Skip to main content

How the U.S. Government's Covert Radiation Experiments at Camp Parks Changed My Life

Janet Vicenti was raised in a military family in the Pleasanton/Dublin area of California in the 1960s.

My 5th-grade picture from Camp Parks Elementary School (Dublin, California), before I got sick

My 5th-grade picture from Camp Parks Elementary School (Dublin, California), before I got sick

Military Families Put at Risk by Government Experiments

My name is Janet Vincenti. I am the 67-year-old daughter of a man who enlisted straight out of high school and stayed in the military until he retired. My father was a hospital corpsman, an electronics technician on an aircraft carrier based in Japan for two years and an electronics inspector, the latter of which he did so as a (retired Chief Petty Officer) civilian working for the government.

My family lived in the Komandorski Village military housing in Pleasanton, California, and I went to school at Camp Parks Elementary School (grades 2–5) across the street on the Camp Parks military base in Dublin. My life living with my father (and family) always involved military bases.

On February 6, 1966, just four months shy of my 12th birthday, I was suddenly stricken with a strange (and at that time rare) blood disorder. The diagnosis was so rare that my parents were advised at the hospital that I was the third pediatric patient to be admitted with that diagnosis; that was just the beginning. I know now there were others.

The mysterious blood disorder caused a sudden onset of strange bleeding symptoms: bleeding gums, petechiae, full body ecchymosis (bruising) without evidence of contact injury, along with diarrhea, loss of appetite, a body rash, and lethargy. Five days after the symptoms appeared, I was hospitalized, and more scared than I had ever been.

Doctors were immediately concerned about my extremely low blood platelet count. The normal range for a healthy pediatric patient is 250,000uL–450,000uL; my platelet count upon admission was 10,000uL, a clear indicator of thrombocytosis, a disorder in which the body's production of platelets in the bone marrow are compromised.

It was the beginning of my hatred for needles and blood, constant testing, invasive procedures, and experimental treatment. How I ever became a registered nurse is anyone’s guess, but in hindsight, it may have also been what has saved me despite the many health challenges and near-death medical events throughout the decades that followed. I became my own patient.

I lost my reproductive organs at the age of 22, later explained by civilian physicians to be a result of the medications prescribed while hospitalized in the pediatric ward and continued as treatment once discharged; monitoring for any recurrence of the blood disorder also continued in the decade that followed.

During that time, there were multiple abdominal tumors requiring multiple surgeries (five total) all before my 30th birthday, one as a child I thought I’d never live to see. The “what if’s” of coming out of the remission haunted much of my late childhood/early adulthood.

My research leads me to believe many other children at Camp Parks were affected by what affected me, and I fully suspect radiation (and toxic) exposure as the cause as evidenced by all the declassified documentation and Cold War (and current) well-documented history about nuclear radiation and its effects on all life forms.

What also exists is the cover-up and evasive lingo that is also documented, and as a retired legal nurse, sounds awfully defensive and self-protecting for what clearly was an anticipated slew of lawsuits once the information became public.

It's been a decades-long puzzle and apparently a well-protected secret, but it seems the government conducted experiments at Camp Parks on the effects of radioisotopes on animals, plants, buildings, and people; unknown contamination was left behind in buildings, artifacts, and soil.

Research revealed this was common practice for properties abandoned by the military. Action was always necessary to get the military to clean up that which they promised to make environmentally safe for the subsequent landowners—more times than not, new housing developers.

This data can be found in the government’s own declassified documents, which were released in 1995, not long after Eileen Welsome, an American journalist working for The Albuquerque Tribune, wrote a three-part story entitled “The Plutonium Experiment” (published November 15, 1993) and received a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1994 for the same.

I believe it was this news reporting that opened up then-President Bill Clinton’s appointment of a committee to investigate and report on the U.S. military government’s use of radiation on its own people.

Proud to be in the Komandorski Village Brownies and Girl Scouts; Camp Parks in the background

Proud to be in the Komandorski Village Brownies and Girl Scouts; Camp Parks in the background

Exposing the Truth

The military children at Komandorski Village and Camp Parks Elementary played outside and wandered freely over both areas. Many who worked, lived, or played on or near Camp Parks believe they were exposed.

There was a community center in the Village where I attended Brownie and Girl Scout meetings and had dance recitals; there was also a little community store toward the back end of the village, where the grounds of Camp Parks Military Base were never out of plain sight.

Still, the first I’d hear of what had occurred during the time my family lived there would first be from a February 13, 1994, archived article by the Los Angeles Times featuring a man who had tended to radiated sheep at Camp Parks, and questioned other fears he had of his own exposure to radiation and the deformities his child would be born with.

This man (now in his seventies) suspected that he may have unknowingly caused those birth defects by the low-paying work he unknowingly put himself in danger doing while a teenager working at Camp Parks military base.

The effects of my own radiation exposure had long-term and far-reaching effects on me, my family, and every relationship I’d ever have. Medical issues and concerns have taken up my life, and we left California feeling abandoned by the Navy to which my father had dedicated his life.

This path my family had to take in life gave me a mission—to speak out and make sure government experimentation does not hide the truth of what happens, and to whom, and never again makes victims out of people like us. Military personnel and their families were income-limited and forced to live on military soil which turned out to be toxic and harmful to healthy living.

Radiation and toxic exposure know no boundaries and contamination on military bases continues to be an ongoing national issue.

Camp Parks Elementary School (on base)

Camp Parks Elementary School (on base)

My Life Changed When I Was Eleven

I was not the first kid living at Komandorski Village who fell ill with a mysterious bleeding disorder. Just before I went to the hospital, an older boy, Dean M., who was 15 or 16 at the time and living only a couple of buildings from my family’s unit, had been stricken by the same syndrome.

He was already hospitalized in the same facility to which I was taken: Oak Knoll Naval Hospital (in Oakland), the main military hospital that served the surrounding military communities. Dean, who lived only a couple of buildings away from my family’s housing unit, had the same syndrome I was diagnosed with and got sick just before I did.

He died well within a year of his diagnosis. I saw other children on the same ward with bleeding disorders, but at the time (and age) I was none the wiser for it.

Dean’s father had come to my family’s apartment after dinner one evening, at my parents' request, and then told them that I looked just like his son did. There I sat, a child among three adults who were talking as if I wasn’t even there. I saw fear in my parents' eyes that I had never witnessed before.

The man then told my parents they had best get me to the hospital ASAP as his son was also gravely ill. It was the night that would change me forever. On my first night, I was taken from my family, my home, my friends, and was consumed with fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of the seemingly grave situation of which I knew nothing.

During my ride to the hospital some 35 miles away, that uncertainty was terrifying.

The only time I had slept away from my family was when my mother gave birth to my baby sister just a few years before. My parents were silent the entire ride to the hospital, which to me, even as a child, spoke volumes.

I immediately understood the seriousness of the situation and asked only that my mother tell my school friend I would not be going to school the next morning; I knew my parents would leave the hospital that evening without me. My job now was to be as brave as a kid could and lucky for me, I was not your average 11-year-old.

While I was at that hospital for evaluation and treatment, I wanted to know everything about what was happening to me, and wanted to know about the other children there too. I eavesdropped on many of physician and nursing discussions with parents, and in general on the ward.

What I learned, alone in the hospital by myself, filled my child self with more overwhelming fear. Showing bravery seemed to cause my parents to cry less when they visited me, which helped ease my own sadness for being there.

Mysterious Horror at the Hospital

My first childhood brush with death began my first night at the hospital, when the little girl across the hall died. The curtains had been drawn on her windows and her door remained closed until her mother flung it open screaming for someone to help her daughter. I knew that whoever she was, that little girl was very, very sick.

I would never be able to unhear those primal screams, an indescribable trauma for a young kid. I stood at the window of my own room and watched the attendants wheel a hospital gurney out of that room carrying a small body covered with a flat white hospital sheet with a screaming mother draped over all.

Then it rolled past my large three-paneled observation window before disappearing down the corridor. I did not close my eyes that night. I feared sleep meant never waking up again and that hospitals must be the place where kids go to die.

Other children in the pediatric ward to which I was admitted had bleeding disorders. One night there I heard a little boy crying in his crib in the hospital room where I discovered him alone and bleeding from both his hands. I ran to the nursing station to alert the nurses on duty.

I knew he was a bleeder (hemophiliac) because the nurse had explained that someone had left a toy ukulele in his crib for him to play with without first checking with the medical staff and the toy cut his fingers when he attempted to strum the instrument.

I was told that it was dangerous to give something like that to a pediatric patient who was a hemophiliac. I wrote a story about this unearthly experience in 2002; it was published in a nursing chronicle.

This death and illness I witnessed were only one of the many PTSD issues I would have to learn to manage before my 12th birthday. Trauma is the very reason for my ability to accurately recall and describe past events in such detail. Deep trauma is never forgotten; you learn to live with it the best you can, until you can’t.

Leaving California

After I was released from the hospital, something changed in my father; he was oddly quiet. He didn’t laugh as much as he had and seemed much more serious when the topic was about his naval career, though he was always a proud serviceman.

My father was worried and angry over what had happened to at least two kids living right in the same housing complex, within a football field's length of each other, stricken by the same rare condition. Due to his medical knowledge as a hospital medical corpsman, I suspected he knew more than he ever spoke openly about regarding what the Navy, a service he had devoted his life to, had been doing on base.

Certainly, he would have known that radiation had something to do with what had happened to me. After I was admitted to the naval hospital, the military sent a group of men in hazmat suits holding Geiger counters to my family’s housing unit.

My father, angry, did not allow the inspectors into our apartment. My father knew that the government would respond with radiation-detecting equipment and personal protection equipment only if they suspected radiation.

Now my father was faced with the possibility of losing his oldest daughter because his family lived where they did as a result of his military orders at Camp Parks. It was as if the blind trust and loyalty he had shown his whole life to his branch of the military service had ended in a betrayal. That light that used to sparkle in his eyes when he talked about his service to the Navy had dimmed.

After my blood disorder went into remission, my father put in for his military retirement and moved his family to the East Coast, three thousand miles away, where he would continue his civilian service as a government inspector.

I never returned to California except when I flew through LAX as a hub to other airports, as that state felt more like the scene of crimes committed against me as an unsuspecting child victim of human radiation experimentation.

After we left California, we seldom spoke about what happened to me. The first real discussion of those memories occurred just last year, after an older sibling's wife (my sister-in-law and best friend) was diagnosed with end-stage brain cancer. She died within a year of her diagnosis.

It was only then I learned about the full effect my diagnosis had on my other (four) siblings. I had been so wrapped up in my own horror that I failed to think of the peripheral damage.

Young military dependents: Komandorski Kids (Girl Scout Troop #870)

Young military dependents: Komandorski Kids (Girl Scout Troop #870)

They Knew Something: They Were Criminally Negligent

When I read the 1994 Los Angeles Times article about the then-teenager working with the irradiated carcasses of the sheep used in the covert radiation experiments, I was astounded that he was never provided with any personal protection equipment.

As a nurse, I find that omission hard to comprehend when a person deals with radioactive chemicals or substances. Yet during that same time period as his sheepherding job, the government provided personal protection equipment to the men it sent to our family's apartment—for their own protection.

The military knew radiation was dangerous, and that we had been exposed to it. They had to know that I was not the only kid diagnosed with a sudden-onset rare blood disorder and full and transparent disclosure by the USN would validate the same.

Who actually sent the radiation detectors to my home? My nursing degree and experience tell me that the military hospital that diagnosed me would have been the first to know. Whether or not the hospital was privy to the radiation experiments being conducted on the military base, they would have had to report what happened to me.

A pattern of unusual conditions at the same time and place has to be reported to the Department of Health (the State level). And since the federal government trumps state government, the hospital would have reported the cluster of cases to the U.S. military at Camp Parks, where authorities were aware of my family’s address and unit number.

A Long-Lasting Trauma

After I outgrew my military-dependent status, I obtained pediatric health records and have maintained their integrity ever since. It was an important part of my medical history that would follow me through my two teen pregnancies, at 17 and at 19.

During pregnancy, and after each birth, I was monitored for a return of my childhood diagnosis. My civilian physicians explained that many of my diagnoses were a probable result of receiving large doses of steroids, experimental drugs and other medical treatment during my pre-pubescent years. These steroids caused changes, including hormonal changes, in my still-growing body.

I was also told that while one drug may relieve or abolish some conditions, side effects from the same may bring about others. As a patient, and later as a nurse, I found this explanation credible. I also learned that sometimes the state of your health is not up to you at all.

On two different occasions, I endured (while awake and without anesthesia) two bone marrow extractions from two different locations (sternum and coccyx). These tests revealed that my diagnosis had not gravely affected the bone marrow.

My neighbor Dean was not as fortunate. The difference between us was I was diagnosed early (thanks to his father) while he had kept his symptoms to himself before telling his parents. He died the same year he contracted symptoms; it seemed like a very fast death to me, a matter of months.

I went through decades believing I had been the fortunate one, but I wasn't as lucky as all that. I would have to fight a lifetime of serious health conditions making it difficult to cling to any career or job title. They’d need to be flexible to keep up with my roller-coaster health status, all while trying to raise my two daughters as a single, working mother.

I lived a lifetime of being hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields and chemicals: toxins, pesticides, and the like. My damaged immune system would eventually remove me from a legal nursing career I loved as much as I once loved California and the military government.

The scars left from my early childhood experience have cost me greatly throughout my life. Aside from the financial losses that come from leading a life filled with doctors, specialists, surgeons, hospital stays, lost careers, early retirement, and lasting disability, the biggest challenge was the mental and physical burden.

What I Learned About Covert Radiation Experiments

It would take nearly 56 years for me to discover that my life-changing illness coincided with covert radiation experiments taking place during the 1950s and '60s at different sites around the United States.

In its hurry to end the war with Japan, the United States released the world's first atomic bombs, at the Trinity site in July 1945 in New Mexico and on Japan in August 1945, before fully understanding their effects. Only after dropping the bombs did the US feel it had the time to study the impacts of the forces it had released.

Camp Parks, the 2000-acre site in Dublin and Pleasanton, California, was only one of the places in our country where these experiments took place. This was an occupied base with military personnel, their families, and civilians living on or around it.

The Navy and the Office of Civil Defense conducted tests there between 1959 and 1980 to determine, among other things, how to survive a nuclear attack. Irradiated sand used in the simulation of nuclear fallout was manufactured just seven blocks from an elementary school.

Disadvantaged kids in the Job Corps Federal Program occupied buildings at Camp Parks where radiation experiments were conducted. Prisoners from Santa Rita Jail stayed in simulated fallout shelters.

There were other radiation experiments at Camp Parks: "growing crops in plutonium-enriched soil, exposing sheep to the radioactive isotope cobalt-60, simulating the effects of radiation on ship hulls, exposing an abandoned complex to sand containing lanthanum-140, and exposing dogs to damaging gamma rays.”

There has never been full disclosure about exactly what was taking place during those covert radiation experiments at Camp Parks: how the radioactive material was moved about and disposed of, or who was exposed to what levels for what periods of time.

On January 15, 1994, after years of revelations by journalists about covert government radiation experiments in the United States, President Bill Clinton commissioned the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments (ACHRE) to investigate these experiments.

The final report revealed that the Navy used unknowing and/or non-consenting subjects, along with animals, plants, soil, and buildings, in various experiments across the country. The AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) reported findings that the U.S. Government was “aware of the dubious ethical and legal grounds on which their research was being conducted.”

But ACHRE failed to fully disclose the exposures from the events, including those at Camp Parks. The report’s findings did not receive much media attention because they were released the same time (October 1995) that the verdict was released in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, something the world was seemingly more interested in. Distraction has always proved detrimental.

Declassified documents on radiation experiments at Camp Parks do not illuminate how much radiation those living on, visiting, or working anywhere near those properties were exposed to or for how long. I want to know why.

The Camp Parks area has been reorganized. Komandorski Village no longer exists as it once was; there is new housing construction on that land now. Oak Knoll Naval Hospital met the same fate which I found odd that a large medical complex was abandoned and later destroyed whilst only in use from 1942-1996.

It was a disturbing reality for me that there was an obvious pattern of abandonment and repurposing of government property. What struck me as equally significant was the massive cost to build these elaborate military complexes and the equally enormous cost to destroy it, and require strong-arming to make it livable for the next occupants of that land.

The 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), authorized by Congress and operated by the Department of Defense, was meant to “reorganize” base structures to “more efficiently and effectively support our forces, increase operational readiness and facilitate new ways of doing business.”

One can't help noticing that the time information started to come out about radiation exposure, it coincided with a lot of closings, repurposing, and demolition of the military properties where radiation experiments were conducted.

Connecting the Dots

It would take my entire adult life for me to finally connect the dots to my own life story and the answers came quite by accident and surprise. During the beginning of the pandemic, in 2020, while researching facts for a different story I was writing, is when I stumbled upon the 1994 online Los Angeles Times article about Robert Giordano, who as a teenaged boy was paid to tend to the irradiated sheep.

As an adult, he wondered if his former job had anything to do with his fathering a daughter with a missing trachea and damaged internal organs. He wasn’t the only one looking for answers.

That was how I first encountered declassified information about the radiation experiments conducted by the military in the 1950s and 60s, including the use of unknowing or non-consenting subjects. I began to dig deep into the declassified documents and published articles and books about the toxic wasteland called Camp Parks.

Within weeks, then months, I became overwhelmed with the vast amount of information just waiting for me to locate it. Disclosure, however limited, was long overdue and far from complete.

Then, in 2021, additional information and one very important contact would compel me to step up and share what I know. I met a former Komandorski Kid (Marla F.), who lived in the building behind me while I lived there, who had a personal connection to my story because she is also a cancer survivor.

Her older sister was also the teenage friend of the neighborhood teen who died, whose father accurately diagnosed my own symptoms. His son had to be sick before he’d recognize what those symptoms were; one child died and another lived.

Validation came swiftly between Marla and me, sharing memories that needed other memories to be brought completely into the light. We decided to pursue a mission to bring those affected out of the shadows so that the full scope of the radiation experiments can be investigated with a full disclosure report upon completion.

It was at that time that I knew there had to be more than just a couple of sick kids with the same (then) rare disorder living in Komandorski Village. The grounds on which I lived, walked, played, and attended school five days a week were the same grounds so many other kids traversed as well.

The last year at Camp Parks Elementary School (on base). Wondering what happened to the rest of my class... and the rest of the Komandorski Village Kids of all ages during the radiation testing conducted on base in the 1950s-1960s.

The last year at Camp Parks Elementary School (on base). Wondering what happened to the rest of my class... and the rest of the Komandorski Village Kids of all ages during the radiation testing conducted on base in the 1950s-1960s.

Proud Komandorski Kids; Camp Parks in background

Proud Komandorski Kids; Camp Parks in background

We Were Unknowing Victims

The moral problem with the covert radiation experiments at Camp Parks remains that those living nearby, working on, or attending school on base were completely unaware that these dangerous experiments were being conducted at all, and still remain in the dark today about what really took place there and the ramifications for conducting those experiments in populated areas.

There has been a great deal of denial as to how those radiation experiments affected the health, safety, and well-being of others. This denial is inexcusable, appalling, irresponsible, incomprehensible, and more important, criminally negligent.

In telling my story, it is my mission to keep this particular (ongoing) issue alive, to seek answers, and to find ways to prevent this from ever happening again in our country and to our country’s own people.

Military wives and mothers in the 1960s. My mother is center front, 3rd from left.

Military wives and mothers in the 1960s. My mother is center front, 3rd from left.

Why Me? Why Us?

Another glaring concern of mine (as a nurse) is the reason for the rise in cancer cases all over the country. My career has taken me to different states and I find that the incidence of cancer is rising everywhere.

The U.S. government was the first to let that deadly genie of radioactive contamination (one obvious cause of cancer) out of the bottle knowing full well containment would be impossible; the U.S.'s lack of transparency, delayed contamination assessments, and clean-up followed those years of radiation experiments.

Though tracing the innumerable origins of pediatric blood “cancer” diagnoses of those times might seem impossible, tracing the origin of my diagnosis is not. It could be done with additional information about the amount of radiation handled where and when and the associated individuals afflicted with illness.

It would be invaluable to our understanding if there were full disclosure from the military concerning all the details the military had during the time kids (and adults) were getting sick. That knowledge can be used to save future and unnecessary exposures.

My medical records show diagnoses that had not existed in any familial medical history prior to mine. My father and youngest brother were the first in our family's medical history to be afflicted with Parkinson's disease, the common thread being they both served in the U.S. military (and were both at Camp Parks the four years I was).

My own neurological conditions (specifically MS) adds to that new family medical history mystery and I am left to wonder what other records are there that could possibly shed even more light on that?

My last recycling gesture in life is that my body has been donated to science since 2019. That will be the end of the experiment I called my life, one that I signed up for because of the one I didn’t and am hoping something can be learned from all this radiation exposure (now everywhere).

The ongoing question “Why me?” is still haunting nonetheless. The family of the teen that died after my condition went into remission probably would have liked to have known that answer too, as I suspect Dean himself would have.

No doubt the times and places we played and the amount of radioactive contamination in our surroundings factor into the answer as to why some got sick and some did not, why some survived and some didn’t, but we still have almost no information that explains "why us?"

Could there ever be a plausible and ethical explanation for what has happened to the unknowing and unsuspecting? I have learned my own valuable lesson; blind trust can be deadly.

An Abuse of Trust

I know I was not the only person stricken with radiation exposure illnesses. I understood those people included the neighborhood teen who lost his life and the small hemophiliac baby boy who I discovered bleeding in his crib at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.

I felt some validation, finally, when reading all the since-released information about what occurred on the grounds where many low-income military families came and went. It was a perfect time, and a perfect scenario, for the creation of a perfect storm. The health ramifications in affected people from these covert experiments are nearly impossible to track or for others to discover.

I implore others to do their own research and educate themselves with the historical facts of the Cold War and its aftermath.

I know that our government is in trouble right now because people do not trust it. Trust is earned. It should not be taken for granted, abused, or stolen. If humanity has any chance of survival, first we must care for one another. If that doesn’t occur on a government level, all hope is lost as it pertains to the masses as safety, security; health and happiness are equally important factors in life.

Covert research was justified by saying it assisted with advances like reaching space, medical discoveries, technology, and energy. But the collateral damage caused by those who knowingly subjected unknowing subjects to human radiation experimentation is criminal on every level, including nationally and globally.

First Holy Communion: Posing for photos in front of my family's military housing unit in Komandorski Village, adjacent to Camp Parks military base.

First Holy Communion: Posing for photos in front of my family's military housing unit in Komandorski Village, adjacent to Camp Parks military base.

What Must Be Done

The investigation into Camp Parks needs to be reopened and a new, all-encompassing report publicly released. The report must list all the experiments and all the names and locations of the military properties where they were conducted.

The report must not be written by the military or the government, but by an independent entity without any skin in the game. It is the right thing to do for all those affected by the military’s covert post-Cold-War actions, especially when you consider that the physicists who made the atomic bombs knew the perils of the technology we created.

It is time for full disclosure, and it's long overdue. Our national security is no excuse for secrecy nearly 60 years after the fact.

As a retired legal nurse, I know such an investigation should start by requesting medical military (USN) records pertaining to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, which served the area of Camp Parks.

I’ll be requesting additional medical records, using the Freedom of Information Act and the California Public Records Act, in an attempt to obtain documents on radiation experimentation as it relates to the reported evidence of similar diagnoses given to other military children (or adults) in the military hospital during that time.

This information should be cross-referenced with all available data about the radiation experimentation and what was known about those who were exposed. The control study records of what was conducted at Camp Parks and Komandorski Village should have been meticulously detailed.

Dancing at the Komandorski Village Community Center.  Author in center of photo.

Dancing at the Komandorski Village Community Center. Author in center of photo.

I Have a Mission Now

This article is my offering to others who may have been looking for answers to questions they’ve had for their entire lives. I would like to be the voice of those who have none, to validate what our memories do not allow us to ever forget. I would like to give accountability and reparations to those who are deserving of so much more than that.

We will never know the paths our lives would have taken had we not been stricken down with conditions caused by growing up where we did, when we did.

As an 11-year-old, I had dreams. I had dreams of being a singer-songwriter. I wrote poetry. I was a ballet dancer who worked hard to graduate to dancing in pointe shoes. But after I got sick, I was restricted from all physical activity until they could decide that a relapse would not occur.

My dream now, my mission, involves making a difference on a much larger scale. I can give back to the military community, if only with the gift of my truth. I hope my story finds its way to those who have been waiting to tell theirs.

I tell it for those who have suffered and died from conditions caused by radioactive contaminants from our own military government. And I tell it for the loved ones they left behind to deal with a lifetime of questions, loss, and sorrow.

Despite my early childhood trauma, I continued to grow to be a stronger version of my 11-year-old self and for that I am mindful, grateful, and blessed. But I wonder how many children from my military childhood days can say they became a stronger version of their childhood selves. I wonder if they even all lived long enough to find out.

When I look at my class pictures from Camp Parks Elementary School, I wonder how many of my childhood friends or classmates were also afflicted as a result of their military parent being stationed there. The sacrifices made by military family members have always been understated.

Isn’t it time we at least be truthful with them even if it has taken approximately six decades to do so? Any government official hoping to ever gain the full support of the people who pay their salaries must first prove their sincere interest in the prosperity, health, and well-being of those very same people.

The American people deserve transparency if there is any hope of our nation feeling whole again.

References and Sources

Dvorchak, Robert, "Cold War’s Unwitting Warriors Wonder about the Past, Future: Nuclear tests: Robert Giordano tended sheep exposed to radiation at Camp Parks, Calif. Later, his daughter died." Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1994.

California legislature involving radiation testing/use enacted 01/01/1996

ACHRE Report Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments - Executive Summary

Article on Bill Clinton's ACHRE (committee for the investigation of the military's covert radiation experiments)

AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) findings that the U.S. Government was “aware of the dubious ethical and legal grounds on which their research was being conducted” (published June 6, 1995).

Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, "Final Report." October 1995. Government Printing Office Stock no. 061-000-00849-7. Archived website hosted by US Department of Energy Office of Environment, Health, Safety and Security. Retrieved 2/25/2022.

"Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments." Wikipedia.Retrieved 2/25/2022.

Bohan, Suzanne, "Radiation Riddle Remains." East Bay Times, February 14, 2009. Retrieved 2/27/2022.

Cimons, Marlene, "Clinton Apologizes for Radiation Tests: Experiments: Cabinet will study compensation for some victims and their families. About 4,000 secret studies through 1974 were disclosed." Los Angeles Times, Oct. 2, 1995. Retrieved 2/25/2022.

"Dublin California Radiation Experiments at Camp Parks." Disaster Area: The Navy Nuked San Francisco (Wordpress blog).Retrieved 2/27/2022.

Hanks, G.E., N. P. Page, E. J. Ainsworth, G. F. Leong, C. K. Menkes, E. L. Alpen, "Acute Mortality and Recovery Studies in Sheep Irradiated with Cobalt-60 Gamma Rays or 1-Mvp X-Rays." Radiation Research, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Mar., 1966), pp. 397-405. Retrieved 2/17/2022.

"Parks Reserve Forces Training Area." Wikipedia.

TV news coverage of the demolition of OakKnollNavalHospital and a property update posted online six years ago.

Article by SFGate about delay in Oak Knoll Naval Hospital property readiness published 10/22/2009.

A haunting look of the abandoned Oak Knoll Naval Hospital through the lens of photographer Troy Paiva's "Lost America" series:

Drone video posted of Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Property posted online three years ago.

The Mercury News/East Bay Times drone video of Oak Knoll redevelopment posted online a year ago.

Drone views of new Oak Knoll property project posted five months ago.

Other sources on radiation and health:

Effects of Radiation (CDC website)

Human Radiation Experimentation

EPA documents about Radiation

President Biden's SOTU Address 3/1/2022 at 9pm talked about military toxins causing our veterans health (cancers) conditions and promised his commitment to investigate and rectify (link to video is under the news header link below)

© 2021 Janet Vincenti