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A vintage and color-enhanced photo of women soldiers in formation at Fort McClellan, Alabama

A medical patient group of military veterans have discovered they were unwillingly exposed to outdoors chemical warfare weapons.

ALBANY, NEW YORK, USA, March 31, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Military service veterans who were previously stationed at an Army base in Alabama, believe they have made recent inroads in establishing their healthcare access rights to VA disability and hospital benefits through the discovery of new evidence papers. Fort McClellan, Alabama was a national military school campus for both women and men soldiers from 1950 to 1998, when it was eventually closed by the (BRAC) agency. It was only after the year 2003 that the former soldiers discovered that the base properties, including an unrelated civilian factory location not far from the base, were designated as environmental contamination zones.

In their search for source papers to investigate the matter, they believe they have discovered a second environmental story of equal importance. Their conclusion is that Fort McClellan was more likely than not, a remote test location for military chemical weapons experiments and secret (CBRNE) outdoors field tests. The secret experiments and tests were part of a rogue chemical weapons experiments project that was controlled by a military command in Edgewood, Maryland. Up until now, the news media has been referring to the tests as “Cold War Era experiments” without ever mentioning them by their site name. While the GAO Office has published other reports on the subject over the years, the veterans of Fort McClellan have concluded that their base was actually part of a specific battery of tests by Edgewood known as PROJECT 112.

According to the McClellan Vets group, PROJECT 112 involved a network of military and civilian experiment sites that were all land-based and ran from 1960 to 1975. Some of the sites conducted tests that were indoors, some were conducted outdoors, and some had both. Edgewood, Maryland itself had both indoors and outdoors variations of the tests. At Fort McClellan, most of the tests were conducted outdoors until a new indoors facility was constructed and became operational in 1987. The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has been recognizing other PROJECT 112 men veterans from other military bases who were a part of the tests, but only as direct volunteers. They have been receiving specialized health tracking by the Dept. of Defense as well as their VA recognition for disability claims and hospital care. The McClellan Vets are pursuing the same access at the VA as toxic exposure service veterans, but not as direct volunteers. They contend that the tests were conducted outdoors and secret, and that most of the other military units were not informed about the air-releases of chemical weapons at nearby training lots. The base had a large population of women soldiers who were stationed there until the Women’s Army Corps national center was decommissioned from the Army in 1978.

In 1970, the base hospital at McClellan established a Cancer Tumor Health Registry that was not included in the base environmental reports during that decade. The veterans are trying to find out of the Tumor Registry was either for lung cancers or respiratory disease caused by the toxic exposures, or alternatively, for breast cancer in the women soldiers.

In 2018, the veterans group located a critical evidence record found at the National Archives that officially established Fort McClellan as a former secret experiment site controlled by Edgewood until 1973. The tests involved the shooting of small munitions such as mortars and grenades that were loaded with various chemical warfare gases. Other field maneuvers involved the activation of large bomb-sized shells that were filled with warfare gas, and then were tooled in such a way to begin leaking the gas into open air. The other training solders surrounding the shell would work to contain the leak. Afterwards, burn pits were used to burn off the residues from the site. The veterans claim that between the multiple site locations of weapons releases that were going off at the same time, and the use of burn pits operating in the tropical climate region of Alabama, that the combined toxic events were sufficient enough to cause many of their long-term health conditions that have dogged them throughout their lifelong medical histories. Many of the veterans are directly matched to the health sciences that are posted as known outcomes for exposures to the toxic sources that were used by Edgewood at McClellan.

The group is formed up as a legislative stakeholders group, and has been working towards obtaining an authorization letter since 2019 for a new GAO Office report on the environmental spill sites from the Senate Veterans Committee on Capitol Hill. The veterans say that Senator Jon Tester and Senator Jerry Moran of that committee have been fighting them for this small request for virtually no rational reason at all. The veterans are starting to suspect that gender-discrimination is their main motive for refusing to fairly and equally assist their issues. Other toxic exposure groups who are made up of mostly of men veterans, are assisted for years on end while the McClellan Veterans have been ignored, delayed, and not replied to during the same time period. The group points to the PROJECT SHAD veterans, who had similar chemical weapons tests but were situated on military ships. According to the McClellan Vets, the Senate Veterans Committee stood on their heads to go public with that other story and to mobilize the VA into a correction for benefits on their behalf.

The veterans also say that the mainstream news media has refused to carry their news story including the Washington Post, the Military Times, The Guardian magazine, Connecting Vets Radio, CNN, and the Stars and Stripes magazine. The veterans also contend that the VA has been posting disinformation web pages that should be fully ignored by other interested Fort McClellan service veterans. The group says that the whole point of getting the GAO Office report on Fort McClellan is to force the Dept. of Veterans Affairs into a long, overdue correction.

The veterans have formed a reporting page on Facebook and are calling themselves Toxic Exposure Army Veterans of Fort McClellan.

Sue Frasier, National Activist
Toxic Exposure Army Veterans of Fort McClellan
ft_mcclellan_vets1@yahoo.com
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