In 2001, U.S. armed forces on a military base in Uzbekistan called Karshi-Khanabad (K2) discovered that a nearby body of water was unsafe due to signs of “radiation hazard.” The water was shining green, and oozing black goo was found on the ground.
K2 was vital during the war because it supplied airdrops, medical evacuation, and airstrike assistance to ground forces in Afghanistan. However, it was discovered that K2 was polluted with fragments of chemical weapons, radioactive uranium, and other hazardous material.
Prior to the arrival of U.S. armed forces in 2001, servicemembers in Uzbekistan became sick while preparing the base for military use. As a result, the U.S. Central Command conducted an investigation into potentially hazardous materials on the base. The investigation concluded that several hazards present at K2 pose a threat to the health of military servicemembers.
In 1993, a missile storage facility exploded on this base and polluted the soil with missile propellant. A deserted aircraft and fuel storage space was the suspected origin of the black goo, which is most likely a mixture of oils, hydraulic fluids, glues, paints, solvents, and lubricants, according to the U.S. Central Command. Additionally, an overflow of dangerous materials from chemical weapons impacted the area of K2 where servicemembers sleep.
Despite the presence of hazardous material at K2, former military personnel who served there are having difficulty obtaining assistance for their medical needs by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recently, the U.S. military conducted a study and found that at least 61 veterans who served at K2 have either learned that they have cancer or have died from it.
Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Scott Welsch, who discovered that he had thyroid cancer in 2014, stated that many of his fellow servicemembers are being diagnosed with different types of cancer. Other veterans have acknowledged this fact and are working on a letter to submit to Congress to ask for help. These former servicemembers hope that this action will prompt assistance from VA.
We will monitor the situation and inform you if the letter to Congress encourages VA to help veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer after serving at K2. If you have any inquiries or concerns about this situation, call us today to speak with one of our VA-accredited attorneys.