From Service to Sacrifice

“They are but a few of the Survivors of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission in the Marshall Islands. My name is T-M Fitzgerald but they call me Fitz.”

“They adopted me as their little sister because I like to ask questions that have refreshed memories that are funny, sad and enlightening.”

In 2014, Fitz soon realized Atomic Cleanup Veterans’ first hand accounts of the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission needed to be shared.

So she started taking notes and asking more questions. Then Fitz put what she learned from us into a book appropriately entitled:

“From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War/Hot Ground: Introducing the Atomic Cleanup Story of The Marshall Islands. Compiled by TM Fitzgerald.

Dedication

“Failure is an inevitable condition of success.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer

These men trusted their government. They had no reason not to. They served with honor, and without question, believing they were serving their country for humanity’s sake. Many have since died for their service, for their patriotism, and obedience, disclaimed and denied by the very government they served. Decades have passed, but the questions remain: “Was it worth it? Did we make any difference at all or were we destined for failure from the start?”

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man considered ‘father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in leading the program responsible for developing America’s first nuclear weapon (the Manhattan Project) has been attributed with saying the following, “I have become Death.”

For all the men who served in the Pacific Proving Grounds of the Marshall Islands during the Enewetak Humanitarian Mission that took place between 1977 and 1980, no truer words could have been spoken. Over 8,000 men served yet fewer than 500 survivors have been located. The men sharing their stories here are Cold War Survivors. They are few in number but undaunted in spirit.

This book is dedicated to all those born into an era of air raid drills and backyard bomb shelters, to individuals who served their country during a peaceable, and valiant humanitarian effort; Veterans and civilian-contractors alike. This book is for all the men known and unknown who’ve since passed from cancers and various other illnesses related to uncontrolled exposure to ionizing radiation and residual nuclear fallout, and lastly but certainly not least, to the forgotten, comparative few remaining who survive post Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Project.

From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War/Hot Ground. Introducing the Atomic Cleanup Story of the Marshall Islands is a compilation that has been created specifically to honor and remember all those who assisted in the well-intended, yet futile peacetime mission of cleansing a remote, Pacific Trust Territory of the remnants of death that Dr. Oppenheimer had constructed. Without their knowing, Oppenheimer’s legacy would follow all of them as well for the rest of their lives.

How do we make the threat of nuclear devices real for the twenty-first century? We tell the stories. How could such a large group of soldiers and civilians be so conveniently forgotten? Theirs was a deliberately concentrated population of both military and civilian personnel whose naivety and dedication to the mission would be purposefully exploited all the way to the end? “Deny, deny, until they all die.”

This book is devoted to recognizing all of those who served, remembering those who’ve lost their battles with both their government and with radiation-related illnesses, those who’ve already passed the surly bonds of Earth and for those (Veterans and civilian-contractors alike) who still await Oppenheimer’s invisible call. Perhaps as equally important, this book is dedicated to the world as well, so that all may not only know but perhaps understand the legacy of the men who served in good faith on Enewetak and its sister atolls.

May this book function not only as an introduction but also as a tangible reminder to us all of Oppenheimer’s haunting legacy and of the impossible mission these Atomic Cleanup participants attempted to carry through. The world was never meant to know of these men or the mission they were dealt. This book introduces their true story.

We urge our supporters to learn more about our mission and the consequences of our humanitarian mission by reading our first hand accounts of the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission.

You can begin now by purchasing “From Service to Sacrifice” from T-M Fitzgerald at CreateSpace or at Amazon

Thank you for being a patriotic supporter of our nation’s military servicemen and women!

Let others know you support Atomic Cleanup Veterans by sharing this webpage.

You can keep up with future book updates on Facebook at “From Service to Sacrifice: Cold War, Hot Ground”.

Plus, we encourage you to post pictures of yourself with your copy of our book with the hashtag #fromservicetosacrifice written in your comments and tagged on your photo.

Adding #fromservicetosacrifice to your posts will help raise awareness of our need to be offered the same healthcare offered to Atomic Test Era Veterans.

Please support HR632 Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

Article written by Girard Frank Bolton, III. in collaboration with T-M Fitzgerald, a published author and self-professed Veterans Advocate.

Request a Speaker from our Atomic Cleanup Veterans Speakers Bureau

5/20/17 Operation Stand Together Sylvan Theater National Mall Washington DC D.C. Atomic Cleanup Vets Veterans Keith Kiefer

Photo courtesy of Carrie Diem Keith Kiefer

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 and entomb 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 in the Marshall Islands.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Some of us have health challenges related to cleaning up radiation produced by 43 atomic bombs tested in the Pacific Proving Grounds during the Cold War’s Atomic Test Program. Some of us have died.

Most of our Veterans are very open about their first-hand-experiences from the cleanup mission and the health consequinces they’ve encountered because of their exposure to ionizing radiation.

Unfortunately, too many people turn a deaf ear and ignore our need to change the law that classifies us as having “ocupational exposure” to radiation instead of “at-risk” exposure.

We recently formed a Speakers Bureau of Atomic Cleanup Veterans available to speak at various organizational events all across the United States.

Many of our members have already been interviewed by news reporters and book authors. Some of our guys have already spoken with various organizations whose members are not only interested in the history and consequinces of our mission, but are actively supporting our current mission of getting HR632 Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act signed into law.

If your Organization has a meeting or a special event and is interested in an Atomic Cleanup Veteran to speak about our Atomic Cleanup Mission and how your organization can help us change the law prohibiting Atomic Cleanup Veterans from obtaining the same healthcare available to Atomic Veterans, please fill in your request on the form below.

You can help us change our “occupational” exposure classification to “at-risk” exposure by letting your Federal Representatives know you want them to support H.R. 632 – Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

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 shared 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.”

Application to become a Member of our Speakers Bureau

5/20/17 Operation Stand Together Sylvan Theater National Mall Washington DC D.C. Atomic Cleanup Vets Veterans Harry Daniel Lojwa Animals

Photo courtesy of Carrie Diem ACV Harry Daniel

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 and entomb 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 in the Marshall Islands.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Some of us have health challenges related to cleaning up radiation produced by 43 atomic bombs tested in the Pacific Proving Grounds during the Cold War’s Atomic Test Program. Some of us have died.

Many of our Veterans are very open about their first-hand-experiences from the cleanup mission and the health consequinces they’ve encountered because of their exposure to ionizing radiation.

Unfortunately, too many people turn a deaf ear and ignore our need to change the law that classifies us as having “ocupational exposure” to radiation instead of “at-risk” exposure.

We recently formed a Speakers Bureau of Atomic Cleanup Veterans available to speak at various organizational events all across the United States.

Many of our members have already been interviewed by news reporters and book authors. Some of our guys have already spoken with various organizations whose members are not only interested in the history and consequinces of our mission, but are actively supporting our current mission of getting HR632 Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act signed into law.

If you are an Atomic Cleanup Veteran who is interested in speaking about our Atomic Cleanup Mission at organizations who can help us change the law prohibiting Atomic Cleanup Veterans from obtaining the same healthcare available to Atomic Veterans, please fill in the application below.

You can help us change our “occupational” exposure classification to “at-risk” exposure by letting your Federal Representatives know you want them to support H.R. 632 – Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

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 shared 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.”

How Close do You live to Atomic Cleanup Veterans?

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 and entomb 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 in the Marshall Islands.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Some of us have health challenges related to cleaning up radiation produced by 43 atomic bombs tested in the Pacific Proving Grounds during the Cold War’s Atomic Test Program. Some of us have died.

Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission Participants came from military units stationed all over the world.

As a result, our known survivors roster shows Atomic Cleanup Veterans scattered all over Earth.

Our group of Forgotten Veterans live surprisingly close to each other and to many patriotic supporters.

Many of our Veterans are very open about their first-hand-experiences from the cleanup mission and the health consequinces they’ve encountered because of their exposure to ionizing radiation.

Unfortunately, too many people turn a deaf ear and ignore our need to change the law that classifies us as having “ocupational exposure” to radiation instead of “at-risk” exposure.

We recently formed a Speakers Bureau of Atomic Cleanup Veterans available to speak at various organizational events all across the United States.

Many of our members have already been interviewed by news reporters and book authors. Some of our guys have already spoken with various organizations whose members are not only interested in the history and consequinces of our mission, but are actively supporting our current mission of getting HR632 Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act signed into law.

If you are a patriotic supporter of Our Nation’s Veterans and are interested in hearing how Your Organization can help change the law prohibiting Atomic Cleanup Veterans from obtaining the same healthcare available to Atomic Veterans, please contact us and let us know.

In the meantime, give in to your curiousity and see how many Atomic Cleanup Veterans live near you. Zoom in on this map showing the current locations of the known survivors from our mission at Enewetak Atoll:

You can help us change our “occupational” exposure classification to “at-risk” exposure by letting your Federal Representatives know you want them to support H.R. 632 – Mark Takai’s Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

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 shared 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.”

Memorial Day

5/20/17 Operation Stand Together Sylvan Theater National Mall Washington DC D.C. Atomic Cleanup Vets Veterans

Photo courtesy of Carrie Diem

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service.

Today, we want to pay our respects to the Fallen Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors who died during or after participating in the 1977 – 1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission.

Please take a moment to review the list of our Known Fallen Atomic Cleanup Veterans in silent respect for their humanitarian sacrifice for the dri-Enewetak while serving in our armed forces.

If you know of any Fallen Humanitarians from the Atomic Cleanup Mission, who are not listed, please add their names and known information in the form.

 

25 March 2016 Status of Survivors Roster Report

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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 and entomb 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 in the Marshall Islands.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Currently, some of us have health challenges related to cleaning up radiation produced by 43 atomic bombs tested in the Pacific Proving Grounds during the Cold War’s Atomic Test Program.

On May 6th 2014, we started collecting information about our health challenges.

As of 25 March 2016, we have 342 responses to our survey.

 

In response to who was your employer during the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission the answers are as follows:

  • According to The Radiological Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll published by the Defense Nuclear Agency in 1981, 8,033 people were involved in the 1977 – 1980 Mission. The response vs total participants breakdown is as follows:
    • 282 of the 2670 Army participants responded (10.6%).
    • 74 of the 2207 Navy participants responded (3.4%).
    • 46 of the 740 Air Force participants responded (6.2%).
    • 5 of the 1011 DOE & Contractor participants responded (0.5%).
    • 0 of the 597 DOI/TTPI participants responded (0%).
    • 8 of the 246 DNA/JTG participants responded (3.3%).
    • 0 of the 49 Journalist participants responded (0%).
    • 3 of the 513 Others participants responded (0.6%).
    • 418 of the 8033 Total Participants Responded (5.2%).

In response to which island did you live on while at Enewetak Atoll, the answers are as follows:

  • 251 lived on Enewetak Island (62%).
  • 147 lived on Lojwa Island (38%).
  • A total of 408 replied to this question.

In response to the Health Challenges believed to be due to exposure to Ionized Radiation during the Mission, 348 responded.

  • 201 claim health challenges are due to Radiation Exposure (58%).
  • 147 claim no health challenges due to Radiation Exposure (42%).

In response to Veterans Administration Assistance Status, 352 responded.

  • 101 reported they are receiving VA Health Assistance.
  • 30 reported they have pending VA Health Assistance Claims.
  • 149 reported they have no need for VA Health Assistance.
  • 79 reported “Other” as their VA Health Assistance Status.

We appreciate each and every Atomic Cleanup Veteran who helped our readers get a clearer view of the background and current status/consequences reported by participants of our Humanitarian Mission.

You can help us change our “occupational” exposure classification to “at-risk” exposure by letting your Federal Representatives know you want them to support Hawaii’s Rep. Mark Takai’s Bill H.R. 3870 Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.

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 shared 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.”

Atomic Cleanup Help Wanted

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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.”