Contact: Mokie Pratt Porter, Communications Director 202-628-2700 Ext.
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION
OF NERVE GAS CHARGES
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 1998) George C. Duggins, National President
of Vietnam Veterans of America, called today for a U.S. congressional investigation
of allegations made in a joint report by Cable News Network and Time
magazine June 7. According to the report, the nerve agent, sarin, was used
in a 1970 mission in which a covert U.S. Studies and Opservation Group
(SOG) commando team, reinforced with Montagnard troops, went into Laos
to kill a group of Americans identified as military defectors. Sarin is
the agent that was used in the attack on a subway in Tokyo in 1995. The
report also claimed that the U.S. military used sarin during many clandestine
missions to rescue downed U.S. pilots in Laos and North Vietnam during
the Vietnam War.
"These are extremely serious charges," Duggins said. "We
need to find out for certain if the United States did, in fact, use nerve
agents during the Vietnam War. And if we did, we need to know who authorized
their use, when they were used, and how many service members were affected.
Secretary of Defense William Cohen has called for a military investigation.
That is a good start. Vietnam Veteran of America believes that, in addition,
Congress should use its oversight and investigative powers to get to the
bottom of these charges," with particular emphasis on the operations
"We must know the truth," Duggins said. "If this use
of sarin did occur, and American service personnel were exposed to it,
they may be suffering health consequences today. We must let the facts
come out. The health of our veterans depends on it."
Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation's only congressionally
chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of
Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is "Never
again will one generation of veterans abandon another."
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