Sunday, March 4, 2012

Secret Army volunteer's widow blames VA for spouse's death.


Veterans who became Army guinea pigs for secret drug and chemical experiments are suing the VA, the CIA and the Defense Department. In this U.S. government photo, Wray Forrest is seen on the far right in 1973 while participating in the program at Maryland's Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center.


(CNN) -- "I promised Wray I would never give up the fight." It was a wife's final pledge to her dying husband, who was once identified as Medical Volunteer No. 6692 at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland.

In 1973, Army Pvt. Wray Forrest spent two months at Edgewood as a volunteer human test subject in a top secret Cold War research program studying chemical and biological weapons.

His widow, Kathryn Forrest, says those tests were his undoing.

During his time at Edgewood, Wray participated in at least five different tests. In one, Kathryn says he was given high doses of Ritalin. In a deposition he gave before his death, Wray described the effect it had on him.

"It wound up making me want to do things very rapidly and in a rushed manner," he says in the deposition. He says he was "wound up like a golf ball teed off in a tile bathroom. Bouncing off the walls."

Ritalin is a Schedule II drug -- a class of drugs considered dangerous and addictive. Large doses can cause dizziness, jitteriness, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, high blood pressure, even sudden death. Wray was injected with various substances at Edgewood, according to court documents. And his story is just one of many.

In fact, from 1955 to 1975 more than 7,000 soldiers each spent two months at Edgewood. Overall, they tested at least 250 different chemical and biological agents.

The names and effects of these substances were largely unknown to these soldier volunteers. According to now declassified government documents, some were exposed to incapacitating drugs like BZ; or to sarin, an extremely toxic, potentially deadly substance that disrupts the nervous system; or to VX, a liquid neurotoxin considered one of the most dangerous chemicals created. Other exposures included tear gas, and hallucinogenics like LSD.

The men were sworn to secrecy and told to never discuss Edgewood Arsenal or the experiments that went on there with anyone.

The Army suspended the research program in 1975.

TO READ MORE CLICK LINK: CNN NEWS

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