The Exposure at Qarmat Ali: Did the Army Fail to Protect U.S. Soldiers Serving in Iraq?

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by Denise Nichols, Staff Writer

This is one of the reasons I did back to back trips to DC.  I attended this hearing on August 3rd, arriving late thanks to my usual fun airline trip with USAirways.  But was there enough to know this is yet another hazardous exposure to our troops.  I had to gag when they used the same "WE Will Leave No Stone Unturned"  wording that they had used with gulf war illness in the 90’s.  They also promise them VA care!  Well I am sure the rest of us exposed veterans Gulf War illness, Agent Orange, Atomic Veterans are just so relieved to know that history has changed?

Yes I almost regurgitated and not from airsickness.  When will this craziness stop!  When will the veterans get their claims through in a reasonable time to help keep these veterans and their families to stay together?  There needs to be a radical change here now!

     

The benefit of the doubt should go to the VETERAN Immediately no more questions or foot dragging!

When will regulations be in place to address SOPs when exposures occur?  When will responsibility and accountability be truly enforced?  When will records that are missing from the gulf war to include logs, medical records, shot records be accounted for that is interfering with veterans getting their claims approved?  When will C and P exams get done expediously when the claim is filed?  How many claims have gone forward without C and P exams?

When will the medical care start immediately without question for the health of any soldier/sailor/airman/marine that was or may have been exposed?  No question asked this should be the priority!  Why does the DOD/VA/Elected officials ditter and delay?  Why do the health care professional not speak up loud and clear of the need to immediately care for these individuals?

If you look at the health records before when these troops were healthy and non exposed ie lab work and then compare after exposure you will see the subtle changes in lab work shifts in values when the body has been exposed.  The values may not be totally abnormal but you will see shifts and changes it may be from normal or high normal to borderline low….that is your first clue!





When you deal with critically ill and post surgical ICU patients, nurses and doctors learn to watch for those trends they dont just wait until the bottom drops out.  You monitor closely and start readying your response.  That is what is missing in the care of the exposed!  

The other thing that is missing is a true giving of information and answering questions by the patients -our veterans!  AND I DO NOT MEAN RISK MANAGEMENT, OR TURFING THE PATIENT TO PSYCHOLOGY, OR MISLABELLING  or MISDIAGNOSIS OF PSYCHOSOMATIC ETC.  OUR VETERANS DESERVE THE BEST!

When will all exposed veterans be given Priority group 1 status?  AS they should be?

If VA can not do the job then fee basis the care out to the Mayo Clinic!  I could go on and on and I will return to write more.

All should Watch the videos and read the transcripts available here

The Exposure at Qarmat Ali: Did the Army Fail to Protect U.S. Soldiers Serving in Iraq?

http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcoversight.cfm


DPC HEARING
The Exposure at Qarmat Ali: Did the Army Fail to Protect U.S. Soldiers Serving in Iraq?
Monday, August 3, 2009
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
628 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Hearing Webcast

http://dpc.senate.gov/dpcoversight.cfm

Hearing Transcript
For a full transcript of the hearing click here.

Opening Statements
Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman, Senate Democratic Policy Committee

Senator Evan Bayh

Senator Roland Burris

Senator Kay Hagan

Senator Harry Reid

Senator Senator John D. Rockefeller

Senator Senator Arlen Specter

Senator Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Senator Senator Ron Wyden

Witnesses
Russell Kimberling
Former Indiana Army National Guard Company Commander

Rocky Bixby
Former Oregon Army National Guard Staff Sergeant

Russell Powell
Former West Virginia Army National Guard Staff Sergeant

Glen Bootay
Former Army (3rd Infantry Division) Combat Engineer

Herman Gibb, Ph.D
Former Environmental Protection Agency Associate Director for Health

Additional Materials
Witness Biographies

Statement of Sam Schultz, E5 Squad Leader

2000 UN Security Council Report on Iraq

August 2003 KBR Qarmat Ali Site Assessment Memos

Defense Health Board 2008 Meeting Powerpoint Presentation

Defense Health Board 2008 Meeting Transcript

KBR June 22, 2003 HSE Log Confirming Sodium Dichromate at Qarmat Ali

KBR May 29, 2003 Memo Ordering PPE and Identifying Environmental Hazards

KBR Meeting Minutes, August 8, 2003

Senator Bayh 2008 Army Briefing

September 2008 CHPPM Qarmat Ali Fact Sheet

Senator Dorgan on Soldier Exposure to Sodium Dichromate
8/5/09
 
Senator Dorgan at a DPC Hearing on the Exposure of Soldiers to Sodium Dichromate
8/3/09
 
Senator Wyden at a DPC Hearing on the Exposure of Soldiers to Sodium Dichromate
8/3/09
 
Senator Bayh at a DPC Hearing on the Exposure of Soldiers to Sodium Dichromate
8/3/09

2:00 PM, Monday, August 3:
SENATE DPC TO EXAMINE ARMY’S RESPONSE TO
EXPOSURE OF TROOPS IN IRAQ TO DEADLY CHEMICAL
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee will conduct a
congressional oversight hearing, Monday, August 3, to examine whether the U.S. Army responded
appropriately to the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to a deadly carcinogen at a water injection
facility in Iraq.
The 2:00 PM hearing will be held in Room 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Witnesses will include National Guard members from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia who
were exposed to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali, a water injection facility in 2003. Also scheduled to
testify is one of the world’s leading experts on health risks associated with exposure to sodium
dichromate.
Military contractor KBR had the contract for cleaning up Qarmat Ali, which provided water to
Iraq oil pipelines and which was critical to the U.S. effort to restore the Iraqi economy after the
invasion.. Sodium dichromate was found throughout the site. In some places it was several inches thick
andfilled the air during frequent windstorms.
KBR’s role in the exposure of troops was examined at a June 20, 2008, DPC hearing which
found multiple failures to take action to protect troops. The August 3 hearing will examine whether the
Army responded appropriately to KBR’s actions, including whether the Army followed up with exposed
soldiers to ensure they were tested, monitored, and received potentially life-saving medical treatment.
“Our previous hearing found KBR’s failures to be widespread and serious,” Dorgan said. “Now,
we want to know whether the Army held KBR accountable and acted quickly to protect soldiers when
KBR failed to do so. Did the Army tell soldiers the truth about the exposure and its health
consequences?After the exposure, did the Army properly test and monitor the soldiers who were
exposed and make sure they received the treatment they need?”
Details follow:
WHO: Senators: Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chairman; Evan Bayh (D-IN); Sheldon
Whitehouse (D-RI); and others.
Witnesses: Russell Kimberling, former Indiana National Guard member; Rocky
Bixby, former Oregon National Guard member; Russell Powell, former West
Virginia National Guard member; Herman Gibb, Ph.D., expert on health risks
associated with exposure to sodium dichromate.
WHAT: Congressional oversight hearing
WHERE: Room 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building
WHEN: 2:00 PM, Monday, August 3, 2009
WHY: To examine the appropriateness of the Army’s response to the exposure of U.S.
troops to a deadly carcinogen in Iraq by military contractor KBR.

DPC HEARING
The Exposure at Qarmat Ali: Contractor Misconduct and the Safety of U.S. Troops in Iraq
Friday, June 20, 2008
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
608 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Hearing Transcript
For a full transcript of the hearing click here.

Click here to see the webcast of this hearing (RealVideo).

Opening Statements
Senator Byron L. Dorgan
Chairman, Senate Democratic Policy Committee

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Witnesses
Danny Langford
Former KBR Employee

Edward Blacke
Former KBR Employee

Max Costa, Ph.D
Chairman, Department of Environmental Medicine
NYU Medical School

Additional Materials
Witness Biographies

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