A federal agency investigating the link between veterans cancer and a leaking nuclear reactor found years of key records documenting exposure have been lost.
CLEVELAND - There is swift reaction from top Washington officials following an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into possible radiation exposure and the death of an Ohio man.
Charlie Swinney died a year ago after battling cancer for 16 years. Before he died, he asked his wife to continue to investigate the role a nuclear plant at a Navy base, where he was once stationed, may have played in his cancer.
After contacting NewsChannel5, our investigation found similar cases across the country involving veterans who served at McMurdo Station in Antarctica in the 1960s and 70s.
As a result, both the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Sen. Sherrod Brown are promising to assist veterans in determining if there is a connection between the nuclear plant and veterans who have filed claims.
Thomas Pamperin, the Veterans Administration's Deputy Under Secretary for Policy thanked WEWS-TV "for its work on this important issue."
"We are committed to working with the Department of Defense, veteran service organizations and veterans to ensure that all those who may have been exposed at McMurdo Station receive the maximum amount of care and benefits they are entitled to under the law," Pamperin said.
Meanwhile, Brown, who serves on the Senate Committee for Veterans Affairs also promised to investigate.
"I will continue to work with Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense on ways to standardize, automate and expedite disability claims--including claims related to radiation exposure--tend to ensure that they are done right the first time," Brown said.
"I will work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to make sure that McMurdo exposure claims are properly processed."
We will have more on this exclusive investigation and the results Thursday, on NewsChannel5 at 6 and newsnet5.com
Federal hearings prompted by an exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation into radiation exposure among McMurdo Navy veterans are scheduled to begin Tuesday morning.
A Navy veteran who helped trigger a federal probe into a leaking nuclear plant at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, has died of cancer just weeks before a government report on radiation exposure is due to be released.
Journalism judges around the country have honored Chief Investigator Ron Regan with the Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and regional Emmy awards in recent weeks, but something Regan received Thursday may be his most prized keepsake of all.