IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

October 18, 2001

No. 01-28
301 585-4000
Contact: Mokie Porter

 

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION
VIETNAM WAR BIOLOGICAL TESTS


 

WASHINGTON, D.C.---Vietnam Veterans of America national president Thomas H. Corey expressed the organization’s deep concern upon learning that the U.S. government used live biological agents on Vietnam War veterans in a series of experiments designed to test the military's ability to deal with such agents, according to a Pentagon fact sheet provided to VVA.

“We are outraged--but not surprised--that American military personnel were used as de facto guinea pigs in these experiments,” said Corey. “Our understanding is that the Pentagon’s Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments (OSAGWI/MR/MD) has the names of those exposed but has not released that information to the Department of Veterans Affairs. We call upon the Pentagon to release any and all records associated with these experiments and to aggressively seek out those veterans who were exposed to determine their health status.”

The tests--code-named Shady Grove--occurred between January and April 1965 and involved aerial spraying of Navy ships and Marine Corps personnel.

According to an article in the October 22, 2001, edition of the Army Times, deck logs from Navy ships showed no evidence of personnel reporting illnesses associated with Q fever, the biological agent used in the tests. However, previous government uses of pesticides, chemical agents, and other toxins have often been poorly documented or classified for years, raising the prospect that Shady Grove test subjects may have developed undocumented or undiagnosed medical problems as a result of the exposure.

Corey noted that the Pentagon had admitted to VVA that as many as one hundred such experiments were conducted. “During this time of increased concern over the potential health risks of exposure to biological warfare agents, we believe the federal government has a special responsibility to deal openly and honestly with this issue. We will be raising this matter with the relevant congressional committees,” Corey said.

-END-

VVA's point of contact for additional information is Mokie Porter at (301) 585-4000, Ext. 146. Visit VVA’s Website at http://www.vva.org.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) 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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