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.

Richard “Brooklyn Ball Buster” Masculine

ball buster

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.”

Remembering Lojwa Animal – Richard “Brooklyn Ball Buster” Masculine – by Gary Pulis

His handle fit him with his gift for sarcasm and his heavy Brooklyn accent. You knew someone was about to get their balls busted if he opened his mouth. Don’t get me wrong, Ball Buster wasn’t mean he did have a natural situational comedic ability that he exploited at every opportunity.

Ball Buster was one of, if not the, first “Short Timer” to take me under his wing. We worked on some of the same islands, breathed some of the same dust and drank from the same “Jungle Juice” barrel. I lost track of him when he left to go back to his regular unit. Thirty plus years later I ran into him on line. We got to chatting along with Frank Bolton, who had also served on the Atoll. With all the information Richard had to share about filing a claim with the VA. We thought it best to start a closed facebook group where we could talk about our many health issues without having to explain each post to our family and friends. Richard had been researching the effects of radiation we were exposed to and had a laundry list of illnesses that were connected to our exposure, though the VA continues to deny we were exposed to any material that would affect our health.  Shortly after starting our Enewetak group Ball Buster disclosed he had a few different types of cancer, one of which caused him to have half his tongue removed. He also told us some of the cancers had come back. Ball Buster continued to put up a brave front stating he had beaten cancer before and would again. We lost Ball Buster on November 25, 2013. The news of his loss shook all of us in the group at that time. Several of us exchanged private messages expressing our feelings of sorrow and coming to grips with our own mortality. I’m sure others were in tears, as I was. I’m not sure words can express the feelings we had having lost a brother 34 years AFTER returning to the world.
It is tough knowing we were exposed to materials that can take so many years to cause health issues and take a life in such a short period of time after the illnesses appear.

For me, the passing of Ball Buster meant I had lost my chance to exchange more memories with a brother from years gone by.

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 Gary Pulis 1979 atomic cleanup participant with B Company, 84th Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy) (Fwd) (Fwd) Lojwa Island, Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Photos complements of Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Veteran Richard Masculine – Gone but not Forgotten Facebook group member at Enewetak Atoll Clean-up Project Vets.

X-Ray Day – Enewetak Atoll Atomic Test #1

 

AbombOperationSandstoneApril1948

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.”

This article is written to honor and respect the soldiers who were assigned to participate and experience the Manhattan Project Tests in the Pacific Proving Grounds at Enewetak Atoll. The Veterans Administration has designated them as Atomic Veterans. They felt the heat and the shock-wave and the radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests.

National Atomic Veterans’ Day is 16 July 2014 and we aim to celebrate and understand that day by sharing government films and documents which were considered top-secret during the Cold War.

We have learned much from the challenges Atomic Veterans have encountered with health complications, dealing with the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Government.

The Atomic Veterans were forced to take legal action against the U.S. Government and the U.S. Justice Department stepped in and judged in favor of the Atomic Veterans.

There were over 40 atomic tests performed at Enewetak Atoll. Operation Sandstone’s X-Ray Day Nuclear Device was the first to be tested at Enewetak Atoll.

Our Mission was to clean the debris left behind by this nuclear test and the rest of the bombs that detonated and left radioactive fallout on the islands and in the lagoon at Enewetak Atoll.

Briefing Summary

  • Enewetak Atoll Atomic Test #1
  • Manhattan Project Test #4
  • U.S. Atomic Bomb #6
  • Date: 4/14/1948
  • Time: 18:16:59.0
  • Operation: Sandstone – DOE – Department of Energy
  • Test: X-Ray

  • Sponsor: LANL – Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Location: West Tip of Engebi aka Janet Island, Enewetak Atoll
  • Latitude: 11.66276° N
  • Longitude: 162.23785° E

  • Surface Elevation: 200’ Tower
  • Type: Tower
  • Purpose: Weapons Related
  • Device: Mk-3 Type B Levitated
  • Yield Range: 37kt
  • Venting: I-131 venting detected, 140 kCi (5200 TBq) Note: 2:1 oralloy-plutonium, levitated core. Levitation was considered a top secret technique until 1980.

Documents:

Glossary:                            

  • DOE – Department of Energy
  • DOE/NV – Department of Energy, Nevada Operations Office
  • kt – 1kt = 1,000 tons of TNT. The total effective energy released in a nuclear explosion. It is usually expressed in terms of equivalent tonnage of TNT required to produce the same energy release in an explosion.
  • LANL – Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Tower – A nuclear device mounted at the top of a steel or wooden tower and exploded in the atmosphere.

National Association of Atomic Veterans, Inc. ( A Non-profit Veteran’s Assistance Organization ) is a group dedicated to help the 1944-1977 Atomic Veterans and, more recently, to help the 1977-1980 Atomic Cleanup Veterans. The NAAV’s website can be found at http://naav.com/

Their mission statement says: “NAAV  was founded in August, 1979 by the late Orville E. Kelly ( of Burlington, Iowa ) for the purposes of allowing the U. S. Atomic Veteran Community to speak, with a single voice, to their inability to get a fair hearing related to their developing ( radiogenic )  health issues  that may have been precipitated by their exposure to “ionizing” radiation while participating in a nuclear weapon test detonation, or a “post-test” event.   From the beginning, and to date, we continue to pursue our purpose to this dedicated cause.”

The NAAV also has an open access Facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/NationalAssociationofAtomicVeterans/

I’ve been a member of the NAAV’s Yahoo Group since 2009 and have learned much from their discussions at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/naav/info

Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Veterans Facebook Fan Page was created to publicly share historical information about the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission which is published here at AtomicCleanupVets.com. Our Facebook Fan Page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/AtomicCleanupVeterans

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.

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.

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.