Skip to content

Atomic Marines

During the cold war approximate 300,000 Marines participated in Atomic bomb exercises in Nevada and the South Pacific. Records show that several died early with complications from various forms of cancer under a cloud of uncertainty about those exercises causing the cancer through ionizing radiation that are being disputed to this day. The VA has been drastically improved from the time the studies were initiated and is starting to recognize that there is reason to believe that those exercises had a major part is causing some of the cancers. As more scientific proof is developed there should be more cases presently in the claims process that will be recognized more specifically, for or against granting compensation for a claim. Something like what DNA has done for our legal process.

Has the Corp ever recognized the participation of it’s Marines who participated in the Atomic exercises with either a patch, medal, even a T-shirt or some other way of acknowledging the service, sometimes sacrifice and purpose that was given? I feel that the Corp was doing the best that it could with all of the knowledge that was available at the time and did a good job of doing it than anyone else. Considering the global threat of atomic warfare at the time there were no alternatives and if the threat was to be met who else but Marines could resolve it? Thanks for the providing a forum to sound off.

Semper Fi, Dick Kraske – Seattle

Previous article Finally


Lloyd Briner - December 27, 2021

I was a marine part of the flight deck crew on the USS Princeton lph5 during operation Dominic1 7 bombs during October and November 1962 the last air tests before the treaty. I have had thyroid cancer subcapsular cataracts, glaucoma hearing loss and to this day still fighting for benefits as is well known the VA motto is “deny until they die” SAD

Harold Allie - April 15, 2020

In 1952 After the blast in less than thirty minutes we were bused to ground zero and before we got off the bus we were bused back to the trenches and our radiation badges were collected never to be seen again. in another thirty minutes we were bused back to ground zero and to this day it says no badges on the permanent record. but i am 85 and only had a few cancers. so i figure i was lucky.

Buck Shipley Cpl 1959-1963 - April 15, 2020

I was stationed aboard the USS Princeton in 1962,and after returning from a West Pac cruise,which included two trips to Vietnam,we were ordered to go to Johnson Island for A bomb exercises .They set two bombs off ;one at ground level and one at high altitude . I have had a successful prostrate cancer operation over twenty years ago. I have often though if that was due to witnessing the blasts or not. i figure i was a lucky one

Ron sundell - April 15, 2020

If you are interested, go to Web site for National Association of Atomic Veterans. The NAAV has been responsible for getting veterans diagnosed and treated for cancers resulting from radiation exposure.

Leave a comment

* Required fields