(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
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
To learn more about
Project SHAD or the Veterans Right to Know Act go to