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Conspiracy of Silence: Atomic Veterans Wage Final Fight

June 17, 2019, Stars and Stripes, by Claudia Grisales

 

This is the first part of a three-part series looking at the plight of veterans exposed to atomic radiation testing. Check back Tuesday for the second part.

 

Washington, DC – When Lincoln Grahlfs reported to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California, he was suffering from a strange abscess on his face, a 103-degree fever and an abnormal white blood cell count.

 

The symptoms demanded an unorthodox treatment: A doctor shot the Navy sailor’s face with X-rays with only a shield to cover his eyes.  Soon after, the abscess cleared.

 

It was the spring of 1947. Grahlfs believed he heard a coded message in the doctor’s words: He knew service members were getting sick from a massive, secret U.S. government project.

 

In his 20s, the petty officer first class participated in Operation Crossroads in the Pacific Ocean, the first U.S. atomic bomb tests since the nuclear weapon attacks of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

 

Over the next seven decades, more mysterious illnesses surfaced for Grahlfs and the generations who followed.

 

To read the full article, see https://www.stripes.com/news/special-reports/conspiracy-of-silence-veterans-exposed-to-atomic-tests-wage-final-fight-1.585789 

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