Project 112/SHAD Task Force Report
Questions for the
BY JACK DEVINE, CHAIR
Information is the key to
knowledge. Unfortunately for thousands of veterans who served our
country, information that they need for filing claims for
compensation for illness and disease potentially caused by
exposure to biological agents and chemical decontaminants tested
under Project 112/SHAD is not easily forthcoming. An "exhaustive
investigation," concluded last June 30 by the Department of
Defense, provided more questions than illumination, caused more
confusion, and fueled additional speculation.
To obtain information, VVA's
Government Relations staff and members of VVA's Project 112/SHAD
Task Force (Jack Alderson, John Olsen, and Norman La Chapelle)
conducted a series of interviews in February. They spoke with
sailors whose roles during the SHAD tests gave them insight into
how the tests were conducted and, to some extent, what agents were
employed. They also spoke with a half-dozen scientists employed at
Deseret Test Center and Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, the
operational arm of 112/SHAD. Several of those interviewed had
never been spoken to beforenot by DoD, not by any member of
Congress, not by the news media.
What became clear from these
interviews was that for DoD to dub its investigation "exhaustive"
was akin to calling 3.2 beer "intoxicating." Several sailors
recollected that the dates of specific tests did not jibe with the
dates noted in DoD's Fact Sheets. Some noted that certain testsin
particular a series of land-based tests in Hawaiisimply were not
Of particular interest was the fact
that a safety plan was formulated and a safety officer assigned to
each SHAD test. A panel of expertsmicrobiologists, toxicologists,
chemistsconvened at least once a year to discuss the tests and
the test results.
Many questions, however, need
Over the next several months, VVA
will be pursuing answers to these questions. We hope to enlist the
support of other VSOs and military service organizations, for
which we held a briefing in early April, to demand answers to
these questions. We also will work with members of Congress,
particularly the office of Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), in
crafting legislation calling for an independent investigation of
the 112/SHAD cover-up.
- Who qualifies as a "SHAD
- Why were inoculations not recorded in the medical shot
records of many SHAD sailors? What can be done at this
time to retrieve this information?
If sailors were inoculated and then only subjected to
biological simulants, why were they inoculated? Or were hot
agents tested more than has been acknowledged?
Because SHAD was only a small piece of a much larger
puzzle, what other tests of chemicals and biologicals were
done that involved military personnel?
- If sailors were, in fact, human guinea pigs, wouldn't they
have been followed up medically?
- How many SHAD veterans have been sent letters from VA?
- How many SHAD veterans have been seen at VAMCs for
- What decontamination agents were used in the tests? (On
several of DoD's Fact Sheets, this information is not
- Also on DoD's Fact Sheets, several dates of tests are
scrambled and other alleged tests are not noted. What needs to
be done to set the record straight?
- What information can be released vis-a-vis human dose
levels for hot agents and for simulants? Why is this
information still classified?
- Can we obtain copies of the safety plans drawn up for each
112/SHAD test? Can they be incorporated into the Fact
Sheets developed and disseminated by DoD? If not, why not?
- Are the minutes of the advisory panel that met at least
annually at Deseret/Dugway to review the test
data available? If not, why not? If so, can we review them?
- Can we review the unclassified and declassified
information on SHAD currently held at Dugway Proving Ground?