Vets Seek Recourse for Medical Experimentation

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The wife of an Army veteran who participated in top-secret testing of biological and chemical warfare and psychotropic drugs has joined a lawsuit against the Veterans Administration believing it was ultimately responsible for her husband’s death.

Kathryn Forrest says her husband’s dying wish was to not “let the bastards that killed me win.” She told CNN her husband, Wray, unknowingly accepted a job as a Medical Volunteer at Edgewood Aresenal, Md., where he was subjected to essentially involuntary medical testing conducted by the U.S. Army from 1955 until 1975. Wray signed up for a two-month assignment at the military compound in 1973, then a Private in the Army after spending two years in the Air Force. Soldiers were told they were going to test new military equipment. They’d work four days a week with no other assignments. They learned upon their arrival, this would not be the case.

According to his widow, Wray was subjected to experimental medical testing of the effects of known toxic agents, including those used in chemical warfare, on soldiers. During the two months, Wray Forrest was injected or exposed to drugs like Ritalin at high doses and BZ. They were also exposed to sarin gas and VX, one of the most dangerous chemicals on the planet. In the relatively tame experiments, soldiers were exposed to LSD, other hallucinogenic drugs, and tear gas.

CNN reports at least 250 different chemicals and drugs were tested on more than 7,000 soldiers at Edgewood Arsenal in the 20 years it operated. The Army stopped testing in 1975 but has continued an active cover-up of its activities there to the day. The news network will air a one-hour special titled “Soldier Guinea Pigs” this Sunday night.

Forrest’s wife is now part of a lawsuit which alleges the VA has ignored complaints from her late-husband and other soldiers who believe their exposure to dangerous chemicals at Edgewood Arsenal led to a lifetime of medical complications, including migraine headaches, skin lesions, and cancer.

Wray moved to Colorado in 2004 after suffering two strokes, the first in 1997 and second in 2000. His wife says in a lawsuit with five other Edgewood veterans that the VA would ignore most complaints from these soldiers when they became aware they had attended Edgewood. This became apparent when the VA hospital in Colorado Springs repeatedly refused to remove lesions from Wray’s face and told him his persistent raspy voice was just a sore throat.

Wray was committed to a secrecy agreement with the Army which prevented him from telling anyone about the agents he was exposed to during his time at Edgewood Arsenal. In 2007, the Army allowed Wray to break some parts of that secrecy agreement but could not divulge certain details of the experiments he was subjected to at the facility.

Eventually, the Wrays visited a private physician and learned he was suffering from inoperable lung cancer. He died in August 2010 at the age of 62. The lawsuit against the VA and Defense Dept. seeks full medical coverage for soldiers who were at Edgewood Arsenal and demands the government declassify all its documents related to the experiments, including all 250 or more agents they tested on soldiers and their effects on the soldiers.