IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

July 10, 2002

No. 02-08

(301) 585-4000
Contact:
Mokie Porter

 

VVA AND CONGRESSIONAL PRESSURE FORCES DoD TO ACT WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY FOR SHAD VETERANS 

Landmark hearing investigates DoD obstacles that have prevented the disclosure of chemical and biological testing on SHAD veterans.


(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) today testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee regarding Military Exposures: The Continuing Challenges of Care and Compensation. This hearing faulted the Department of Defense (DoD) for preventing the flow of information required by veterans to receive health care from the VA. 

"In the case of Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD), DoD has been less than forthcoming with the names, locations, tests conducted, and exposures that SHAD veterans faced during the 1960’s," said Rick Weidman, VVA's Director of Government Relations. "It’s unfortunate that Congress must become involved in order to get the truth about experimental exposures conducted by the Pentagon." 

Representative Mike Thompson (CA) and Senator Bill Nelson (FL) have introduced legislation that would prevent DoD from monopolizing veteran exposure data.  The bills recently introduced, S. 2704 and HR. 5060 Veterans Right-To-Know Act of 2002, will establish an oversight mechanism that will protect veterans from being used as test subjects without their knowledge.  VVA supports both bills. 

SHAD is part of a much larger testing initiative, known as Project 112. Veterans demand full disclosure from DoD on all Project 112 tests and prompt medical attention for SHAD veterans from the VA.  To restore integrity to the process of investigating and treating veteran’s medical conditions, VVA has called for the creation of a National Institute of Veterans Health (NIVH) within National Institute of Health (NIH).  

Locating the NIVH within NIH would ensure that the medical resources of the federal government and private sector could be accessed in a veteran-friendly environment, free of the influences that preclude effective research into the environmental and occupational hazards that have impacted veterans’ health.

VVA national president Thomas H. Corey noted, “Atomic veterans, Vietnam War veterans, SHAD veterans, Gulf War veterans, and today’s Enduring Freedom veterans deserve the truth.   Anything less is unacceptable.  VVA’s position is to seek the truth about these tests and allow the veterans who were exposed to be notified and provided with appropriate treatment and care.” 

VVA would also like to thank Congressman Jerry Moran (KS), chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee, and Senator Max Cleland (GA), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, for agreeing to hold congressional hearings on SHAD.

 

For more information regarding SHAD visit http://www.vva.org/TheVeteran/2002_03/accessdenied.htm or http://www.va.gov/shad.

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated 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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