the lack of informed consent for people in land-based and shipboard tests. “Do you find it the height of irony, as I do,” he asked, “that we’re going after Saddam Hussein because he possesses the very weapons that we possess and possessed in those days and used them on our own people, our own veterans, without their knowledge, in the Pacific and the Atlantic and in states in this country?”Deny, deny, deny

Jim Benson, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs, reported that the agency has received about 5,500 names of veterans involved in SHAD tests and has sent nearly 3,000 of them letters. The most-recent of these missives includes a paragraph letting veterans know that it’s OK to discuss their health problems, their treatment and details of their experiences — such as whether they were wearing protective gear — as long as they don’t discuss the actual operations.

“A lot of these tests were classified,” Benson says, “and many [veterans] have expressed concerns in talking about them, because they signed confidentiality papers to maintain the secrecy of the tests.”

Only about 50 veterans have filed claims based on their involvement in SHAD. Benson argues that many of the health problems they’ve reported, such as breathing trouble and aching joints, are afflictions common in older people.

Richard Holmes still remembers the frightening attack he experienced on the deck of the Navarro so long ago. He wonders if his body was reacting to chemical exposure. Today, his problems range from Type 2 diabetes and degenerative changes in his joints to bipolar disorder, cysts, muscular and skeletal lower-back pain and scarring on his lungs that his doctor tells him is very old. Many of his medical records, including those for almost the entire year of 1964, are missing. Many of his medical claims with the VA have been denied for lack of proof. A claim for 100 percent disability is pending.

Robert Bates’ first claim was denied 22 years ago. His health problems continue to mount. In 1998, he was hospitalized with congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Two years later, he was forced to retire from his job as an electrician.

In October 2000, he reopened his claim. Last year, he was compensated for the ringing in his ears — the same tinnitus, he says, for which he had filed a claim in 1980 and was denied. The remainder of his SHAD claim was deferred to the head office, he notes. This August, he received a jarring communication from the VA denying that his problems were SHAD-related. The letter states that his exposure to BG, zinc cadmium sulfide and chemical agents GB and VX during the Autumn Gold test probably did not cause any of his health problems but may have resulted in the pneumonia he contracted in 1963.

The letter left Bates feeling more confused than ever. He had read the two fact sheets for the only SHAD tests in which he’s been told he participated, and neither lists GB or VX. To further complicate matters, three days after his SHAD claim was denied, he got a letter from Daniel Cooper, the undersecretary of Veterans Affairs for Benefits explaining that the VA was still investigating the long-term health effects of exposure to biological and chemical agents used in SHAD.

Bates wonders how the VA could make a determination on his claim when the department admittedly doesn’t know the long-term effects of exposure to these agents. The letter failed to mention Eager Belle II, the other test in which he was involved.

On Sept. 30, the VA contracted with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct an epidemiological study of the mortality, morbidity and health statuses of SHAD vets as compared to other vets. Veterans groups point to a report prepared in 2001 by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Environmental Epidemiology Service. The report compared the causes of death for 93 SHAD veterans with those of people in the general population. It showed that SHAD vets, at least in this small group, were three times more likely to die of cerebrovascular or respiratory diseases. Benson says that this was not a study but a “proportional mortality analysis” based only on those veterans who participated in the first three SHAD tests and that the relatively small number of people studied could deem the results statistically insignificant.

SHAD vets must wait three years for the results of the NAS study, which Benson says is the only way to establish a link when no other study is available. Yet some veterans see this as yet another way for the VA to delay ruling on their claims. Benson says the study, which is not expected to begin until the middle of next year, will try to determine whether there is “sufficient evidence that exposures are at least as likely as anything else to have caused the health effects.”Same old song and dance

Journalist Longabardi is working on a full-length investigative documentary on the SHAD tests. He says coverups and confusion are just part of the VA and DOD’s strategy. In a column in the Nov. 6 issue of the online magazine DefenseWatch, Longabardi writes that two years after CBS aired its piece on SHAD, “the Pentagon is still continuing to cover up, hide, confuse and outright lie to the men involved, to the news media, and to anyone else who is willing to take their carefully crafted pronouncements and so-called ‘fact sheets’ with little backup substantiation.”

Former corpsman Druckemiller agrees. “Every step we take,” he says, “they’re throwing a stumbling block in front of us.” He says the VA gave him a hotline number to call if he thought his ship had been involved in a SHAD test. When he called it, he was given the name and number of another person, who hadn’t worked for the VA for three years. When he finally reached someone, he was told that that he had to travel 60 miles, from Topeka to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for a comprehensive exam at the VA facility there. When he got there, the VA staffers were unfamiliar with SHAD and not quite sure what to do with him. Druckemiller says they gave him another 800 number to call. The hospital staffers said they would get back to him. Four months later, he’s still waiting. Druckemiller filed a SHAD claim in August and has been given until Feb. 3 to produce documentation and evidence supporting his claim.

Benson says there is no SHAD exam per se, because there is nothing so far that links symptoms with a particular agent. SHAD vets are offered a free comprehensive medical exam, however.

Two years ago, Druckemiller went into massive, congestive heart failure and was in intensive care for 12 days. “They wanted to do a heart transplant because [my heart] was so badly damaged,” he says. “But they turned me down because I have too many other physical problems. They said if I made it off the table, I would lose my legs, because I lost circulation in my legs. But they said the odds were that I wouldn’t make it off the table and that they don’t have enough hearts to go around to waste one. … And I said I’d have to agree with that.”

As veterans report increased health problems, officials at the DOD and VA continue to discuss their ongoing efforts to get vets the information they deserve, pointing out that they have even attended ship reunions to answer vets’ questions. Druckemiller recalls one such reunion of Power crew members as four hours of intense confrontation.

“The DOD,” he says, “did their same old song and dance, saying this stuff was absolutely harmless and nothing to be concerned about. The VA told us you can put all the SHAD claims you want in, but they’re gonna be denied, because since the DOD says this stuff is harmless, we have nothing to give you benefits for. They said our only recourse was to have Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi and Congress evoke the presumptive clause, saying we don’t have scientific evidence that points to it and says this did the damage but that we have enough evidence that there seems to be a correlation.”

Druckemiller feels there is a definite correlation. A senior corpsman with whom he worked closely also developed heart trouble. According to Druckemiller, this man had to undergo an emergency kidney bypass just after retiring, then had five multiple-bypass surgeries before dying from pancreatic cancer. “I found it strange,” Druckemiller says, “that he and I both worked in the same spot and wound up with severe heart problems.”

Fellow sailor Brocklebank married shortly after leaving the Power. He says his first wife had three miscarriages in as many years.

James North, a Palm Beach Gardens insurance agent who also served aboard the Power, says he and his wife tried for five years to have children but met with no success. One of the prerequisites for adopting, he says, is to provide proof of an inability to have children. A test found that his sperm count was low enough to qualify him to adopt. Now that he knows about SHAD, he wonders if his sterility was caused by chemical exposure.

“But how do you prove it?” he asks. “They’re not gonna come out and give anyone the truth. If you’re gonna get it, you’ll have to fight for it every step of the way.”

North is trying to track down the record of his sperm test so he can provide a copy to the VA. He didn’t keep it, because he didn’t imagine that decades later, he might need it.

Homer Tack Jr., a torpedoman’s mate on the Power who now lives in Butler, Pa., remembers standing on the ship’s deck, feeling a damp mist and looking up to see a plane flying overhead, spraying something. When he asked his division officer what was happening, he was told, “Nothing at all.”

But he had a feeling that something wasn’t right. “I’ve been telling my wife and family for 37 years,” he says, “that someday this was going to come to light.”

Not long after the spraying, his lips swelled up, and no doctor could tell him what was causing it. He has had chronic bronchial problems ever since, he says. In 1989, he was diagnosed with a lung tumor his doctor said had been growing for at least 15 years. Last winter, part of his lung was removed.

Tack recalls throat swabs being taken from him at least once while in the Navy. He hoped the test would reveal something about his exposure, but his medical records contain no mention of it. In fact, the whole year of 1965 is missing from his records. Tack is now sharing information and resources with his former shipmates.

As Brocklebank testified at the hearing he attended last October, “I guess they just wanted to wait until we were all dead, and then, no explanation would be needed.”

Unfortunately some of the SHAD veterans have already died, including a Power sailor Druckemiller knew who died of cancer of the pancreas, liver and spleen two years ago. “A week after he was diagnosed,” Druckemiller says, “he learned about the SHAD tests on the news. He died five weeks later. … Talking with these guys, you hear one horror story after another.”They want the truth

Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, has heard plenty such stories. The 20-year Army veteran worked as a research analyst for the Defense Department’s OSAGWI for two and a half years before retiring in the fall of 2001. He’s met hundreds of veterans and their families who did not get the assistance they needed to deal with their illnesses. He realized that OSAGWI’s investigations were in part responsible for the lack of treatment veterans received.

While employed at OSAGWI, Robinson says, he witnessed officials delay, deflect and discredit efforts to link environmental exposures to illness. “It seemed that everything we produced,” he comments, “leaned away from helping the veteran.”

Robinson admits that the Department of Defense received inquiries about the secret tests in the mid-’90s. “They could have said right then that this did happen, and we’re smarter than that now, and we’re gonna get these vets all they need to know,” he argues. “Or they could have said, ‘Hey, there are only two or three people asking questions. Why release this information until it becomes an issue?’ ” He says the DOD chose the latter option, even though the health and welfare of as many as tens of thousands of vets were at stake.

The United States has a history of exposing its own servicemen and citizens to chemical and biological agents, Robinson says, including the Tuskegee Experiment, in which black airmen were exposed to syphilis, and Operation Whitecoat, in which Seventh-day Adventist soldiers were voluntary subjects in experiments involving yellow fever, tularemia and Q fever.

“Now, there are revelations coming out,” he says, “that testing occurred on land, where people have been exposed also. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to look back over the last 50 years and see that when exposure or testing occurs, it sometimes takes [as many as] 50 years to be compensated, cared for and given appropriate medical treatment.”

Robinson, who’s also a consultant for Vietnam Veterans of America, left OSAGWI in the fall of 2001, shortly after the first three SHAD fact sheets were released on Sept. 13 and lost amid media coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Robinson believes the timing of that release was not an accident.

Despite the DOD receiving inquiries about SHAD as early as the mid-’90s, Robinson says, OSAGWI was denying the existence of SHAD as recently as 2000. “We got a call from a SHAD vet who was trying to gather information, and he believed he had been exposed to live chemical agents,” he notes. “I gave him the number to call, and I conferenced in with him. This person, this PR expert, said, ‘Well, we don’t even know what is involved in SHAD yet or if it even exists, but certainly there were no live agents used.’

“These spinmeisters held these vets as hostages since 1994,” he argues, “when they knew for a fact that these tests had occurred, that live agents were used and that people were used as human test subjects.”

The Pentagon’s Camacho contends that when the OSAGWI office began an investigation into the shipboard tests in 2000, it found that the tests were done with simulants. Therefore, people inquiring about SHAD tests prior to 2001 likely were told that no live agents were used.

The Department of Defense has learned that it can wait a long time before releasing information about toxic exposures, Robinson alleges, “but the health of Gulf War vets is placed in jeopardy when any public office, government, the DOD or the Department of Veterans Affairs uses public relations tactics to delay the release of information or medical findings.” As long as the DOD remains the sole provider of information about what happened with these tests, he continues, “we’re forever going to be held hostage to this technique.”

Rick Weidman, director of government relations for Vietnam Veterans of America, believes many of the SHAD tests remain a secret. “In 1961,” he says, “Project 112 was a $4 billion project. Think about it, in 1961, you could buy a new house for about $7,500. If, in fact, that’s really all of the tests, then we have a story that will make $1,500 toilet seats and $1,600 hammers pale by comparison.”

Weidman is investigating the 62 tests the government says were never conducted, since no cancellation order has ever been released. “It’s like WorldCom saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got an accounting scandal,’ ” he explains. “ ‘We’re going to look into it and let you know exactly what happened.’ … You’re the guys who lied all along, and now, you’re gonna investigate with no third party, and we’re supposed to trust you?

“There is no reason,” Weidman adds, “why sovereign immunity should cover people who deliberately steal constitutional rights from individual citizens, any more than sovereign immunity should be granted to people who embezzle money.”

Robinson agrees. “We’ve had a lot of congressional hearings since 50 years ago,” he says, “where congressmen and senators have pointed fingers and said, ‘You’re bad. We caught you. We know you withheld information.’ But no one has been held accountable, no one has been fined, and no one has lost their job.

“SHAD vets may not be able to sue the government,” he continues, “but we can sue people in individual capacities who withheld information, because it is a violation of the Constitution. This is an effort to do what Congress has failed to do, and the Senate has failed to do — hold someone accountable.

“It doesn’t do a SHAD vet any good to go to a hearing on Capitol Hill and see congressmen roast some DOD official and hope that the debate in which they tell them how poorly they acted and the bad things they’ve done will result in some change — it hasn’t,” he attests. “This SHAD complaint is going to try to reach into the pockets and the minds of bureaucrats and say, ‘You will be held accountable. If you lie and withhold information, there will be a consequence.’ ”

Doug Rosinski, an attorney representing the SHAD vets, says a response to the lawsuit is not due until the end of the month, though he’s not anticipating any answer. He believes the government will claim immunity or file a motion to dismiss. Then, he says, the legal wrestling will begin.

“We’re confident that we’ll get through that,” he says, “and get to the point where we force them to answer the hard questions, something they have been able to avoid doing for, in some cases, decades.”

Reprinted with permission from

42 posted on 04/15/2005 9:33:45 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: All
All Veterans

If you are a Veteran and think you may have been injured from one of these bio or nuclear tests, then get into the "LIVE DISCUSSION" and learn more about what you can do through the VA for your medical care.

43 posted on 04/15/2005 9:52:29 AM PDT by B4Ranch ("Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to report every illegal alien that you meet.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

I support vets 110%. And from what I have read this was a travesty of the use of military personnel. I am a Canadian that was in Viet Nam as a Us volunteer.
Being exposed to Agent Orange is one thing but some of these good men wee used as guinea pigs and that is totally inexcusable.
I commend the good men that are working diligently to have this situation rectified, God Bless them and all those that have died because of inaction.

44 posted on 04/15/2005 12:37:00 PM PDT by Roy Wilson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: Lancey Howard; B4Ranch; Vn_survivor_67-68; Eastbound; Roy Wilson; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; ...

Another BUMP for this issue. Please continue to pass the word to vets and friends alike.

45 posted on 04/15/2005 7:02:53 PM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head


46 posted on 04/16/2005 6:04:13 AM PDT by E.G.C.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: E.G.C.

Number of Records Reviewed

What follows is a list of all records reviewed by the Deployment Health Support Directorate's investigative team and retained for use by it investigators. This list reflects more than 28,000 pages reviewed by DoD's investigators. Prior to the passage of Public Law 107-314, DoD's investigators did not catalog the record they records reviewed unless they were retained for investigator use. To date, we estimate that the investigative team has reviewed approximately 10,000 additional pages of records and determined that the material was not germane to this investigation.

Final Report to Congress on Project 112 (P.L. 107-314)

47 posted on 04/16/2005 7:18:00 AM PDT by Roy Wilson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

Doesn’t seem to be much interest in what should be an extremely important topic. Military personnel put their lives on the line so others can enjoy freedom and they are treated like lab rats, dispose of them when we are finished. It’s disgusting.

48 posted on 04/16/2005 8:24:24 AM PDT by Roy Wilson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: Roy Wilson
I wouldn't be too quick to judge a thread just by the number of posts. For every post there are ten or more views of this thread by lurkers and those people may well be talking to others off forum.

All any of us can do is try and put the info out there, ping people to it, explain our feelings, and then be thankful for and show gratitude to those who do respond, so that they will feel inclined to spread the word and have it go from there.

We'll post more threads as time goes on.

49 posted on 04/16/2005 9:04:57 AM PDT by Jeff Head (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: Jeff Head

For many years during the nineteen-fifties and sixties, Bill Patrick had his doubts that bioweapons work. Those doubts were removed decisively during the summer of 1968, when one of the biggest of a long series of open-air biological tests was conducted over the Pacific Ocean downwind of Johnston Atoll, a thousand miles southwest of Hawaii. There, in reaches of open sea, American strategic tests of bioweapons had been conducted secretly for four years. Until very recently, these tests remained unknown to people without security clearances.

[Project SHAD/112]

"We tested certain real agents, and some of them were lethal," Patrick said. The American strategic tests of bioweapons were as expensive and elaborate as the tests of the first hydrogen bombs at Eniwetok Atoll. They involved enough ships to have made the world's fifth-largest independent navy. The ships were positioned around Johnston Atoll, upwind from a number of barges loaded with hundreds of rhesus monkeys.

Late one afternoon, Bill Patrick went out to Johnston Atoll and stood on the beach to watch a test. At sunset, just as the sun touched the horizon, a Marine Phantom jet flew in low, heading on a straight line parallel to the beach, and then continued over the horizon. Meanwhile, a single pod under its wings released a weaponized powder. The powder trailed into the air like a whiff of smoke and disappeared completely. This was visual evidence that the particles were flying away from one another. Patrick's patents worked.

The scientists call this a line-source laydown. The jet was disseminating a small amount of biopowder for every mile of flight (the exact amount is still classified). One can imagine a jet doing a line-source laydown over Los Angeles, flying from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, releasing dust from a single pod under the wing. It would take a few minutes. The jet would appear on radar, but the trail of bioweapon would be invisible. In Iraq, United Nations inspectors found a videotape of an Iraqi Phantom jet doing a line-source laydown over the desert. The technique looked precisely like the American laydowns, even to the Iraqis' use of a Phantom jet. The one difference was that the Iraqi Phantom had no pilot: it was a remote-controlled drone.

At Johnston Atoll, the line of particles moved with the wind over the sea, somewhat like a windshield wiper sweeping over glass. Stationed in the path of the particles, at intervals extending many miles away, were the barges full of monkeys, manned by nervous Navy crews wearing biohazard spacesuits. The line of bioparticles passed over the barges one by one. Then the monkeys were taken back to Johnston Atoll, and over the next few days half of them died. Half of the monkeys survived, and were fine. Patrick could see, clearly enough, that a jet that did a laydown of a modest amount of military bioweapon over Los Angeles could kill half the city. It would probably be more efficient at causing human deaths than a ten-megaton hydrogen bomb.

"What was the agent you used?" I asked Patrick.

"I don't want to tell you. It may still be classified. The real reason is that a lot of countries would like to know what we used, and not just the Iraqis. When we saw those test results, we knew beyond a doubt that biological weapons are strategic weapons. We were surprised. Even we didn't think they would work that well."

"But the agent you used was curable with antibiotics, right?" I said.


"So people could be cured -- "

"Well, think about it. Let's say you hit the city of Frederick, right here. That's a small city, with a population of about fifty thousand. You could cause thirty thousand infections. To treat the infections, you'd need -- let me see." He calculated quickly: "Eighty-four grams of antibiotic per person . . . that's . . . oh, my heavens, you'd need more than two tons of antibiotic, delivered overnight! There isn't that much antibiotic stored anywhere in the United States. Now think about New York City. It doesn't take a mathematician to see that if you hit New York with a biological weapon you are gonna tie things up for a while."

50 posted on 04/17/2005 12:59:44 PM PDT by Roy Wilson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-52 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson