This bill provides for increased access to treatment of Atomic Veterans who were exposed to radiation during the years that followed World War II and should be promptly enacted by Congress.
April 13, 2021
The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
Senator from Connecticut
706 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
CC: Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Dear Senator Blumenthal,
On behalf of our over 2.3 million members of the Association of Mature American Citizens (“AMAC”), of which hundreds of thousands are veterans, we strongly urge enactment of ‘‘Palomares Veterans Act of 2021’’. This legislation would provide for the treatment of veterans, who participated onsite in the response effort following the collision of an Air Force B–52 bomber and refueling plane that caused the release of four thermonuclear weapons in the vicinity of Palomares, Spain during the period beginning January 17, 1966, as radiation exposed veterans for purposes of the presumption of service-connection of certain disabilities by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The Atomic Veterans are retired and former members of the Armed Services who were exposed to radiation during the years following the end of World War II. Between 1945 and 1962, about 225,000 members of our Armed Forces participated in hundreds of nuclear weapons tests, as well as the cleanup of the radioactive residues. Moreover, thousands of other GIs were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation as a part of the U.S. military occupation forces during World War II in Japan, and those who were held as POWs in and around Hiroshima and Nagasaki before 1946. The veterans who worked in the response effort in the Palomares, Spain collision should likewise be accorded the presumption of service-connected disabilities by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Palomares Act of 2021 increases these veterans’ access to treatment by VA and should be enacted quickly this Congress.