Australian news, and some related international items

Investigation underway after nine nuclear missileers develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

ABC News 23 Jan 23

Nine military officers — who had worked decades ago at a nuclear missile base in Montana — have been diagnosed with a blood cancer, and there are “indications” the disease may be linked to their service, according to military briefing slides obtained by The Associated Press. One of the officers has died.

Key points:

  • One of the nine officers diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma has since died
  • Top officials say military medical professionals are investigating the new cases
  • Previously, 14 cancer cases were investigated at the base, which was deemed safe

All of the officers — known as missileers — were assigned as many as 25 years ago to Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to a vast field of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos.

The nine officers were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to a January briefing by US Space Force Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Sebeck.

Missileers ride caged elevators deep underground into a small operations bunker encased in a thick wall of concrete and steel.

They remain there sometimes for days, ready to turn the launch keys if ordered to by the country’s president.

“There are indications of a possible association between [this] cancer and missile combat crew service at Malmstrom AFB,” Lieutenant Colonel Sebeck said in slides presented to his Space Force unit this month.

The “disproportionate number of missileers presenting with cancer, specifically lymphoma” was concerning, he said…………………………..

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — which, according to the American Cancer Society, affects an estimated 19 out of every 100,000 people in the US annually — is a blood cancer that uses the body’s infection-fighting lymph system to spread………………..

The median age for adult non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 67, according to the National Institutes of Health.

However, the former missileers affected are far younger.

Officers are often in their 20s when they are assigned duty watch.

The officer who died, who was not identified, was a Space Force officer assigned to Schreiver Space Force Base in Colorado, with the rank of major, a rank typically achieved in a service member’s 30s.

Two of the others are in the same Space Force unit with the rank of lieutenant colonel, which is typically reached in a service member’s early 40s…………………………………………………

Last year, President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act, which greatly expanded the the types of illnesses and toxic exposures that would be considered presumptive — meaning a service member or veterans would not face an uphill battle to convince the government that the injury was tied to their military service — in order to received covered care.


January 23, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: