VA reviewing World War II mustard gas claims


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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is reviewing previously denied claims from World War II Veterans who participated in full-body testing for mustard gas or Lewisite in the 1940’s. The claims are being reconsidered as part of Public Law 115-48, Section 502.

The law extends a presumption of exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite to those previously denied Veterans who served during WWII at one of the 22 specified sites or any other site VA determines is appropriate, and such service is consistent with the places, types, and circumstances of service of the Veteran.

The law added six new sites to the list of DOD identified locations where full-body testing took place. The added locations are: Fort McClellan, Alabama; Huntsville Arsenal, Alabama; Fort Detrick, Maryland; Horn Island Installation, Mississippi; Camp Crowder, Missouri; and Tooel Army Depot, Utah. In addition, VA has added Camp Howze, Texas, to the list.

“We are firmly committed to finding those World War II Veterans who participated in full-body mustard gas or Lewisite testing and ensuring that they have an opportunity to file a claim for related disabilities,” said Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D., VA”s under secretary for Benefits.

VA has contacted identifiable World War II Veterans with a previously-denied claim for exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite to re-adjudicate those claims.

World War II Veterans who were previously denied benefits for mustard gas or Lewisite exposure and have not been contacted by VA, should call (800) 827-1000 to request that their claim be reviewed.

For more information go to www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-postservice-exposures-mustard.asp

Author

Donna Stratford

Donna is a public affairs specialist in Veterans Benefits Administration Corporate Communications. She spent most of her career in government public affairs and communications. She recently completed Rating Veterans Service Representative training. Donna is an Air Force Veteran and retired from the Air Force Reserve.

Comments

  1. Martin Sisneros    

    Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri Aug. 1981 I was given a experimental vaccine Army said i had Guillain-Barre Syndrome

  2. Jim Gurski    

    As a medic my CBR training at Ft. McClellan in 1961 included mustard gas dosages both topical and inhalation; topical nerve gas agent coupled with antidote injections; and LSD taste tests for psycho administration and casualty treatments. Do they qualify for consideration?

  3. Diane M Ross Smith    

    My father, Albert Alexander Ross, was a WWII U.S. Army veteran. He told my husband and me about his experience being involved in mustard gas exposure as a volunteer for the test. We think he said it was in Virginia, but being from Alabama it could have been Ft McClellan. He said he walked through a room or chamber. He showed my husband a scar on his left arm and said they put mustard gas directly on his skin. He told us it was a classified secret project.

    My father passed away in November 1979 as a result of cancer that metastasized to his brain and lungs. I am his only child and am interested in filing a claim on his behalf. I need to know how to file a claim and what documents are needed to file. I recall that he filed for a VA pension through the DAV rep in Calera, Alabama during the 1970’s. He received a small amount based on his income. I can provide his birth and death certificates (Birth: January 1910 Death: November 1979) as well as my own birth certificate as proof of relationship.

  4. tyrone bonds sr    

    During that time frame AA- Black unit was also use a sample and testing unit for the Army and DOD.The record also was lost and mishandled. Many soldiers reported the wrong doing and lost of record and inform. File was loss and obtain later and redacted. What happen now to the soldier and Family who filed Claims?

  5. Arthur Nott-Hopkins    

    I am the Veteran Service Office who helped the original claimant that resulted in the Law being changed. I was also trained at the NBC school in the Army. Full-Body Mustard Gas testing is very different than what we as later service members experienced in gas chambers or other NBC training. This law was changed because we were able to show the site which was not previously listed on the DOD list as conducting tests did actually conduct test. The list was incomplete. That is really what this law changes and allows for additional sites to be added as the DOD investigates with information provided by the VA.

    We have to remember that the VA’s hands are tied when it comes to what criteria must be established to support a claim. It is CONGRESS who determines how the VA rules are changed. When we get frustrated at the VA for not approving a claim, it is often because the guidelines have not been met. In this case, my WWII veteran had several items that had to be resolved. We went line by line and was able to provide the evidence to show he met all the criteria except one – He had to be on the DOD list of Veterans exposed to Full-Body Mustard Gas Testing. This was impossible because they did not recognize Camp Crowder MO as a site. Senator Claire McCaskill, her staff, the Veteran’s Family, and myself spent many hours and were finally able to show Camp Crowder WAS indeed used for testing. It, and several other sites, have now been added to the list. The VA had to deny the claim until the law (sites approved) could be changed, which can only be done by congress.

    If we really want to make a change with the VA, we must make a change with our elected officials, NOT the VA bureaucracy. We MUST make them recognize the needs of the people above their own or that of corporations. We must help them remember they are Public Servants, not Career politicians working for their future lobbying career.

  6. Janet R Domrase    

    My father got sick at 45 years old and died at age 59 fighting cancer all those years he trained troops to identify the gases as they ran them through some kind of gassed building or tunnel looking thing. This is a little late.

  7. Bobbie    

    Sooo full of s**t, like I said-your whole purpose is to wait to veterans die then come up with bulls**t. When you knew all along that gas inhale cause health problems and effect everyone different. It so sad how veterans are being treated. Anyway, I will stop before I get to depressed talking about how much you Care about veterans(when you and I know it just a smoke screen)

  8. NO ONE OF CONSEQUENCE    

    A bit like an afterthought isn’t it?

    How kind of the VA to consider those who have passed away!

    MONSANTO & THE VA ARE COMPLICIT!
    VA HATH NOT LOVE!

    https://survivalblog.com/va-nightmares-real-resources-hope-veterans-part-1-informed-consent/

  9. Michael S. Fey, Ph.D.    

    As a Chemical Officer serving at Ft. McClellan, AL from 1972-1974, I remember having a drop of mustard gas placed on my arm during Officer’s Basic. It blistered my arm, but the whole Ft. was a testing ground for a variety of agents. We were all exposed! Further, I later learned that nuclear waste was dumped at Pelham Range, where we shot target on numerous occasions. The incidence of cancer and other ailments of men and women soldiers who served at McClellan is higher than the US average. What further evidence is needed to conclude that soldiers who served at McClellan should be presumed exposed and compensated for their ailments?

  10. Colleen Whittaker    

    We had mustard gas used on us in Ft. McClellan, Al during basic training. What about us?

  11. Dennis Sanders    

    As we Veterans say: Denied, Denied, Denied, Denied, till you die.

  12. Deborah Lunger    

    My son was stationed at Ft. McClellan during the 90’s visitors were required to wear full hazmat suits. The gov’t literally “moved” the town. He now has chronic migraine believed to have come from the exposure while he was there.

  13. Rick Je Bagby    

    What about people exposed to open burn pits like at Edgewood Arenal MD. where this stuff was destroyed?.

  14. Peter Z. Duchon    

    I was drafted 13 Sept. 1966, went through chemical testing in basic training in Ft. Benning, GA. This included chlorine gas. Not once but twice, once with a mask that was removed while in the contained building, and then the mask donned upon chlorine gas injected into the contained building. Will VA notify me after I’m dead that I may have qualified for additional benefits.

  15. Joyce Marie Mozley    

    Plz let me know if you are answered I was too to verify we had a deal on our masks. My chin was too thin and had to exit due to eyes burning.

  16. Darlene E Harman De Costa    

    My dad was in WW11. Served Army. Of course my dad is gone since 1985. Young age. Lung cancer So sad I am his daughter. I was wondering if these soldiers went through this. His wife has passed also. My email is. (redacted). My dad suffered bad.

  17. Terrence Bass    

    And fort polk Louisiana

  18. Terrence Bass    

    What about korea i was there in 1976

  19. Tyrone Bonds sr    

    My Uncle was tech Sgt. George Bonds and I was the caregiver. WW2 veteran see attached email
    Tyrone Bonds sr July 17, 2018 at 3:36 pm Reply
    My Uncle was living with me at my home I took care of him he is also a World War 2 veteran we have filed for several claims for him several times it was all denied. He also die of cancer, no assistance, home care denied several times and special monthy help for assistance denied. pension and disability also denied. Record was found and forward to VA and congressman. My Uncle passaway 2017. I paid for health care, living conditions and transportation for him. VA did not pay for any funeral expensive.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Tyrone Bonds sr July 17, 2018 at 3:41 pm Reply

    My Uncle was living with me at my home I took care of him he is also a World War 2 veteran we have filed several claims for him several times it was all denied. He also die of cancer, no assistance, home care denied several times and special monthy help for assistance denied. pension and disability also denied. Record was found and forward to VA and congressman. My Uncle passaway 2017. I paid for health care, living conditions and transportation for him. VA did not pay for any funeral expensive. He also had PTSD also denied. Injuries in WW2 also denied obtain official record from Army and National archives which what’s the government stated that they could not find I retrieved it and sent it to them they still denied the claim.My uncle was also a Army Boxer and have 4battle stars and he also was in battle in the Philippines in the African American Theater and also Guam in the Philippines in Europe I found the records but the VA stated that they could not find any records DJ with forward to down and copy still no real results from the VA or Gov. and No apologies.

  20. Tyrone Bonds sr    

    Tyrone Bonds sr July 17, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    My Uncle was living with me at my home I took care of him he is also a World War 2 veteran we have filed several claims for him several times it was all denied. He also die of cancer, no assistance, home care denied several times and special monthy help for assistance denied. pension and disability also denied. Record was found and forward to VA and congressman. My Uncle passaway 2017. I paid for health care, living conditions and transportation for him. VA did not pay for any funeral expensive. He also had PTSD also denied. Injuries in WW2 also denied obtain official record from Army and National archives which what’s the government stated that they could not find I retrieved it and sent it to them they still denied the claim.My uncle was also a Army Boxer and have 4battle stars and he also was in battle in the Philippines in the African American Theater and also Guam in the Philippines in Europe I found the records but the VA stated that they could not find any records DJ with forward to down and copy still no real results from the VA or Gov. and No apologies.

  21. Tyrone Bonds sr    

    (redacted)
    My Uncle was living with me at my home I took care of him he is also a World War 2 veteran we have filed several claims for him several times it was all denied. He also die of cancer, no assistance, home care denied several times and special monthy help for assistance denied. pension and disability also denied. Record was found and forward to VA and congressman. My Uncle passaway 2017. I paid for health care, living conditions and transportation for him. VA did not pay for any funeral expensive. He also had PTSD also denied. Injuries in WW2 also denied obtain official record from Army and National archives which what’s the government stated that they could not find I retrieved it and sent it to them they still denied the claim.

  22. michael montes    

    Ya, they waited long enough most ww2 vets are deceased. Another V.A. gaff, this will never end?

  23. Tyrone Bonds sr    

    My Uncle was living with me at my home I took care of him he is also a World War 2 veteran we have filed for several claims for him several times it was all denied. He also die of cancer, no assistance, home care denied several times and special monthy help for assistance denied. pension and disability also denied. Record was found and forward to VA and congressman. My Uncle passaway 2017. I paid for health care, living conditions and transportation for him. VA did not pay for any funeral expensive.

  24. Scott Stanley    

    My father in law died of bone cancer in his early forties! He was in during WW II.

  25. Lee Long    

    My dad was in WWII a Veteran and had a claim that was denied for this and his doctor wrote and sent information about what he was around that caused it and he had to get shots at the Cancer Center. The VA did not help my dad and now he is gone. Think about my dad everyday.. My dad thought he was getting ready to be brought up to 100% Service disability and his claim somehow was not evaluated correctly because of most likely he was have had an increase of $$ . Makes me sick how my dad fought for the USA and this happened to him.

  26. Arthur L McLaurin    

    Went through mustard training at Fort Polk, Louisiana in 1972. Will I qualify for benefits?

  27. William Braniff    

    My Father, Gerald A Braniff, in teh Canadian Army was in a testing program there for mustard gas. He showed me and others where on his arm. he was tested. He passed in 1994 at age 67 from cancer.
    William V Braniff

  28. Gordon Kuhn    

    Sure, now the great VA is going to do something when 90% to 99% of these men are dead. How wonderful. It is VA B.S.(edited to an abbreviation)

  29. David C Eby    

    My company was exposed to mustard gas during chemical warfare training at Fort Knox in Feb. 1961. Any info on this?

  30. David Long    

    Any consideration for those of us that worked startup and ops of those CHEM DEMIL plants that destroyed those agents – mine where Johnston Island, Johnston Atoll and Tooele, Utah.

  31. Ray Mills    

    Fort Mc Clellan, Al. Exposed to toxic war agents during EOD training Course.
    Mustard gas exposure left silver dollar burns on my arm!
    I HAD prostrate cancer 18 years ago!

  32. James Choate    

    Does this also apply to all that went through NBC training????

    1. Donna Stratford    

      No. This was only for full-body testing that occurred in the 1940s.

  33. Denita smith    

    Too damn late on the announcement, they are all dead….even 60% of the Vetenam veterans are now dead!!! Piss poor “governing” going on!

    1. Stephen Douglass    

      So true and the Socialist in this country want government run healthcare for the rest.

  34. Denita smith    

    It’s damn late announcement, the are all dead….even 60% of the Vetenam veterans are now dead!!! Piss poor “governing” going on!

  35. Roger E. Smith    

    I was exposed to a Mustard gas experiment at Fort Dix New Jersey in 1964, developed cancer at the site of the contact on my body, the VA says there is no record of that experiment ever taking place and denied my claim twice, are they ever going to review this and reconsider, or am I going to die fist like most of the WW guys have?

    1. Robert Chaney    

      To Roger E. Smith.
      Please e-mail reguarding my claim that happened in 1966 to (redacted)

  36. Robert Sigler    

    My father did not go thru the testing but did go thru testing of the A-Bomb but all his records are gone due to fire and age. How does he get help? I am Rob, his son. my email: (redacted)

    1. Donna Stratford    

      Robert this information may be helpful. https://www.publichealth.va.gov/docs/radiation/atomic-veteran-brochure.pdf
      You can also contact a Veteran Service Officer through the VFW, DVA, or similar organizations to assist with a disability claim or health coverage.

  37. Samantha Lumley    

    They used me in Desert Storm

  38. Margaret Meigs    

    Was there not mustard gas exposure at Ft. McClellan during the 70s? Why only WWII veterans in the 40s (by the way, my father served in WW2 and Korea. I did my basic at Ft McClellan. My father died at age 58 from cancer. His family is otherwise healthy. His own father lived to 98.

    1. D Ransier    

      You are point on when you ask “why only WWII veterans in the 40’s ” I too did basic at Ft Mac in the early 70’s. It us my opinion they are just now willing to look at the WWII vets because they are, for the most part, dead! They will look at our group in another 40 years… DENY, DENY TILL THEY ALL DIE.

  39. Jill Bush    

    How can I find out if this affected my father who has now passed?

  40. Robert K Altig    

    HOW CONVENIENT TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER THEY HAVE DIED, JUST LIKE YOU’RE TRYING TO DO WITH ME.

  41. Alison Stroud    

    Correct spelling is Tooele, Utah. Not Toole, Utah.

  42. Kenneth David Gunn    

    Fort Mc Clellan, Al. Exposed to toxic war agents during EOD training Course. Are we considered worthy?

    1. Donna Stratford    

      The presumption is for full-body mustard gas and Lewisite testing conducted during World War II. There was no full-body testing after that timeframe.

  43. orville platte jr    

    I would like to know if this is what will happen with the anthra shots?

  44. joseph ryker    

    what about those used as ginia pigs during cold war?

    1. Donna Stratford    

      The presumption is for full-body mustard gas and Lewisite testing conducted during World War II. There was no full-body testing after that timeframe.

  45. Donna Stratford    

    VA has contacted all of the impacted Veterans we are aware of and have information for. The hope is that this outreach effort will be able to reach those that we don’t have electronic records for or their families.

    1. David Shuhart    

      I was at Fort McClellan, Alabama in 1972 and we used mustard gas for training……………..

      1. Terry Caldwell    

        I also took Chemical Warfare training for EOD at Fort McClellan in 1971. How can we find out if we’re eligible having been exposed to toxic nerve agents and the like?

  46. kerry pardue    

    I am sure that a lot of these soldiers died before your announcement. It is critical that the VA contacts the wifes, children of these Veterans as they are entitled to compensation for the error in not assisting or providing assistance when a claim was filed.

    1. Jim Hixson    

      Ms. Stratford,

      My Uncle Harry claims he and the other “boot camp enlistees” at Great Lakes / Nay received an injection of mustard gas @ 1943. Uncle Harry has told me that lighter skinned men blistered up badly. At 92 he has one small – looks like a polio vaccination scar – spot on his arm.

      Does this qualify ? Is Great Lakes one of the facilities where exposure to mustard gas occurred ?

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