IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release

October 18, 2002

No. 02-19

(301) 585-4000
Contact:
Mokie Porter

 

SENATE HEARING CONFIRMS VETERANS FEARS
 


(Washington, D.C.) - During a recent hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Department of Defense officials admitted for the first time that the Pentagon's secret chemical and biological warfare testing program known as Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD), one of many chemical/biological tests that were part of Project 112, involved human exposures on a scale far greater than originally believed. Potentially thousands of military personnel were exposed to VX and other sarin nerve gases as well as other dangerous chemical and biological agents during the 1960s and 1970s.  

In the past, Pentagon spokesmen have testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee that service personnel involved in tests using live biological agents had been vaccinated beforehand and given protective clothing. However, veterans who testified at the Senate hearing indicated that they had experienced no such protective measures. 

"Military personnel deserve the truth concerning the health consequences related to military exposures," said Thomas H. Corey, Vietnam Veterans of America's (VVA) national president. "More importantly, they deserve medical treatment."  Vietnam Veterans of America recommends that information about all of the testing programs in SHAD/Project 112 be declassified immediately and that exposed veterans be given expedited VA examinations as soon as they are identified.  

VVA also calls for an official investigation into why and how information vital to the health of so many individuals had been withheld for all of these years. 

"We applaud the members of the Senate committees for their leadership and pursuit of the truth in this matter," Corey said. "Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, once presented with evidence of the experimentation, has also taken a leadership role in discovering the truth regarding these exposures. VVA stands ready to take any action needed to assure justice for these veterans."

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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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