Gas chambers in Maryland
In 1955, Felgendreger suffered what his wife Eleanore characterizes as a nervous breakdown. The outgoing chemist was now depressed, sluggish, and reluctant to leave home. There were times when he drank too much. He asked his pastor to care for his wife and three children if something happened to him. He spent two months in a hospital.That's from a two-part Detroit Free Press investigation into the Edgewood Arsenal. The articles feature the stories of many veterans of the 1st Chemical Casual Company. Many suffered from skin, respiratory, and nervous-system disorders likely related to the chemical tests, but were routinely denied medical care and benefits by the VA.
"I've always wondered," Eleanore says now, "if those tests could have caused that."
The tests that haunt Eleanore Felgendreger do not appear in her husband's Army records. Like thousands of World War II soldiers and sailors, Felgendreger's work as a human guinea pig was omitted from his file. In the autumn of 1943, he served in the 1st Chemical Casual Company, a unit exposed to mustard agent and other poisons in the gas chambers of Maryland's Edgewood Arsenal -- tests that would stalk some men, physically and psychologically, until their deaths.
Tests they were forbidden to discuss.
This reminds me that there's a whole new generation of veterans just ripe for screwing by the Pentagon and the VA. I saw the picture a day or two ago (can't find it now) of Marines lying in body-sized foxholes in Fallujah, all ready for burying (though these Marines were still alive). I recalled that Fallujah has been under basically constant attack from bombs and artillery for weeks now, and many (most? all?) of the shells likely contained depleted uranium. And these guys are lying down in the dust. And, the Pentagon did not provide pre-deployment medical exams for troops sent to Iraq, in violation a 1997 law which required both pre- and post-deployment exams which could be used to verify if future health problems were related to the war. If it's any consolation, Marines, it won't be just deplorable chintziness on the part of "our" government when you are denied benefits two or five or twenty years from now. The government will be really and truly broke, and nobody except congresscritters will be getting health care. Feel better now?