Why is DOD Ignoring these "Hero's" From 1952 thru 1975 there were a series of "classified medical research" projects paid for by the CIA and DOD, they used "volunteers" in the tests, the majority of the time, there are 2300 known volunteers for biological tests at Fort Detrick 1952 - 1972 and 7120 enlisted men used in the chemical weapons and drug experiments at Edgewood Arsenal. These men have been forsaken by their government for compensation and recognition
WHY NO MEDALS OR RECOGNITION FOR "TEST VETS"
In the years between 1952 thru 1975, the DOD authorized enlisted men to be used for human experimentation. The CIA funded these tests along with DOD, they were primarily conducted at three military bases, although there were many other tests conducted from the Pacific to the East Coast, to these men, it was all a test board.
The bases discussed by this article are Fort Detrick, Maryland, Deseret Test Center, Utah and Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. The people in primary charge of the programs were mainly at CIA Langley, VA and at Special Operation Division, (SOD) of Fort Detrick. The person in overall charge was named DR. Sidney Gottlieb of the CIA, it has been reported that in 1953 he controlled 6% of the entire CIA budget, with no oversight for these projects, impressive to say the least.
The scientists in charge of these tests at Edgewood Arsenal were all highly decorated by the government for their roles in this research using chemical weapons such as Sarin, BZ, mustard agents, nerve agents, drugs such as LSD, PCP, scopolamine. In all the scientists used 254 different substances at Edgewood Arsenal on 7120 enlisted men from the Army and Air Force "volunteers."
They received the highest awards DOD could bestow on civilian employees. In 2002 the Army honored a Doctor Frederick Siddell by naming the new learning center at Aberdeen Proving Grounds the Siddell Learning Center, before DR Siddell passed away. His University of Alabama Medical School, has honored him in their Hall of Fame, by putting up the following statement "Doctor Frederick Siddell has treated more chemical weapons victims than any other Doctor in America. He was sent by the Sate Department to Tokyo in 1995 for the Tokyo Subway Incident." They left off the part that he was the one who had exposed all his victims to the chemical weapons and it was silent on the use of the LSD, PCP and other drugs utilized at Edgewood Arsenal. The enlisted men did not even get certificates of appreciation for their part.
In 1975 the Department of The Army Inspector General conducted an investigation into the human experimentation and issued a report now known as the DA IG Report of 1975 on Human Experimentation, the Army keeps titles simple. It states that the DOD, CIA and the Army were violating the Nuremberg Codes of 1947 with the conduct of these experiment for the past 23 years. The Secretary of the Army ordered an immediate stop to human testing, and in 1976 President Gerald Ford issued an Executive Order banning all human experiments with chemical weapons and drugs for military purposes. The CIA and the Army apologized for their roles in this mess. The DOD headed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld remained silent.
It is now May 2006 and here is an update on where the "test vets" are now, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report based on health data gathered in FY2000 from the 7120 men of Edgewood Arsenal, the study can be found online at the NAS/IOM site under the author's name Doctor William Page or here is the link http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3795 /4913/5842.aspx, This report shows that by 2000 that using IRS, VA and Social Security Records they could only find 4022 survivors, which indicates that 2098 of the men were already deceased, a few may have moved overseas after their service and left the US behind, doubtful that all of them did though or even a majority of them. That is 40% of the men probably dead.
Of the 4022 that did respond, if you look in the fine print you will learn that 54% of the men or about 2200 men are disabled, yet the report does not go into the why's or the medical problems causing these statistics. The purpose of this study funded by DOD at the amount of one million dollars was to determine if the personnel exposed at Kamisayah Iraq in March 1991 when they destroyed the ammunition depot there, and exploding the Iraqi Sarin filled weapons and mustard agent filled weapons and other CW weapons because no one knew how to read the Arabic labels.
DOD needed to know what these veterans would face in the next twenty to forty years, and what kind of financial liability the federal government was facing. The only pool of people the government had that were exposed to Sarin was the Edgewood Test Veterans from 1952 thru 1975. Obviously the study was not very thorough and was extremely focused, it looked primarily at neurological problems, totally ignoring, cardiac, gastrointestinal and pulmonary. Despite the fact that previous studies on Sarin and other chemical weapons and linked the exposures to neurological, pulmonary, gastrointestinal and cardiac related problems. These studies are here, the first is a report from a German Doctor who treated "Wermacht Soldiers" from WW2, from 1945 thru 1975, so it is very general in it's terms but the conclusions show that all of the problems are related to Chemical Weapons exposure (CW) it was written in 1974 and published in 1975, two items of notable interest the part where he discusses the "beagle farm" at Edgewood Arsenal, and the fact that the international CW and Biological Weapons Research knew that the animals were a joke and that in fact the Americans were doing human experimentation there. Then he also discusses the use of a defoliant in Southeast Asia called Agent Orange, long before the Vietnam Veterans started to complain about it. http://www.sipri.org/conten ts/cbwarfare/Publications/p dfs/cw-delayed.pdf
The other report is from our own National Institute of Health in January 1994 on Sarin, BZ and other similar type weapons it reaches basically the same conclusions as does the German study but in far more technical terms, none of which Doctor William Page found when he was doing the March 2003 IOM study for DOD, which makes a sane man or woman question what was the real intent of the study prepared by DR Page, his conclusion match none of the known data, why? http://www.ehponline.org/me mbers/1994/102-1/munro-full .html
In 2005 one of the test veterans attempted to receive his promised "Soldiers Medal" his fight for it has taken him thru the Board of Military Records Correction, Department of the Army JAG, from which he received the statement, in their legal opinion they state "In fact Mr. XXXXX did participate in the tests at Edgewood Arsenal in 1958, he did no more or less than other test participants and therefore is not entitled to the award of a medal of exceptional merit"
Taken in that context, no Mr. XXXX did not go above and beyond his fellow test participants, what they did not consider is the fact that all 7120 men of Edgewood Arsenal Experimental Test Program went above and beyond what the other soldiers in the Army did during the same time period.
It was due to these men volunteering they developed Chemical Weapons suits they use today called MOPP gear, PAM2 as antidote's, the current gas mask in use, and many other item's used by military and civilians world wide, developed thru the experiments. The fact that 75% of the men are either prematurely dead or disabled shows they paid a great price for their "volunteering" and in return what they have received is nothing, no veteran benefits related to the tests, no recognition for the hazardous assignment they participated in. The men that used them were recognized and hailed as hero's, why? DR Van Sim and DR Siddell were the scientists that violated the Nuremberg Codes of 1947 with the highest approval of government for all practical purposes a Presidential Signing Statement that began under President Truman and that continued thru President Ford.
Lt. Colonel (Retired) Bernard G. Elfert of Florida in an interview last year with Thomas D. Segel a highly decorated Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, stated that :"Clinical and other testing was conducted to determine the effects of various agents on humans. The testing programs were highly classified. I am unaware as to the current security classifications of the toxic chemicals and phychochemicals employed there, so I cannot specify their designations, the agents involved or regimens. However, I have heard that since then most agents tested have been outlawed for military use." Elfert says, "In the absence of volunteer participation the various chemical agents could not have been tested. The nature of the testing involved agents that posed unknown risk factors and such hazards could not be forced on military personnel as a duty." He believes the exposure to these various tests placed volunteers in danger and at great personal risk going far beyond the call of duty. In his opinion, those who underwent the tests were heroic." http://www.gopusa.com/comme ntary/tsegel/2005/ts_07221. shtml
In lieu of the fact that we now know that during the First Gulf War that Officer's of the Army were awarded Bronze Stars just for being assigned to the theater of operations, Supply Sergeants were awarded Bronze Stars for having toilet paper for their Commanders comfort, the Army's current position that these men do not deserve an award of the Soldier's Medal as they had been promised, let alone not even an Army Commendation Medal, for going above and beyond.
These men all 7120 of Edgewood Arsenal and the 2300 men of the biological tests at Fort Detrick all meet the criteria for award of the coveted Soldier's Medal for their volunteering for these hazardous tests, and the Army or DOD needs to get off the dime and award them before the last of these men die. Posthumous Awards are nice, but they are better presented while still alive.
3-12. Soldier's Medala. The Soldier's Medal, section 3750, title 10, United States Code (10 USC 3750) was established by Act of Congress 2 July 1926.
b. The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life.
The above was taken from the regulations for awards. Myself I don't think I did anything heroic, but if they have a medal that says "Hey stupid, we told you not to volunteer for Anything" I need one of those.
My last thought and it isn't very nice, but I don't know what else to think, because it is a very real possibility, but the fact these men or their families can not be recognized, is that in doing so it would highlight the roles of Vice President Richard B. Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in their approval of enlisted men in the chemical weapons and drug research in 1974 and 1975 at a time in history when they are demanding Saddam be prosecuted for using chemical weapons on the Kurds in 1987 and 1988. The embarrassment might be more than the current administration wants to deal with given, Katrina, NSA spying, Iraq itself, and now the contemplation of war with Iran.
I hope this administration is not that petty that they refuse to give these veterans the medals they deserve and the veteran benefits they are entitled to, by the heroism of volunteering for these tests, despite the fact that the recruiters for the tests deceived them, and flat out lied in stating that the tests were in fact not hazardous.