Topic: Burn Pits

Sgt. Robert B. Brown from Fayetteville, N.C. with Regimental Combat Team 6, Combat Camera Unit, watches over civilian firefighters at the burn pit as smoke and flames rise into the night sky behind him in May 2007.

PACT Act Update: VA Signs Up 280,000 New Veterans, But Some Are Still Left Out

While the PACT Act greatly expanded VA care for veterans who experienced toxic exposures, some places and conditions have been left out.

‘Please Come and Apply’—The PACT Act Is the Largest Expansion of Veteran Benefits in Decades

“We think that there are, roughly, a little over 6.2 million veterans who, we believe, qualify for the PACT Act,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Carmichael with the Warfighter Exchange Service Team, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, disposes of trash at the burn pit in Forward Operating Base Zeebrudge, Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2013. Photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Kelly Kennedy: Breaking the Burn Pits Story 

The day after President Biden signed the PACT Act into law, managing editor Kelly Kennedy tells us what it was like to first report on burn pits.
U.S. service members were intentionally exposed to toxic agents, such as nitrogen mustard, during World War II. Photo courtesy of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Exposed: Burn Pits May Force the Military to Acknowledge Generations of Poisoned Veterans

Since World War II, the military has poisoned countless service members through toxic exposures and secret testing.
Soldiers deploying to the Gulf War make their way to a plane in 1990 at Volk Field, Wisconsin, on Jan. 1, 1991. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

“Nearly All” VA Claims for Gulf War Illness “Improperly Denied”

A VA official said the department is “working diligently” to gather information and “remains fully committed” to the concerns of Gulf War veterans.

Gulf War Illness Treatments Discovered. Will Veterans Affairs Officials Listen Now?

“That’s what made them sick.” Scientists say toxic exposures and anti-nerve agent pills, paired with DEET, poisoned veterans during the Gulf War.
Soldiers, including the author (far right back row), from the 17th Signal Battalion pose in MOPP gear during the ground war.

Chemicals. Chemicals. And More Chemicals. A Veteran Reflects on Her Time in Desert Storm

For decades, the U.S. has poisoned service members with toxic chemicals. Lotions. Pills. Testing. Burn pits. And then there’s the enemy’s chemical weapons.
U.S. Army veteran Tom Bomke takes a selfie with Jon Stewart at the DoD Warrior Games opening ceremony, June 22, 2019, at Amalie Arena in Tampa during the Department of Defense Warrior Games. Photo by Spec. Seara Marcsis, courtesy of the U.S. Army.

“We’re Better Than This”—Jon Stewart, Veterans Advocates Rally for Bipartisan Burn Pit Legislation

Burn pits have poisoned service members for years. Policy is lacking and defense contractors are not liable for decisions that might harm soldiers at war.
Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron equipment manager, throws trash into a burn pit at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, in 2008. Photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, courtesy U.S. Air Force.

“It’s so inaccurate”—How the VA Is Failing to Track Veterans Burn Pit Claims

VA figures show an astonishingly low rate of approval of burn pit claims: Of the 10,588 claims, 2,360 veterans had their benefits granted and 8,228 were denied.