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N4T Investigators: Sick Vets - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Sick Vets

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Tucson - David Goodman feels a lot older than 50. “It's terrible. I mean I'm in pain 24-7. It's a shooting, constant pain in my back, my neck, my entire spine.”
 
The Tucson native enlisted in the Army after graduating from Sunnyside High School and served in Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. He's disabled now due to a degenerative disk disease. The Rio Rico resident blames his extensive pain not from any battle wounds, but from contamination. 

“I would rather have been wounded in combat than go through this chemical contamination.”

Goodman spent six months in 1983 and '84 at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Al. The fort was home to the Chemical Corps School. The storage, use and disposal of chemical weapons and waste contaminated the soil and water. Countless, possibly thousands of military and civilian personnel later suffered from cancer and bone ailments. The government says there's no evidence the chemicals caused the health problems, so, Goodman and others have been denied benefits by the Veterans Administration.

“We want the medical care we were promised, they won't even check or treat us for it,” Goodman says.

A bill has been stalled in the House of Representatives that would create a Fort McClellan registry that would notify vets of research developments and possibly cover medical claims.  The vets, who call themselves, "Toxic Soldiers," are hoping to get help, before it's too late. 

Goodman says, “The feelings that I have towards the government not wanting to take care of us. I mean, that's just unheard of. How can they not take care of their own vets?”

Fort McClellan was closed in 1999. Now, Goodman is appealing the denial of benefits issued by the VA. He says he's proud of his service, but not proud of the way the government has treated him and his fellow Fort McClellan veterans. 

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