Atomic Cleanup Help Wanted

DNA-Patch

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

Our Original Mission was to relocate radioactive fallout and debris from the surface of the islands of Enewetak Atoll so the dri-Enewetak Islanders could return to their beautiful homeland of 40 Islands at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Atomic Cleanup Help Wanted – The Defense Nuclear Agency is looking for personnel required to clean up radioactive debris and soils contaminating 40 islands in the Marshall Islands located in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean known from 1946 – 1958 as the Pacific Proving Grounds for the U.S. Nuclear Test Era directed by the Atomic Energy Commission.
Forty-three atomic bombs were tested at Enewetak Atoll leaving behind radioactive fallout and debris from over 1100 megatons of yield created by detonating Americium-241, Cesium-137, Cobalt-60, Plutonium-239, Plutonium-240, Strontium-90 and other radioactive elements.
One hour accumulated background radiation levels vary depending on said island. Three of the 40 islands show 62,849 R/h on Runit Island, 3,501 R/h on Enjebi Island, and 651 R/h at the Lojwa Island Base Camp.
The Defense Nuclear Agency has been authorized by the U.S. Federal Government to hire personnel from government approved private sector contractors, various federal government agencies, a government approved marine biology lab, and volunteers from current members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. No hazardous duty pay will be provided. No special health insurance shall be provided. A modest per Diem pay (less daily expenses) shall be provided. Military Transportation shall be provided. Housing (IE: tents with cots, temporary structures with metal bunk-beds and wall lockers, furnished trailers, furnished permanent structures) shall be provided. Meals shall be provided. Laundry shall be provided. Limited medical care shall be provided.
Participants are expected to work ten to twelve hour days, six days a week for the average 179 day assignment. Radiation protective gear (IE: none, painters masks, gas masks, or full radiation suits and equipment) shall be provided.
Amenities include living on at least one of the secluded tropical islands with fantastic views of starlit skies, Pacific Ocean sunrises and Enewetak Atoll’s beautiful lagoon sunsets. Free waterfront activities include: 24 hour day or night waterfront walks or sitting on the beach, watching the waves, collecting shells, watching sea-life (IE: sharks, dolphins, whales, flying fish, parrot-fish, lobsters, etc), fishing for sharks, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, spearfishing, 12′ sunfish sailing, catamaran sailing, military boat and helicopter rides.) Other amenities may or may not include: retail stores, outdoor theaters, local broadcast television, local broadcast radio, USO Shows, baseball games, jogging, weight lift equipment, barbershop, pool tables, clubhouses, outdoor grilling, rat stomping and lots of parties.
Other than the provided postal mail system, opportunities to converse with families and friends will be rare. No family members will be allowed to visit. All information about the atomic cleanup mission shall remain confidential until an undisclosed date.
Applicants shall be aware that this mission is the last and final stage of the Atomic Test Program which began as the Manhattan Project and is a part of the Human Radiation Experiment Program.
Job positions required include but is not limited to radiation testing personnel, construction skilled and semi-skilled laborers who will locate and hand carry radioactive debris to one of several designated areas for disposal, concrete workers, framers, plumbers, electricians, machinists, heavy equipment operators, dump truck operators, boat operators, helicopter crew members, demolition experts, explosive ordinance experts, crane operators, LARC crew members, medical staff, cafeteria staff, supply personnel, laundry staff, security personnel, operations and administrative personnel.
Applicants shall be contacted by their employers or military superiors for an opportunity to volunteer or will be voluntold to participate in this confidential mission. Upon completion of the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission, most participants (including state side personnel required to record radiation readings from urine samples collected from cleanup participants) shall be awarded the Humanitarian Medal from the U.S. Government as a gesture of thanks for putting yourself in harms way while preparing the islands for the return of the people who lived at Enewetak Atoll before the atomic tests began.
Please be aware that although most health complications caused by exposure to ionized radiation may not be detected for up to 30 to 50 years after exposure, no long term health care studies will be provided after your participation of the mission. Classified documents including personnel records, health records, radiation records, and other documents will be maintained by the U.S. Federal Government and will not be accessible or will have limited access in the future.

The above advertisement is a piece of pure fiction. It was never posted by anyone or any government agency prior to this publication. It was written as if the truth in advertising and full disclosure were standard operational procedures and was practiced for classified government and military operations.

The content however, is closer to the truth than what was commonly disclosed prior to most volunteering or being “voluntold” to participate in the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission.

I was one of the few from the 8,000+ participants who volunteered. In fact, I volunteered twice for a total of 14 months at Enewetak Atoll. Most of the Atomic Cleanup Veterans were voluntold to participate in the mission.

I’m one of the lucky veterans who served at the atoll with limited health complications. I’ve met many who are struggling with health challenges. Our roster survey shows about one-third state they have no health challenges. However, two-thirds believe we are experiencing health challenges due to our exposure to ionizing radiation.

The government refuses to admit our exposure to radiation during the cleanup mission was considered a “radiation-risk” activity. The government continues to state our exposure to radiation was “occupational” in nature.

Please write your federal representative and let them know you support our efforts to change the current laws by including the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans as Atomic Veterans (as defined in RECA) as experiencing radiation risk exposure to radiation.

Continue to learn more about us from various resources shared by supporters and cleanup participants in future AtomicCleanupVets.com articles. Our articles contain photographs, videos, documents and stories written by the actual participants who cleaned radioactive contaminated soils and materials from the surface of the islands at Enewetak Atoll.

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. 1977-1979 (14 month) participant with C Company and HHC S-3 (Operations) 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Our Current Mission is to help health challenged Atomic Cleanup Veterans become included in the Veterans Administration’s definition of an Atomic Veteran so we can qualify to apply for funds set aside for veterans “who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Search and Rescue Mission – Day 32

Kevin-Bruce-Aldrich-Bartlett-21

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 of our declining health.

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.”

We have a new mission. However, this time, it is your choice to accept or refuse this mission.

As of Day 32, we have 44 brothers on our list of atomic cleanup veterans to locate from the nine Atomic Cleanup Brothers who accepted our mission to list those we remember from our mission. Plus the brother of one of our fallen Atomic Cleanup Brothers has requested more information about his older brother who died during our mission. I believe he deserves answers.

I am happy to report one of the veterans listed on our Remembered Atomic Cleanup Veterans List has found us and signed our Roster of Known Survivors.

Dan Collins has found us. He was the C Company Commander of the 84th Engineer Battalion during the beginning of the mission in 1977 and returned as the Lojwa Operations Officer later in the mission.

Some of our memories have blurred over the years. It is ok to provide partial information and misspelled names. We can correct the information as our information grows.

You too are encouraged to list every 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission Participant you remember.

Review this list of 44 remembered atomic cleanup veterans and let us know what you can contribute to our knowledge database.

  • Aguon, David E., SSG, last seen 1992, CSM, Karlsruhe, Germany [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Behrens, Maj, Army, S3 Operations Officer, 84th Engineer Battalion, Enewetak, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1978
  • Bourne, Robert, SGT, A Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, drove transit truck and operated crane late 1979 – 1980 [wok 10/26/2014]
  • Bruce, Guy, Manager, Holmes & Narver, last known location was Andalusia, Alabama, last contact via phone by gfb3 ~2004
  • Butler, Hugh T. “Motor Mouth” – Navy, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Buzzard, Lt, Army, S3 Operations, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Castle, Art, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Chadwell, Mike, Army, 12B10, B Company, 65th Combat Engineer Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Enewetak, Lowja-Sep. 1978 -Feb. 1979 Worked at batch plants as a bagger. – last seen by kbb at Lojwa February 1979
  • Cofran, Lee “Butcher”, Navy?, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Collins, Danny, Army, Cpt, C Company Commander, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 on the internet ~2000 [Update: Dan Collins signed our roster 11/19/2014.]
  • Devault, Joseph, CWO [smr 11/7/2014]
  • Foland, Michael, CPT, A Company Commander, 84th Engineer Battalion, arrived late 1979 – 1980 [wok 10/26/2014]
  • Gallerane, Mark G. “Maddog” – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Green, “Cotton Top”, Army, 1st SGT, C Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, (kept his word that if I volunteered to go to Enewetak, I would do drafting work at Enewetak after Cpt Collins wanted me to go to Lojwa. Top Green arranged my transfer to headquarters s3 – gfb3), last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Haliczer, Douglas “Oak Loaf” – 1979, 43rd Engineer Company, Fort Bliss Texas, last seen 1980 [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Huffman, Eugene “Bruce”, Army, Draftsman, S3 Operations, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1979
  • Jarvis. Timothy Paul – US Army Corps of Engineers, 1977-78, Enewetak Atoll, Reported “deceased” to our family in December, 1978. We were told “he was lost at sea, and his remains were unrecoverable.” However, have always believed he was involved in a radiation accident. 8.) 5′ 10″, blonde hair, blue eyes, his rank was private, promoted to corp at death. He was stationed in HI, just prior to being sent to the Marshall Islands. 9.) I am his younger brother, I was in the 7th grade when he died, now I’m 47. We never received his body. Are family was told by the US Government to stop communication with other families, whose son’s were supposedly lost at sea with my brother. That’s why we never believed his death was the result of a sailing accident. [ci 11/8/2014]
  • Kehe(sp?), Ernest, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Krouse, Frank, Army, Mail Clerk, JTG, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Lang, Ronald W. “Bandit” – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Lewis, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Martin, Dan (Marty), Army, Lojwa, A Company, 84th Engineer Battalion [sh 10/27/2014]
  • Mattlab, Wheeler, SSG, last seen 1979 [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Morgan, Wendell “Mongoose” – Air Force? 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Neel, Gary D. – 1979, 43rd Engineer Company, Fort Bliss, Texas, last seen early 1980’s [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Pearson, SGT, Army, Squad Leader, B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, Lojwa [sh 1027/2014]
  • Perry, Robert from Texas [mb 10/26/2014]
  • Pinegar, Ron, SGT, A Co, ran batch plant, stateside unit was 8th EN, 1CD late 1979 – 1980 [wok 10/26/2014]
  • Riggs, Gene “Rags” – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Roberts, O.C. “Black Beauty” – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Robertson, Harrol L. “Easy Rider” – first name may be Harold – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Simpson, Bob “Scrapper”, Army, B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, Arrived and left with gcp (Apr to Oct 79), 62E10 (Heavy Junk Operator), last I knew he returned to his unit in Panama Christmas of 79, We were brothers from different mothers; The picture I posted of me holding a bottle of Bacardi, Bob is the other guy holding a fifth. – last seen by gcp ~1979
  • Singer, SSG, Army, Lojwa, Platoon SGT, B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, Lojwa [sh 10/27/2014]
  • Spooner, John A. – Navy, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Stafanco, Richard, (5th Grp SF) Army, Lojwa B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion [sh 10/27/2014]
  • Stein, Lee, CWO [smr 11/7/2014]
  • Suzzo, Frank, unknown branch, last known location: Myrtle Beach, SC – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Tracey, Sean II “Sleeper” – Medic, Fort Hood, Texas – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Tucker, Col, Army, Commander, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1978
  • Ulrigg, Ron “Warrior”, Killeen, Texas – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]
  • Verdugo, first name unknown, 43rd Engineer Company, Fort Bliss, Texas [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Walker, Ken, Army, Administration, JTG, (gfb3 enjoyed many scuba dives with Ken – at least one involved sharks), last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Wolfe, first name unknown [dc 10/27/2014]
  • Yoakum. Marc “Mammy” – Army, 1979, Lojwa [gcp 10/27/2014]

The above information was provided by the first nine who accepted the challenge to participate in our Search and Rescue Mission: Charles Ikner (ci), Daniel Cisneros (dc), Gary Pulis (gcp), Girard Bolton (gfb3), Kevin Bartlett (kbb), Michael Boyd (mb), Steve “Harry” Harrison (sh), Steven Rebbe (sf), and Wm. O. Keller (wok).

It is our hope to find as many of the 8,000+ participants of the atomic cleanup mission as possible.

You to can fill out as much of the information requested in the form below. No worries if you only remember partial info. We can add your info to others who accept this mission.

Within a short time, we should have an overabundance of information. Then the real work begins.

Decide now to help find every “Lojwa Animal”, “Runit Rat”, “Medren Rat”, etc.. you remember from “The Rock” or more commonly known as Enewetak Atoll.

Your Mission Continues Now.

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

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

Search and Rescue Mission – Day 4

 

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Ken Walker, Administration, JTG, Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, ~1979

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 of our declining health.

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.”

We have a new mission. However, this time, it is your choice to accept or refuse this mission.

As of Day 4 of our new Search and Rescue (our memories) Mission, three of our Atomic Cleanup Brothers accepted our mission.

You too are encouraged to list every 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission Participant you remember.

Some of our memories have blurred over the years. It is ok to provide partial information and misspelled names. We can correct the information as our information grows.

Review this list of remembered atomic cleanup veterans and let us know what you can contribute to our knowledge database.

  • Behrens, Maj, Army, S3 Operations Officer, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1978
  • Bruce, Guy, Manager, Holmes & Narver, last known location was Andalusia, Alabama, last contact via phone by gfb3 ~2004
  • Buzzard, Lt, Army, S3 Operations, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Castle, Art, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Chadwell, Mike, Army, 12B10, B Company, 65th Combat Engineer Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Enewetak, Lowja-Sep. 1978 -Feb. 1979 Worked at batch plants as a bagger. – last seen by kbb at Lojwa February 1979
  • Collins, Danny, Army, Cpt, C Company Commander, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 on the internet ~2000
  • Green, “Top”, Army, C Company 1st Sgt, 84th Engineer Battalion, (kept his word that if I volunteered to go to Enewetak, I would do drafting work at Enewetak after Cpt Collins wanted me to go to Lojwa. Top Green arranged my transfer to headquarters s3 – gfb3), last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Huffman, Eugene “Bruce”, Army, Draftsman, S3 Operations, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1979
  • Kehe(sp?), Ernest, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Krouse, Frank, Army, Mail Clerk, JTG, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979
  • Lewis, Army, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Hawaii ~1980
  • Simpson, Bob “Scrapper”, Army, B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, Arrived and left with gcp (Apr to Oct 79), 62E10 (Heavy Junk Operator), last I knew he returned to his unit in Panama Christmas of 79, We were brothers from different mothers; The picture I posted of me holding a bottle of Bacardi, Bob is the other guy holding a fifth. – last seen by gcp ~1979
  • Tucker, Col, Army, Commander, 84th Engineer Battalion, last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1978
  • Walker, Ken, Army, Administration, JTG, (gfb3 enjoyed many scuba dives with Ken – at least one involved sharks), last seen by gfb3 at Enewetak ~1979

The above information was provided by the first three who accepted the challenge to participate in our Search and Rescue Mission: Gary Pulis (gcp), Girard Bolton (gfb3) and Kevin Bartlett (kbb).

It is our hope to find as many of the 8,000+ participants of the atomic cleanup mission as possible.

You to can fill out as much of the information requested in the form below. No worries if you only remember partial info. We can add your info to others who accept this mission.

Within a short time, we should have an overabundance of information. Then the real work begins.

Decide now to help find every “Lojwa Animal”, “Runit Rat”, “Medren Rat”, etc.. you remember from “The Rock” or more commonly known as Enewetak Atoll.

Your Mission Continues Now.

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

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

Search and Rescue Mission

Al-Gettier-Lojwa-base-camp-03

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 of our declining health.

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.”

We have a new mission. However, this time, it is your choice to accept or refuse this mission.

You are encouraged to list every 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission Participant you remember.

The information you provide will help us account for every person who put their’s and their family’s health at risk because of exposure to ionizing radiation during the cleanup mission.

It is our hope to find as many of the 8,000+ participants of the atomic cleanup mission as possible.

Fill out as much of the information requested in the form below. No worries if you only remember partial info. We can add your info to others who accept this mission.

Within a short time, we should have an overabundance of information. Then the real work begins.

The next step is to form a volunteer group to start searching the internet for everyone listed.

Decide now to help find every “Lojwa Animal”, “Runit Rat”, “Medren Rat”, etc.. you remember from “The Rock” or more commonly known as Enewetak Atoll.

Your Mission Begins Now.

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

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

Atomic Cleanup Veteran – Pete Moreno

 

Moreno-fish-

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 atomic cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Shortly after Pete Moreno reconnected with our group of Enewetak Cleanup Vets, he started posting photos and sharing stories about The Rock with the rest of us.

Pete is a great story teller from the Navy. Some of our memories aren’t as vivid as his memories. Just listening to his stories bring back the “feel” of the place almost to the point of smelling the salt air in those breaking waves he talks about.

Once he started talking about Enewetak, the more he remembered and shared. I had a difficult time deciding which of his recollections to share with you today. I finally decided to save some of his stories for other articles. In the meantime, here are a few of his tales about his experiences at Enewetak Atoll.

Pete Moreno – February 5 2014

I don’t think most folks could understand the hardship and deprivation of working on Eniwetok. I worked with the Clear Water Beach Clean-up Team. We often worked on the other Islands away from Lojwa and Eniwetok. We were a small group about 10 to 12 and as junior rate we got all the dirty work on the islands which meant dragging metal debris off the reef onto the beach in the blazing sun day in and day out. We often ran outta water and would go without till we got back to one of the base camps. Since there were no cooking or mess kitchen we either ate Nam era rations out of a can or whatever we brought with us. Often we didn’t get a chance to shower for a week or more the combination of sand and seawater would give me rashes and irritations in places I don’t want to mention. Our corpsman would give us basically nothing for these we just usually used grease that came off the top of the food cans. It had a plug of grease or wax and when you melted in the sun and applied It like a salve. I learned to buy hemorrhoid suppositories and melt them in there capsules and apply that to really rashed up areas. It helped. Then the grossest duty we had was burning shit in the halve drums with diesel. Yeah that really happened. We had other more mundane stuff to do also and usually it required heavy lifting and long hours in the baking sun.

I recall often of spending all day in the sweltering sun being baked and sunburned my skin turned into basic shoe leather consistency and I turned dark very dark. We usually worked shirtless and a heavy wet dungaree shirt was just too much work as the seawater and sand turned them into a painful sandpaper like thing that would just irritate the hell out of your armpits and neck. So we often just worked in our dive shorts a boonie hat, gloves and our jungle boots with the drain holes. I remember long rides back to Eniwetok on the Boston whaler and believe it or not it got chilly as on the boat we all crammed into it or get left behind. We would be wet. irritated from the seawater and shivering and hanging on as times we would hit a squall and the pelting rain combined with the seawater spray made the damn ride a very eye burning stinging bitch. Wet hungry tired and cold by the time we got back to the rock all I wanted to do was hose off and hit my rack and do it all over the next day. I don’t know how many crossed the lagoon in the deep water entrance where the concrete ship was beached on the reef but you could get some pretty good size rollers there. It made for a rough ride and would slam that Boston whaler pretty hard on the downward side. Our chief was a crazy son of bitch and had wrecked the steering the Whaler when he hit a reef head and jammed the twin outboards up. So we rigged up tiller and once of us usually me would steer the twins and someone would operate the throttles. Crossing the channel over those rollers made for some scary ass times.

I recall one time it was getting dark and we were crossing the inlet and the rollers where coming fast and high. They were at least twenty foot swells and there were coming in fast and tight. When we hit the first one the whaler shot up and when we crested the next roller was right in front of us and we started down the first and slammed in the next one so hard I thought we were going to swamp. All the scuba tanks and dive bags went sliding forward and knocked the guy on throttles off his feet and couldn’t get throttles backed off in time and we hit the next swell, goddam like scared the hell out of me and the damn boat about half filled with water. Full of gear and mad assholes yelling and fighting to get the boat straightened out. Shit I was never so happy as to when we got to calm after passing the swells. That was a scary ass crossing and we usually after that approached from the other side. We had some very interesting crossing squalls, rain storms same thing and high wind bursts. We had no compass or maps just dead reckoning which in the lagoon wasn’t a big deal but a couple of time at night you couldn’t see shit. No moon meant dark ass nights some of the darkest nights I have ever experienced when it was cloudy and no moon. Sometime the ol couldn’t see your hand in front of your face thing came into play. All in all I am glad I finished my duty there and chalked it up to experience.

I was on the rock from Oct. 77 and left march 78. six months of that stuff.

Compared to some of the places on those little islands the Lojwa base camp was civilization. I ate once there at the chow hall. Once.

Pete-Moreno-enewetak-pier-engibie-beach-enewetak-beach-

Let me tell you the one about the time we set the Fueling pier on Medren on fire.

Well, it went like this. We were assigned to demolish the old fueling pier on Medren. The EOD divers and our divers were to blow the steel pilings under the pier and save as much of the wood on the pier as possible. The wood was to be given to the native Marshallese for their use. The pier if any you remember was considered deep water. The pilings went down about 90 feet and where thick steel girders. The divers would go down and place explosives and cut the girders. They would then collapse or were supposed to anyway. Being attached to the wooden pier structure they did not break away like it was thought they would. So plan B they came up with. Use explosives to cut all the metal connections from the wooden structures. The old pier was built to last and it didn’t want to come apart easily. Myself and another guy by the name of John Jewett had to get this part, take the wire from a crane and coil it up in the middle of little wooden boat and ferry it out to where the divers where working cut the rope and the wire would play out uncoiling itself and slide off the boat. Then the divers would attach it to piling and they would drag the thing up. It went ok for awhile. Anyway as you construction guys know all cranes have a headache ball.

So backing up a bit the EOD guys brought out a bunch of C-4 and started setting up shape charges all along the pier where the steel was connected to pier. Usually underneath and away from the wooden parts. There were also about three different size pipes running along the length of the pier and we were told to cut these pipes using C-4, we set the charges and about three hour later we where ready to set off the shot. So the EOD guys gave everything the once over checking the connections and they set off the shot. The damn pier didn’t even budge. Now we had a very unstable structure that we had to finish dismantling. So this was toward the end of the third day of working on this old pier and it was getting dark so we all piled into Maggie 8 and headed back to Eniwetok. Being Saturday night we didn’t have to work the next day as we got every other Sunday off to relax. Nothing like 12 to 14 hour days and a day off every other week. Anyway we had a cookout for that night sliders and frozen steaks defrosted on the grill. It was later that night while drinking unlimited amounts of beer and consuming as much meat and food as we could an Air Force guy pulled up in his truck and got out and asked us if we knew about the fire over on Medren. So we all walked over to the shoreline and sure enough there was big ol red glow over on Medren. It was the pier! That didn’t really bother me too much as we had been busting our asses tearing down that ol bitch and it burning itself up. I realized that Medren was basically a powder keg surrounded by a lot of dried up material just waiting to go up in smoke.

The pier burned itself up in about two or three days and nearly all the wood was consumed. What was left were jagged chunks of steel, chunks of wood hanging on by steel wire and junk. This we had to cut with even more C-4 and eventually we were told to leave it alone as we had gotten behind schedule. The Army Colonel was not too happy about all this as the Marshallese Chief had been promised all that wood and he would have to be compensated some other way. We did however have to finish pulling up the steel pilings we had cut. Thats a different story. I bored you long enough.

Oh I didn’t mention that there was a big ol blue fin tuna hanging out under the pier all by itself. This was actually on the first day of blasting. This fish was killed and chopped up for sushi. I ate a bunch of it myself. Anyway just for shits and giggles I had John take a picture of me and that big ol fish with me holding a little of freshwater tackle fishing pole. A zebco no less. I didn’t really think anybody would have really thought I actually caught that tuna on it, that fish weighed close to two hundred pounds! It was a big fish certainly the biggest I had ever seen. Also a turtle was killed in the same blast and I still have that shell. It is drying out and cracking but its still a beautiful shell. But I got ragged on for that picture. Seems some people just don’t have a sense of humor. We all sweated that one out a bit as that pier wasn’t supposed to burn. There was no way to tell which charge set that fire off and I did feel bad that we had deprived the Island Chief firewood or building material. I don’t know if he or his people were ever compensated and sometimes I think how those people are faring in that tiny far away place. To me it would seem such a lonely existence but thats just me, I like to think they are prospering and healthy. Though I think circumstances and time tell me different.

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.

Testimony of Pete Moreno’s personal experiences and opinions provided by Pete Moreno an Enewetak Atomic Cleanup Veteran and Facebook Group Member.

Atomic Cleanup Veteran – Johnny Deardorff

 

Runit

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 atomic cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Do you know a Veteran who suffers emotional challenges that were acquired while serving in the U.S. Military?

In a recent semi-private Enewetak Cleanup Vets group conversation one of our members shared his experiences in dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). But first, let me give you some insight regarding Johnny Deardorff’s back story. Even though he says he is currently retired and enjoys life, there’s more to why he can say that.

 Johnny Ray Dearorff and a LARC

 From April – September of 1978, while serving in the U.S. Army’s 84th Engineer Battalion, Johnny Deardorff worked on the hottest island at Enewetak Atoll filling a 35’ deep 375 foot diameter crater in the coral reef of Runit Island with radioactive atomic debris and concrete until it became a concrete capped dome 55 feet higher than the surrounding ocean. It is the only island the U.S. Government will not return to the Enewetak People.

Deardorff’s duties involved quarry and asphalt paving, drill and blasting. He was the specialist responsible for operation of all crushers, generators and batch plant operations and all related equipment on Runit Island. He supervised debris separation from all foreign materials, bombs, shells, mortars, mines, bullets, wood, metal, all radioactive debris, machine guns, occasional grenades. All left over from WWII. He carried what was HOT to the crater to throw it in. At the end of the day, when not in operation at the plant, he detonated all the old ordinance. He policed the area of HOT junk and made 270 loads of hot concrete a day at peak production times.

Instead of treating him for radiation poisoning, he says the military claimed he had the flu in the 130 degree weather. After he left Enewetak Atoll, he joined the NBC Corps in 1984 and learned a lot about radiation poisoning and symptoms, doses, dose calculating. In his words- “We were screwed big time there and they knew it.”

Here are his comments and the advice he offers to Veterans suffering with emotional health issues:

I have a Counselor/Doctor out of West Linn, Oregon and she is the Best!!! Each VA Clinic and facility can set you up with a tele-conference person. I went to Klamath Falls CBOC and now I go to North Bend Outpatient Clinic.

Demand to talk to a person for mental health. They have to by law set you up for one. They’re all across the country. Once they schedule you an appointment at their facility, this is for their safety and yours, in case the stress gets to be too much, they can call help for you.

REMEMBER THIS IF NOTHING ELSE: He or She (the counselor), is required by law to report anything you say in which you make a statement. Even jokingly. Such as:

  • I was / am going to hurt myself or others.
  • I am thinking about suicide.
  • I am going to go shoot somebody.
  • I feel like going to shoot ANYONE.

Tip: Go to https://www.myhealth.va.gov/index.html and set up your accounts at eBenefits and myHealtheVet – these are ways to keep in contact thru private messaging and secure messaging to your counselor or doctor, order meds, get records, forms data, 201 files on digital discs.

It all started from me going and asking to see a counselor, because for years, all I was offered was drug after drug. Now I can manage. I’m NOT cured my nightmares. But it has helped me greatly. I can actually sleep three to four hours a night now, it has been a break-thru for me.

I highly recommend it to any veteran struggling to cope with problems. It is free and if after a few sessions, when they feel it necessary, you can be given the link and set up appointments to see your counselor at your home privately, but the same rules apply, if they think you’re a threat to yourself or others they will report it.

MyHealtheVet is where I would start, and if you do not yet have Ebenefits.va.gov next. Make sure when you sign up to make a separate file on your desktop to keep all your security questions handy. Because every 120 days you will be asked to change your password and you must remember all the answers to change anything. I have it a safe location, but this is the best thing I can tell you for now.

I have my counselor personal number in case I need to talk to her about anything, I am not sure all counselors will do that but mine does.

I have an appointment soon and I can/will find out from her where there are clinics in your areas if you e mail me your location. I’m here to help in any way – a brother vet.

Also if you tell them how many guns and that you have them in your home your name also goes on federal agency lists. As well I say I love hunting I love shooting sports and that’s the extent of my information to any government agencies that will do a check.

I have a tele-conference therapist in Oregon who is and has greatly helped me with the same thing because of that hell hole. You can be set up at most clinics or home depending on your internet capabilities.

Trust me. It destroyed two marriages. I am better. Just learned to deal with it with different methods. Not cured. But have better mental tools now.

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.

Testimony of Johnny Deardorff’s personal experiences and opinions provided by Johnny Deardorff an Enewetak Atomic Cleanup Veteran and Facebook Group Member.

Atomic Cleanup Veteran – David Roach

Runit

 

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 atomic cleanup mission as “veterans who participated in radiation-risk activities during active service.”

Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission Veterans were composed of a joint task force of Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel.

In one of our earlier articles, David Roach commented on our struggles with dealing with the VA and his experiences at Enewetak Atoll.

His comments need to be repeated here in an article of its own. Here are his comments from February 8, 2014.

I was there a little over three months, mid Aug. 78 thru Nov. 78. I was stationed on Lojwa and went out to one the Islands, by boat, each day, usually Runit, to do radiological monitoring as a member of a FRST (Field Radiation Support Team) team.

You are 100% correct Tina-Marie. It is most certainly a “Love Us and Leave Us” arrangement we have with the US Government, Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Many years ago I was told I was an “Atomic Veteran” and I had benefits available to me. I was told, “All you need to do is ask for them”. I believe that was 1996 or 1997 when I first started exploring this wonderful thing we call the “World Wide Web” now simply known as “The Internet”. I remember doing a search on Enewetak and all kinds of things popped up on my screen. I stayed up all night reading about a staggering amount of Cancers associated with the work we did there. I even saved all the websites to my favorites and didn’t do anything about it. Unfortunately, I did not print out everything I found at the time and those blogs and websites are no longer active. I did not go out and apply for benefits or ask for hand outs. Quite honestly, I didn’t think I was entitled to anything. I didn’t feel like I really did anything for my country. I just did my job. Since then I have had a multitude of medical problems. No, I have not been diagnosed with Cancer but I have a host of other problems I am learning are associated with the type of work we did and my daughter has reproductive system disorders, also known to be caused by the material we were exposed to. Currently, I am on a leave of absence, from my job, while I am on long term disability.

Last year I applied for benefits from the VA and got a form letter telling me I wasn’t entitled to any because I didn’t claim them sooner and I was placed in “category eight” meaning I would NEVER receive any medical benefits from my military service. I went to the VA Hospital itself and applied and the intake Coordinator told me I didn’t have any rights to file a claim for. I told him I was an “Atomic Veteran”, as I had been told, incorrectly I now understand, he said “Yeah, good luck proving that!!” I explained to him I have every piece of paper given me at the time, I have the original orders, I was even given a Humanitarian Service Medal for the work I did there. Then I was sent over to see one of the service organization people to help me fill out the correct paperwork. Although the office was officially closed, she was still there and talked with me as I explained my situation to her. She took out a form and wrote on it “EXPEDITE: HOMELESS VET”. I protested I did NOT want that title and that I had a place to stay and a chair to sleep in. No, it wasn’t mine, but I was allowed to use it. She handed me the form and said fill this out, bring it back and I will help you. I tried to explain to her ALL of my service records had been mysteriously lost. I even had to go to my congressman to get a copy of my DD214 in 1981 WHILE I WAS STILL ACTIVE RESERVE!! I further explained I just moved to Southern CA to be close to my children but all of my papers were in boxes in storage and I did not have access to them. Well, I just found them and as it turns out, I have copies of every piece of paper ever given to me. Now I will need to go back to the VA and apply for benefits again and given them copies of my copies. I most certainly will not give the VA my original copies of anything. I will keep you guys posted on the results of further action.

I was told I needed to apply to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, formerly known to us as the Defense Nuclear Agency. I did as I was told and was laughed at by the ladies there. They said I was too young and that to qualify I had to have been part of the testing that ended in 1958 or a POW housed around Hiroshima or Nagasaki. She then told me I could apply as a dependent, if my Father was there. I explained again I was there cleaning up all the destruction we (the United States) did to the Marshall Islands. She said she would send in the paperwork for it. Several weeks later, I received a packet from the DTRA stating I did not turn in my dosimeter (a device each of us was issued when we got to Enewetak and had to turn in before we left Enewetak. As such, I have no record of any exposure to Ionizing Radiation. I know each of us were required to turn in a 24 hour urine specimen so that it could be tested for radioactive matter to be determined by The Occupational and Environmental Health Lab (OEHL), Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX, 78235. The Film badges, otherwise known as pocket dosimeters, were sent to the Blue Grass Arsenal, somewhere in Kentucky.

There is another irony to this situation. I was stationed at Brooks AFB myself and when I was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for my work in Enewetak, every person in the OEHL at Brooks AFB received the same medal simply because the urine samples went there!! Realistically, when you are testing any biological material, you were the exact same PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). That PPE consists of a gown, gloves, mask or face shield and is the same thing they wore everyday while we were 2700 miles southwest of Hawaii on a rock with temperatures that reached a high of 147 degrees, on one day. Yes, we monitored that too.

Let’s hear some more stories guys!

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.

Testimony of David Roach’s personal experiences and opinions provided by David Roach an Enewetak Atomic Cleanup Veteran and Facebook Group Member.