Skip to main content

Veteran Guinea Pigs

By December 5, 2017VA Disability

The United States Army has begun notifying veterans that they may be eligible for government-paid medical care for injuries and illnesses related to testing of biological warfare and chemical agents, decades after the Army used soldiers in experiments.

The Army has not, however, revealed to individual veterans what substances they were exposed to during the tests.  Rick Weidman, executive director for policy and government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America stated publicly: “They did all this stuff in secret, so there are no public lists as to who underwent these experiments.  But they know who it was, in virtually all cases.  They also have the capability of going to the Veterans Administration and to the Social Security Administration and easily finding everybody who went through the experiments.  But they’re not doing it.  And they’re not willing to say what people were exposed to, under the guise that it’s a matter of national security.  It’s not.  Embarrassment is not national security.”

Earlier this month, the Army began notifying veterans who were exposed to a range of chemical and biological weapons during tests conducted between 1942 and 1975.   The Army was ordered to notify veterans as a result of a 2009 lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that soldiers volunteered for the testing by responding to recruitment posters that offered participants medals and time off.  The plaintiffs in the case found documents indicating that veterans were exposed to mustard gas, phosgene gas, Thorazine, Sarin, LSD, amphetamines, and barbiturates, sometimes at ten times known tolerances.