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YardleyLabs
04-28-2011, 12:49 PM
Several days ago I received an email message from a long time friend (she was my girl friend in kindergarten:D) telling me about a benefit program that she thought might apply to my father, who died in 2003 after battling colon cancer for 16 years, with lots of pain, repeated surgeries, chemo, and numerous related issues costing literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was no history of cancer in my father's family except my father and his youngest brother (who died of liver cancer). What they had in common is that both worked in Oak Ridge, TN as part of the country's atomic bomb program.

My father, in particular, joined the Manhattan Project after he was inducted into the Army's Special Engineering Detachment in 1944. He was assigned to a facility named K-25 that was constructed to manufacture the weapons grade U-238 that was used in our bombs. Following the war, Dad remained in the same job, but simply switched payrolls from the Army to Union Carbide & Carbon, which was the private contractor hired to continue producing weapons grade uranium for our nuclear program, and he continued working there until the end of 1960. All of Dad's work was classified, so we never knew too many details.

Over time it became clear that those working in America's early nuclear program would pay a much bigger price than expected. One by one, most of my father's co-workers died of cancer. My friend's email message was informing me that a program had finally been established at about the time of my father's death to provide compensation for those affected or their survivors. If my father were still alive, the program would also have helped with his medical bills, but not with those paid out before a claim is approved. It certainly would have helped him in the last 2-3 years before he died, when medical bills exceeded $250,000 for a single hospitalization and his share was 20%.

The benefit now is an award of $150,000 as a death benefit to be divided among his survivors (my sister and me). I'm proud of the work my father did, and have always believed that it also caused his death. I'm glad that the government has now done the studies that confirm what I always believed to be true. I'm not sure how I feel about the benefit program for survivors, but I filed a claim today anyway. It will still take months to process because the events involved happened so long ago. However, the manufacturing processes that killed my Dad continued to be used until 1992, long after the risks should have been apparent. While efforts had been made to litigate damages before, those failed because both the government and their contractors were shielded from all legal liability. In the meantime, I have sent this information on to my cousins, who may be entitled to the same benefit since our nuclear program probably caused my uncle's death (and possibly his wife's) as well.

BonMallari
04-28-2011, 01:09 PM
unfortunately Jeff, that info has stirred up deep emotions...but if you can look at it objectively, I would think your family has a legit claim, we can only imagine what your dad and others were exposed to..Sorry that this info stirs up old wounds, but IMHO you owe it to your dad's memory to look into this further..my .02

YardleyLabs
04-28-2011, 02:22 PM
I filed the claim. I think the true benefit was due my father and I wish it had been available when he needed it most. I am happy that the government has recognized the debt it owes to those who, like our soldiers everywhere, have made the ultimate sacrifice, even if in this case the sacrifice is a little further removed than one sees on a battlefield.

I'm not sure how much I should be due as a survivor (which doesn't mean I'll refuse it). I "lost" 10-20 years of having him around that I would love to have back, but no one can offer that. He, like many of the others involved, knew the potential of hazards of radiation and knew that their instruments could not measure the levels of radiation that might cause damage. They believed it was their patriotic duty to work on these programs despite the risk. One of the real scandals of that period were the experiments done on hundreds of people without their knowledge to try to determine the levels of exposure that would cause illness or death.

road kill
04-28-2011, 02:27 PM
I filed the claim. I think the true benefit was due my father and I wish it had been available when he needed it most. I am happy that the government has recognized the debt it owes to those who, like our soldiers everywhere, have made the ultimate sacrifice, even if in this case the sacrifice is a little further removed than one sees on a battlefield.

I'm not sure how much I should be due as a survivor (which doesn't mean I'll refuse it). I "lost" 10-20 years of having him around that I would love to have back, but no one can offer that. He, like many of the others involved, knew the potential of hazards of radiation and knew that their instruments could not measure the levels of radiation that might cause damage. They believed it was their patriotic duty to work on these programs despite the risk. One of the real scandals of that period were the experiments done on hundreds of people without their knowledge to try to determine the levels of exposure that would cause illness or death.

I don't know if my opinion would matter or what your conflict is.

Your Dad proudly sacrificed for what he beleived in.
Someone found out that he gave even more than he knew.
I don't see this as an entitlement for a slacker, I see it as a tribute for a sacrifice made.

You done right as far as I am concerned.
If you have any issues, do something in his name with the award, but he EARNED it!!

sincerely,
stan b

M&K's Retrievers
04-28-2011, 03:04 PM
In my opinion it is not a freebie. It was earned.

BonMallari
04-28-2011, 03:50 PM
Jeff here is another way to look at it...even IF they had given your dad the compensation when they SHOULD HAVE, that doesnt even scratch the surface of what he gave up...no amount of compensation can give you back what you and your family lost..its the least they owe you and your family, the very least

dback
04-28-2011, 05:22 PM
Jeff.....sorry about your dad. I'm not in your position so I can't really say what I'd do, probably take it, but.....just to play the 'devils advocate'. There were a lot of lives lost in WWII....many in their teens, never had a chance to see their kids grow up or even have any for that matter.....survivors received the 7k death benefit (or what ever it was) and that was it. Pretty sure in 1944 they weren't entirely sure what they were working with. You're right though.....they sure knew in 1992. Something only you can wrestle with.

YardleyLabs
04-28-2011, 05:53 PM
Jeff.....sorry about your dad. I'm not in your position so I can't really say what I'd do, probably take it, but.....just to play the 'devils advocate'. There were a lot of lives lost in WWII....many in their teens, never had a chance to see their kids grow up or even have any for that matter.....survivors received the 7k death benefit (or what ever it was) and that was it. Pretty sure in 1944 they weren't entirely sure what they were working with. You're right though.....they sure knew in 1992. Something only you can wrestle with.
You're expressing just the kind of reservation I have about this kind of program, although I am not prepared to pass on the benefit given that the program is there. For what it's worth, $7000 in 1944 translates to almost $90,000 today. I think the $150k benefit was designed to be similar to the benefits provided for active members of the military who die in action today. Under the program, the benefit would have been much greater if my father had dependents at the time he became eligible. In addition, those who are still alive and in treatment today receive full coverage for their medical expenses. Those are benefits that I think are well deserved and still much lower than you would receive if you faced a similar exposure while working outside of the immunity of the Federal government..

dback
04-28-2011, 06:32 PM
You're expressing just the kind of reservation I have about this kind of program, although I am not prepared to pass on the benefit given that the program is there. For what it's worth, $7000 in 1944 translates to almost $90,000 today. I think the $150k benefit was designed to be similar to the benefits provided for active members of the military who die in action today. Under the program, the benefit would have been much greater if my father had dependents at the time he became eligible. In addition, those who are still alive and in treatment today receive full coverage for their medical expenses. Those are benefits that I think are well deserved and still much lower than you would receive if you faced a similar exposure while working outside of the immunity of the Federal government..

I just threw the 7k number out there.....I have no clue what exactly it was in 1944. I know that my kids serving in the current wars had assigned there benefits to us and it is currently only $10,000.00 (we have two officers serving now, maybe they receive more, I'd have to ask my sisters...I don't know). Something else to consider, a good friend of mine was killed in Vietnam, IIRC his two sons received benefits until they turned 18...I could be wrong. Either way, as I said before I think I'd probably accept it and not feel guilty. There's nothing "fair" about any of it anyway. Hell......did the 9/11 survivors deserve millions?????? I don't know......I'd probably have accepted it also.

Personally.....I hope you take it and get a girl friend......maybe you'd leave us conservatives alone ;-) :-)

Marvin S
04-28-2011, 06:56 PM
Interesting - The folks that dback describes had no choice, they were drafted - we all take positions knowing what we do could have long term implications - as an underground miner I was subject to silicosis, fortunately no traces, but lost most of my hearing. But we do it by choice, something the doughboys weren't given.

IMO - reparations for this, reparations for that - going to those who had no skin in the game is wrong - JMO. We must remember, folks in those days did things with the best of intentions, unlike today.

Were I to receive something like that I would donate it to something that benefitted the country, as the people who participated in those programs thought they were doing.

YardleyLabs
04-28-2011, 08:48 PM
I just threw the 7k number out there.....I have no clue what exactly it was in 1944. I know that my kids serving in the current wars had assigned there benefits to us and it is currently only $10,000.00 (we have two officers serving now, maybe they receive more, I'd have to ask my sisters...I don't know). Something else to consider, a good friend of mine was killed in Vietnam, IIRC his two sons received benefits until they turned 18...I could be wrong. Either way, as I said before I think I'd probably accept it and not feel guilty. There's nothing "fair" about any of it anyway. Hell......did the 9/11 survivors deserve millions?????? I don't know......I'd probably have accepted it also.

Personally.....I hope you take it and get a girl friend......maybe you'd leave us conservatives alone ;-) :-)
The benefits now include a $12,000+ immediate cash award to take care of short term expenses. There are then a number of additional benefit programs that range from about $100,000 additional to several times that if there are dependent children. Getting a girlfriend wouldn't be bad. Are they really for sale??:rolleyes: Would this one do? I just took her pictures last week.

http://jeffgoodwin.com/lilith-copies/content/bin/images/large/0562_0066601-Lilith.jpg

JDogger
04-28-2011, 09:29 PM
Jeff

Your story brings thoughts to my mind.

It was a secret then, but not so much now. When we lived in Las Vegas in the mid 1960's, my father worked at the NTS, then operated by the AEC, the precursor to the DOE. he worked at area 51. It had yet to gain the aura of mystery that was later given to it.
At that time Area 51, and Edwards AFB were home to the YF-12A, (and other versions) better known as the SR71 Blackbird.

In the summer of 1966 following my HS graduation, 6-8 dependents of the primary operators (USAF, CIA, and I believe, GE and Westinghouse) of 51 were given clearance wavers and hired as "rec aides", for the summer. We maintained the 9-hole pitch and putt GC and driving range, as well as the Gym and bowling facility.

While we had the opportunity to board a twin prop (maybe a Fairchild 27) at Nellis, most of us chose to drive back and forth a couple of times a week. I drove back and forth in an open TR-4 across Frenchman and Yucca flats where the dire signs were posted..."If you break down, do not leave your vehicle."

My father has been gone for decades now. He did not die of cancer. Many of his contemporaries did though.

Jeff, take the offer. JDogger

BonMallari
04-28-2011, 09:58 PM
Jeff

Your story brings thoughts to my mind.

It was a secret then, but not so much now. When we lived in Las Vegas in the mid 1960's, my father worked at the NTS, then operated by the AEC, the precursor to the DOE. he worked at area 51. It had yet to gain the aura of mystery that was later given to it.
At that time Area 51, and Edwards AFB were home to the YF-12A, (and other versions) better known as the SR71 Blackbird.

In the summer of 1966 following my HS graduation, 6-8 dependents of the primary operators (USAF, CIA, and I believe, GE and Westinghouse) of 51 were given clearance wavers and hired as "rec aides", for the summer. We maintained the 9-hole pitch and putt GC and driving range, as well as the Gym and bowling facility.

While we had the opportunity to board a twin prop (maybe a Fairchild 27) at Nellis, most of us chose to drive back and forth a couple of times a week. I drove back and forth in an open TR-4 across Frenchman and Yucca flats where the dire signs were posted..."If you break down, do not leave your vehicle."

My father has been gone for decades now. He did not die of cancer. Many of his contemporaries did though.

Jeff, take the offer. JDogger

now they board 2 unmarked white/blue 737's parked at the edge of McCarran, with a very private parking lot,must be a big project

JDogger
04-28-2011, 11:18 PM
now they board 2 unmarked white/blue 737's parked at the edge of McCarran, with a very private parking lot,must be a big project

I would certainly hope they've upgraded their service aircraft in the last five decades.:) JDogger

M&K's Retrievers
04-28-2011, 11:32 PM
.... I drove back and forth in an open TR-4 across Frenchman and Yucca flats where the dire signs were posted..."If you break down, do not leave your vehicle."

... JDogger

Did your TR-4 have a battery cut off switch in the trunk? Kinda like a Pergo switch in a boat. My friends dad let us take his to Roundup at UT our Senior year. Some jerk knew about the switch and turned it off while we were at a party. We didn't know and were stuck for hours until someone smarter than us showed us the switch.

I hate it when that happens regards, :razz:

dback
04-29-2011, 12:26 AM
Interesting - The folks that dback describes had no choice, they were drafted - we all take positions knowing what we do could have long term implications - as an underground miner I was subject to silicosis, fortunately no traces, but lost most of my hearing. But we do it by choice, something the doughboys weren't given.

I think the mindset of our forefathers was much different then today. I have read and heard on documentaries of families who refused/returned death benefits during WWII for various reasons........I've never heard of it from Vietnam on (I suppose it's happened, just never heard of it)

Edit: Jeff...No offense to her (well....maybe some). You can do better and save money.

TxHillHunter
04-29-2011, 02:00 PM
Jeff, as others have expressed I am very sorry for the loss of your dad under these circumstances. His sacrifice of years with his family is equal to that of our soldiers who fight in wars, in my opinion.

But I understand your conflicted feelings on the matter....perhaps if you would take the funds and do some real good for others whom you have a heart for, you could feel good that you and your father's sacrifice was put to work to help someone else. Think that's what I'd do.....