Press Release

January 13, 2004

No. 04-001

Mokie Porter

(240) 485-1600 or
(301) 585-4000
Ext. 146

Deposition of Project 112/SHAD Technical Director,
A 'Ringing Indictment' of Defense Department

(Washington, D.C.) – Calling the testimony in the deposition of the former technical director of Project 112/SHAD "a ringing indictment of the actions of the Department of Defense," Thomas H. Corey, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), has called on Congress to investigate the continuing cover-up surrounding 112/SHAD.

During Project 112/SHAD - the acronym for "Shipboard Hazard and Decontamination" - American sailors and soldiers from 1963 through 1972 were the often unwitting subjects of the testing of chemical and biological agents, simulants, and decontaminants. These include anthrax, sarin, and betapropriolactone, now acknowledged to be a carcinogen and causes genetic damage. At the heart of the controversy is that the military has been investigating its own misconduct.

The former technical director, J. Clifton Spendlove, Ph.D., was deposed by lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case of Vietnam Veterans of America v. McNamara on December 11, 2003, pursuant to a court order. Dr. Spendlove's testimony demonstrates that the DoD's investigation is, at best, inadequate, and, at worst, fraudulent. In a letter to key Members of Congress, Corey said the testimony of Dr. Spendlove "leaves absolutely no doubt that military veterans were used as 'human samplers' without their knowledge or consent and are victims of our own 'weapons of mass destruction' test program."

Corey called on Congress to:

  • demand that the responsible DoD agency grant immediate and unfettered access to all Project 112/SHAD information in its possession and release all information found to be medically relevant by SHAD veterans' representatives;

  • convene hearings on the conduct of DoD's SHAD investigation and demand that all cognizant officials explain their seemingly complicit actions and inactions;

  • demand accountability from those determined to have improperly conducted themselves as government officials, "including resignation and termination if appropriate";

  • require the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Institute of Medicine to review the "dose to humans" data whenever obtained and consider this information in evaluating potential service-connected health effects; and

  • review congressional oversight of DoD officials who "failed to prevent or uncover such long-standing abuses."

"Action must be taken now. Veterans have the right to know what they were exposed to whether or not DoD believes it is harmful or not," Corey said. "DoD officials have forfeited the right to decide what is relevant to SHAD veterans."


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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