By WESLEY EUBANKS
Meeker VFW/American Legion
RBC | Between 1945 and 1962 the United States conducted over 200 nuclear tests, approximately 200,000 service members were assigned to participate they were told the tests were safe. They were also told the tests were secret and if they told anyone about their participation they would be charged with treason. Tragically scores of veterans took the secret to the grave before the government rescinded the order in 1996. Atomic veterans only have four years—until July 2022—to file claims with the Justice Department Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) program established by congress in the early 1990s, after that they would be left with only VA. Today former service members with one of two dozen types of cancer who served in the testing areas between 1945 and 1962 are presumed to have been exposed to deadly ionizing radiation and qualify for VA benefits. Some 4,000 service members were dispatched to the Marshall Islands to clean up the radioactive contamination in highly toxic areas during the late 1970s, the VA says none of the veterans involved in the cleanup were exposed to enough radiation to qualify. Speaking just for myself, I no longer trust bureaucrats to do the right thing. Congress is being lobbied to extend RECA and to include service members exposed during cleanup of the aftermath of the tests. Pass the word to all.
Thank you, and God bless America.