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.”

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.”

Photos from Ken Kasik – A Lojwa Animal

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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 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.”

On April Fool’s Day this year, Ken Kasik mailed me a couple of discs with his photo memories of living at the Lojwa Island Base Camp. He was a government contract civilian who ran the Lojwa PX during our Atomic Cleanup Mission.

I posted his photos on Facebook soon after I received them, but was recently reminded that they were not yet on our website.

That error has been corrected as of this post. You will not be disappointed. Ken was able to capture the hard work his friends in the military performed, as well as the more relaxed off duty R&R times.

 

Before you take a look at the photos Ken Kasik shared, I want to take a moment to tell you that Ken has taken a deep interest in military veterans who have struggled with getting health challenges taken care of by the Veterans Administration.

He has personally suffered health challenges and knows first hand what others are going through. That is why he maintains close ties with politicians in Hawaii to change the law in favor of Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans becoming classified as veterans who had “at-risk” exposure to radiation instead of “occupational” exposure.

Because of Ken’s efforts, on Monday, the 2nd of November 2015, Congressman Mark Takai (1st District of Hawaii) introduced “H.R. 3870: Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act” which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Please let your Federal Representatives know you want them to co-sponsor or vote yes on the bill.

In the meantime, take your time enjoying Ken Kasik’s photos and share your thoughts in the comments area.

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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.

Work Performed Survey 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 November 22nd 2015, we have 330 responses to our survey.

321 responded to the item: “Lived on Island.” 198 said Lojwa and 123 replied Enewetak. The remaining 9 (of the 330) respondents did not reply to the question.

During the three year Atomic Cleanup Mission, the majority of the 8,000+ Atomic Cleanup Mission’s workers lived on Lojwa Island. The Mission’s Headquarters was located on Enewetak Island.

Here is how many of the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans answered the inquiry: “Description of work performed at Enewetak Atoll.” Respondent names have been omitted for privacy reasons. And some information has been edited to maintain confidential information.

  • Coxswain (Boat Driver) for the Navy’s MK-8 craft. Carried personnel from Island to Island along with hauled Vehicles and Contaminated Materials out to dumping site middle of Atoll. Did wear Chem suits (gray) with airpacs from time to time while hauling contaminated materials to dump site in Atoll.
  • Worked in motor maintenance platoon on Enewetak as a welder.
  • Served with Jimmy Clem and the Body Snatchers as a Medic.
  • Engineer Mesh-2 , an old LCU boat with a modified well deck used to transport “hot soil” from the northern islands to Runit.
  • Coxswain for MK-8.
  • Removed debris and hauled it to Runit.
  • Performed work as an electrician on board Landing Craft Utility, LCM boat and other small boat. Provided preventive maintenance and repairs to the various electrical systems.
  • ENEWETAK CLEANUP OPERATION – POWER PLANT OPERATOR. I RAN THE FOUR GENERATORS TO SUPPLY POWER TO THE ISLAND.
  • Radiological support.
  • I ran dozers and front-end loaders my whole time there along with a road grader every once in a while. As with most others, we were never told of the dangers of our mission nor were we given any sort of protective gear. Not even a simple paper mask. I breathed in all sorts of dust and who knows what else. I must say being on Enewetak was the best and worst duty I ever had. The best due to the team work, operating time and relaxed atmosphere we worked in, the worst due to what we were exposed to and our governments continued refusal to assist us with our health issues and coming forth with the truth about our exposure.
  • Construction.
  • During the above time frame of “Tour # 1”, I was stationed onboard USS Okinawa (LPH3) in the Western Pacific. Our task group pulled into the lagoon at Enewetak two different times, for a total period of about 1 week. The ships off-loaded equipment, vehicles and supplies and on-loaded equipment and vehicles (probably broken). I don’t know which island we were close to but I do remember standing on the flight deck looking and seeing one small building and one palm tree and wondering why the people wanted to move back. I cannot tell you the exact dates I was there but I’m sure that whatever records the Army kept would reflect the times Okinawa and her escorts were there.
  • Radio maintenance, Nav-Aids maintenance, telephone operator.
  • Service and repairs on the diamond reo cement mixers.
  • Assigned to Taxi boats, as well as with the EOD dive boat.
  • Operated batch plant, pumped slurry into crater.
  • I was an Amphibian Operator of a LARC-60 Our vehicle was loaded with contaminated debris and we delivered to the dump site that was instructed to us.
  • Dropped of workers on their respective Islands on our way to Boken where we would pick up a 60 ton dump truck fully loaded with soil and take it to Runit where we would off load and wait for the dump truck to come back and we’d head back to Boken to do it all again at the end of the day we would pick up anybody that needed a ride back to Lowjoa.
  • Crane operator.
  • POL.
  • Worked on Enewetak as mechanic, keeping all the vehicles running. Specialized on the RTL -10 forklifts. Worked with a great group of brothers.
  • Worked 6 days a week for 7 months. Found human Bones/remains on Island Janet.
  • Team Chief for the 309th Trans Det. Fwd. Prov. attached to Co. A 84th ENG BN. Maintenance for the 4 LARCs assigned to the project. Other duties as assigned.
  • Supported power generation and motorized in maintenance shop on Enewetak.
  • Acting Adjutant for Lowja S-1. Was ordered LAST MAN OUT from Lowja during Typhoon Mary. Call sign LOWJA 1. Preformed all type of administrative duties in support of Army, Navy, Air Force and civilian personnel. Performed duties as Tax Officer. Learned to use bucket loader and went out with surveyors to neigboring islands. Also, got shit burning detail before the toilets were put in.
  • Surveyed and staked the ring wall on the Crater and also staked 25 meter grids across several northern islands.
  • All the fun stuff and then some!
  • Mechanic. Repaired trucks & dozers.
  • 1SG.
  • LARC60 Amphibian crewman.
  • Poured concrete used cutting torches to cut metal out of beaches.
  • I was a squad leader of a construction crew. We cleared land framed pads for tents and then buildings for the base camp on Lojwa. Also ran the generators and set up the power station for Lojwa.
  • Arrived as part of the advanced party, flew on the UH1H helicopters doing fly overs of each of the islands at about 100 feet with test equipment on board that was supposed to measure and map out the contaminated areas. They were all contaminated. Flew Medivac and search and rescue missions. Perform other duties as assigned. Visited most of the islands by boat to conduct more test and recover equipment. Ate Prime Rib every Wednesday night in the mess hall. I must say the food there for us was damn good.
  • Driving Truck General Labor Jackhammer Operator.
  • Repaired work boats.
  • Executive officer Runit. Day to day operations of Runit. Right hand of CO.
  • Member of First Combat Platoon, Rock and Re-Bar. Removed any and all man made substance from the island of Enjubi (Janet). Most was hand lifted, hand carried either to the bucket loader on 5 ton truck. We also unearthed many unexploded ordinances from the WWII Battle of Enewetak on the island of Enjebi.
  • Checked personnel, equipment, and various other things to ensure that appropriate radiation protection measures were being utilized. Took monthly trips by whaler to outlying islands and placed dosimeters and radiation badges on the islands to check the levels of radiation on them. Also assisted the University of Hawaii with a testing of the tideal runs around the islands.
  • Worked at J-2, Radiation Control. Documented readings of thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs) for historical records.
  • Concrete Forming Crew on the Cactus Crater, Security guard on Lojwa, Sealed Up concrete bunkers on various islands.
  • UH-1H Medevac Helicopter Pilot.
  • Drove imp for EG&G. Set up IMP at grids on islands to take radiation readings. Also did readings on samples brought back to Lojwa by EG&G personnel. I believe the picture on your site of the IMP and driver is me, possibly when the army took me and Dick Connerton to Belle by army LARC.
  • Started out running the MARS station on Lojwa in April of ’78 and was moved to Enewetak sometime around September of ’78, to A Co and worked in the motor pool until I left in march of ’79.
  • Calibrated Radiac equipment that was used to measure the exposure level of the troops working on Runit.
  • Company B = Used explosives to blow up big pieces of concrete into little pieces. Removed concrete & re-bar by hand. Company A = Cleared screening machine that was dumping debris into the crater.
  • Welder / Body Fender work.
  • Worked at the rock crusher for a while then to the crater and the track drill.
  • Radioactive debris pickup. Cactus Crater placement.
  • Wrecker operator, TAMMS Clerk, Mechanic.
  • I was the battalion mail clerk for the 84th. I was responsible for the movement of all the mail and to provide mail services to all of Enewetak’s army personnel. In support of our troops, I traveled to all areas of the atoll where our men were located. I would prefer to take one of the helicopters when I could, but I spent many a long day traveling by mike boat. Included in the job was taking care of the nightly movies and the equipment.{all 16mm reels} Since the mail came only once a week on the Tuesday resupply C-141, I helped out in other areas where it was needed.The MARS station was good spot to hang out since it was one of the few areas that had a/c.
  • Started as LCM Boat Engineer and ended as Engine Shop Leading Petty Officer & Head Troubleshooter.
  • I was initially assigned to Lojwa upon arrival in the Marshall Island. Once we cleaned up and shut down Lojwa, I was redeployed to Enewetak where I served with the Navy boat crews ferrying personnel, vehicles, equipment, and supplies between the islands.
  • Admin and Day to Day duties on Runit.
  • BM-1 Craftmaster LCU-1552 (MESH III), Inter-island hauler of personnel, equipment, radiated soil and debris.
  • Crane operator on a barge in the middle of lagoon.
  • Engine-man.
  • Worked on board a warping tug with three Causeways. I was TAD there from ACB-1 from Cornado Ca.. While there the duties performed was transporting equipment to various islands in the atoll. On one occasion I sunk on this tug while transporting it to the Holmes and Narver Pier for demolition. At the age of 26 I started having issues with my legs. I was diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease. Also several breathing issues, Heart Disease with Bypass surgery at 36 years old.
  • Build the five hundred man base camp.
  • Serviced Aircraft and area with fuel. Provided fuel support to other islands as well.
  • Varied responsibilities as member of the (J-3) Joint Task Group Operations Center as Sr Draftsman/illustrator. Drafted radiological maps that guided the US Army Element as they excised radiation-contaminated soil and provided illustration support for command briefings. As Joint Task Group Operations Radio Operator assumed air/ground radio control responsibilities which included all MAC flights, Army Helicopters and international ship traffic and telephone operator for the Joint Task Group. In addition, as “Charlie One” broadcasted all “Fire in the hole” and “All Clear” signals.
  • Opened cement bags all day long.
  • Construction of base camp and utility systems on Lojwa.
  • Spent a couple of days there in 1977 offloading equipment and personnel as part of a WESTPAC cruise.
  • I D Hot Spot Air Sample Collections Work with Army Engineer’s with clean up of Specific Hot Spots.
  • Supported the Command Group with all administrative support. Of note, prepared the Early Resettlement Letter.
  • I was a squad leader pouring the slabs on the crater. Also the Squad leader elected to pour the last slab at the top of the crater to complete the capping of the crater.
  • Drove dump truck hauled dirt from the LARC to Runit.
  • Operator of the Army’s LARC-60 Ton Amphibian Vehicle. Carried contaminated debris to dumping site.
  • During WestPac, we visited Enewetak twice. First in August and returned in January. We assisted with the cleanup mission by removing metal materials from the island by boat which was loaded by hand. Transferred the metals by hand onto our ship. This took several days to load. Weeks later while underway, we dropped the stern gate and dumped all of it at sea. We repaired damaged boats on the island. Many needed welding. Many sailors refused to work sitting in protest on the flight deck. They were angry we were in radioactive waters and this material was being brought on board while already being exposed to asbestos everywhere on the ship.
  • Platoon Leader for 3rd Shop, A Company. We performed all the heavy maintenance of Wheeled Vehicles and Engineer Equipment for all elements of the 84th Engineer Battalion on the Enewetok Atoll. We also maintained all the Generators and sent contact trucks to the various work sites throughout the Atoll. We supported the LARCs detachment, the Air Force and the Navy.
  • Engineer on Maggie 2 – transported personnel for clean up work from Enewetak to the Islands of Janet, Medren, Runit and Lojwa, transporting contaminated soil and debris from various Islands to Runit. Transported heavy Equipment from Enewetak and Lojwa to various Islands for clean up work. Engineer on Water Taxi – transported personnel to various Islands. Fireman on LCU’s.
  • We took care of transportation of equipment around the atoll.
  • Water beach clean, up transported vehicles to different islands,put in causeway section pier.
  • Prepared crater for capping of cement and blasting of coral reef.
  • Clean up scrap metal and old buildings. Blew up barge slip, etc.
  • -For all landing craft (LCU, LCM, Boston Whaler)-Electrician (EM) and Inner Communication (IC) operation and maintenance senior lead. Navy Work Center Supervisor for EM, IC and Electronic Technician Navy Rates. Joint Services troubleshooting and repair electrician (Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard & Atomic Energy Commission). Core member Typhoon Recovery Cleanup Crew. Weekly inspection and repair as needed of all naval navigation lights throughout the Atoll. Under Army direction Enewetak Joint Services Motion Picture Projector Operator and Maintenance (Navy NEC-4613).
  • Removed approx. 7-10 inches of hot topsoil from island of Lojwa and transported by 5 ton dump trucks which were driven on to LCUs and taken to the island of Runit and dumped into a large crater.
  • Military Police Duties.
  • I drove visitors from island to island on a Boston 22′ whaler with twin Johnson 70hp engines.
  • Radiation protection training, radiation exposure monitoring.
  • Went to Enjebi (Janet) every day started up the equipment and worked on the trucks and dozers and equip that broke down I drove the service truck.
  • Aircraft Turbine Engine Repairman, kept those UH-1H, Hueys flying. In addition we had to constantly monitor all the aircraft flights with flight following. Whenever the Hueys were in the air we maintained constant contact with them by radio and log in their position around the atoll. At times we’d get a bit concerned while they were on the northern end of the atoll at low altitude and we lost radio contact for more then 15 min.
  • Repaired Equipment, on Lojwa and Enjebi and Bokin islands.
  • S-1 Clerk, courier to Lojwa for various documents, mail, supplies. Backup admin for outlying islands. Other duties as assigned.
  • I ran landing craft to dump sites from island to island and equipment.
  • Worked at support maint shop repairing heavy equipment using a contact truck called 8 ball maintence. I was stationed on Enewetak for 19 months.
  • Operations NCOIC for B Company, 84th Engrs.
  • Set up base camp, built tin huts-power plant and many other buildings and poured tons of concrete for huts.
  • Processed all defective cleanup vehicles, and parts for return to states and replacement.
  • Removed underwater “junk”, tanks and other metal objects from the bay, and blew up various objects to include beached and rusting ship bows on Island reef.
  • Vessel Master of an US Army LARC-60 Amphibian Vehicle. Carried contaminated debris on amphibian to a designated dumping site.
  • Worked on Cactus crater dome.
  • Air sampler repair, resupply, other duties as assigned.
  • Prepared construction documents for Lojwa Base Camp buildings and infrastructure. Prepared construction documents for the Atomic Debris Containment Structure known as the Cactus Dome on Runit Island. Prepared charts, graphs, and critical path method schedules for construction and cleanup operations. Updated the Joint Task Group’s operations board after collecting man-hours, equipment-hours and contaminated materials transportation reports from Lojwa and Runit Executive Officers. Scheduled helicopter flights between Enewetak, Lojwa and other islands. Provided mail clerk duties for the 84th Engineer Battalion on Enewetak Island and Lojwa Island.
  • Rock Crushing, Reef Drilling and Blasting, 20 Ton Dump Truck Operator, Cactus Dome Key Wall Builder.
  • Crew on LARCs delivering troops to islands and hauling dump trucks with contaminated soil, such as Ionizing radiation, out to barge to be unloaded by excavator.
  • Operated electric generating power plant on Lojwa.
  • Engineer on Maggie 2 , transported contaminated soil and debris from several different Islands, Medren, Janet, to Runit, transported Personnel working on clean up, mostly Army from Enewetak to Lojwa and Runit . Engineer on water taxis’- transported personnel from Enewetak to Lojwa. Fireman on LCU’S- transported heavy equipment to Islands for clean up work on Lojwa and Runit and back to Enewetak. Transported contaminated soil and debris to Runit. Transported personnel working on clean up to Lojwa and Runit.
  • Ran the Power Plant on Lojwa. Sometimes, we would perform repairs on generators on other islands if needed. On my tour, I do not remember the exact dates. I traveled a lot for my job.
  • Whaler Coxswain.
  • Construction supervisor, managed heavy equipment operations.
  • Boat engineer on Mike boat. ( Maggie 5). Mostly transporting troops and equipment from Enewetak to Lojwa and Enjebi.
  • Bull dozer operator, and poured concrete.
  • Member of Advanced Party. Clear the island of Lowja of vegitation and start building the 500 man base camp for regular party to follow. Carpenter work and helped tie det cord for blasting coral away for foundation of water purification and electrical generation plant.
  • Legal Clerk and Admin NCO for all military services on atoll. Unofficial Military Photographer. VIP escort and MWO boat operator. Spent time on all items and documented progress on crypt. Also worked with University of Hawaii as support diver and underwater photographer.
  • Demolition on concrete structures on different and fuel tank on beach. Was put on concrete ship to blow it up then they decide to keep it was close we had the c 4 on it . Drove cement truck on Runit filling in the crater.
  • Participated in the air, cargo and mail operations, as well as air terminal operations on Enewetak Atoll for the USAF element. Lived and worked at the Air Terminal, along with US Army personnel sharing the hut at the airfield. Processed all mail, cargo and passengers onto, and off the island for two TDY terms.
  • Carpenter.
  • Operated tool room for approximately one month, operated fuel point on Lojwa for one month, construction equipment repair on Runit rest of tour.
  • Worked in Mess Hall.
  • First tour: I was in charge of the first joint Army-Navy team to move aggregate from the stockpile on Enjebi (Janet) to Lojwa Island (Ursula) for use in the construction of the forward base camp. Our work began on 8 April 1977 under my supervision (Chief Boatswain’s Mate Roger Black). During the week my team and I camped out on Enjebi and utilized the facilities of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory’s trailer (mainly for cooking). We lived in a tent by the trailer. We anchored the Landing Craft (LCM-8) off the beach of Enjebi at night and swam ashore. We generally made two (2) runs a day from Enjebi to Lojwa with the well deck of the LCM loaded with Aggregate. Second tour: I was the Naval element Assistant Officer-in-Charge. I was also the Craftmaster of Mash-3 an Army Landing Craft Utility (125 foot LCU). I assisted in the transportation of material (Bulk Haul) from the clean up site to Runit (Yvonne) or to dump site’s in the lagoon. I was also part of the atoll evacuation during the typhoon of late December 1977. I moved over 300 Plus personnel (Army, Navy, Air Force) from Lojwa to Enewetak in the well deck of my LCU at night, during a very heavy rain. After most of the atoll personnel were evacuated from Enewetak to Guam, 25 selected personnel (of which I was one of them) stayed on the Atoll during the typhoon. We were there to clean the runway, of any debris, so that aircraft would be able to land when personnel returned. I am mentioned by name on page 152 of the book “The Radiological Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll” by the Defense Nuclear Agency, Washington D.C. of 1981.
  • Lojwa Animal. Crew aboard the LARC-60 amphibious watercraft. Removed contaminated debris from various Islands and hauled to Runit. I was there for the final draw down phase and capping. I may be a little off on my assigned dates.
  • Supply, truck driving, handling small debris.
  • Loaded aircraft including radioactive samples.
  • I was mechanic work on everything. Lojwa Animal.
  • Concrete Crew Cement finisher.
  • Rock and Rebar Crew. Main focus Enjebi.
  • Power plant operator and water distillation plant operator.
  • Military Police. Was on Lojwa investigating several incidents. Plus, was on Enewetok.
  • Ran the MARS Station from April until August. Extended because they could not find a replacement for me for another tour, sometime in September I was moved to Enewetak and worked in the main telephone exchange building and ended up in the A co motor pool until I left in Mar of 1979.
  • On Lojwa. Started in the Engine shop the to Maggie 8. Closed Lojwa moved to Enewatak. Transferred from Maggie’s to LCU’s before leaving Enewatak.
  • Power Plant Operations and Mechanic.
  • Operated 5 cubic yard bucket loader unloading soil boats; operated D-8 dozer pushing up blast rock on the reef and other D-8 tasks like trying to remove key wall sections that were deemed out of place; helped set up quarry and demo blasts and worked on the rock crusher. Was on the crew that demobilized Lojwa in October 1979.
  • Building Base Camp – My assignment was over the squad installing plumbing in the mess hall.
  • Base camp construction 500 man.
  • Nuclear cleanup.
  • Repair of all power generation (3KW-100KW), welding (Lincoln), heavy construction (D8, 440 grader etc) equipment.
  • Cleaned up waste. Capped the crater.
  • I drilled holes in the coral to blow it up to make concrete.
  • Advance party 1st co. To go. Built huts to live in.
  • Cleanup debris on Enewetak and Medren.
  • 62B20. Worked on heavy equipment on Runit. Was shop NCOIC while there.
  • Squad leader under Pappy John Statton, SSG. Several 20T International Dumps and a few cranes operated by Lobo and Chico. It was a great experience there, with lots of great friends. I am currently contracting in Afghanistan and this week found out a friend of mine here was also TDY to Enewetak. His name is Miguel Rubio III and he was on the main island from late ’78 to mid ’79. I retired from the Army with almost 28 years and Enewetak is one of my better memories! I still think of the islands whenever I smell wet canvas…
  • Bustin’ pots and sweepin’ floors. Also, feeding the Animals.
  • Operator of Lojwa Power Plant consisting of four Caterpillar D-398 Generator sets operating at 500KW each at 4160 Volts AC, including Caterpillar Switch-gear.
  • Drink beer. EOD disposing of lots of WWII ordnance Drink beer Radiation air monitoring, decon and sample taking. Blew coral away to make channels for boats into various islands. Drink beer Called bingo once a week. Got in trouble for taking a bath one night in the medics water buffalo. Got in trouble for sneaking diving gear on to Runit and diving in one of the craters.
  • Hauled topsoil from Janet to Runit on Maggie 9. Orange LCM 8. Then on Maggie 3 LCM 8 on Enewetak hauling personnel and towing barges out to the middle of the lagoon to off load metal and debris.
  • Mixing concrete and building tin huts.
  • Maintained and repaired Air sampler units used on contaminated islands being cleaned up.
  • Was C company commander for the first 6 months and then operations officer forward on Lojwa.
  • Build the Five hundred man base camp on Lojwa.
  • Operated bucket loader removing hard debris and soil from various islands for disposal. As a combat engineer, was also involved in several demolition projects.
  • Everything heavy junk to picker and operator.
  • Base Camp Construction.
  • Equipment Mechanic at Lojwa.
  • Medical corpsman, going to the different islands every day. Worked with rec department. Had a band and performed at the em club, and the USO Show.
  • Anchored off Runit/Cactus Crater for refit operations of Lojwa lCM-8 in our welldeck lpd-8 dubuque after well deck operations tighten down jet fuel jp-5 tank tops in our well-deck lpd-8 with torque wrench put hands in radioactive sand from craft and water from lagoon off runit/cactus crater as well craft brought sand and radioactive water in welldeck had two tours of clean-up on repairing lcm-8 from runit/cactus crater! Sept 18 to 20 and again after typhoon came through off runit nov14 to 19 1978! also conducted flight operations to other ships in clean-up!
  • Radiation monitoring of personnel and equipment.
  • I was a AF Medic from Hickam AFB, Hi. Originally assigned to medical support on Lojwa and worked with SSgt Steve and Capt (Dr) Davis. Then after only a month, I had to escort Army Capt. F. Brown on an emergency Medivac (he ended up have severe appendicitis) back to Tripler Army Hosp. I returned a week later, however because there needed to be at least 3 people to see and treat the patients on Lojwa, they had someone to take my place, so I remained on Enewetak and worked with Maj. (Dr) Means and the rest of the AF staff in the main clinic. I did a lot of snorkeling (esp LOVED the U of Hawaii’s reef farm where I had my first close encounter with a black tip reef shark), swimming, working out at the gym, played softball on a great team (I was the pitcher) and of course….SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!!!! I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any exposure related issues, just a lot of Basal Cell skin problems. It’s great finding this site and even found an old Army buddy that I befriended there, I just now contacted after all of these years. Good luck to all of my fellow Vets….Army, AF and Navy (I have to include those civilians that made life a wee bit better….food service, scientists and other civilians).
  • I flew UH-1H “Huey” helicopters on administrative, MEDIVAC, and search and rescue flights around Enewetak Atoll.
  • Worked on Medren picking up metal debris from the beaches and around the island. Lived on Enewetok. Second tour lived on Lojwa and worked on Runit driving a cement mixer from the batch plant to the crater, and worked security on Lojwa in the evenings.
  • When I first arrived, I was in HHC 84th Engr Bn. I worked at the warehouse (where the short pants, jungle boots, and boonie caps were issued to newbees. After 2 weeks I transferred to B Co, 84th Engr on Lojwa. I was the supply clerk for B Co. until B Co. finished cleaning the islands up north. I believe it was late July when B. Co closed down. A Co. remained on Lojwa as they finished the cap on the Runit crater. I left Lojwa to rejoin Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC) and worked in the Battalion S-4 office until I left in October. A group of us from Enewetak went to Runit three different times for a daylong ‘police call’ cleaning up the reef of rebar and steel fragments, etc. I was on Runit the day the center section was poured to finish the crater cap.
  • Traveled from Lojwa to other hot islands for clean up. Worked to build storage building for concert for dome. Also worked in rec area teaching photography development. Other duties as requested to do.
  • Took contaminated soil to lagoon by LCM-8 boats.
  • Landing craft troop support.
  • Cleaned up Meridian for 4 months; worked on concrete dome area at Runit for 2 months.
  • Quarry and asphalt paving. Drill and Blasting Section as well. Specialist responsible for Operation of all Crushers, Generators and Batch Plant operations and all related equipment. Worked with Holmes & Narver Specialist trouble shooting and putting into operation the Batch Plant, constructing the generating shed wiring up all related equipment and supervising the 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, carry what was HOT to the crater & throw it in, detonate all old ordinance at the end of the day when not in operation at the plant. Policing area of HOT junk and making 270 loads of hot concrete a day at peak production times.
  • 20 ton Junk driver. Hauled off debris.
  • I started out running the 5YD bucket loader on Runit, unloading ‘hot’ soil boats. Was reassigned to the quarry running the D8K dozer pushing up the blast rock plus whatever else they wanted the D8 to do, like removing key wall sections because someone didn’t think the key wall was round. Also worked on the rock crusher, took part in setting up quarry blasts on the reef and demo blasts. I was on the demobilization party for Lojwa. Lived 9 months on Lojwa and 3 months on Enewetak. I also have the experience of almost sinking a LARC by pushing debris out of it with a D7 in the middle of the lagoon. Don’t know whose idea it was, but it was exciting.
  • Radiological controls, assisted Scientist on northern islands.
  • Billeting NCO, Accounting NCO.
  • E-4 (Specialist 4th Class) Communications Installation/Repair and Operator w/Crypyprographic, 84th Engineer Bn., Schofield Barracks, Hi., Attached from 426th Signal Bn, IVIII Airborne Corps, Ft Bragg, N.C. February 1978 through August 1978. Assisted (by order) to travel to various islands for clean-up operations. Handled various debris, found underwater mine field off Lojwa. Stationed on LOJWA BASE CAMP. AKA Lojwa Animal. Also employed by Holmes and Narver as Bartender for the Lojwa Sandcastle. Only eight days remaining In-Service upon leaving Islands.
  • Operated concrete pump-pumped contaminated concrete into crater that was capped.
  • Advanced party of 37. Built 500 man base camp at Lojwa.
  • I was an M.P. assigned to the joint task force.
  • Repair and maintenance of air samplers, both aboard landing craft and on shore; inventory and maintenance of the air sampler repair facility; resupply of materiel used on the island; other duties as assigned.
  • Supervised the construction of the high voltage electrical power distribution grid for the island of Lojwa.
  • Drove erma /troop truck around Lojwa & across causeway to next island. Wore ducksuits on top of buildings on Janet ( ran jackhammers in the sun) then cleanup to drop debris in ocean.
  • Ran the pneumatic tools, explosives, retrieval of contaminated debris to load on lark, construction, vehicle maint.
  • Rock and rebar crew.
  • We helped the workers who were stationed there. We helped repair their boats and gave them supplies. We also played them in a softball game.
  • I was a medic at the clinic, providing medical care/support, also did food inspections at the dining hall.
  • Drove 20 ton dump truck. Moved contaminated soil from Enjebi and another island to Runit. Trucks were transported by the Navy boats to Runit. Once on Runit, we dumped the soil into a pile and then it was prepared to be mixed with concrete and added to the crater, created by a bomb blast from the past. I remember that the Air Force were the guys monitoring us as we came out of the hot zone. I came out hot once and was told to go rub dirt on my yellow boots and to remove my mask and throw it in the trash. I don’t remember wearing a radiation monitoring badge.
  • Removal of debris mean high tide line and out. Diving operations as needed.
  • Mechanic.
  • Operated Michigan bucket loader. Unloaded boats with contaminated sand coming from other islands at Runit into dump trucks to be mixed with cement and taken to the crater area .
  • I just dug holes with my back over the defense nuclear agency and I also work a bulldozer and then in great all and dump trucks hi haul dirt wherever needed to go pick up rocks good manual labor did whatever I was told.
  • Dozer operator.
  • Heavy equipment operator, demolition of bunkers, form construction, part time sailing instructor.
  • Hauled soil from northern islands to Runit.
  • Repaired Heavy equipment and trucks. Operated Wrecker and heavy equipment at battalion motor pool. Lived in hooch at air strip.
  • The loading and unloading of materials and supplies that the island used for ex. fuel, food, commissary items etc.
  • Poured Concrete Cleaned up Radioactive waste around the island.
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic/Tow Truck driver/Mailman.
  • Truck Driver.
  • Heavy Equipment Mechanic, repaired dozers, graders, bucket loaders, cement trucks either at the repair site on the southern end of Runit Island or using the service truck wherever the broken equipment was located, sometimes on the hot side of the line.
  • I was assigned to repair the fuel trucks and some M-series trucks.
  • Removed and relocated comms equipment, etc.
  • Demolition, Concrete form work driving 10ton dump trucks and general clean up.
  • My crew and I completed the Mess Hall and started the A Frame Chapel. We also had to maintain the maintenance on the hootches and other buildings on the island. When Typhoon Nancy arrived we had to basically start all over on the mess hall, because the roof was gone and also had to repair all the other roofs that were damaged from typhoon Nancy, which was Christmas Eve 1977. Back in Hawaii I was assign to B Co, 84th Engr Bn.
  • Provided electrical maintenance and repairs of various electrical system and equipment on assault craft unit one LCU’s and LCM’s 8 and other small boat.
  • Field Radiation Support Team Surveyed area and troops for radiation.
  • Police patrol duties. Crime and incident investigation and report completion. Dug into soil to fill sandbags during typhoon season to place around entrance of police station to prevent flooding. Sometimes dug as much as three feet into soil behind station.
  • Heavy Equipment maintenance and repairs. Shop NCOIC.
  • Worked mainly on Medren but went to several smaller islands by LARC.
  • I traveled to islands as a medic.
  • Ran heavy equipment in cleaning up tearing down deep water pier and what ever they wanted.
  • Demo with explosives. Then a cement bag buster on Runit.
  • Tore open those 90# sacks of freakin cement all day long!
  • Part of the crew that installed the 2 mW Power plant to provide power to the island.
  • Worked on Runit operating the concrete pump located at the edge of the bomb crater pumping the contaminated concrete into the crater.

As you can see from our roster survey, Atomic Cleanup Veterans’ work experiences ranged from laborers to heavy equipment operators, to the mechanics who kept things going, to the operations and administrative staffs, to the cooks in the mess hall, etc… all worked for a common goal.

We appreciate each and every Atomic Cleanup Veteran who helped our readers get a clearer view of our typical work experiences during 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.”

Veterans Administration Experiences Survey Report

Blacked out rad report

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 November 18th 2015, we have 327 responses to our survey.

274 responded to the question “Veterans Administration Health Assistance?” 83 said Yes, 20 replied Pending, 114 said “No assistance currently needed”, 57 replied “Other.” The remaining 53 (of the 327) respondents did not reply to the question.

Comments vary from good to bad, but here are how 274 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans answered the question: “Comments about your experiences with the Veterans Administration.” Respondent names have been omitted for privacy reasons. And some information has been edited to maintain confidential information.

  • I have only used the VA very few times, generally I was treated o.k.
  • I go to the one in Chillicothe, Ohio. I really haven’t tried to pursue anything from the radiation, I know I should.
  • Been in the system for about 6 years. I have no complaints. Just wish I made the connection between Enewetak and my health soon.
  • I’ve been treated fairly. I did have to wait almost 24 months for a decision about increasing my service connected disability rating. It finally came through in my favor.
  • I have filed a claim for disability (denied). I filed an appeal last year and they are still working on it. I am unable to work and life is difficult.
  • It’s usually a nightmare. The phone system is ridiculous and wait times for appts are long. Whenever I bring up issues about the island people ignore me and say they never heard of the island.
  • None
  • Only have benefits for the glaucoma
  • Poor
  • My claim for sleep apnea has been denied twice and I am searching for a link that it is a service connected.
  • Treated at VA for Diabetes. Starting treatment for Cancer. Treated by Kaiser for Kidney failure. On PD Dialisys.
  • No issues.
  • I do not go to the VA in Atlanta. I went and they asked questions about things that were not related to my illnesses. I felt this was an invasion of my privacy and do not go for treatment any more.
  • Most things are taken care of, they still deny any talk about radiation.
  • Not as favorable as I would like.
  • I use VA for service connected disability and have had no bad experiences that are worse than any other medical facility!
  • I have had no assistance with VA. According to the VA, we are not eligible until we have a service connected ailment.
  • Difficult getting them to provide the disability benefits but the VA health system is good.
  • I requested my military records, my medical records and my DD-214 from St Louis about a week ago and waiting to see what happens.
  • Have not had to deal with them.
  • They have been awesome.
  • Same smell “hurry up and wait.”. I let my doctor know about Enewetak.
  • Looked at by out source doctors paid for by VA but did not take in account of my service at Enewetok Atoll.
  • No claim has been filed
  • The only thing I ask for upon retirement was an annual radiation exposure evaluation. Never happened. Now have a 60% disability rating, and applied for disability for health challenges due to possible agent orange exposure during my combat tours in SEA. The VA is a perfect example of the non-politically correct term I coined to represent supervisors who have been elevated to their level of incompetency during their tenure with the U.S. Government, “rewarded incompetence!” Would have been nominated by my US Senators and Congressman for Secretary of the VA if we would not have been burdened with a second term by the person currently occupying the White House.
  • A refusal to accept valid proof of assignment and presence in the Marshall Islands even though UCMJ actions in records alone would prove my claim.
  • For the most part my experiences with the VA have been good.
  • None at this time.
  • At first I was denied health coverage. And after someone put a boot up their poop chute they started to take notice.
  • So far it has been good.
  • Good over all, no one have had a radiation survey on my health issue. They blame it on old age. Just retired from military in November 2014.
  • It would be nice to get a little assistance from the politicians of Indiana as opposed to being totally ignored.
  • Positive. No radiation problems but do get hearing aids from them. That is all.
  • I feel that the E-CUP Veterans are being treated like our brothers who fought the VA for acknowledgment on Agent Orange!!!
  • Did not really check into VA . Was under the impression that I did not qualify.
  • They take good care of me.
  • Once they was ordered to take action, they did.
  • Not recognized.
  • Frustrating at times.
  • Nonexistent.
  • NONE AT THIS TIME.
  • I use the VA facility in Temple, Texas. I think that their level of care is as good as I would get from a civilian provider. I make co-payments and I have no other insurance.
  • Difficult.
  • Don’t trust them any further than I can throw them.
  • Worked for them as a work study student loved it.
  • So far it has been good.
  • I have yet to enter a claim, I’ve heard terrible things and frankly don’t have the energy it stamina to fight with them. I’m unable to travel and due to severe pain I can get quite short tempered with BS!!
  • No help sent for exposure test results. They sent them back blacked.
  • For the most part the VA has been great. However, they seem not to be aware of our plight as Nuclear Clean-up Vets. Also, being charged co-pay for service connected conditions.
  • Been denied benefits because the clean-up is not on the list of Atomic Veteran list.
  • Just started.
  • I have never checked in with anyone. In talking with other Vets I am lead to believe I may be too late to apply for any help.
  • I have been one of the lucky people, I guess. The VA Hospital I go to is in Pensacola, FL and they seem to have taken pretty care of me for several other issues and service connected disabilities. I have tried to mention on multiple occasions to a physician while on one of my many visits about the deployment to Eniwetok Atoll and they tell me that they can only discuss what’s on the current visit request. I guess I need to request some sort of physical in the possible problems of that deployment.
  • It Sucked.
  • Good so far but extremely slow.
  • Never told I was eligible for treatment until 2006 when it became an emergency. Disabled due to line of duty back injury 10% in 1992. Have had problem with skin cancer since 1987 while still on active duty. Can’t get disability for that.
  • I have not been treated for exposure yet. Although, I have mentioned that I have been assigned to areas whereby toxicants may have been used, I have yet to be screen for them.
  • Currently only assist in medical problems that are related to service connected disabilities. Would not replace shoulder so went outside to civilian care. Currently hip needs to be replaced VA stated not enough arthritis but civilian doctor insist that hip needs to be replaced because injections are not working and pain is increasing. Currently taking pain medications not dispensed by VA.
  • Currently dealing with them for Agent Orange problems.
  • It took me 19 years of battles to get a settlement I was 40 % disabled after service because of the unexplained maladies got a 70% for PTSD and only rate 80% overall and 20 % for unemployable.
  • THEY SUCK!
  • They do not understand the Atomic Issues related to Enewetok cleanup.
  • I have many slide pictures of early Lojwa also two short super 8 films of early Lojwa.
  • None.
  • No experiences.
  • They would help they say but no money has been allocated.
  • Not at this time.
  • They want to deny everything.
  • All agree Islands have something to do with Health, but refuse to state it on paper.
  • I have had good care at the clinics. I have had Terrible care at the VA hospital. I am also being billed for co-pays. Should not have to pay these. I was delayed two and a half years by a doctor that kept trying to treat the left side of my body, when I kept telling her that the pain was on the right side. She never ran any tests and told me I had Diverticulitis. Two and a half years later, I just happened to be seen by another doctor. He sent me to emergency within three minutes of my exam for a emergency Colonoscopy. The next day I was in surgery having a Tumor removed. Then when my Oncology started at VA, they stopped all my scans, tests and check ups. The Doctor was rude and he told me that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was under the impression that my care officially stopped on that day. I left his office angry and I told him that I would not be back. I would seek private care. I then submitted a request for care outside the VA system with a doctor or facility that I choose. Feel that VA knows what they did to us, they ignore us and they are waiting for the ill ones to die. They save a few bucks for their bonuses. I am sick of being up to my neck in paperwork and having to send documents to twenty different places, all while waiting for the return of the document, just so I can include it in my case. Which has been denied twice now already and I am on my third appeal. This is Pure B.S. in my opinion. But overall, my entire family suffers and I feel that the DOD is responsible. I have a lot of proof, Nexus Letters etc. Everything seems to point to EXPOSURE.
  • Very poor at best!
  • I fought with the VA back in the 90’s and got nowhere.
  • Deliberately misdiagnosed, had to fight for care. Post diagnosis 2-1/2 year wait for doctor visit. Ignored gastrointestinal issues (cancer). Put on wait-list. Sexually assaulted by a VA female doctor on a grudge. I tried to report it 6 different times but was continually ignored. Sent to classes for PTSD, after third week denied further classes or help of any kind due to being classified as a non-combat veteran. No help with PTSD and no charges brought against doctor for sexual assault. Continually over medicated by VA doctors that no civilian doctor would ever allow. Medications continually counteracted against each other and no consideration for extreme weight loss post surgery. Same dosage level are currently being prescribed. Too many other issues to list. Continually denied disability claims. Continually charged exorbitant fee’s for medical and prescriptions.
  • Working on it.
  • Not had much.
  • They are in denial. We did not exist.
  • The VA @ Newington were very good to me. I am 100% disabled (Agent Orange) and unstable Knees from RVN. I did all the paperwork by myself, and the procedure went pretty well.
  • I am 20% disabled due to other injuries.
  • Most of my fellow patriots of the Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Mission served while in our US military and they have honorably received the Humanitarian Service Medal for their work in Enewetak. I am one on many civilians that also served and exposed myself to much of the same danger, hardships and the same radioactive exposures. This is the information about the civilian equivalent; “The Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service is presented by the Department of the Army to individuals who exemplified themselves with meritorious direct “hands-on” participation in an act or operation of a humanitarian nature. This award can be approved by any commander at the major Army command level or higher after the Secretary of Defense designates an operation or act to be of Humanitarian nature.” Any assistance or guidance would be appreciated, thanks.
  • I do not know if I qualify I have no private Health insurance I am Homeless and living with relatives my mother sister is letting live and board at her residence for now.
  • Negative.
  • Not understanding or helpful.
  • For about 20 years we here in Alaska had pretty good service with the VA. In the last couple years they had a problem keeping doctors up here. Seems like every time I had an appointment with a doctor it would get canceled because the doctor is no longer there. For the time being I’m being referred to a doctor in a local hospital.
  • Primary Care physician missed the opportunity to reevaluate low blood cell counts 4 months before Leukemia was discovered.
  • Broke both ankles one in Navy one in Army, tried to get compensation was refused. Also refused V.A. Card.
  • Tried to get my hearing problem rated, unsuccessful.
  • Don’t care about Enewetak Clean Up Project.
  • So far vary good. Diabetic and heart issues.
  • I have had private insurance for quite sometime but now that I am using the VA I am OK with them. But getting in to see a specialist takes some real patience and time. I do appreciate the way they care for me and its usually very thorough and appropriate. I am considering hearing aids as my left ear hearing is about gone and the right is taking a turn for the worse. damn hard to concentrate with the tinnitus. Very extremely annoying. From my days of never ending watches in the boiler rooms of US Navy warships.
  • Very good, helpful and prompt in health care, and review of VA claim, pending approval. Conducting a GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/forjeffrey to help while my VA and SSA claim are reviewed. Any help from fellow soldiers would be appreciated.
  • No contact yet.
  • Useless. Cannot get 2 aspirins from. They plea Category 8 to me.
  • I always get a new reason why I don’t qualify for benefits and/or treatment. I am currently disabled but my LTD Company, The Hartford, stopped my pay on 2-5-2014. So I went back to the VA and told them “OK, I didn’t qualify before because I made too much money now I make ZERO. They said I made too much last year so I still DO NOT QUALIFY!!!
  • Haven’t even tried.
  • VA assistance very poor.
  • Interesting enough; I have had very good experience with the Raleigh, NC CBOC and the Durham VA medical teams. The Durham VA shares many members of the medical team with Duke University hospital and therefore has excellent resources. I am recovering now from surgery to remove a cancer from my eyelid and they called in a plastic surgeon to make it look good. I have not tried for any disability or any other VA benefits so I cannot comment on that.
  • NO ISSUES.
  • All good to date.
  • Still fighting.
  • Have 80% service connected disability but nothing related to Enewetak, or Gulf War.
  • N/A.
  • So far all contact has been positive. Looking for copy of or original medical records for examination.
  • My experiences with the VA has been outstanding. I never had any trouble w/ the VA in Newington, CT. I have been retired from the US ARMY and I am 100% disable because of Agent Orange. I feel that the VA (depending where) are doing what they can with what they have. VA is like a big corporation and that is you will always have a group of bad apples.
  • Evasive.
  • The VA and the VA Health System still denies and delays any treatment for Atomic Poisoning from Eniwetok.
  • None. No experiences.
  • I was fairly lucky as I had limited dealings with the VA. The State of Florida (SoF) has state employees who work in their Dept of Vet Affairs. The first day I met with their Claims Examiner, I signed a power of attorney over to them and they became my go-between with the VA. I received one letter from the VA (even though they said they sent two) and all I did was call the SoF Claims Examiner and she answered everything. While I didn’t have any problems with the VA as I’ve heard of on the news, They did supposedly send me a letter (which I never got) which said I had 30 days to answer or my case would be closed. I happened to go on line and check the status of my claim, saw the status as “awaiting reply from claimant for more information” or something similar. I called the Claims Examiner on about day 25 and asked what they were waiting for. She told me the VA had sent a letter…etc…etc…etc…. the Examiner sent off the reply online.
  • Spinal cord clinic.
  • Was told these are not problems now.
  • No Problems.
  • Have had as good care with VA as I did at Kaiser, can’t complain at all I have 20% connection for tinnitus and hernia scars.
  • Claim pending but no recondition for this exposure.
  • Very slow at first then little better in last year (2014/15).
  • Turned down twice for service connected disability.
  • Currently 80%, VA service-connected total disabilty, for other health problems and various musculoskeletal bone diseases.
  • Been trying to deal with this going on 32 years they finally said after this long to grant me 80% percent but will except what I did at the atoll as we had no dose meter or badges but in my defense ships radiation detection equipment was not hooked up at the time! Our Captain worked for before taking command was Director of Plans and Policy, and Estimates for the Director of Naval Intelligence and the XO in 1977 reported aboard from Defense Nuclear Agency Field Office Albuquerque, New Mexico then left in the middle part of the cruise?? with all this command talent for nuke and cloak and dagger you would have thought we should have had badges and at least told US aboard hot nuke HOT it really was that WAS not told to us only that it was a ww2 battleground and a place just a small amount of testing went on !!! 43 NUKE TESTS IS NOT SMALL!! LIED TOO FROM THE START!!!
  • When applying for ionizing radiation claim, your file just sits for months and months, no action that’s why I resubmitted without this claim. Also when in the military I had routine quarterly, then semi annual, then annual check-ups and tumor registry followed me, the VA only checks if/when you ask and then only if you are aggressive.
  • Not that bad but don’t really seem to care about radiation things.
  • I am lucky to have one of the best VA healthcare facilities in the US available to me. I use the Lebanon Pa. Healthcare facility.
  • Mostly ok but they don’t really seem to concerned with radiation issues.
  • None yet.
  • They Suck!!!!! They have deaf ears…
  • Some good. Some bad.
  • Have to jump through hoops and threaten to go to local government officials like congressmen etc for assistance to get anything done.
  • I am currently rated at 90 percent disabled by the VA.
  • Have had good relations with VA in Idaho, and Washington regarding health care and medical issue review.
  • Still a work in progress.
  • Vermont had a heart attack in May of 2008, had no health insurance, was told I have to wait 3 days for a bed in a VA unit near Boston for my cardiac cath. Cardiologist in Vermont didn’t think I should wait 3 days so I elected to go to Albany Medical Center which I had to pay for. In Maryland I fell and hurt my back. Waited 3 days to get to see my doctor. He have me meds. After a week still in pain he said I could drive 2 hours to Baltimore to get an X-ray. I fractured L1 vertabrae.
  • Very slow.
  • Didn’t feel the need to see them.
  • READ POST ON PAGE THEY HELP MEDICALLY JUST THAT ONLY AS FOR AS COMPENSATION BEEN FIGHTING THEM FOR OVER 32 YEARS FINALLY IN 2013 WAS AWARDED 80% PERCENT AND STILL FIGHTING FOR THE LAST 20.
  • Well the veterans have simply turn their backs on it. I can’t get help with medicine. I can’t go to the doctor and I am 100% disabled and have no money and can get no help at all.
  • I love my country, But fear my government.
  • I have had a good experience with the VA. Fortunately I have other healthcare insurance and those things that I can’t get at the VA I go thru my private healthcare provider. Generally I get my flu shots and annual physicals at the VA. It was recommended that I have a skin cancer screening and the VA has only one dermatologist. So the wait time was at least 6 months. I ended up going thru my family doctor and getting my screening done. If I have any criticism of the VA it would be not referring to outside providers to get health issues resolved rather than depending totally on in house resources. This causes too much delay.
  • No comment.
  • I’m currently my VA medical benefit for all my health care. Based on my service benefits. But I want to have this Enewetak duty evaluated due to I believe my tour of duty on the atoll had a lot to do with my health issues I have been dealing with since my young age of 26.
  • Use the VA from time to time, experiences have been good so far.
  • At this point in time, nothing has been done, I was told on a few occasions when checking about the radiation cleanup operation that if I didn’t have symptoms from cancer there wasn’t anything being checked. So that is where I stand at this time.
  • I’ve not had much of a problem except the appointments are a month and a half to 2 months or longer
  • Good.
  • I have been fighting for 100% since 1985.
  • I have been with the VA since I retired from the Navy on 1 February 1992. I have received excellent care from the Va.
  • Frustration at times.

As you can see from our roster survey, Atomic Cleanup Veterans are having good and poor experiences with the Veterans Administration Claims Process .

We appreciate each and every Atomic Cleanup Veteran who helped us get a clearer view of our typical experiences with the Veterans Administration.

You can help us get better experiences with VA Health Care Claims 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.”

Health Challenges Survey Report

Boat Ride Home

The Boat Ride Home – These soldiers are riding in the same vessel that transported radioactive materials during the atomic cleanup mission. They are the soldiers who picked up radioactive materials to be transported. See the uniforms they are wearing? And their great suntans? Notice a lack of protection gear for their exposure to radiation?

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 November 15th 2015, we have 323 responses to our survey.

264 responded to the question “Do you have any health challenges which may be related to radiation exposure?” 153 said Yes, and 111 said No. The remaining 59 (of the 323) respondents did not reply to the question.

Comments vary from good to bad, but here are how 175 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans answered the question: “Comments about your health challenges.” Respondent names have been omitted for privacy reasons. And some information has been edited to maintain confidential information.

  • None known at this time.
  • None at the present time.
  • Chronic joint pain and swelling. Severe cramping of large muscles. Causes paralysis while cramping. Occurs mainly in large muscles in legs. Numbness of feet and hands, liver disease (not alcohol related). Prostate problems, UT problems. Mental Health issues: anger management, ADD, inability to commit (flight instinct). He had 38 different jobs, fired only twice, went AWOL for 32 days after returning from Enewetak. It has also effected his personal/social life as he does not connect with people often, not even family members. Will update with more specific information when his medical file is received and his Physician is able to look at it. Please use this info only if and share with whom it is a necessity, He is a very private person and was hesitant about sharing his information, but he wants to help the other men and believes in the group’s mission.
  • Loss of teeth and a stroke.
  • I currently have Diabetes, Hypertension, Deterioration of Disc in my Spine, Joints are worn in both knees they both need knee replacements (Arthritis) is sitting slowly went to see for Surgery on Spine a High Risk factor so I am on Medical retirement, also having Heart problems carry Nitro pills with me everywhere I go, Bad eye sight and bad hearing starting to set in.
  • Numerous skin cancers and recently prostate cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer which turned into bone cancer, cough, and flushing.
  • Melanoma tumor removed on my left wrist 6 years ago. Doing okay now.
  • I have a lot of bone and joint issues. I had surgery when I was 32 and the doctor told me that my knees looked like I was in my 50’s. I had a cat scan about 3 years ago on my shoulders and collar bone area. The surgeon that I was going to was an old military surgeon. He told me he had never seen anything like it. The disks were just basically gone and my bone spurs were the worst he had seen. He sent me to another specialist. I also have a muscle disease. Plus a couple other things.
  • Colon Cancer.
  • Respiratory problems, skin cancers, constant cough.
  • Severe joint pain and swelling, severe cramping of large muscles, causes temporary paralysis, chronic fatigue, prostate concerns, numbness of feet, mental health issues: anger management.
  • Bone and joint issues as well as problems with my teeth due to loss of calcium.
  • Thank the Lord I’m doing well!
  • Skin condition, hives and swelling. Lung condition, COPD and tumor in left lung.
  • I have a myriad of health issues that I know are directly related to the island. Gallbladder cancer, bladder cancer, diabetes, heart disease, skin issues, joint issues–all of which have caused emotional, mental issues.
  • Discoloration on my legs related to radiation.
  • Kidney transplant patient.
  • Have the normal aches and pains of age. Had asthma as a child so I don’t know if slight breathing problems are from virus’s of winter or anything serious from visiting the island for a couple of days.
  • Started having terrible headaches upon returning to my duty station in the states still have them today thin skin thyroid trouble.
  • Discoloration in my ankles that doctors say may be related to radiation exposure.
  • Melanoma.
  • Enlarged Prostrate Heart Failure Skin Conditions.
  • Severe bone loss.
  • When I returned from TDY I was diagnosed with a growth on my right cheek. And a portion of my salivary gland was removed. And this was in 79. I was told by the dr. that it was only a growth. And that was it. But since the operation in 79, my right cheek has been numb and at times I still feel a real sharp pain and don’t know why. And the va is investigating by sending me to independent Drs. To evaluate this problem. And I guess that I just have to wait for a decision.
  • Have some health issues, but not sure if they are related to my time on Enewetak. Doctors believe there could be a possibility.
  • No health issues as of yet.
  • Bone and Joint diseases Heart Disease. Liver Problems (Non-alcoholic).
  • Stage III-C Colon Cancer, Skin rashes (Jungle Rot), PTSD, Sleep issues since leaving Lojwa, Anxiety since leaving Lojwa, Hammer Toes from running in Jump Boots at Ft. Bragg, Teeth started to splinter and crack very soon after leaving Lojwa, All Residuals from Chemotherapy, Knee and Ankle Issues, Nightmares, Claustrophobia, Fear of Crowds, All Three Offspring suffer from disorders that can also be linked to my exposure to Ionizing Radiation.
  • Breathing issues and Lung problems.
  • Really not sure if health concerns are Eniwetok related but no cancers to date!
  • Cancer but doing better now.
  • Twenty years later my lymph nodes exploded!! in groin started have sleep apnea ,and lower legs neuropathy quad by pass heart condition, body had arthritic sepsis left leg aggressive osteo arthritis in knees and hips and joints at the same time diabetes type 2 with oral and insulin to try to control in 2009 put in wheelchair to present 2014 had i known this was going to do this to my DNA every short of cancer and still waiting for shoe to drop on that! it has just kicked me hard almost lost the battle in 2012 but my wife and kids would not give up on me so i tried to stay active and do valor games!! and paralmypic sports community based and kept going and the VA keeps playing the same tune deny till i croak!!
  • Multiple heart attacks, multiple hernias, arthritis, and prostate problems.
  • My health problems are often labeled as “some type of Autoimmune issues yet to be understood.” My daughter also has some of the same type gynecological problems experienced by the female children of other Atomic Veterans as well as the islanders themselves.
  • Melanoma , several spots, some removed 10 yrs after my duty in Enewetak , the keep coming back.. Seem to have copd or something , have bouts of breathing problems.
  • I have the greatest pair of Lojwa socks. I have just had Aortic Valve replacement surgery. My cardiologist and surgeon stated that the condition of the valve is “more likely that not” due to exposure to radiation.
  • Diagnosed with having Diabetes.
  • I wonder if some of my health problems are because of our trip there. My breathing problems are my biggest problem. While playing softball I had a mishap and slid off of a base and scraped the skin off of one of my legs the size of a Texas softball. We were told that while playing there was to be no sliding because of possible radiation in the soil. For a week I was not allowed to do any of my normal work. I had a scab a quarter inch thick and green in color where I scraped up my leg. I sat in A gangs work area with my foot in a bucket of water and used a sponge to run the water over the scab for a week. There is nothing in my record because on board ship the corpsmen did not keep any records.
  • Had to have my left lung removed because of cancer having kidney problems, heart problem, Lupus.
  • Migraines and severe sinusitis that ultimately resulted in 4 sinus surgery’s and an ongoing regiment of drugs and nasal cleanses that keep me for the most part healthy.
  • Unknown.
  • Rather not say at this juncture.
  • Unknown.
  • I have a paralyzed right hemi diaphragm of the lung since 1993
  • I have Coronary Artery Disease, Diabetes, Osteo Arthritis (both knees).
  • Cancer, arthritis, skin rashes, neck problems.
  • NONE.
  • Dermatology issues.
  • Had a heart attack and a bypass surgery in January 2005, which was linked to the high blood pressure which was service connected. Been informed by eye doctor that I have cataract developing not sure if that may be related to the radiation exposure.
  • Hearing loss and skin cancer.
  • Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia, memory loss.
  • When I was on Enewetak I was burnt by gasoline and med. out to Hawaii for the burn unit. After treatment I was returned to state side to D Company 46th Engr Bn at Fort McCellan, AL. I have pictures of Lojwa and the surrounding areas and enjoyed the water and the beauty of Enewetak, and will remember for ever.
  • Severe spinal arthritis, Crohns disease, fertility.
  • Was there. I’m alive.
  • COPD / abdominal aneurysm repaired Oct 3, 12 another near the heart they won’t do that one because of the copd. health care I use at present is Medicare and Tri Care for life.
  • Sleep Apnea Allergic Rhinitis Hay fever Folliculities & Dermatitis.
  • Bad arthritis, joint pain, loss of muscle tone, skin cancer most on the upper body and the head area.very sensitive lips from getting burnt while walking on the reef on Runit. short term memory loss. Note all my problems started about 10 years after leaving enewetak,except for my lips. that was an on going problem since i left enewetak. i have to limit time in the sun and wear a protective cream to keep them from getting sun burn and blistering.
  • I have many stomach and intestinal issues that I feel are probably related to this issue. I also have a lot of joint pain and have for several years. Also, concerns with the health of my 2 youngest children born after my tour in Eniwetok. My daughter has serious intestinal problems that are caused at childbirth. My youngest son has several serious issues to include loss of eye site in one eye.
  • Joint problems Allergies heart problems.
  • Diabetic, can’t have kids.
  • I do not know whether my daily nose bleeds and sinus/allergy issues are a result of things that may have been inhaled there of while I was participating in the redeployment phase of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Personally, I do not l know what are or will be the long term affects that my tenure of service may have on my health but I do know that I do suffer from shortness of breath and must utilize an inhaler and allergy medicine as a part of my daily regiment to help me to breathe properly. However, I would like to make this an official part of my personal medical history since I was assigned to the Marshal Islands, Enewetak Atoll, Joint Task Group, Field Defense Nuclear Agency Workforce from December 1978 through October 1979; and Southwest Asia, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from September – December 1991.
  • Undergoing cancer treatment VA Long Beach.
  • Colon cancer 1995.
  • The VA has already acknowledged my health problems as being from exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I am already rated at 100% disability for Multiple Myeloma and 20% disability for Type II Diabetes. I’m not doing this for my health problems but to be another voice concerning this issue.
  • EVERYTHING FROM BEING CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR FROM LOWER BODY NEUORAPTHY HIPS, KNEES, FEET AND AGGRESSIVE ARTHRITIS AND OSTEOARTHRITIS ALL OVER BODY SLEEP APNEA OPEN HEART QUAD BYPASS SURGERY, MASSIVE POTASSIUM LEVELS AND LIVER PROBLEMS.
  • I may or may not…can’t say.
  • None to date so far.
  • Benign bone tumors in rib cage, spinal cord and skull.
  • I have a pituitary adenoma. Had an aortic dissection, copd, hbp. Vision problems.
  • Nothing I am aware of.
  • Renal cancer ~5 years after, suspected this as cause (no family history or other reason known, and surgeon said by doubling factor very likely due to this considering tumor size). Also memory issues, cannot rule this out as contributory factor. Coincidentally, the Army ran the radiation exposure program, and although I turned in my badges, they say they have no record of me, also contacted Defense Nuclear Agency and they also denied I was there…
  • Thyroid issues, glandular problems.
  • None.
  • I am diabetic, Chronic high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglyceride’s. I don’t know if it is related or not.
  • Cancer.
  • Not at this time.
  • Lung problem, gout and liver problem.
  • Cancer and bone joint damage.
  • Arthritis.
  • Seeking presumptive review of spine, bone, and esophageal issues as a result of service. Had two cysts removed from my are in 1979, Tripler Army Medical Center from my year on the island.
  • Skin cancers.
  • None that I know of. but I’ve never been checked either.
  • Got type 1 diabetes a few years after leaving, last couple of years have lost all energy just want to sleep all the time.
  • Been trying to get proof that I was there for 15 years now…they cant find the paper work. All I have is a piece of paper that has my name on it with a picture of the islands and other stuff
  • Losing hair headaches etc.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • I’ve gotten type 2 diabetis and also being treated for high blood pressure and arthritis.
  • Brother in law who served with me during the cleanup got cancer about 2 yrs after returning home.
  • Rod died of kidney and renal cell cancer several years ago. He was my ex-husband. I am adding his name to this roster to record his involvement and service to the military that ultimately killed him due to the radiation exposure he suffered.
  • Unexplained seizures, Unexplained Aortic spasms. 3 unexplained TIA Strokes, degenerative spine disease. Migraines that began after I served. Radiation sickness 4 times.
  • Got type 1 diabetes three years after after tour, loss of energy down at times waiting for whatever is going to happen.
  • I am not sure if the challenges are related to Enewetak.
  • HE HAD HEART ISSUES AND SUFFERED A HEART ATTACK IN 1986, HE ALSO HAD A QUADRUPLE BYPASS IN 1993 AND CATASTROPHIC HEART ATTACK IN 2004. I AM HIS SON AND HAVE LITTLE TO NO INFO ON HIS MILITARY SERVICE. I MYSELF AM A SOLDIER AND WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIS LIFE. PLEASE HELP.
  • Congestive Heart Failure.
  • Been dealing with muscle aches, cramping and diabetes.
  • Thyroid problem.
  • Severe spinal and joint problems.
  • Brain tumor, Epilepsy, Seizure disorder, dental problems.
  • Sterile.
  • Maybe? Hypothyroidism.
  • Had lung cancer, they had to remove my left lung . Then two year later I was told I had lupus.I all so have failing kidneys. They have me on 2,160 mg Myforic. It’s a kidney drug.
  • Bad memories, arthritis both shoulders and neck.
  • Had numerous carcinoma cell removed from hands and carcinoma and basil cells removed from face.
  • Cataracts.
  • High red cell count . Thyroid lump remove. coaxle polyp sinus cavity Caldwell luc procedure most common area of coaxle polyp Marshall Islands with a 2 percent occurrence world wide.
  • Arthritis, joint pain, thyroid, possible breast cancer.
  • N/A.
  • I was diagnosed with a couple of different things. One was retinal degeneration and this was many years ago soon after returning from the rock. Also a rash that seemed to linger for along time. my doc said it was from constant immersion in salt water and sunburns.
  • No challenges at this time.
  • Diabetes, hypertension, heart and stroke problems.
  • Fatigue and Post traumatic stress.
  • I was diagnosed with Acute Myolitic Leukemia in 2011. Received Stem Cell Transplant (formerly called bone marrow transplant) in 2011.
  • I have a few health issues but nothing that can be specifically linked to radiation exposure. I’ve completed my enrollment in the VA health system using my Vietnam Agent Orange exposure and my Enewetak radiation exposure. I was given a battery of test as part of enrolling me in the Agent Orange/Radiation Exposure Registries. I have a doctor’s appoint in Sept 2014. The results of the tests were consistent with tests I’ve had with my primary physician. I’m retired from the military and covered under TRICARE.
  • Just getting old.
  • Yes thyroid problems and pain.
  • I have breast cancer and Lymph nodes cancer on my left side Still waiting on other test results. Have had surgery to remove left breast and Lymph Nodes.
  • Deg. bone disease.
  • Had spinal cord tumor.
  • Have a lot headaches and a lump on my back for a few years now.
  • N/A.
  • Private.
  • Since returning I have remained fairly healthy up until I was 35 yrs old. That is when I had my first “cardiac event” (showing all the signs of a heart attack but no damage detected) at 44 yrs old I had a 2nd with the same results. Over the last 10 years I been diagnosed with an unstable angina, heart murmur, type II diabetes and just 2 yrs ago I had a massive asthma attack (having never had asthma before). I have also had (and continue to have) skin issues (that doctors can not explain) and general aches and pains in most of my joints. Since finding others that were on the Atoll, all the pieces are coming together. All these aliments could be related to my exposure to radiation.
  • Skin cancer(s).
  • Have none at present.
  • Recently diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia. Probable cause high exposure to radiation.
  • I have Osteoporosis, pain in all my joints, Lymphomas.
  • Cellular cancer.
  • Respiratory and bone problems.
  • Acute Random Urticaria with large blisters Diabetes type 2.
  • 3 masses removed from my neck. Keep coming back. pre-cancers on my skin. Always have to have them remove. polyps remove in my colon. Get my colon checked frequently Diabetes Scar tissue in my right eye cataract removal in both eyes.
  • I have had a weird rash on my body since I was there, I have had declining health conditions since being on the islands. I would really like to know what all those shots were that they gave us on Enewetak when we got off the C130. They never got entered into my shot records.
  • Skin cancer and prostate cancer.
  • Had cancer surgery almost ten years ago cancer in a lymph node in my neck thank god clean today.
  • I HAVE HAD LUNG SURGERY, AND A PORTION OF MY LUNG WAS REMOVED.
  • Lost a my left lung to cancer . Lupus and kidney failure.
  • Long history of sinusitis, insomnia. Major breathing issues and cough. Fatigue, anger issues, memory issues. Enlarged prostrate.
  • Currently I have a brain tumor hypothyroidism enlarged prostate high cholesterol high blood pressure diabetic and an aortic aneurysm and I have already had an emergency aortic dissection.
  • Paralyzed right lung.
  • No problems so far.
  • At the age of 26 I started having issues with my legs. I was diagnosed with Peripheral Arterial Disease. Also several breathing issues, Heart Disease with Bypass surgery at 36 years old.
  • I have continuous pain in my legs, arms and hands. I have had numerous growths removed from my neck. I now have more growths on my body. I am diabetic and sometimes have problems breathing.
  • Private at this time. Being treated through VA.
  • Aching joints, had back surgery 20 yeas ago and at time my doctor told me I had the bones of a 70 year old, I was 34 now 55.
  • Not sure, working with Civilian Doctor about some issues.
  • 1983 sent to Walter Reid Medical Ctr. Due to elevated CPK levels, Doctors concerned about my kidney function. 1985 started showing symptoms of Diabetes. 1989 diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. 2006 parathyroid partially removed. 2007 diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. 2013 kidneys failed.Now on Dialysis. 2014 Diagnosed with prostrate Cancer.
  • Excessive skin cancers, half nose removed major reconstruction. Prostrate cancer 1 year ago.
  • Skin Rashes and Lesions, Parkinson’s, Tinnitus.
  • Skin challenges.
  • Sleep Apnea and Psoriasis, Dermatitis and folliculities.
  • I have a recurring sore at my boot line that has me wondering. In formation we were told high levels were being detected on film badges & dosimeters but not who had the high levels. I would like to know what my exposure rate was while I was there.
  • Radiation burns, unknown rashes,blistering, PTSD, Bone and Joint issues, Hypertension, Late stage colon cancer, low sperm count, and too many others to list. Offspring also suffer from illnesses and defects attributed to a parent exposed to Ionizing Radiation. 43 additional residuals in total.
  • Lung cancer in 95/ head and neck cancer in 2010 /joint problems many more problems.
  • So far I have very few health issues, except those that come with age. I do want my part of the Enewetak Atoll Clean Up Project documented. If I have future health issues, it will be documented.
  • Not that I know of.
  • None so far.
  • Kennedy trouble and skin problems.
  • At this time I have no obvious health challenges.
  • I am in relatively good health at this point.
  • I’ve had multiple skin lesions and cancers removed from my body. I’m now diabetic and no one in my family is or was diabetic. I have multiple spots on my lungs, liver and spleen and they tell me this could have came from where I was raised in Tennessee. I believe the military doctors call it Granulomas. Not sure about the spelling.
  • Early onset of glaucoma and blood now makes to many platelets causing feet and hands to tingle and itch, skin lesions to routinely show up on lower back and lower back pain.
  • Spot on lung being monitored by VA Togus, Unusual liver function test results, triple heart bypass (maybe), hearing problems.
  • Back injuries occurred while stationed at Enewetak Atoll.
  • Cancer.
  • Prostate Cancer.
  • UNKNOWN THYROID CONDITION.
  • Too numerous to go into.

As you can see from our roster survey, not all, but many of our Atomic Cleanup Veterans are experiencing serious health challenges.

We appreciate the relatives who shared information concerning the deaths of some of our Atomic Cleanup Veterans.

We also salute each and every Atomic Cleanup Veteran who helped us get a clearer view of our typical health challenges.

Please let 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.”

Please Sign and Share Our White House Petition (Expired 10/15/2015)

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.

We accomplished our Humanitarian Mission in 1980. Currently, some of us have health challenges.

On September 13th, 2015, we took the initiative to create a White House Petition so the President can be made aware of our challenges and take steps required by Congress to change the law.

After creating our petition, we were made aware that we had a hard deadline of obtaining 100,000 signatures before the President would be informed of our petition.

We found out the White House policy is, if we cannot obtain 100,000 signatures within one month, our petition is removed along with all our signatures and we have to start all over at ZERO.

We encourage you to read, learn and the act on our petition NOW. Our deadline is October 13, 2015.

(MISSION FAILED: ARCHIVED BY THE WHITE HOUSE 10/15/2015 WITH 342 SIGNATURES.)

This is our White House Petition:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

Add 1977-1980 Enewetak Atoll Atomic Cleanup Veterans to the “Atomic Veterans” definition by the Veterans Administration.

Atomic Cleanup Veterans are not currently considered as experiencing “at-risk” exposure to radiation while relocating radioactive materials contaminated by 43 atomic tests at Enewetak Atoll.

Urge Congress & Veterans Affairs to include within the definition of “Atomic Veterans” the Veterans involved in the Atomic Debris Cleanup of the United States Nuclear Test Site at Enewetak Atoll from 1977 to 1980 making them eligible to receive compensation and health care benefits from the United States Government as specified in the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (“the Act” or “RECA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2210 note (2012) established an administrative program for claims relating to atmospheric nuclear testing and claims relating to uranium industry employment.

We do not expect anyone to blindly sign our petition without knowing our backstory.

We have been fortunate to have gained the attention of several news agencies.

Read the most recent article from a weekly newspaper in Mobile, Alabama called Lagnaippe at http://bit.ly/LagniappeEnewetak

Stars and Stripes Magazine republished a great article written by Abigail Curtis of Bangor Daily News in Maine on 3/24/2015 http://goo.gl/289NYC

On 8/15/2015, KITV 4 News released their story about us in Hawaii http://bit.ly/1NaDXAQ

These are not the only stories news agencies have produced about our current situation.

As much as we appreciate our increased exposure to the general public, we need your help and need your actions to be a top priority.

We’ve been asked “How can I Help?” from most every supporter who takes an interest in our group of Atomic Cleanup Veterans.

Here is a list of “To Do Items” that makes it easy for you to help us in the quickest amount of time:

  1. Sign Our White House Petition at wh.gov/inXsb
  2. Share wh.gov/inXsb on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & the rest of the internet social networks where you have influential connections.
  3. Write your local newspapers and ask them to share our petition with their subscribers in their publications.
  4. Call your local television and radio stations and ask them to share our White House Petition with their dedicated audience.
  5. Contact your local military & veterans’ associations & ask them to encourage their members to sign our petition.
  6. Ask your friends and associates to sign our petition.
  7. Ask your spouses, adult children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, adult grandchildren and other loved ones to sign our petition so the White House Administration can act on our behalf.
  8. Contact your Federal Senator: Senate.gov/senators/contact/ and share our wh.gov/inXsb White House Petition Link.
  9. Contact your Federal Representative: House.gov/representatives/find/ and share our wh.gov/inXsb White House Petition Link.
  10. Please return to our White House Petition and tell us (in our comments) which signature number they assigned to you at wh.gov/inXsb

Remember: 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. With your signature, we are one step closer to obtaining the health care some of our group members desperately need.

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.”