Hazards Veterans Faced:

Do we now Ignore the Hazards until no Veterans are Left to Tell?

Some might be surprised to know that the image of Alaska as a pristine place with clean environment as far as the eye can see is a myth. In fact, the U.S. Military has made many hazardous dump sights around this state and shortened many people’s lives with deadly chemical exposures.

They know it

We know it

And, they know we know it

[1]Federal Environmental Superfund Hazardous Waste Sites in Alaska

Today Army Veteran Brian Holmes is a disabled vet struggling with bureaucracy and attempting to cause accountability for what has happened to him and others who served in uniform in Alaska. Holmes lives Outside now but has done extensive investigation into what he and his men of the 4/11 Field Artillery Regiment were exposed to at Fort Richardson in the early 1990s. He has an informative Facebook Page providing information and seeking collaboration with others who may have also suffered from malfeasance of the U.S. Military in Alaska.

Holmes is still looking for his brothers in arms

[2]Brian Holmes Facebook Page

When the unit was decommissioned the men all went their separate ways.

I joined the army back in 1989, explained Holmes. I was stationed up in Alaska from 1990 to 94. I started off in Field Artillery. After I started proving myself, I became my units standard-bearer–the guy with the flag–and the commander’s driver for three different commanders, and included Lieutenant Colonel Paul S. Hossenlopp before he later became Commander during Desert Storm of Operation Shock and Awe!

[3]A Military History of the Iraq War Part1: “Shock and Awe”

With top secret security clearance, Holmes took care of the unit’s arms rooms and other secret storage areas.

This was at Ft. Richardson when it was separate from Elmendorf Air Force Base (Now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JBER), Holmes continued. I was there four and a half years. I left Alaska when my unit was decommissioned–shortly after we were contaminated by chemical agents.

[3]Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Hazards Veterans Faced Following Orders

Opportunity in Philippines! Contact email: donn@donnliston.net

In 1993, the army had us go in and guard a disposable dump site on Poleline Road near Eagle River, explained Holmes. So we were told that there might be some Mustard Gas there.

[4]CDC: Mustard Gas

Apparently there was like nine different types of chemicals that were buried in the ground there. I have pictures of it on my Facebook page actually showing the hotspot where my men and I were located when we weren’t guarding the spot to make sure that nobody in the public found out about this.

It was top secret.

We were guarding to make sure nobody got in to the site who didn’t have the credentials, continued Holmes. As we were standing there all we could see was the tree line and the equipment digging up the ditch in the back trying to get all the chemicals and things out of the ground. We didn’t actually see any of it, they put it on the trucks and were hauling it out—driving past us to take it to some bunkers—so it could be stored and guarded at a different more secure location.

We were not wearing hazmat suits as these guys were driving by us, said Holmes. I also remember the Geiger counters were out as well. I always wonder why Geiger counters were out as they were digging? These are supposed to be chemical agents not nuclear.

[5]EPA Database of Hazardous Wastes

Brian Holmes keeps asking questions

Since then I’ve done a lot of research and reached some new revelations:

After the war was done the chemicals actually came from Attu Island when the Japanese attacked us back in 1943; the Japanese made their last charge–that last banzai charge–because we were gassing them! That island now is uninhabitable. Nobody can go on that island without an act of Congress to step even one foot on.

Another Alaska island, St. Lawrence Island, which hosted Northeast Cape Air Force Station, is reportedly also highly contaminated with polychlorinated piphenyls (PCBs) which were dumped and left behind in water and soil after the station was closed in 1972. There are approximately 600 abandoned defense sites in Alaska that operated from World War II to the Cold War—Northeast Cape is one of the more infamous due to its extensive pollution.*

[6]Cold War-era military site continues to pollute fish and Yupic people

The Superfund Sites are listed by state:

[7]SuperfundNational Priorities List for Alaska

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state

Learn about efforts to restore the Anchorage Nike Site here!

Nike Site Reflections from the Cold War

All of this stuff–including nuclear possibly from various siteswas moved to the Poleline Road Dump Site, said Holmes. Why else would they have the Geiger counters out when we were out there? They took this live mustard gas that was lethal, and they were digging a new place for it–and it’s still there!

Ultimately the removal effort was halted due too safety concerns from live ammunition.

This should be of some concern to Alaskans who live in the Chugiak-Eagle River area.

From Holmes’ Facebook Page:

How is the cleanup going Now?

[8]Fort Richardson (USARMY) Cleanup Activity

Reflections on Amchitka Nuclear Blast

Between 1965 and 1967, the US Government exploded nuclear weapons on Amchitka Island in the Aleutian island chain in southwest Alaska. Amchitka Island is the traditional homeland of Aleut Alaska Natives, who lived on Amchitka until the arrival of Russian settlers in the 1760s. Russian settlers forced many Aleut to move from Amchitka to the nearby island of Adak.

The most notorious explosion was conducted in 1971, Project Cannikin. At 5-megatons, this blast was 250 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was detonated almost a mile below Amchitka’s surface. The detonation caused the ground surface on Amchitka to rise, then fall 20 feet. A crater a mile wide and 40 feet deep on Amchitka’s surface serves as an ominous reminder of the massive explosion. The shock from the explosion measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, the same as the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. A social movement against Project Cannikin by a group of environmentalists from British Columbia inspired the formation of the group Greenpeace.

Some rich brats on a sailboat lark didn’t stop anything, of course. Today Alaskans recognize the worldwide Greenpeace organization as an elitist fear-monger leftist group promoting climate change hysteria and anti-fossil fuel propaganda.

[9]Princeton University, Nuclear Princeton

[10][*]Kieran Mulvaney, “A Brief History of Amchitka and The

[11]Fort Richardson (USARMY) Cleanup Activity

[12]Alaska Underground Nuclear Testing Video

A Price for His Service

As a result of your exposure during your wartime service–thank you for your service—you have now medical issues that are not being resolved?

Yes, yesterday as a matter of fact, I had a CT scan for my neck. I’ve got seven blown discs, and more than likely I’m going to have to go in for another fusion within a month or so. My hands don’t want to work correctly anymore. These chemical agents affect the brain; what I have is called chronic sarcoidosis.

Exposure to chemical agents can cause it–affecting every organ in your body. It even affects your nervous system. That’s what it’s affected me the most, said Holmes.

Are you in communication with other people that were in your similar situation?

In 30 years. I’ve only found five of my men. Two are already 100% disabled. I’m at a 30% disability for having sarcoidosis and being contaminated by all these agents.

How old are you?

55, but I am told I look a lot older than that. This battle with the government has added a lot of years to my life but my greatest hope is to find every man from our unit who has been impacted by this injustice.

We must stand together.

Publisher’s Note: Any contributions made from this story will be forwarded to Brian Holmes.

References:

[1]Federal Environmental Superfund Hazardous Waste Sites in Alaska

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state#AK

[2]Brian Holmes Facebook Page

https://web.facebook.com/brian.holmes.52206

Holmes’ Overview, August 18, 2022

After the Battle of Midway, the United States turned its attention back to the island of Attu! Why? The Japanese had taken over the island of Attu and held it for over 13 months. The Japanese took the Attu people as prisoners of war! Once the war was over, the Attu people were relocated to a new island! Why? Why is it that it takes an Act of God and Congress just to be able to step on this island today?

Once the war was over, the military cleaned up the island of Attu and brought back all the chemical agents and unexploded ammunition. Their brilliant plan was to dig a hole at Poleline Rd., Superfund Site and throw it in it. In 1993, my unit was put on guard duty to secure the area while cleanup was underway. The job was unsuccessful due to the unexploded ammunition, if there would’ve been an explosion the chemicals would have been scattered everywhere!

Since the cleanup was unsuccessful, our government consciously mis-informed the public by hiding this information on the Internet. You can find this information on the EPA site and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game site. Residents of Eagle River are in danger! If you look at the 1997 Rod report, you will find at the bottom of the page (Table 4-4), that the recreational fisherman can be contaminated if fish are Consumed!

Now I’ve informed all Alaskan politicians! Ask them why they are sitting on this? Lieutenant Colonel Paul S. Hossenlopp was later Desert Storm Commander of Operation Shock and Awe!

[3]A Military History of The iraq War Part 1: “Shock and Awe”

I was his driver in 1993 when this incident happened. I was also his armor and ran the NBC room (Nuclear, biological, Chemical). I have waited 28 years for my country to do the right thing, and still I get nothing but silence! this is not my America, and I will not stand for it!

[4]Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Base_Elmendorf%E2%80%93Richardson

[5]CDC: Mustard Gas

https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/sulfurmustard/basics/facts.asp

[6]EPA Database of Hazardous Wastes

https://enviro.epa.gov/envirofacts/rcrainfo/search

[7]Cold War-era military site continues to pollute fish and Yupic people

https://www.ehn.org/military-site-polluting-yupik-people-2513528278.html?fbclid=IwAR2sLfAS8uqD1zBuzEgH6bZb701QNahHfG57s9H0K8edrh00rVzDpGZqrK4

[8]Superfund National Priorities List for Alaska

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state

[9]Princeton University, Nuclear Princeton

https://nuclearprinceton.princeton.edu/amchitka-island#:~:text=In%201965%2C%20the%20US%20conducted,underground%20nuclear%20testing.%5B2%5D

[10]Kieran Mulvaney, “A Brief History of Amchitka and The Bomb,” Greenpeace, August 25, 2007, https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/a-brief-history-of-amchitka-and-the-bomb/

[11]Fort Richardson (USARMY) Cleanup Activity

https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/SiteProfiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=second.Cleanup&id=1001455#bkground

[12]Alaska Underground Nuclear Testing Video

2 thoughts on “Hazards Veterans Faced:”

  1. Michael P Garhart

    I spent twenty years taking a Veteran friend to VA hospitals all over the state of Florida ; It took that long to get him help ; He was a Tunnel Rat in Vietnam ; His Uncle had worked on the Agent Orange development ; My friend knew where the dump sites were in Florida and called the D.O.D. about them ; When my friend took the D.O.D. man around to show him the sites , the D.O.D. man said : ” Do you think anyone would believe you ” ? Later , another friend bought one of these properties from the county ; The county never mentioned the contamination ; Our friend sued the county for $ 1.7 million , and won . I have a small hernia from my Army basic Training that I tried to have fixed recently ; I was denied by the VA ; They must have faith in the steroid pills they gave me back in 1980 ?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top