Atomic Veterans eligible for DoD certificate

Julia LeDoux
July 12, 2019 - 10:19 am
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Daniel Gaffney, Defense Threat Reduction Agency


Veterans who were exposed to radiation between 1945 and 1992 are eligible to apply for the newly created Atomic Veterans Service Certificate. 

Thousands of service members who took part in a secret World War II program known as the Manhattan Project, in addition to others who occupied Japan following the deployment of the atomic bombs and others who were involved in atmospheric and underground testing of nuclear weapons during the Cold War are eligible. If a service member is deceased next of kin can apply Defense Department officials said.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is managing the certificate program and maintains a database of veterans who have been exposed to radiation.

Authorized in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019, the AVSC is intended to recognize all veterans who were or could have been exposed to radiation during their service to the nation.

The certificate does not carry any other value or entitle the bearer to benefits, said Doug Johnson, DoD’s assistant director for military decorations and awards policy.

“[The certificate] provides recognition to those service members who were exposed to radiation while serving in the military,” he said.

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DTRA estimates about 550,000 veterans that could qualify for the certificate.

To be considered for the certificate, that applications must be filed through

DTRA will also keep a historical record of veterans whose military service met the certificate eligibility criteria and were awarded the AVSC.

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