The Department of Defense announced today an expansion of the Shipboard Hazard and Defense investigation. A team of investigators will travel to Dugway Proving Ground in mid-August to review Deseret Test Center records.
"DoD has an obligation to all servicemembers - past and present - to keep them informed of any event during their military career that might threaten their health," said Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. "We are committed to providing the Veterans Administration with the medically relevant information as quickly and efficiently as possible."
The Shipboard Hazard and Defense program was a subset of Project 112, a chemical and biological weapons vulnerability-testing program conducted by the Deseret Test Center from 1963 to 1969. The tests consisted of joint exercises involving the Army's Deseret Test Center, several Army and Navy vessels and Marine Corps and Air Force aircraft. Some veterans have expressed concern that they may have been exposed to harmful substances during these classified tests. To date, DoD has published 12 fact sheets that chronicle ships and units involved in the tests, when the tests took place, and the substances to which the crews may have been exposed. So far, investigators have identified approximately 2,700 to 2,800 servicemembers involved in these 12 tests, many in more than one test.
Winkenwerder says the declassification of ship and personnel information for an additional 17 SHAD tests is under way; completion and publication of additional fact sheets is expected in early fall. The work to be done at Dugway in August will complete the investigation of all Project 112 tests conducted by the Deseret Test Center.
"We plan to augment staff as needed to finish this task efficiently and quickly," he said. "We owe our SHAD veterans resolution to events that took place four decades ago."
Veterans who believe they were involved in SHAD tests and desire medical evaluations should call the VA's Helpline at (800) 749-8387. SHAD fact sheets are available on line at http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/shad/shad_intro.shtml .