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Fresno, CA Attorney Blog

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Should Veterans Have a Right to Access Classified Military Records Regarding Chemical Weapons Exposure During the Vietnam Era?

It's patently unfair that after fighting for or serving your country you have to fight for the benefits you're entitled to. That's particularly frustrating when your service has resulted in a life-altering and/or life-shortening disability.

A skilled California Veterans disability and benefits attorney can help eligible veterans file a claim or appeal an unfair denial of benefits…especially when government roadblocks impede access to necessary records.

Earlier this year, the world witnessed the horrific effects of Sarin gas, a "chemical weapon so deadly and debilitating it was outlawed as a weapon of mass destruction” when the Syrian military released it on its own people--including children. The side effects of Sarin gas and chemical and biological weapons like it include convulsions, paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. The world was outraged.

Sadly, during "an ugly part of our history", the United States allegedly "intentionally exposed" American service members during the Vietnam era to "several extremely hazardous agents, including Sarin and VX during Project 112/Project Shipboard Hazard or Project SHAD".  Information regarding the project has been withheld and deemed “classified” all these decades while veterans are sick and dying reportedly as a result of their exposure.

Where's the outrage on behalf of our veterans?

A recent proposed amendment seeks to mandate the Department of Defense to "declassify and disclose" information regarding the project for the benefit of exposed and injured veterans and their families. While opponents continue to argue against declassification on national security grounds, proponents cite the duty to protect service members’ health is paramount, especially all these decades later, and that "providing access to classified military records that may prove exposure to toxic substances is critical to veterans applying for VA benefits and service – connection"

Submitting a claim for veterans disability benefits or appealing a denial is complicated and a skilled attorney can help navigate the claims and appeals processes. They are also knowledgeable about additional benefits and the qualifications for receiving same.

If you are a veteran and need assistance filing a claim or appealing a denial of benefits, the Social Security and veterans disability experts at the law offices of Pena & Bromberg can help you. Call us today for a free consultation at 559-644-0031.

From our offices in Fresno, California, we represent veterans throughout Central Valley California including San Francisco Bay, Oakland, Bakersfield, Madera, Stockton, Fresno, Sacramento and Modesto.


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