March 13, 2013

CDC: Herbicides didn't harm Maine soldiers

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this October 2001 file photo, Dean Dumond, a helicopter pilot with the 1st of the 137th Aviation Battalion of the Maine Army National Guard, checks flight notes while flying over Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, Canada.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

In this October 2001 file photo, Maine Army National Guardsmen load a round into a Howitzer gun on Saturday during training at the Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, Canada. The guardsmen belonged to the Alpha Battery of the 1st Battalion, 152 Field Artillery.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

"I would have hoped that the CDC would have sought to interview medical providers treating those who were possibly exposed to harmful chemicals and became ill," Collins said in a prepared statement. "It is unclear from the letter I received, or the report itself, whether those investigative steps were taken."

Richard Pelletier, a veteran who has been one of the most forceful advocates on the Gagetown issue, said Collins "should have known better" than to ask a U.S. government office to look into the matter. Like many affected veterans on both sides of the border, Pelletier says that the U.S. and Canadian governments are covering up the issue to limit liability.

He said an independent panel needs to investigate.

"It doesn't surprise me it is the same decision. It is going to be the same decision" absent an independent review, Pelletier said Tuesday night. "We didn't get any farther. It's six or seven months later and we still have the same story."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday that the department was still reviewing the report and was unable to comment.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

 

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