Showing posts with label chemical exposures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chemical exposures. Show all posts

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Jasper family mourns loss of Vietnam War Vet

Jasper family mourns loss of Vietnam War Vet from chemical warfare
Juan Rodriguez
April 8, 2017

JASPER - The chemical attack in Syria hits too close to home for one Jasper family.

The Chenyworth’s are preparing to say goodbye to their beloved husband and father, who died after decades of fighting the deadly Agent Orange chemical.
“I would love to hear him call me one more time, I spent my first time alone last night,” says Connie Chenyworth, wife of the Vietnam Veteran Roy Chenyworth.

Tears flowing down at a flower shop, a Jasper family mourning the loss of their beloved hero.

“It's so hard, I just miss him,” Connie explains.

77-year-old Roy Chenyworth was a Vietnam Veteran, he passed away due to health complications after being exposed to the warfare chemical while overseas.

Agent Orange is a powerful mixture of chemicals used by the United States military to eliminate forest cover for troops, as well as crops used to feed them.

“Very hazardous to all the services man then were there, they have a lot of Vietnam Veterans with this even if they weren’t in direct contact or exposed,” says Stacy Hartstine, oldest daughter of the Cheney’s.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mustard gas test subjects denied veteran benefits

McCaskill: Mustard gas test subjects denied veteran benefits
Stars and Stripes
Travis J Tritten
May 31, 2016

WASHINGTON — The military has acknowledged for decades it performed secret mustard gas tests on troops at the end of World War II but a Senate investigation released Tuesday found 90 percent of related benefit claims have been rejected by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said she discovered shortfalls in the benefits process that took her breath away during a yearlong investigation into treatment of the test victims. The release of her findings is accompanied by a new bill – named after an 89-year-old former soldier from Missouri – that fast-tracks VA benefits for possibly hundreds of survivors.

About 60,000 servicemembers were exposed to mustard gas and another chemical agent called Lewisite as part of a clandestine defense research program in the 1940s. Of those servicemembers, about 4,000 had their entire bodies exposed to the chemical weapons. Mustard gas and Lewisite burn the skin and lungs, are linked to a variety of serious health problems and have been banned by the international community.

McCaskill said she believes about 400 of the veterans could still be alive and eligible for benefits.
read more here

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Army Will Give Purple Heart to Chemical Weapons Wounded

Veterans Hurt by Chemical Weapons in Iraq Get Apology 
New York Times
MARCH 25, 2015
The Army has approved a Purple Heart for former Specialist Richard T. Beasley, who was burned by sulfur mustard agent while dismantling a bomb in Iraq.
Credit via Richard T. Beasley

WASHINGTON — The under secretary of the Army on Wednesday apologized for the military’s treatment of American service members exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq, and he announced new steps to provide medical support to those with lingering health effects and to recognize veterans who had been denied awards.

Under Secretary Brad R. Carson acknowledged that the military had not followed its own policies for caring for troops exposed to old and abandoned chemical munitions that had been scattered around Iraq, and he vowed improvement.

He also said that the Army had reversed a previous decision and approved a Purple Heart medal for a soldier burned by sulfur mustard agent, and that he expected more medals to be issued to other veterans after further review.

“To me, the scandal is that we had protocols in place and the medical community knew what they were, and yet we failed in some cases to implement this across the theater,” he said. “That was a mistake, and I apologize for that. I apologize for past actions and am going to fix it going forward.”
read more here

Monday, February 16, 2015

Iraq Veterans Not Told of Chemical Weapons Exposures

C.I.A. Is Said to Have Bought and Destroyed Iraqi Chemical Weapons 
New York Times
FEBRUARY 15, 2015
Not long after Operation Avarice had secured its 400th rocket, in 2006, American troops were exposed several times to other chemical weapons. Many of these veterans said that they had not been warned by their units about the risks posed by the chemical weapons and that their medical care and follow-up were substandard, in part because military doctors seemed unaware that chemical munitions remained in Iraq.
United Nations workers prepared for the destruction of
nerve-agent weapons by sealing leaks in the rockets.

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials. United Nations workers prepared for the destruction of Iraqi nerve-agent weapons by sealing leaks in the rockets.

The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

The effort was run out of the C.I.A. station in Baghdad in collaboration with the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion and teams of chemical-defense and explosive ordnance disposal troops, officials and veterans of the units said. Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock.
In some cases, victims of exposure said, officers forbade them to discuss what had occurred. The Pentagon now says hundreds of other veterans reported on health-screening forms that they believed they too had been exposed during the war.

Aaron Stein, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the belated acknowledgment of a chemical-rocket purchases, as well as the potentially worrisome laboratory analysis of the related sarin samples, raised questions about the military’s commitment to the well-being of those it sent to war.

“If we were aware of these compounds, and as it became clear over the course of the war that our troops had been exposed to them, why wasn’t more done to protect the guys on the ground?” he said. “It speaks to the broader failure.”
read more here

Friday, October 31, 2014

Chemical Weapons Exposures to Iraq Veterans Kept Secret

Report: Troops, vets to get checked for chemical exposure in Iraq
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 30, 2014

The Pentagon will offer medical examinations and long-term health monitoring to servicemembers and veterans exposed to chemical warfare agents in Iraq as part of a review of how the military handled encounters with chemical munitions during the American occupation, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

An Oct. 15 Times story found that while the United States had gone to war looking for an active weapons of mass destruction program, troops instead quietly found and suffered from the remnants of the long abandoned arsenal.

Since that article, which detailed instances of exposure that the military kept secret in some cases for nearly a decade, more veterans and servicemembers have come forward, the Times reported. To date, neither the Pentagon nor any of the services have released a full list of chemical weapons recoveries and exposures.

The Times found that the military did not follow its own guidelines in the initial care of many patients, and did not establish a means for tracking their health, as guidelines also required.

In response, two senior Army doctors said in interviews this week that new medical examinations for troops and veterans who were exposed to chemical munitions would begin in early 2015. The Navy too has announced it will ramp up care.
read more here

Friday, October 22, 2010

Senator Doran says "Pentagon dropped the ball on chemical exposure of US Troops in Iraq"


Friday CONTACT: Barry E. Piatt

October 22, 2010 PHONE: 202-224-0577

Follow up report is delayed:


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) --- U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said Friday a preliminary report of an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General confirms that the Pentagon dropped the ball in responding to the exposure of hundreds of U.S. troops to a deadly chemical in Iraq. Those failures left some exposed soldiers unaware that they had been exposed to the deadly chemical and without follow up health monitoring and treatment. Monitoring tests performed on other soldiers who were informed of their exposure were so inadequate that the agency that performed them now admits they have a “low level of confidence” in those tests.

A second and more detailed Inspector General’s report, originally scheduled to be released this month, has now been moved back to the end of the year, a development Dorgan said he finds “disappointing.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee and Dorgan requested IG investigations after he chaired hearings by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), in June 2008 and August 2009. The hearings revealed that troops from Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, and West Virginia were exposed to sodium dichromate, a known and highly potent carcinogen at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in Iraq. The DPC hearings revealed multiple failures by the contractor, KBR, and the Army’s failure to adequately monitor, test, and notify soldiers who may have been exposed of the health risks they may now face.

The IG is releasing two reports on its investigation, The first report was released in September. The second, expected to be a more detailed response to specific DPC concerns, was originally slated for release by late October. But the Department of Defense Inspector General now states a draft of that report won’t be available until the end of the year.

The first report provides no indication -- seven years after the exposure – that the Army ever notified seven soldiers from the Army’s Third Infantry Division who secured the Qarmat Ali facility during hostilities that they had been exposed. It also confirms that the Army’s assessment of the health risks associated with exposure to sodium dichromate for soldiers at Qarmat Ali are not very reliable. In fact, the organization that performed these assessments, the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventative Medicine (CHPPM), now says it has a “low level of confidence” in its test results for the overwhelming majority of those exposed.

Equally troubling, Dorgan said, is the report’s finding that the Department of Defense is refusing to provide information to Congress about the incident, because of a lawsuit to which it is not a party.

“I am very concerned about the findings we now have, and I am disappointed in the delayed release of Part II of this report. The IG’s investigation and its findings are very important to the lives of U.S. soldiers and workers who were at the site. Details and definitive findings will help us ensure accountability for this exposure and flawed follow up, but even more importantly, they will help ensure that all exposed soldiers receive appropriate notice and medical attention,” Dorgan said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Guardsmen say chemical exposure changed lives

Guardsmen say chemical exposure changed lives

By Sharon Cohen - The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday Jun 28, 2009 8:40:07 EDT

Larry Roberta’s every breath is a painful reminder of his time in Iraq. He can’t walk a block without gasping for air. His chest hurts, his migraines sometimes persist for days and he needs pills to help him sleep.

James Gentry came home with rashes, ear troubles and a shortness of breath. Later, things got much worse: He developed lung cancer, which spread to his spine, ribs and one of his thighs; he must often use a cane, and no longer rides his beloved Harley.

David Moore’s postwar life turned into a harrowing medical mystery: nosebleeds and labored breathing that made it impossible to work, much less speak. His desperate search for answers ended last year when he died of lung disease at age 42.

What these three men — one sick, one dying, one dead — had in common is they were National Guard soldiers on the same stretch of wind-swept desert in Iraq during the early months of the war in 2003.

These soldiers and hundreds of other Guard members from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia were protecting workers hired by a subsidiary of the giant contractor, KBR Inc., to rebuild an Iraqi water treatment plant. The area, as it turned out, was contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a potent, sometimes deadly chemical linked to cancer and other devastating diseases.
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Guardsmen say chemical exposure changed lives

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ore. Guard tells of possible chemical exposure

Ore. Guard tells of possible chemical exposure
By Joseph B. Frazier - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Feb 12, 2009 5:15:25 EST

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon National Guard has written to 433 of its soldiers to say they may have been exposed to a toxic, carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water pumping plant shortly after the war began.

Guard spokesman Maj. Mike Braibish said three companies of the 162nd Infantry Battalion were deployed in Kuwait, and the troops were sent, about 50 at a time, into Iraq to escort employees of Houston-based KBR, which was inspecting oil facilities.

He said no symptoms indicating exposure have been reported to the Oregon Guard.

“That doesn’t mean they won’t be,” Braibish said Wednesday. “Some may have been treated by the Veterans Administration, and we don’t know about it. It’s a possibility.”
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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sixteen Indiana National Guard soldiers sue over chemical exposure in Iraq

Ind. soldiers sue over chemical exposure in Iraq
The Associated Press
By CHARLES WILSON – 20 hours ago

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Sixteen Indiana National Guard soldiers sued the big defense contractor KBR Inc. on Wednesday, saying its employees knowingly allowed them to be exposed to a toxic chemical in Iraq five years ago.

The federal suit filed in U.S. District Court alleges the soldiers from a Tell City-based unit were exposed to a carcinogen while protecting an Iraqi water pumping plant shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

The 23-page complaint claims that Houston-based KBR knew at least as early as May 2003 that the plant was contaminated with sodium dichromate, a known carcinogen, but concealed the danger from civilian workers and 139 soldiers from the Indiana Guard's 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry.

"It's not right, what they done," said Mark McManaway, a 55-year-old truck driver from Cannelton who has since retired from the Guard. McManaway, the main plaintiff in the lawsuit, has suffered nosebleeds and rashes he believes are due to the chemical exposure.

The chemical, used to remove pipe corrosion, is especially dangerous because it contains hexavalent chromium, which is known to cause birth defects and cancer, particularly lung cancer, the lawsuit said. The cancer can take years to develop.

Some of the soldiers who served at the site now have respiratory system tumors associated with hexavalent chromium exposure, the lawsuit states.

click link for more

Monday, December 1, 2008

Senator Akaka wants answers on burn pit toxins

Akaka wants DoD, VA to review war-zone toxins

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Dec 1, 2008 19:08:25 EST

Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has asked that the co-chairs of the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs Oversight Committee begin a review of environmental toxins — including those coming from burn pits — at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Reports of possible exposure to smoke from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan have come to the committee’s attention,” Akaka wrote in a letter dated Dec. 1. “Concerns about such exposure would appear to be an ideal opportunity for focused efforts to track the location of service members in relation to the possible exposure sites.”

The letter was addressed to Gordon England, deputy defense secretary, and Gordon Mansfield, deputy VA secretary.
go here for more

Burn Pit Video at the bottom of this blog

Also on Army Times on this

Burn pit at Balad raises health concerns
Possible contaminants and their potential effects
Senator wants answers on dangers of burn pits
Burn pit fallout
What the troops are saying
Pentagon must recognize burn-pit health hazards
An interview with a patient at Walter Reed who believes burn-pit fumes caused her leukemia

Monday, October 27, 2008

Balad Iraq "burn pit" raises health concerns

Burn pit at Balad raises health concerns
An open-air “burn pit” at the largest U.S. base in Iraq may have exposed tens of thousands of troops, contractors and Iraqis to cancer-causing dioxins, poisons such as arsenic and carbon monoxide, and hazardous medical waste, documentation gathered by Military Times shows.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Army reviews possible chemical mishap in Iraq and Indiana National Guard

Army reviews possible chemical mishap in Iraq

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 29, 2008 17:29:34 EDT

Two separate investigations are being launched to determine if soldiers guarding a water treatment plant in Iraq were exposed to a cancer-causing substance in 2003.

The Army plans a 60-day investigation by a panel of personnel and logistics experts to review procedures that may have led members of the Indiana National Guard to be exposed to sodium dichromate at the Qarmat Ali plant in Iraq. Separately, a defense health board also will investigate if any ill effects resulted from the possible exposure.

About 140 soldiers form the 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry Regiment were deployed to the water plant near Basra in southern Iraq, according to Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who is urging the creation of a registry of exposed soldiers so they can be tracked to determine if they are suffering ill effects from the deployment.

The Department of Veterans Affairs said about 600 soldiers were in the area and could have been exposed when wind blew the chemical over a large area.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Indiana National Guard possible exposure and KBR

Army investigating possible chemical exposure

By Maureen Groppe - Gannett News Service
Posted : Tuesday Sep 23, 2008 18:09:28 EDT

WASHINGTON — The Army will complete an investigation within 60 days into whether Indiana National Guardsmen and other soldiers providing protection at a water pumping plant in Iraq in 2003 were exposed to a deadly chemical.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said in a letter to Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh that the “senior level” review will look at the Army’s procedures for handling hazardous exposure, the actions taken to follow up with those who may have been exposed and whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properly oversaw contract work by Kellogg, Brown and Root Services.

Geren said he also has asked for an independent review of the medical evaluations initially conducted by the Army about the incident.

Bayh requested the Army investigation after congressional Democrats in June held a forum about the potential exposure at the Qarmat Ali water pumping plant.

Two KBR employees told Senate Democrats that workers and soldiers were exposed in 2003 to sodium dichromate, a known carcinogen, despite the company’s assurances that the site was safe.
go here for more

Monday, September 8, 2008

1 burned, 29 others evaluated in Attleboro MA chemical explosion

1 burned in chemical explosion at Mass. company
AP foreign, Tuesday September 9 2008

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) - Chemicals used to clean jewelry exploded Monday at a business that makes gold and silver alloys, burning one person and sending 29 others to hospitals for evaluation.

Employees at Stern-Leach Co. were trying to mix sodium cyanide and hydrogen peroxide solutions totaling about 2 gallons under a fume hood, said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Company employees routinely mix the chemicals, and there was no immediate explanation for the explosion, Coletta said.

About 200 people evacuated the building afterward. Fire Capt. Tim Birch said the cyanide leak was contained to the third floor of the building.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chemical exposure prompts lockdown at 2 St. Louis ERs

Chemical prompts lockdown at 2 St. Louis ERs
Authorities '99 percent' certain material behind scare was nitroaniline
Sun., Aug. 31, 2008
ST. LOUIS - Eight people were sickened Saturday after exposure to a chemical at an Illinois plant, and emergency rooms at two hospitals where they were treated were quarantined.

Authorities were "99 percent" certain the chemical was nitroaniline, a highly toxic material that can cause serious breathing problems and even death.

By late evening, it appeared that no patients or staff at the hospitals were contaminated because of their proximity to the victims.

'Got all over them'

The incident began when a barrel was dropped at Ro-Corp. in East St. Louis. Mehlville Fire Chief Jim Silvernail said the lid popped off the barrel spilling a white powder.

"It's like what would happen if you drop flour — it got all over them," he said.

Three men exposed to the powder drove to St. Anthony's Medical Center in south St. Louis County. Three others went to SSM DePaul Health Center in north St. Louis County. Another went to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Silvernail said. It wasn't known where the eighth sought treatment.

All three at DePaul were in fair condition and improving, spokeswoman Jamie Newell said. Details about the conditions of the other five were not immediately known, but Silvernail said at least one at St. Anthony's was "in pretty rough shape."

St. Anthony's and DePaul immediately locked down their emergency rooms.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ky. weapons depot confirms mustard gas leak

Ky. weapons depot confirms mustard gas leak

By Jeffrey McMurray - The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Jul 29, 2008 18:54:33 EDT

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The first mustard gas leak in three years was confirmed Tuesday at a chemical weapons stockpile in Kentucky, less than a month after workers there found a leak inside a separate storage igloo housing a deadly nerve agent.

But officials said the latest leak poses no danger to the community nor the surrounding atmosphere.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Project SHAD Vets testify today on 1960s chemical tests

Action from Congress would be a relief to Alderson, who lives modestly in Ferndale, Calif. His home is decorated with stacks of documents about his days in charge of a fleet of five light tugboats that were sprayed with biological agents and cleaned afterward with solvents, some of which now are considered carcinogenic.

Vets testify today on 1960s chemical tests

By Erica Werner - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Jun 12, 2008 8:46:02 EDT

WASHINGTON — Jack Alderson was ordered never to talk about the secret weapons tests he helped conduct in the Pacific during the 1960s. He kept quiet for decades.

Sparse attendance at a 1993 reunion prompted Alderson, a retired Navy Reserve lieutenant commander, to speak out. He learned that more than half of the 500 or so crew members who took part in the tests were either dead or suffering from cancer, respiratory problems or other ailments. Alderson wondered whether his own skin cancers, allergies and chronic fatigue were linked to those tests or were simply the result of aging.

“I was told by my bosses and the docs and so forth that if you follow these routines ... you’re going to be OK,” Alderson, 74, said in an interview. “We did exactly as told. And we’re finding out now that we’re sick.”

Alderson and other witnesses were set to testify Thursday before a House Veterans Affairs panel considering legislation that would require more Pentagon disclosure about the Cold War-era germ and chemical weapons testing and extend benefits to veterans who participated in them. A similar bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee later this month.

Lawmakers say the legislation is needed because the Pentagon has not acknowledged a link between the tests and health problems, which has made it difficult for veterans to get health coverage. Pentagon officials don’t rule out a health link but say it’s tough to prove.

“We cannot say that this exposure 40 years ago had absolutely no health effect,” said Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, the Pentagon’s deputy director for force health protection and readiness. “I don’t think any physician would risk saying that. Because how do you prove that that’s the case?”

A similar debate took place around Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used by U.S. forces in Vietnam that was linked to cancer and other ailments in those exposed to it. At Congress’ insistence in the late 1980s, the government extended benefits to veterans and their children suffering from Agent Orange-related diseases.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

16,269 exposed to chemicals not notified of health issues?

The Pentagon hired a contractor to try to identify more veterans, but GAO found the project lacked sufficient oversight. For example, in 2007, a contractor identified 2,300 people exposed to biological tests at Fort Detrick, Md., in “Operation Whitecoat,” which ran from the early 1950s to the early 1970s.

VA, DoD urged to find chemical-exposed vets

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Mar 1, 2008 7:56:47 EST

The Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department must work harder to find tens of thousands of veterans involved in military chemical and biological weapons tests since World War II, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.

“As this population becomes older, it will become more imperative for DoD and VA to identify and notify these individuals in a timely manner because they might be eligible for health care or other benefits,” according to the GAO report.

The classified tests exposed people to various agents. Some were simulated, but many were not. The list included blister and nerve agents, biological agents, PCP and LSD, in a series of tests over several decades known as “Project 112.”

According to the GAO, the military also exposed healthy adults, psychiatric patients and prison inmates in the experiments.

In some cases, service members volunteered for the tests but were misled about what they would be asked to do.

“Precise information on the number of tests, experiments and participants is not available, and the exact numbers will never be known,” the GAO report states.

Still, in 1993, the Defense Department began trying to find as many as it could. They identified almost 6,000 veterans and 350 civilians who may have been exposed. That search effort ended in 2003.

But in a 2004 study, GAO said the Pentagon should review further data and see if it would be feasible to find more people who may have been exposed.

Defense officials decided that looking further would not yield significant results, but GAO said that decision was “not supported by an objective analysis of the potential costs and benefits,” and that the Pentagon had not documented the criteria for its decision.

Since 2003, the Institutes of Medicine as well as other non-military agencies have found 600 more people.

GAO found that the Defense Department efforts in this area lack consistent objectives and adequate oversight, and officials have not used information gained from previous research that identified exposed people. GAO also aid the process lacks transparency because it has not kept Congress and veterans groups informed of its progress.

VA officials sent letters to only 48 percent of the names provided by the Pentagon because those were the only ones for whom they could find addresses. At least 16,269 known to be living still need to be notified.

Some records have been lost or destroyed, but GAO said VA does not work with the Social Security Administration or the Internal Revenue Service to obtain contact information for veterans.

go here for the rest

A couple of things really wrong with this aside from the obvious. The VA can and does work with the IRS and Social Security when it involves the ability to collect for treatment classified as "non-service connected" and they did this in the 90's at least because they kept taking our tax refund until my husband's claim was approved. The Pentagon also must work with the IRS and Social Security because they managed to track down the National Guardsman they are sending to jail because he had income from a private job while part of the time he was deployed to Iraq. In other words, when they want to find you, they do.