We recently posted a blog regarding the military base at Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbeistan, known as “K-2” and the disabilities suffered by service members and veterans who were deployed there. In summary, there is widespread belief among both service members and the medical community that the exposures at K-2 cause a myriad of different disabilities ranging from respiratory conditions to various cancer diagnosis. The base was purchased from the former Soviet Union who reportedly stored radioactive material in and around the base grounds. Even though service members are regularly deployed to K-2, the radioactive material can still be detected. These soldiers are also exposed to various solvents and fuels that form a “black goo” under their feet.
In an effort to provide more efficient services for those veterans affected by the exposures at K-2, President Donald Trump was considering issuing an Executive Order that would add K-2 to the VA’s Burn Pit Exposure Registry, which would allow for easier compensation examination for veterans who were stationed at K-2. It would also allow a K2 veteran to get access to depleted uranium screenings as they seek medical care form the VA for their conditions. This legislation would provide the veterans stationed at K-2 with the same benefits as those veterans that were exposed to toxic substances in Afghanistan.
In addition, in December of 2020, congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act that contains provisions for the government to conduct a study of the illnesses among K2 veterans and similar provisions for other veterans groups, including military pilots, who are now facing illnesses they say are connect to toxic exposure.
Thankfully, Congress and the VA are finally taking steps to ensure that these veterans are taken care of properly. The legislation and Executive Order have tremendous bipartisan support in Congress. Although President Trump will soon leave office, reports indicate that President-Elect Biden will likely consider issuing the Executive Order. Further, the Executive Order has the support of VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller who will continue to lobby for the issuance of this Executive Order. The time has finally come for the veterans who served at K-2 to be recognized for the disabling conditions that they now have as a result of that service.
Gardberg and Kemmerly is open for calls and online assistance and will continue to help our Veterans in any way possible. If you have a claim for disability and need assistance, please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call the office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama.