William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

UNFRIENDLY FIRE?

Testing their agent orange on our training ground!
Could no testing areas in the U.S.A. be found?
Over the years our Gagetown soldiers got seriously ill
Each death by cancer ‘twas perhaps an unfriendly kill?

Their Government invited our lads to visit their Nevada ground zero
Now each dying old soldier is an Atomic Bomb hero!
Don Bernicky’s a buddy whose family just held a wake
Without compensation and no further VAC debate!

When our Canadian soldiers from these things expire
Can this be considered as non aimed friendly fire?
Plutonium Armoured Piercing bullets in the Gulf War were quick
But the residue from this ammo made so many people sick!

Top Secret Umbra made both of our Governments deny
As they sat by and watched these suffering old soldiers’ die
Some have survived to old age sixty-five in poor health
Then they get their pensions clawed back in a deduction of wealth!

AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE DISGRACEFUL
Re: “Veteran’s hidden enemy: Cancer” – Nov. 11.

Who can look at war hero Ken Byron and read his story and not feel disgusted to be a Canadian?

Why would our government in the 1960s allow the U.S. to spray the Agent Orange defoliant on CFB Gagetown? The U.S. has enough land to do their testing on, and they should have been denied.

When is someone going to come forward and help Ken Byron and all the other veterans who are still suffering from this terrible wrong?

Mr. Byron, if you read this, I would like to apologize to you on behalf of my family for the disgraceful treatment you and others have received.

My biggest wish and prayer is that Prime Minister Hamer will come forward and tell our country that help is coming now for everyone.

Eva Richardson,
Nanaimo

‘Atomic’ Veteran Dies Before Compensation Quest is Resolved

BY DAVID PUGLIESE Can West News Service

Donald Bernicky, one of a group of atomic veterans fighting the government and the Defence Department for recognition and financial compensation, died on Remembrance Day at 74. Bernicky attended six atomic bomb detonations in 1957.

The veteran from Smiths Falls, Ont., developed skin cancer and other medical problems his family attribute to his exposure to radiation during nuclear tests involving hundreds of Canadian soldiers.

In February, Bemicky and other veterans had been assured by former defence minister Gordon O’Connor and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier that their concerns would be dealt with. But atomic veterans have been given similar reassurances over the last two decades.

“He deserved more, “ his widow Verla said yesterday. “They treated those men like they were nothing. They weren’t protected for that kind of thing.”

Bernicky’s family believe his ailments can be linked to his radiation exposure during the atomic tests which were code – named Operation Plumb-bob. Bernicky recently had two strokes.

Bernicky served in the military for 26 years and was with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada when he was ordered to Nevada for the atomic tests. He later served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

Fellow atomic veteran Jim Huntley said the government appears set on allowing the old soldiers to die off before it provides information about the atomic tests or any kind of compensation package. “We’ve been getting this run around for two decades,” said Huntley of Balzac, Alta. “Now Don is gone. Who’s next?”

Huntley and other veterans accuse the Defence Department of withholding information from them and keeping records secret that could help their compensation case.