IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

August 23, 2002

No. 02-15

(301) 585-4000
Contact:
Mokie Porter

 

VVA MEETS WITH SHAD VETERANS AT THE USS POWER REUNION
IN ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND


(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) met with crew members during the crew reunion of the USS Power held in Annapolis. The Power was involved in secret testing conducted in the 1960s known as Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD).  Crew members who were onboard the Power during the experiment met with VVA and officials from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), along with staffers from the House and Senate.  

The meeting was designed to give the USS Power veterans the most current information regarding the exposures and obtaining claims assistance from the VA.  VVA briefed the SHAD veterans on current actions pending in the House and Senate as well as activities VVA has taken to uncover the truth.   

The meeting quickly turned confrontational when the DoD representative Dr. Michael Kilpatrick said that none of the substances used during the test were expected to cause long-term health effects.  The SHAD veterans asserted it was inappropriate to reach this conclusion based on the limited evidence released by DoD and that it was illogical to make such safety claims when such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and others say the substances used pose health threats today. 

Wives of SHAD veterans correctly surmised that if DoD claimed nothing used in the SHAD test was “unsafe or a health threat” then the VA would certainly deny all SHAD veterans’ claims.  In fact, a recent VA SHAD claim denied any link to illness as a result of any SHAD testing.

Rick Weidman, Director of Government Relations for VVA, stated, “SHAD veterans were unwitting participants in these tests.  DoD continues to withhold the evidence needed by these veterans to meet the burden of proof that VA requires for care and compensation.  It is unconscionable for DoD to treat SHAD veterans this way.  Every day that DoD delays the release of the truth is another day that SHAD veterans are denied proper health care and benefits.   VVA is fully committed to assist the Senate Armed Services Committee this fall to get to the truth of this matter.”  

To learn more about Project SHAD or the Veterans Right to Know Act go to www.vva.org

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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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