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An Open Letter to General Mattis

by Civilian Exposure

The following is an editorial submitted to Civilian Exposure and published with permission from the author.  If you would like to submit an editorial or commentary for our editorial section, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.


Gen. James N. Mattis
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Re:  President Trump’s promise to honor the contract with our military, veterans and their families

Dear Secretary Mattis:

Thousands of Veterans and their family members are being defrauded of their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits because the Veteran was exposed to classified radioactive waste, debris, or material while serving in the military.  We, the injured Veterans, have been fighting for recognition of our Service Connected (SC) injuries for 38 to 72 years, and many of us have spent decades severely ill, in pain, and homeless.  Unfortunately, many of us have died from diseases/conditions/illnesses which are the result of our radiation exposure (with the inhalation and ingestion of the radioactive particles) or committed suicide while waiting for justice.

These are some examples of the thousands of Veterans and their families who would be helped by the release from the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), the declassification and release of information about our radiation exposure:

  • 1946-62 – Atomic Cloud Sampling Veterans (including the “HOT” wash rack Veterans)
  • 1966 – Broken Arrow atomic cleanup Veterans (i.e., Palomares, Spain)
  • 1973 – Accidental radiation exposure Veterans (like myself)
  • 1977-80 – Enewetak Atoll Atomic Debris Cleanup Veterans

Because all activities supporting the nuclear defense program are highly classified to protect national security under law or Executive Order, including: (1) the source of the radioactive material, (2) the nature and extent of the radioactive material, (3) the environmental records (site assessment and remediation), (4) the Completed Exposure Pathway/Health assessments, and (5) our military records (administrative and medical) are also classified.  All of this information has to be released before the VA will acknowledge the service-connected injury.

The withholding of these classified records/information (crucial evidence) results in the:

  • Wrongful denial of the Veterans’ VA and SSDI disability claims for lack of documentation of their SC injuries;
  • Denial of the Veterans’ due process right to a fair hearing (Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution);
  • Denial of the Veterans’ protected property interest (Veterans’ VA and SSDI disability benefits) under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (CUSHMAN v. SHINSEKI);
  • Defrauding of the Veterans and their family members of medical care and compensation (the Veterans’ protected VA and SSDI disability benefits extend to their family members).

If the records cannot be declassified and released, I ask for your help and that you please issue a letter, if warranted, stating that we (the injured Veterans) were severely and/or permanently disabled as the result of a classified activity while in the military.  The release of this letter would restore our Constitutionally protected rights by enabling us to qualify for VA disability and medical care, and SSDI benefits.  Additionally, the approval of our VA and SSDI disability claims would allow our family members to be eligible for TRICARE, CHAMPVA, and/or Medicare.

In the mid-1990s, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary declassified the Human Radiation Experiments.  This declassification, release of information, and the release from non-disclosure agreements (NDA) enabled thousands of Veterans and their family members to get medical care and compensation because the Veterans’ Service Connected (SC) injuries were recognized.

In keeping with Presidents Trump’s promise to honor the contract with our military, Veterans and their family, please help us by investigating the problem, working with DOE Secretary Rick Perry, and President Trump, to fix this problem.  As a retired Marine, Veteran, Secretary of the Department of Defense, and friend of President Donald J. Trump, you are in a unique position to recognize and fix this injustice.

I know that thousands of Veterans and their family members would be grateful to you, Secretary Perry, and President Donald J. Trump if you can correct this travesty of justice.

Thank you for considering my request,

Frank Vera
George AFB, CA – Hazardous Toxic & Radioactive Waste (HTRW)



Note from the Editor: The views and content above are expressly those of the author. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with full permission for distribution.

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