of Atomic Veterans
P.O. Box 2558
Ventnor, New Jersey 08406-0558
" A non-profit organization dedicated to the cause of the Atomic Veteran; who seeks no special favor. . . simply JUSTICE."
The NAAV Story
The National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV), a non-profit, tax exempt,
veterans organization, was founded in August, 1979 by the late Orville E.
Kelley, and his wife, Wanda,of Burlington, Iowa.
It took seven years of Kelly's life and most of his life's savings to prove his disability to the Veterans Administration. Kelly died from lymphoma seven months after having won 100% service-connected disability in front of the Veterans Board of Appeals. The Kelley's formed NAAV to insure that other veterans exposed to radiation and their families would not have to fight the same bureaucratic battles. And to establish medical research on the effects of exposure to radiation so that veterans affected by their exposure to radiation and their families could be assured of Department of Veteran Affairs service-connected benefits.
Atomic Veterans are those members of the United States Armed Forces who were exposed to ionizing radiation from atomic and nuclear weapons testing during the period beginning with the Trinity Blast of July 16, 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; continuing through the U.S. clean-up of Nagasaki / Hiroshima; during the 235 atmospheric atomic and nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific and Nevada test sites; until the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
In the nearly two decades of it's existence the national headquarters has been located in Burlington, Iowa, Elden, Missouri; Independence, Missouri, Salem, and Ventnor City, New Jersey, Massachusetts. At the present time operating funds to operate the association are limited to membership dues and donations from members. No member of the board nor any of the state commanders or staff members receive compensation for their work on behalf of the association. Limited funds are expended from time to time to reimburse board members for official travel on association business.
Over 382,000 U.S. Servicemen as well as civilian personnel took part in a variety of tests during the "Cold War" period when the Atomic Energy Commission working in conjunction with the Department of Defense had troops participate in and witness the detonations at the various Pacific and Nevada Test areas. Most detonations were larger than and emitted considerably more deadly radiation than the two weapons which were employed against Japan at the end of WWII. During the tests various government agencies and departments were interested in learning about the various effects of atomic and nuclear weapons, as well as how these weapons affected the immediate performance of military personnel and equipment. Troops, planes, ships, and various types of equipment were placed from several hundred yards to several miles from the center of each detonation. On many occasions military personnel performed maneuvers in and around ground zeros, without protective clothing or respiratory devices.
Since the end of these tests in 1963, there has been no government sponsored medical surveillance of test participants, nor any effort to locate these individuals to warn them of potential health risks. Those few individuals which have been located through NAAV's efforts have been found with unusually high incidents of various types of cancer and other associated diseases and health problems with their children.
The mission of the National Association of Atomic Veterans (NAAV) is to assist these veterans in obtaining government recognition and Department of Veteran Affairs health care and financial assistance.
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