Monday, July 11, 2016
McCaskill Requests Information on Veterans Exposed to Nuclear Material
After her year-long effort to reverse 70 years of mistreatment for World-War II-era veterans intentionally exposed to mustard gas, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today requested information on another group of veterans whose decades-long fight for acknowledgement and benefits has been unsuccessful.
A recent New York Times report detailed a 1966 nuclear accident in which 1,600 veterans were deployed to clean up radiation contamination from a nuclear accident in Spain in 1966. McCaskill is requesting briefings from the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to find out how—in light of the numerous medical problems reported by these veterans—the government has addressed the needs of these veterans.
“The work I’ve done over the past year has made it clear that the obstacles placed in front of some of these mistreated veterans make it impossible for them to receive the treatment and benefits they’re entitled to,” said McCaskill, the daughter of a World War II veteran. “In this case we’re talking about an incident that occurred 50 years ago. We have to act to acknowledge their sacrifice before it’s too late.”
According to the article, high percentages of these troops have developed serious cancers and other illnesses since the cleanup, but the VA has not provided them with healthcare benefits.
“After many months my office has spent investigating the VA’s failure to provide healthcare and benefits to its veterans who were purposefully exposed to mustard gas by the U.S. Military, I find it extremely troubling to hear reports of yet another failure by the VA to carry out its duty to care for this country’s veterans,” McCaskill’s letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald reads.