Oct. 16, 2002 – As chair of the Senate Labor and Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Norma Pickard-Samuel has received information from the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs concerning exposure by veterans in the 1960s and early 1970s to dangerous chemical and/or biological substances in connection with the Defense Department's Project SHAD.
The acronym stands for Shipboard Hazard and Defense. The project was part of a larger one known as Project 112.
A release from Pickard-Samuel's office stated that on Oct. 9, the Defense Department released declassified documents concerning 28 land and sea tests of the hazardous materials in Project 112. The purpose of Project SHAD was "to determine the vulnerability of U.S. warships to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents," the release said.
The Defense Department has provided the Veterans Affairs Department with the names of ships and service personnel involved in the testing, and the VA has contracted a three-year study of the health of the Project SHAD personnel. Now, VA officials are seeking to obtain current addresses of these veterans to let them know of their possible exposure and of VA programs to assist them, the release said.
Pickard-Samuel said she has the list of ships and that any V.I. veterans who believe they have a disability as a result of exposure during the testing can file a claim for compensation. She asked that local veterans who may have been involved in such testing contact her office for additional information by calling 693-3536.
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