View Full Version : The Forgotten Veterans

07-29-03, 08:15 AM
The Forgotten Veterans

Exclusive commentary by Robert M. Campbell Jr.

Jul 28, 2003

On this Memorial Day for the year 2003, as I was watching the ceremonies remembering our Veterans of all the wars and conflicts, I felt there was something missing. Then it came to me that not one word about a “Veteran” that has never been recognized in any official ceremony.

They served on the land, in the air and on the seas; received no special training, equipment or clothing; and were put in harms way by a government that was, still in, it’s testing and developing stage of weapons that were still in their infancy. Unlike the battlefield known by many, an object they could not see, hear, smell, taste, or feel, when it entered their bodies; and without leaving an exterior wound wounded these Veterans.

Years later these veterans started to become ill, went for treatment and died early for their age. Most veterans talk of their time in the service and exchange their stores, but this group of veterans could not talk of a portion of their service, because they had signed an oath of secrecy. They were not released from that oath until about six years ago, and even now, not completely.

These Veterans were first created and received their first wounds at 0529 MT on 16 July 1945. (White Sands) Alamogordo, New Mexico, then on to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan; Then more testing at the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific and at the Nevada Test Sight, about seventy miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada to name but a few. There were 235 atmospheric atomic and nuclear weapons tests that occurred until the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. For eighteen (18) years these men were placed in harms way and not knowing they were being injured - which would later be found to be fatal - and they would die of their injuries, in service of their country.

Over 382,000 U.S. Servicemen as well as civilian personnel participated in these tests. Many have died, not knowing they had received an injury during this time, and many others knew how and why they were injured; but were unable to reveal their medical history because of the secrecy oath thy had signed. Some of these Veterans had a (Q) security clearance, equal to that of the President of The United States. Slowly they started coming forward trying to receive Benefits and Compensation from the Federal Government; but were told that the records they needed were lost “due to a fire”, didn’t exist, or were not available. Then that was not enough, there were the laws set down by our congress as guidelines they had to comply with.

So who is this forgotten “Veteran” that served in the military; who were wounded and died of [this] injury in the service to his country; was prevented for years to come forward and tell his story, even to a governmental agency, and in turn, most were denied medical treatment and compensation for their disabilities. They have been around for years and because they had been bound by a secrecy oath, many of you reading this, have never heard their stores. Even their parents, wives and children were unaware of the work many of these people did.

The “Atomic” Veteran has just recently come to light. We have one of the shortest mortality rates of any Veteran and the highest death rate due to cancers. Many of us, are Atomic Veterans, but also WW II, Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq Veterans, and have received medical treatment and compensation for those injuries, but nothing for our injuries due to exposure to Ionizing Radiation due to these nuclear weapons.

The National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV) is a non-profit, tax exempt, veteran’s service organization, founded in August 1979 by the late Orville E. Kelly, and his wife, Wanda, of Burlington, Iowa. However, unlike many other Veterans Service Organizations, we cannot grow because we are dying at a faster rate than others.

In 2002, the Senate approved S. Res. 336 in recognition of "the 55th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, the Trinity Shot in New Mexico" on July 16, 1945. We are hoping by next Memorial Day, we the “Atomic” Veterans. Will be able to take our earned place, shoulder to shoulder, with all the other Veterans and be recognized in the open, for our service to our country.

Any amount of Ionizing Radiation Is Not Safe, but we, the “Atomic Veteran” need you, you need us, and we need each other. In the near past, we have learned, and still are learning that our “injuries” have gone beyond our body; and has been passed on to our offspring, and on to their offspring, in the form of genetic disabilities our story needs to be told for the future of our Country and the World.


Robert M. Campbell Jr. HM1 USN Ret.
Vice Commander
National Association
of Atomic Veterans
Atomic Veteran
Korean Veteran
Vietnam Veteran




Sgt Sostand
07-30-03, 01:47 PM
Memorial Day is not Memorial for some people its just another day off from work from what i have seen it about money for most of the stores big sales and stuff a true Veteran understand the meaning of Memorial Day

07-30-03, 05:10 PM
Yes, so very true, Sgt Sostand! Alot of people look at it as just another day to catch up on things and miss the real reason and true meaning of why we have a memorial day and also get a day off from work!

I also believe these people are entitled to every benefit they can possibly get! They are, or have lived a slow death! Their children and their children on down will feel the effects for God knows how many generations!