Passage of bills s.2791 and H.R.5980 Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act
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PLEASE ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE.
A friend of mine, who I love like a brother, asked me to write something that he could share and hopefully all of his friends and their friends would share. It is only through public awareness that we can quit dying.
Hello, my name is Harry Daniel and I am one of the 325 known survivors of the failed Enewetak Atoll Nuclear Testing Clean-up done by the Army, Navy and Air Force from 1977 to 1980. I say known survivors because that is all we have found of the 8033 men
involved in the clean-up after 8 years of searching.
I'm going to deliver a lot of information to you, all supported by declassified documents, and you're going to have a lot of questions.
I'm going to tell you about 4500 of these 8,033 men who were based on Lojwa, a contaminated island in the northeast of the atoll for 6-12 months each, who served their country, did what they were told and were essentially sacrificed so the government could say to the world “we tried”.
We are losing 10-12 of these men every year to cancers and other ailments caused by their time on Enewetak. All we want to know as the clean-up participants is how many of us are still alive. This is all we've ever asked of the government and the VA and we've been denied any information. I think this information would tell the whole story and I think we and the American people have the right to know.
The clean-up was a failed mission because the Enewetak people cannot use their northern islands. One is quarantined forever and will remain radioactive for 240,000 years. It was a failed mission from the start, that's not me saying that, that's in some of
the documents I've found.
Let me explain the atoll to you. Think of the face of a clock 23 miles across, but slightly irregular. Draw a line across the center from 10 to 4. The 18 islands below the line are the “clean” islands, meaning they had no explosions and very little to no radiation, while the 21 islands above the line had 43 nuclear detonations on them. These 43 bombs had the power of 3,133 Hiroshima bombs. These 21 islands total only 918 acres or 1 ½ square miles. That's one Hiroshima bomb radiation for every .3 acres, or the size of a
house lot. By the way, the first thermo-nuclear bomb was set off here which completely vaporized one of the islands leaving a crater one mile wide. Use Google Earth and look at it. It and another island that was vaporized are at 12 o'clock on the clock face.
At about 1 o'clock is Enjebi where they did 10 detonations, at 2 is Aamon where they did 4 and Biijiri where they did one, and at 3 is Runit where they did 17. Now tucked in at about 2:15 on the clock is Lojwa where no blasts took place but where we lived at a base camp. Lojwa is about 200 feet from Biijiri connected by a causeway and 1000 feet from Aamon. Lojwa is only about 3 miles from Runit. Remember Runit, where they did 17 blasts? Well Runit is quarantined forever and will be 'hot' for 240,000 years.
In 1972 DNA (Defense Nuclear Agency) did a radiation survey on most of the northern islands, and they notated in no less than 4 documents I have found that 6 were “substantially contaminated”. Lojwa was on that list, as well as Enjebi, Aamon and Runit. Runit was quarantined at that time because they found pieces of plutonium metal on the island and immediately evacuated
leaving behind all vehicles, equipment and materials so as not to spread contamination throughout the atoll. This is why they put us on Lojwa, so we wouldn't spread contamination to the clean southern islands. By the way, in that survey they found Plutonium contaminated soil on Lojwa also.
But why Lojwa? Well, it was the only island big enough that did not have a blast directly on it. Between that survey in '72 and when the first troops got to Lojwa and Enjebi in March of '77 to quarry the aggregate and stockpile it for the slabs for the quonset huts
we were housed in, absolutely nothing was done about the contamination on any of the islands. That was to be our job. By the way, the aggregate came from, you guessed it, Enjebi.
But wait, wasn't Lojwa still on those pesky “substantially contaminated” islands lists? Yep, but they took care of that also by simply declaring Lojwa was “clean” in June of '77 when someone realized what they had done. They did some air sample tests during
the aggregate operation and said it was all OK for us to be there with no protection, not even dust masks for the dirt pushers. It didn't phase them when a Health Physicist wrote a report in July of '77 saying “Plutonium was definitely re-suspended on Lojwa and
Enjebi during the during the aggregate operation”. They had no where else to put us and the wheels were in motion and could not be stopped for something as trivial as Plutonium re-suspension. They were on a schedule, by God. Full speed ahead and damn
the torpedoes, even though an August '76 memo says to “clean Lojwa before the camp is built if costs are not too great”. I guess they were because this did not happen. Remember, this is where upwards of 4500 men ate, breathed, sleep, played, prayed and
lived for six to 12 months of their lives.
Let's talk about the Film Badges (or Rad Badges) we supposedly had. The aggregate team that was there in March and April '77 did not have them. The clearing and construction group in May '77 did not have them for two months when they got there. This is by their own memories and a document that says the film badge program did not start until July '77. There are documents that state that 80-100% of the film badges we had for the first 5 months (July-November '77) and 90-100% of the second six months (December '77-May '78) were “damaged” and could not be read. For two consecutive months, 99.5% of FB were “damaged” and could not be read. WOW!!!! Then how did you know how much radiation you were getting? Well, they took care of that also. They just gave us all “administrative doses” of 0.000 or next to 0.000. This is impossible.
They did not come up with a fix for almost a year and a half. Why? Did they not care or did they know we were being cooked by radiation and knew that none of us would survive to connect the dots or raise issues? They came up a new packaging for the
badges in February '79. But then a document says that Film Badges were not issued after April '78, instead going to TLD's (thermoluminescent dosimeters) which are a different type of film badge. But guess what? They are still reporting FB administrative doses of 0.000 well into '79. Which is it? The fix was a simple double bagging the FB which reduced the “damage” to 40-50% which they were very proud of.
Even the ones that were not “damaged” and had high readings (several documents talk about 2 high readings of 740 and 760 mR of exposure) were dismissed as being “intentionally” exposed. Intentionally exposed to WHAT? My God, what the heck could we expose them to that we were not exposed to?? This does not make sense. INTENTIONALLY exposed? Come on.
This is the time I was there, January15-July 15, 1978. My rad badge records say that my first badge was issued February '78 and my last was issued AFTER I LEFT THE ATOLL. Why as an officer was I never told about the rad badge damage? I have pictures of me on almost every northern island and there is no rad badge on me anywhere. I don't ever remember having a rad badge! This is 8 months after we started. I have often wondered why our company commander never went to the northern islands. What did he know that I didn't as his XO? Maybe because he was PCS and not TDY he was not allowed to go. Oh by the way, they took our TDY pay we were promised to pay for our own meals. How's that for costs cutting?
When Congress authorized the funding for the project, they instructed the Department of Defense to use troops (Army Engineers or Navy Seabees) “trained in nuclear decontamination”. None of us were. At the time the project started, and even a year and a half later, the scientists were still arguing about how to clean up the plutonium, because no one had ever done it, but they were scared to death of it. According to a May '72 document, some scientists refused to even visit Runit because of it.
There is a June '77 letter about a highly contaminated pile of metal on the reef on Runit and is in the way of the Navy's task to get a pipeline installed for the Army's rock crusher to make aggregate for the crater containment. It says, “Preferred method would be to push the debris towards the runway or onto the runway. This is so that the radiation dosage for personnel working north of the debris would be low enough as not to cause a monthly whole body dosage to be reached in a matter of hours or days”. This just shows you how hot some of this debris was, and we picked debris like this up by hand on every island. But we're OK.
In DOD's numerous answers to Congress's inquiries on the protection of the troops they never told Congress that the rad badges did not work and we were given administrative doses. Why? Because Congress would have shut the project down, and they could not have that. We were on a schedule. The hell with our health. There is a letter written by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, part of the DNA (who was supervising the clean-up) in July '77, Subject: Whole Body Counting of Troops at
Enewetak, saying a whole body counter was to be sent to Enewetak in October of '77 for use to measure the natives who were returning to Japtan, one of the southern islands, and it could be sent as early as August '77 to measure the troops before and after they
worked on the northern islands. It must have been rejected because it was never done. Do realize that that was during the first rotation? I wonder how many men would have been saved if this had been done. That letter states “The importance of having a complete radiological safety program for Enewetak clean-up has been stressed from the beginning. The desirability of obtaining baseline whole-body counts for personnel assigned to the operation as well as counts on individuals at the termination of their assignment has been discussed several times. However, for a number of reasons, it was not feasible to incorporate such a procedure. With the installation of the ERDA counter at Enewetak, it now becomes feasible to carry out radionuclide evaluations on the clean-up personnel. The installation of the counter is a fortunate occurence which DNA should use to its advantage in the conduct of the
Enewetak operation. It is recommended that DNA pursue the development and incorporation of a whole-body counting program into the Enewetak clean-up Radiation Safety Procedures. If you concur, this can be scheduled for 2-9 August 1977.”
The draft GAO Report dated November28, 1978 states, “Significant radiological aspects of the clean-up portion of the Enewetak project are not being independently assessed by organizations having no connection or interest in the nuclear test program.” It also said
“The Secretary of Defense should arrange for OSHA, NRC, or some other appropriate organization outside of DOD to independently evaluate the radiological health and safety practices for the personnel involved in the clean-up”. Not so funny is this second
part was omitted from the final GAO report. Why? Because the GAO sent this to the Secretary's of Defense, Interior and State for comments and I have the Interior and State comments and they did not mention it. So why did DOD have it taken out? Did they
already know we were being cooked?
Dr. W J Stanley, Director, DOE, Pacific Area Support Office, wrote a letter in March 1978, wondering “how the present untenable situation could be clarified and improved”, and that “DNA does not have an Office of Safety, per se, but does utilize AFRRI at
Enewetak in this capacity.” Now remember previously that AFRRI said to use the wholebody counter on the troops. Here you have a Dr. Stanley who says DNA uses AFRRI for safety, but we're just going to ignore them on the most important recommendation that could
have saved lives. Again, I ask you WHY?
There is a document that said 18 year old's would not be allowed on the atoll because their organs were not fully developed yet. What a laugh. There were kids right out of high school and basic training who were there.
There is so much more to talk about.
How they lied to Congress as to how we were protected.
How they lied to each other.
How they didn't follow their own experts recommendations.
How they didn't trust each other.
How the boats we were taken to the islands and back to Lojwa on were also used to bulk haul the contaminated soil to Runit on the same days.
How they lied in their Clean-up Plan how we were to be monitored.
How they ran out of rad badges in summer of '77 but still sent men to work on Runit.
How we were supposed to have blood counts and urine tests pre and post-deployment. We didn't, but all the civilians did. By the way, every post-deployment urine sample I've seen had Plutonium 239 Alpha and gross Beta in them, some 2 and 3 times the action level.
The DOD counted on us doing our job and following orders, and we did just that. What the DOD did not count on is the internet, President Clinton declassifying all of the documents in 1996 or any of the men that were on Lojwa living this long.
We currently have 2 bills in the Senate and House. They are S2791 and HR3870 and titled the “Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.” You see, we are not classified as Atomic Veterans like the ones there during the testing. Therefore, we are not covered for 23 specific types of cancers like them. Passage of the two bills would give us that coverage. We currently have 105 co-sponsors in the House, but only 5 in the Senate. They have been told the same lies for 39 years, that our rad badges show 0, that we had all these safety equipment and rad suits. I can send picture after picture of men in shorts and t-shirts, no respirators or even a dust mask, and have to many members of congress. It opens some eyes when I do. Six men died there and hundreds and possibly thousands more since then. Google the 10 most dangerous islands in the world, Enewetak is #1.
I'm asking everyone to call their Senators and Representative to implore them to support the bills. Again, they are S2791 and HR3870. Please help us get the care so many of us so desperately need.
I'm going to stop now. These are the results of only a few documents of the hundreds I've saved and distributed out of the thousands upon thousands I have read or reviewed.
Thank you for the opportunity to spread our message. God bless you all, especially my Brothers who are sick and dying
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