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Army Memo Saying Soldiers Got Bad Anthrax Vaccinations Is Horsesh*t
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.
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The Air Force is investigating whether an airman smoked weed at a missile alert facility for nuclear Minuteman ICBMs
The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing 400 nuclear GM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Mark Mitchell is stepping down as the acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, a position he has held since late June, a defense official confirmed on Tuesday.
No information was immediately available about why Mitchell decided to resign. His last day will be Nov. 1 and he will be replaced by Thomas Alexander, who is currently leading the Defense Department's counternarcotics efforts, the defense official told Task & Purpose.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.
US troops withdrawing to Iraq from Syria can't redeploy there and have to leave in 4 weeks, Baghdad says
The 1,000 U.S. troops leaving Syria will be allowed to stay in Iraq for at most four weeks, Iraq's defense minister said Wednesday, in an embarrassing rebuff to President Donald Trump's plans for withdrawing from Syria.
Najah al-Shammari's comments to the Associated Press came shortly after his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who went to Baghdad to negotiate the redeployment of U.S. troops in Iraq after they withdrew from Syria.