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Recognize the Plight of Shad Veterans: It's About Time!

Location: Washington, DC

RECOGNIZE THE PLIGHT OF SHAD VETERANS: IT'S ABOUT TIME! -- (Extensions of Remarks - December 08, 2005)

* Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I urge support for H.R. 4259, the ``Veterans Right to Know Act'', recently introduced by my colleague, Congressman MIKE THOMPSON. This bill requires an investigation into chemical and biological weapons tests, especially those carried out from 1962-1974 on our nation's servicemembers.

* In this time of war, it is prudent that we redouble our effo rts to ensure that the nation is willing and able to protect our troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. To that end, it is imperative that we learn from the past--and one of the great lessons to be learned is that of Project 112 and SHAD.

* Project 112 was a Department of Defense program of weapons testing and SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) was a part of the larger Project 112. SHAD involved a series of tests that were conducted to determine the vulnerability of U.S. warships to attacks with chemica l and biological agents. Although service members were not test subjects, they were on board the ships during the tests.

* So far, almost 6000 unknowing military personnel have been identified as having been involved in Project 112, exposed to Vx Nerve Gas, Sarin Nerve Gas, E. coli and other toxins and carcinogens. The illnesses occurring at too early ages among many of these veterans seem to be more than a coincidence.

* I want to commend our veterans for their diligence in bringing this matter to the forefront. Once again, it is our veterans who had to advocate on their own behalf to get the government to release information about harmful exposures so they could better understand their health issues and illnesses. The Department of Defense denied the tests up until 2002.

* We have learned a lot since 2002 when these tests became public knowledge, but there is still much to learn. That is why this bill, H.R. 4259, is so important. We need an independent effort to diligently pursue all avenues to discov er every veteran who was affected by this testing and to provide each one with appropriate treatment and benefits. In addition, we need to ensure that steps are taken to prevent and improve the documentation of potentially harmful exposures during the current wars. The lives of our veterans depend on our diligence.

* H.R. 4259 is endorsed by the Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Milita ry Officers Association of America, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Blinded Veterans Association. Won't you join them? Please let Congressman THOMPSON know that you want to co-sponsor H.R. 4259!

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