Senate Bill S. 4429 “K2 Veterans Toxic Exposure Act of 2020”
August 4, 2020
For Immediate Release:
Washington, D.C. August 4, 2020 - U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation S. 4429 to begin the process of recognizing and helping K2 veterans. This bill will provide health screening and services previously unavailable to K2 veterans.
The “K2 Veterans Toxic Exposure Act of 2020” would require the DoD to conduct an epidemiological study; create eligibility for K2 veterans to be included in the VA Burn Pits Registry and depleted uranium medical follow up programs; and give access to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to studies conducted by the VA and DoD.
“The Stronghold Freedom Foundation is grateful for this proposed legislation,” says Stronghold Freedom Foundation Board Member Mark T. Jackson. “Upon passage, this legislation will provide some respite for K2 veterans. Until now, due to the lack of government recognition, K2 veterans were denied the care and benefits earned through their service.”
K2 veterans and their families have known for many years the hazards they endured. Recently, the DoD declassified hundreds of documents confirming K2 was toxic and hazardous. Even still, the DoD and VA refuse to recognize K2 veterans and resist calls to fully recognize Uzbekistan as a deployed location in the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) theater of operations.
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation will continue to advocate for full recognition by the government and agencies which placed K2 veterans in harm’s way. K2 veterans will not be fully recognized until Uzbekistan is added to Chapter 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations (38 CFR) §§3.317(c)(1) and 3.317(e)(1)-(2). These sections define the Southwest Asia theater of operations – including Afghanistan – and defines several presumptive conditions, all of which have occurred in K2 veterans.
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation will continue to work with legislators, the DoD, and VA to obtain complete recognition, preventative care, screening, and registry for all K2 veterans.
About Stronghold Freedom Foundation
The Stronghold Freedom Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Our mission is to utilize awareness and partnerships to serve those who were exposed to toxic conditions while deployed in the service of our country. We represent over 10,000 Veterans, family members (including Gold Star Families), civilian contractors, and federal employees that were deployed to or worked at Karshi Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan (K2) during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2005). Our Veterans were exposed to multiple forms of toxic chemicals and radiation hazards during their time at K2. We strive to keep the promise made by the government to care for them and their families.