My name is Frank Vera and I created this website to document what happened to me at George Air Force Base, and my 40-year quest to find out what I was exposed to. I now know that I am not the only one to suffer adverse health effects because of an exposure to environmental contaminants at George AFB.
Over one hundred people have contacted me through GeorgeAFB.Info regarding health problems that they, their friends and family developed during and shortly after being stationed at George AFB. In some families, every child who was born at George AFB died before the age of twenty-four years, with some families experiencing the loss of up to four children. In other families, all but one of up to five family members, including adults, died at or shortly after leaving George AFB (See Self-Reported Health Problems on www.GeorgeAFB.Info). Some of these people were Adelanto School District employees who worked at the two schools that were allowed to stay open on the former George AFB, for 10 years after it closed.
Over the years, dozens of newspaper articles have been written about my 1973 accidental radiation exposure “with inhalation and ingestion of the hot particles” in the Southeast Disposal Area (SEDA) at George AFB. In my opinion this newspaper article is the best researched and written.
See: GAFB [Frank Vera] Airman Exposed to Radiation – 1 July 1994
“A number of former airmen have indicated that nuclear weapons were present on the base in the 1960s and 1970s.” … “some radioactive materials had been buried in the southeast disposal area as well as on the base grounds behind the alert hangar.”
In 1997 I was rated 100 percent disabled by the VA after VA Secretary Jesse Brown intervened on my behalf.
- Jesse Brown, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs personal interest case – Frank Vera – Los Angeles VARO
“This is a Secretary Brown Interest case.” “Personal Interest of the Secretary – Expedite“
- VA Secretary Jesse Brown / President Clinton’s investigation – Frank Vera – files from the Clinton Library obtained under FOIA
In 1997 after an investigation of my medical care and my C&P claim, VA Secretary Jesse Brown ordered the Los Angeles VARO to award me 70% with Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This is equal to a Service Connected Rating Of 100%. Unfortunately, I had already spent the majority of the previous 23 years homeless and hungry. This investigation centered on injury caused by the accident in the Gun Shop in 1973.
- At the recommendation of VA Secretary Jesse Brown’s staff the radiation exposure was not addressed this investigation because there is no rating for an accidental radiation exposure. The only radiation exposure that the VA will acknowledge is Veterans that participated in atmospheric and certain underground nuclear tests; Took part in the American occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan; Certain veterans who were POWs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; or Served at gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah, Ky., Portsmouth, Ohio, and area K25 at Oak Ridge, Tenn. (See: VA Programs For Veterans Exposed To Radiation)
The Air Force by its own admission has no record of all of the dump locations, or what or how much that it disposed at George AFB. See “Burial of Radioactive Waste in the USAF” – AF – 1972; Nuclear Regulation – “The Military Would Benefit From a Comprehensive Waste Disposal Program” – GAO – 1990; Environmental Cleanup – “Better Data Needed For Radioactively Contaminated Defense Sites” – GAO – 1994; “Lost Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Records” – EPA – 1996
The Air Force admits that it routinely withheld records and information about radioactive waste from regulators, contractors, and the public. See “Buried Radioactive Weapons Maintenance Waste” – Air Force Real Property Agency (AFRPA) – 8 May 2003
The Air Force failed to notify the Veterans Affairs or former base personnel of their exposure to potentially life threatening environmental contamination at George AFB. See Defense Infrastructure – “DOD Can Improve Its Response to Environmental Exposures on Military Installations” – GAO – May 2012