COLUMBUS - 

State Representative Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) today announced that he has introduced a bill that will designate July 16th as Atomic Veterans Day in Ohio and a concurrent resolution urging Congress to pass the Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act.


“With Veteran’s Day celebrations getting started, this is an ideal time to single out the special services of a very important group of people, our Atomic Veterans,” Rep. Schaffer said. “Because of the importance, secrecy and unknown dangers of their tasks, Atomic Veterans have rare challenges, specifically with their healthcare and quality of life. It’s time that we recognize their contributions to our country and bring attention and awareness to their distinct situation.”


According to the National Association of Atomic Veterans, an Atomic Veteran is: “[A member] of the United States Armed Forces who participated in atmospheric and underwater nuclear weapons tests from 16 July, 1945 to 30 October 1962.  They also include veterans who were assigned to post test duties, such as “ground zero” nuclear warfare maneuvers & exercises, removing radiation cloud samples from aircraft wing pods, working in close proximity to radiated test animals,  decontamination of aircraft and field test equipment, retrieval and transport of test instruments & devices, and a host of other duty assignments that provided an opportunity for a radiation exposure & contamination event.”


During the period between 1945 and 1962, the United States is estimated to have performed 235 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. Nearly 250,000 service men and women assisted with these tests throughout the Southwestern region of the country and the Pacific Ocean.


In 1983, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation declaring July 16 as National Atomic Veterans Day. The State of Virginia also recently passed similar legislation to make the same designation.


The Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act has been introduced in the U.S. Senate as S.283 by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota). It has been referred to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

 
 
 
  
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