Remember Enewetak! 3-16-1980

60-Minutes visited Enewetak.

60-Minutes visited Enewetak.

We are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands.

Our main focus is to help each other with information and moral support during challenging times.

Our secondary focus is to urge Congress to change the current laws and recognize soldiers of the cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

The Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission caught the attention of 60 minutes.

Morley Safer visited the atoll to gain some insight into what was in store for the native peoples when they move back to their homeland.

His investigative questions and comments are eye openers. Some of his statements make me want to dig in deeper for more info.

Morley Safer got the grand tour of the islands while we were still cleaning up the radioactive soils and debris.

Notice the uniforms and dust and piles of radioactive junk seen in this March 16, 1980 broadcast of CBSNEWS 60 Minutes.

Almost every Atomic Cleanup Veteran worked 10 hour days, 6 days every week for about 6 months. Some served two tours and/or extended.

The Cleanup Mission was a joint task of the U.S. Department of Defense. Navy, Air Force, and Army Soldiers participated in the cleanup mission.

Our meals, laundry, and other services at Enewetak Atoll were provided by Holmes and Narver, a private contractor. Even though they did not move soils nor debris, they were no strangers to the heat and the radiation at the atoll.

One of those H&N kitchen staff members, George Kleb, was lucky enough to get his photo (above) taken with Morley Safer and his associate producer after eating lunch in the Lojwa mess hall.

Watch the investigative report so you too may gain some insight into our plight and take action. Share. Inform. Comment. Inquire. Support.

[Note: If you are unable to view the video you can watch it at CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/remember-enewetak/ ]

We urge our supporters to encourage their politicians to create legislation which will include all Marshall Island Atomic Cleanup Veterans in the U.S. Government Veterans Administration’s definition of a veteran “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Thanks goes to George Kleb for sharing the photograph of him standing between Morley Safer and his associate producer.

Credit goes to CBSNEWS for allowing us to share this episode of 60 Minutes with our supporters.

Introducing Our Supporters – Lisa Villa

Lisa Villa LD 1487

 

We are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands.

Our main focus is to help each other with information and moral support during challenging times.

Our secondary focus is to urge Congress to change the current laws and recognize soldiers of the cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

State Representative Lisa Villa of Maine is our group’s first political supporter. She’s not the first political supporter who has fought for atomic cleanup veterans’ rights and failed. She is OUR GROUP’s first political supporter since Gary Pulis created our Facebook Group July 4, 2012.

I learned she took an interest in our difficulties while talking with Atomic Cleanup Veteran Paul Laird.

Paul tells me that Lisa was getting her car serviced at his family’s business recently and he got to talking about Enewetak and his health challenges.

Paul was one of the bull dozier operators who cleared an island of vegetation and contaminated soils so the Lojwa Base Camp could be built to house soldiers that would scrape and pick up as much radioactive soils and debris as directed by the guys in radiation suits holding Geiger Counters.

Paul worked ten hour days six days a week covered with contaminated soils. The wind carried dust from his dozier’s bucket from the time he scraped the soils until he placed it in the dump trucks. He says by the end of the day, all you could see were the whites of his eyes and his teeth if he smiled.

Jungle boots, socks, short pants, t-shirt, jungle shirt and hat was his standard uniform. Nothing worn to protect him from the dusty contaminated soils from going into his mouth or nose. He was told painter’s masks were on back order.

Paul says his medical chart lists challenges with Renal cell carcinoma in his kidney, situ carcinoma in his bladder, hearing loss, diabetes, and high blood pressure even though he looks to be in good physical shape!

Lisa Villa not only took the time to listen to Paul’s story, but Lisa took the time to befriend our group and pay attention to our challenges. She took notes and got others involved.

Then, she mentioned the Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Mission Veterans’ struggles during her speech at the Maine State House of Representatives floor debate of LD 1487. “An Act to Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”.


 

Thank you Lisa Villa!

We urge our supporters to encourage their politicians to create legislation which will include all Marshall Island Atomic Cleanup Veterans in the U.S. Government Veterans Administration’s definition of a veteran “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Thanks goes to Paul Laird for sharing his experiences at Enewetak Atoll and his conversations with Lisa Villa.

High praise goes to Lisa Villa for not only taking an interest in our plight, but standing up and talking about it with politicians who can help her help us.

Much appreciation goes to Andrea Parkinston for capturing Lisa Villa’s speech and posting it on her YouTube channel.

Credit goes to Bridgton Library for publishing Lisa Villa’s speech in their Newsletter.

Letters To Lawmakers – Steve Harrison

Steve Harrison at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands

Steve Harrison at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands

We are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands.

Our main focus is to help each other with information and moral support during challenging times.

Our secondary focus is to urge Congress to change the current laws and recognize soldiers of the cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Many of the participants of the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission have not seen each other since the end of the project in 1980. However, that is changing.

Less than 100 of us have reconnected on the Facebook Social Network.

According to one Defense Nuclear Agency document, less than 1,000 soldiers participated in the atomic debris cleanup mission.

Evidently there are another 900 veterans who have not reconnected with our growing Facebook Group.

Some of our members have written letters to their lawmakers.

With his permission, I am pleased to present you with the Facebook message and letter that Atomic Cleanup Veteran Steve Harrison wrote to his lawmakers.

“This evening I e-mailed the following to my Oregon Senators and Congressmen, my apologies for fragmented sentences and any misspelling.

Dear Sir,

Servicemen from the Army, Navy and Air Force are being denied Atomic Veterans status and VA medical services. We served our Country cleaning these radioactive islands and many have paid the ultimate price with sickness and/or death only to find our government has turned it’s back to us. There has been amendments for the years and places for the existing Atomic Vets, please see that we are included and considered “Atomic Veterans”. To include Enewetak and Bikini Atolls, Johnson Island. The bulk of the Enewetak Atoll Clean-up was 1977 thru 1980.

The following was taken from a moveon.org petition.

Should Radiation Exposed Veteran’s from Enewetak Atoll Be Able To Receive Benefits for Disabilities and Awards Relating to Radiation Exposure that causes Cancer and Other Diseases Due to their Military Service When the U.S. Government Knew of the Hazards, and Kept the Truth from these Veteran’s? Then Deny Their Benefits?

Thank you for your consideration

Edward Steven Harrison
Enewetak Atoll Clean-up
Lojwa Animal”

We urge our supporters to encourage their politicians to create legislation which will include all Marshall Island Atomic Cleanup Veterans in the U.S. Government Veterans Administration’s definition of a veteran “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Letter to Steve Harrison’s Lawmakers provided by Edward Steven Harrison an Enewetak Atomic Cleanup Veteran and Facebook Group Member.