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thedrifter
11-03-02, 12:26 PM
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 557-02
(703)695-0192(media)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2002
(703)697-5737(public/industry)

DOD RELEASES FIVE PROJECT 112 SHAD FACT SHEETS

The Department of Defense today released five new detailed fact
sheets on Cold War-era chemical and biological warfare tests
conducted in support of Project 112. Project 112 was a
comprehensive program initiated in 1962 out of concern for our
nation's ability to protect and defend against these potential
threats. With the publication of this information, DoD has
released 45 fact sheets for 41 of 46 tests known to have been
conducted by the Deseret Test Center.

The information provided today includes fact sheets about four
tests. Two of those tests, Yellow Leaf and Red Oak, Phase I,
were partially conducted on what were then the Panama Canal Zone
and the island of Hawaii. Big Jack (Phases A and B) was
conducted entirely in the Panama Canal Zone. Records indicate
the fourth test, Pin Point, was conducted in a tropical jungle
environment in an unspecified location. Investigators continue
to seek information for this test, which used the riot-control
agent CS, commonly known as tear gas. Simulants for chemical
and biological warfare agents were used in all the rest of these
tests, except for Red Oak, Phase I, which used the nerve agent
sarin in the Hawaii trials only.

"The department has worked diligently to release the medically
relevant facts about this testing to ensure that the Department
of Veterans Affairs has the information it needs to respond to
questions and benefit claims from veterans," said William
Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
"We're on track to meet our stated promise of having all
relevant information released by spring of next year. I'm
optimistic that, barring any unforeseen problems, we'll have
concluded the effort far in advance of that time. We know this
information is important to veterans."

Equipment and Terrain Testing

From 1962 to 1973, the Deseret Test Center, headquartered at
Fort Douglas, Utah, conducted a series of chemical and
biological warfare vulnerability tests in support of Project
112. The Deseret Test Center planned 134 tests with 46
confirmed to be conducted and 62 canceled. Currently, DoD
investigators are searching for final reports on five tests and
the status of 26 other planned tests is still under
investigation. Release of the information is part of an
on-going effort to provide information needed by the Department
of Veterans Affairs to respond to some veterans' claims that
these tests may have affected their health.

The purpose of the tests done under Project Shipboard Hazard and
Defense was to identify U.S. warships' vulnerabilities to
attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents and to
develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining
a war-fighting capability. The purpose of the land-based tests
was to learn more about how chemical or biological agents behave
under a variety of climatic, environmental and use conditions.

Veterans' Concerns

The Department of Defense began investigating the shipboard hazard and
defense tests
in September 2000, after the VA asked the DoD for information
needed to clarify claims information from servicemembers who
believed they might have been exposed to harmful substances
during their participation in tests. The VA claims experts
needed to know what substances veterans may have been exposed to
and who might have been exposed. DoD agreed to deliver that
information when it could be found.

An investigative team located and searched classified records to
identify which ships and units were involved in the tests, when
the tests took place, and to what substances their crews and
other personnel may have been exposed. This required
declassification of test-related ship and location information,
without release of information that remains classified for valid
operational security reasons.

As DoD's investigators continued their examination of the facts
associated with these tests, it became clear that an
investigation of all the tests conducted by the Deseret Test
Center was necessary. Consequently, early this year the
investigation of shipboard hazard and defense tests was expanded
to include all tests conducted by the Deseret Test Center.

Health and Safety

While some may be concerned about a possible connection between
an exposure in the 1960s or 1970s and a later illness, DoD
investigators have not identified a link to these tests and
adverse health consequences. Documents show that these were
comprehensive tests that carefully considered the health and
safety of the personnel involved in conducting the tests and
protecting the environment. The DoD investigation into Deseret
Test Center tests continues, and DoD is committed to releasing
as much information as possible on all tests conducted.

Veterans who believe they were involved in Deseret Test Center
tests and desire medical evaluations should call the VA's
Helpline at (800) 749-8387. Veterans who have DoD-related
questions, who have information to contribute, or who are DoD
beneficiaries and have medical concerns or questions, should
call DoD's Deployment Health Support Directorate's contact
center at (800) 497-6261. All Deseret Test Center fact sheets
are on the DeploymentLINK Web site at
http://deploymentlink.osd.mil/current_issues/shad/shad_intro.shtml
.
Sempers,

Roger