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July/August Issue

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Letters / VVAF Report / Government Relations / Ask The Parliamentarian / Public Affairs Committee Report / Region 9 Report / From The National Secretary / PTSD/Substance Abbuse Report / Disaster Relief Committee Report / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / AVVA Report / TAPS / Veterans Initiative Task Force Report / Arts of War / Book Review / Membership Notes / Locator / Reunions /

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SHAD/PROJECT 112 TASK FORCE REPORT

The Fruits Of Sacrifice


BY JACK ALDERSON, CHAIR

On Memorial Day, I was contemplating what the day meant to our family. I was remembering my grandparents dressing us up and going on Decoration Day to the cemetery where we decorated, with fresh flowers, flags, and ribbons, the graves of veterans. My grandparents would bring along a picnic lunch, and my grandfather would regale us with tales about my great-grandfather’s experiences as an infantry corporal from Nebraska.

My musings traveled on to the Project 112/SHAD program that many of us participated in and was an important part of the Cold War. The personnel with whom I served were outstanding. We took pride in doing our jobs and in our safety record. We knew that the United States and the Soviet Union had nuclear parity and that the 112/SHAD program was ordered by President Kennedy to bring us back into parity with other weapons systems.

What have we got to show for our efforts? Not much. We were ordered in, used, and discarded with the admonition that if any of us were to mention these operations, we would spend the rest of our lives in Leavenworth. We could not even tell our closest family members about these top-secret tests.

We were treated with far more callousness than consideration. In this case, the Soviet Union took better care of its people. Yes, 112/SHAD veterans do qualify for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). But 112/SHAD veterans, “atomic veterans,” and veterans who participated in other secret tests should be acknowledged for our contributions during the Cold War. This may occur after passage of H.R. 4259, the Veterans’ Right to Know Act, and H.R. 2962, the Atomic Veterans Relief Act.

H.R. 4259 is making progress, and we welcome the new co-sponsors, now totaling 38. They are: Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Marion Berry (D-Ark.), Madeline Bordallo (D-Guam), Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Robert Brady (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Donna Christensen (D-Vt.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.), and Mark Foley (R-Fla.).

Also: Reps. Luis Fortuño (R-P.R.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah).

Also: Reps. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), Michael Michaud (D-Maine), Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Dennis Moore (D-Kansas), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Collin Peterson (R-Minn.), Adam Putnam (R-Fla.).

Also: Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.), Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

If your Representative is not listed, please call, e-mail, or fax him or her and ask for support.

The work by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and their staffs is very much appreciated.

The Hawaii Legislature unanimously passed a joint resolution in support of H.R. 4259. Guam followed with a similar resolution. Guam also set up a group to monitor how the SHAD tests may have affected Guam, which they hope will be illuminated once the commission is constituted and begins digging.

California also passed without dissent a joint resolution in support of H.R. 4259. Bob Moore and others are working for the same results from Alaska.

VVA’s 112/SHAD Task Force has been successful in locating units and naval personnel involved in the 112/SHAD tests, but not units and personnel from the other services. Interviews with many of those who planned the tests and many of those who participated in them are illuminating. When a test was planned, a test director and staff were assigned. TDY personnel also would be assigned to drive trucks, erect tents, and police the area under direction of the senior test staff. This was accomplished with as little explanation to all hands as possible.

Laboratory personnel were brought in to conduct the sampling. The lab personnel did the sampling, sent off their results, and departed while the temporary base personnel cleaned up and left. Gun crews, too, came and went, even during different trials of one test.

But conducting the tests using only TDY personnel proved impractical. Those charged with implementing the tests quickly found that they needed permanent crews to operate safely and reliably on the high seas. That is where I and the Army light tugs came in. The laboratory ship USS Granville S. Hall (YAG 40), the test ship USS George Eastman (YAG 39), and the USS Carbonero (SS 337) rounded out the permanent afloat units, sometimes referred to as the Deseret Test Center (DTC) fleet. These units were involved in all types of tests.

Other fleet units were assigned to test simulants and decontamination procedures on a temporary basis. These commissioned ships were required to keep logs and other records, and most of them have been identified. We know that the aircraft disseminators were either Air Force or Marines.

We are still seeking other ships and land-based units that participated in the 112/SHAD program. If you have any information, please let us know.Ω

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