Internet Places to reConnect with Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Veterans

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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 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.”

The internet has been a great help for those of us who lost touch with each other after the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission ended.

Even though we were ordered to not speak of our mission, I had a habit of searching for information about Enewetak as soon as the internet was opened for public access.

There was practically nothing I could find. At first.

Then something happened and that situation changed. The Clinton Administration ordered the Atomic Test Program documents to become unclassified in 1994. No longer were we required to keep our experiences and those classified documents a secret!

I started finding government documents and a website dedicated for Atomic Veterans. A few years later I found the Lojwa Animals Blog, then a few people through Classmates.com and most recently on Facebook.

The Facebook connections have been the best place I’ve found to keep in almost daily contact. We’ve shared stories, pictures and opinions about The Rock.

Our little private discussion group on Facebook started off with only three of us.

Gary Pulis, Richard Masculine and myself, Girard Frank Bolton, III. Both of them were actual Lojwa Animals. I was merely an Enewetak Pencil Pusher in the 84th Engineering Battalion’s S-3 Operations Department.

Gary Pulis created the Facebook group two years ago today so we could privately talk about our TDY tours at Enewetak Atoll. Since then, Richard Masculine passed away in November of 2013. He has been missed by all who befriended him.

Richard was a great asset to our group, was well liked by other cleanup participants and enlightened many of our group members about the health issues connected to radiation exposure and the challenges to expect in dealing with getting VA health assistance.

Personally, I am impressed with the growing number of places on the internet where we can reconnect and share information. I am so impressed, that I felt compelled to share those places with our website’s viewers.

There are two distinct groups connected with Enewetak Atoll. Firstly, there are groups associated with the soldiers who participated in the 1944-1977 Pacific Proving Grounds Atomic Test Program. Secondly, there are groups associated with the 1977-1980 Atomic Cleanup Veterans who cleaned up the radioactive contaminated debris left behind from over 40 detonations on Enewetak Atoll.

However, I will begin with a third group of activists whose sole purpose is to help toxic exposed veterans and their families. Their posts revolve around supporting legislation which will help all veterans with health challenges.

The Military & Dependent Environmental Hazard Group is an open access Facebook Group with 1,108 members strong at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AOACLBG/

They describe themselves as a “Military & Dependent Environmental Hazard Group where you can access all kinds of important information in our “Files” section (just below the main photo). This is where you can find a list of benefits for veterans & spouses, how to file a compensation and pension claim, a list of contaminated bases, chemical exposure info, VA & TRICARE health care regulations, groups that support our members, mental health information, and much much more. Thank you for joining our group and please invite your friends and family members who may have been exposed on one of the over 130 contaminated bases here in the U.S. and around the world.”

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

About us: “Veterans of the 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Mission are looking for Surviving Army, Navy, Air Force, Government Personnel and Contractors.” Or more specifically as stated on our website: “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.”

Atomic Radiation Veteran’s Clean-Up Veteran’s Facebook Group was created this morning, the 4th of July, as an open access group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AtomicVeteran.2/

Mission Statement: “To Provide Information, Photos, Experiences, Contact Politician’s, Museums, News Agencies, Contributing Private Party Individuals, Family Members and Groups to Raise Awareness Concerning Exposure to Ionizing Radiation, Depleted Uranium, Cesium, Beryllium and other Hazardous or Toxic Substances to Military and DOD Contractors. Anyone Exposed by the United States Government. “We turn No One Away”. Open To All Groups Under These or Similar Circumstances.”

Enewetak Atoll Clean-up Project Vets. was created with three members as a closed Facebook group on Independence Day in 2012. It can be found with its 166 members on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/120395714769077/

Mission Statement: “A place for United States Military Veterans,their family and civilians involved in the clean-up of Enewetak Atoll, to share their stories, pictures and to exchange information. This group was started for Veterans and their families. No political postings/comment that are not directly related to our work towards obtaining benefits will be permitted. They will be removed by one of the admins as soon as they are seen. This group was started on July 4, 2012.”

Lojwa Animals Blog was the second website I found after I found the older, now-closed, Atomic Veterans History Website. I’m not sure when the 2006 Lojwa Animals blog was last updated, maybe 2009, but you can find it at http://lojwaanimals.blogspot.com/

Lojwa Animals also has a Facebook Page that appears to have been created and abandoned in 2011. You can view it at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lojwa-Animals/121623434580279

I encourage all Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans and anyone else interested in the 1977-1980 mission to join, like and follow all the groups and bookmark all the websites which interests you. I find value in each group and website I’ve listed. I know you will find them valuable as well.

Hope your Fourth of July Celebrations are memory builders! Happy Independence Day!

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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.

Photos complements of Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Veteran Al Gettier a fan of Atomic Cleanup Veterans and a Facebook group member at Enewetak Atoll Clean-up Project Vets.