U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Fernandez, healthcare non-commissioned officer, gives a periodic Anthrax vaccination to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jody Kyzar at Joint Sustainment Command – Afghanistan headquarters, July 5, 2011.
U.S. Army/Capt. Andrew Adcock
For more than a week, the rumor wound its way through online networks of service members and veterans: Soldiers could now claim a 100% disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs if they were given bad batches of the anthrax vaccine from 2001 to 2007.
That was according to an internal memo from an operational Army unit— a legit guidance, drafted April 10 by the 2nd Battalion, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Osan Air Base, South Korea. The memo was posted online and has caused quite the brouhaha on social media.
But while the 2/35 used information that it thought was accurate, the Army now says that memo was, to use a scientific term, bullshit.
“Defense Health Agency representatives have verified the information is false and completely without merit,” said Christina Wright, a spokeswoman for 8th Army in South Korea. “Once the brigade discovered the error, the correct information was published to their soldiers.”
A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to Task & Purpose that no bad batches of the anthrax vaccine were given to service members. More information was expected to be released later on Thursday.
The April 10 memo said soldiers in the battalion who were at Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 2001 to 2007 could have received bad batches of the anthrax vaccine before deploying in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, soldiers who were given the bad anthrax vaccine could receive a 100% disability rating from the VA, the memo said.
After several reporters asked the Army about the memo, Wright sent out a mass email on Wednesday night to set the record straight.
“The potential side effects of vaccines, including anthrax, are generally mild and temporary,” Wright said. “While the risk of serious harm is extremely small, there is a remote chance of a vaccine causing serious injury or death. In those rare cases, VA disability or death benefits may be granted.”
Task & Purpose will update this story as more information becomes available.
Photo: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
U.S. Army Cpt. Katrina Hopkins and Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Rogers, assigned to Task Force Warhorse, pilot a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operation at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Javion Siders)
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).