battlefields. From the less than ideal conditions at Walter Reed hospital to less than optimal care closer to home at the VA hospitals in our area.
It has taken herculean efforts by active and inactive veterans to attract attention, if not an adequate response, to any number of health problems related to service that many in Washington would be happy to ignore. Issues run the gamut from exposure to Agent Orange, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Substance Abuse, Broken Marriages, homelessness and sadly, suicide.
A great many have payed lip service to these issues, but like the oil that continues to bleed into the gulf, little is done to stem the physical and psychological bleeding of those who served us and then are cast aside. Even to the extent of denying MIA's still exist, which of course the return home of the remains of SGT. James Alley proved, that yes, there are some left behind!
Recently this writer has learned from a Vietnam Vet of a class of wounded few have considered. Those fail to get:
fair hearing related to their developing ( radiogenic ) health issues that may have been precipitated by their exposure to “ionizing” radiation while participating in a nuclear weapon test detonation, or a “post-test” event. From the beginning, and to date, we continue to pursue our purpose to this dedicated cause.
Atomic Veterans were members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons tests from 16 July, 1945 to 30 October 1962. They also include veterans who were assigned to post test duties, such as “ground zero” nuclear warfare maneuvers & exercises, removing radiation cloud samples from aircraft wing pods, working in close proximity to radiated test animals, de -contamination of aircraft and field test equipment, retrieval and transport of test instruments & devices, and a host of other duty assignments that provided an opportunity for a radiation exposure & contamination event.
Also included are military personnel who were a part of the Occupation Forces assigned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan soon after the detonation of Atomic-Bombs over those respective cities, and those American prisoners of war ( POW’s ) who were housed in close proximity to those cities. These Veterans fit the VA’s “official” description of an Atomic-Veteran.
There is a second group of veterans who may have been involved in radiation exposure events. These include post test events related to nuclear weapon devices detonated underground or in shafts ( after 1962 ) that may have provided a radiation exposure event, or those who’s duties involved regular use of radiation producing equipment or processes, such as power plant technicians aboard nuclear powered Aircraft Carriers and Submarines, X-ray technicians, and those veterans assigned to the Enewetak Atoll radiation clean-up projects. These veterans fit the VA’s “official” description as Occupational radiation exposed veterans.
from National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc.This is just one of many sites that are attempting to draw attention to this issue in the hopes of getting help for illnesses associated with this type of service.
( A Non-profit Veteran’s Assistance Organization )
NOTES from info we received and how you can help. HOW CAN YOU HELP? SPREAD THE WORD, GET THE INFO OUT! WE ARE SURE THERE ARE MANY WHO ARE NOT AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM!
HR 2553, The Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act, is currently in the Subcommittee on Military Personnel within the House Armed Services Committee. As of right now, there are only 15 co-sponsors (including Congressman Posey). It looks like we’re going to need to drum up some more co-sponsors to get this bill out of committee and to a vote. Similarly, the Senate version of the bill, S 1128, is currently in the Committee on Armed Services. That bill only has 3 co-sponsors.and:
Please reference the two bills attached in PDF Format and the summaries for them below. They can also be read by going to the URL and you can view the Sponsors and Co-Sponsors at the appropriate URL. Time is running out on a lot of our Atomic Veterans who participated in these Atomic Tests. Most have Died already from Cancers and other Diseases, but at least they should and can be honored through their Surviving Families’ who deserve the acknowledgement at least of their sacrifices’ to their Country; not knowing at the time the INVISIBLE ATOMIC BULLET would eventually kill or harm them.
You would not believe the inability of all of us too obtain the proper treatment from the DEPARTMENT of Veterans Affairs over the years, even after Laws’ WERE PAST AND VA Circulars were Distributed to VA Hospitals and Clinics as to the ATOMIC VETERANS status being on the same level equal and PRIORITY as Prisoners Of War for Treatment “WITHOUT CHARGES”. These Circulars were ignored and the Atomic Registry, which was supposed to have been established, was non-existent at most VA REGIONAL OFFICES, HOSPITALS and CLINICS. At Viera Clinic recently in July 2009, I finally got the “Atomic Veterans Registry” established at VIERA to some degree.
. As far as I know, the have not published a NEWS LETTER to all of the local Atomic Veterans inviting them to Register with them. I provided them Documentation from 1983, which is attached. Ref par. 3 of VA CIRCULAR 10-83-61 dated, April 5, 1983; Subject: VA Cir 10-83-61 Guidelines Ionizing Radiation & NTPR.
3. Health care services authorized under this provision are limited to hospital and nursing home care in VA facilities and outpatient care in VA facilities on a pre- or post-hospitalization basis or to obviate a need for hospitalization. Such health care services will be provided without regard to the veteran's age, service connected status or the inability of the veteran to defray the expenses of such care. Veterans furnished outpatient care under this authority will be accorded priority ahead of other nonservice-connected veterans and equal to former Prisoners of War, who are receiving, cares for nonservice-connected conditions. Congress made it clear that this law provides for health care only, and that a determination that the veteran is eligible for such care does not constitute a basis for service connection or in any way affect determinations’ regarding service connection.I trust that some action in assisting with the Medal issue will be forthcoming, as well possible attention to the matter of the “Atomic Veterans Registry”establishment be revisited by the Veterans Administration. Example, My Primary Care VA Physician asked me for help recently for another one of his patients who also is an Atomic Veteran in gaining some information, which I provided to him.
Folks, it is a crying shame that we have to learn about these things from veterans who for years have been fighting alone against the government they served to get the care they were not only promised, but rightfully earned.
H. R. 2553 Official Summary http://www.opencongress.org/
bill/111-h2553/show5/21/2009--Introduced. Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act - Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to: (1) design and produce a military service medal, to be known as the Atomic Veterans Service Medal, to honor retired and former members of the Armed Forces who participated in a radiation-risk activity while serving on active duty; and …(2) Issue the Medal to such veterans or their next-of-kin
S. 1128, the Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act http://www.washingtonwatch.
com/bills/show/111_SN_1128. htmlS. 1128 would authorize the award of a military service medal to members of the Armed Forces who were exposed to ionizing radiation as a result of participation in the testing of nuclear weapons or under other circumstances.
Detailed SummaryAtomic Veterans Service Medal Act - Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD) to: (1) design and produce a military service medal, to be known as the Atomic Veterans Service Medal, to honor retired and former members of the Armed Forces who participated in a radiation-risk activity while serving on active duty; and (2) issue the Medal to such veteran or their next-of-kin.
It is even more shameful that as wars end we forget about the collateral damage that sleeps in the streets suffering from physical and mental illnesses obtained is service to us.
I can think of numbers of feel good activities that many of us engage in to demonstrate our patriotism,
but can't help but get a hollow feeling in my gut that our flag waving is an empty gesture if not followed by action. Many of us I am sure are unaware of many of these issues, and once aware are at a loss of where to begin to help.
But begin we must, for who will fight for our freedom if we cast aside those who already have?Add to Technorati Favorites