The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
I was at Ft. Leonard Wood for the April flood in 1975. The US Army Recruits cleaned up what was a huge catastrophe with only cotton gloves. I, along with three hometown Weleetka, OK buddies, cleaned up multiple chemicals after during the Spring of 1975. The Army Corps of Engineers lifted flood gates in upper MO and the whole base flooded. Heavy equipment was floating up to the 2nd floor of our barracks. Barrels of hazardous chemicals that were stored were also impacted, with several places opening up and spilling in the motor pool.
Recruits were given cotton gloves after a few days as water went down when beginning to clean up the mess. They were sunburned underneath their fatigues when they were done (or was this due to radioactive materials?), along with having severe chemical smells and high odors. Already two buddies are dead.
I have the original affidavits, showing harm from cancers plus others have extensive peripheral neuropathies, pancreatic disorders, etc., all diagnosed. DAV represented us since 2007, but now stalled at VA. Already seen a judge and he found that the military has lost evidence. This goes along with chemical barrels being buried at Ft. Chaffee according to civilian reports. Barrels from Ft. Leonard Wood cleanup of April 1975 is similar. Civilians downstream and in five counties were affected by flood and waste water. There was a huge secret cleanup of MO river 2010-2013 after we informed VA of contamination from the flood. Five local newspapers shut down. Surrounding communities most likely still have records in microfiche film.
The military has tried to keep this one quiet. I’m dying now of chemical exposures. I have computer information showing the base was the #1 chemical storage facility of USA. Have written to Senator Inhofe exclusively since 2007. Now, our family is going to the news media. Thousands of families deserve to know about their members dying of chemical exposures from this base in 1975. Few eyewitnesses are left.
The VA and DAV are in collusion and are waiting for me to die too. I have original doctors report and it shows that they checked all medical boxes of problems I was having in 1977. I’m also infertile and despite five physicals and physicians, missed common symptoms. Also, all of these men are Native Muskovee Creek Indians.
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Weleetka, OK. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.
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