(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
"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."