Atomic veteran continuing the fight for benefits after denial from VAEnid News and Eagle
By James Neal
May 6, 2019
"The main thing was for them to take a better look at the other people they treated this way," Simpson said. "I'm not the only atomic veteran that's been treated this way by the VA."
An atomic veteran is continuing a fight for benefits — for himself and other veterans subjected to atomic testing — after his most recent claim was denied by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Richard Simpson, of Hillsdale, holds a photo of an atomic bomb test within 500 meters of the trench he was in with his Marine Corps platoon in 1953. (Bonnie Vculek / Enid News and Eagle)
The News and Eagle first wrote of Richard Simpson, of Hillsdale, in a story last December about atomic veterans' efforts to gain disability benefits for conditions related to radiation exposure. The were ordered to participate in a series of tests between 1945 and 1962 in which the U.S. military subjected troops to atomic blasts to observe the effects of radiation.
The National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV) estimates 195,000 to 300,000 U.S. troops were subjected to atomic testing during that timeframe.
Simpson, then a platoon sergeant in the Marine Corps, participated in Operation Upshot-Knothole in 1953, in which he and his men were placed in trenches about 500 feet from a 350-foot tower, on which an atomic bomb was detonated.
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