Eric succumbed to ALS November 8, 2013 at 43 years old. He was a friend to many on the Fort McClellan Facebook groups. Even after the ALS took away his ability to talk, he still contributed to the groups. What follows is the content of the flyer that he wrote, hand delivered to his local representatives, and eventually mailed to members of Congress. We will never forget him.
I am a lifelong American citizen and my family has been in this country since its conception. I served in the Indiana National Guard from 1991-2000. My basic training and AIT were held at Ft. McClellan, AL which included 17 weeks of Military Police training. Since the base closed in 1999, BRAC documents have shown chemical, radiological, and environmental contamination at Ft. McClellan.
We, the soldiers, are now aware that the contamination at Ft. McClellan is the mostly likely cause of our collective health issues. It was the only area in the world that trained NBC soldiers with live nerve gas and radiological agents. The chemicals used to train soldiers in decontamination, building construction practices, and the pesticides and herbicides used to maintain the buildings and grounds have shortened our lives:
- Mustard Gas
- Tear Gas
- Cobalt 60
- Cesium 137
- Other environmental toxins
At age 42, I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) disease in July 19, 2012. In this short time: my ability to speak is gone, I’ve lost all upper body strength, I am no longer able to drive, I use a walker for balance, I have trouble swallowing, my wife has to shower, shave, clothe and wipe me. Last week, May 16, 2013, a feeding tube had to be installed because from July until now my weight dropped from 210lbs to the 162lbs.
The questions I have are:
- Why are Military veterans, especially the ones deployed to the Gulf War, twice as likely to get ALS and die sooner than the rest of the general population with ALS?
- Why would the military automatically recognize, but not take full responsibility for, this disease as a possible link to service
- Why did the DOD (especially the Army) only give 6 million for ALS research?
- Why are doctors no closer to finding a cure when this became a military issue in the 1930s and is a disease identified in the 1800s?
We need you and your colleagues to support the Ft. McClellan Health Registry Act. What has happened in the last two decades in the Middle East means there will be many more sick soldiers with symptoms related to the MDA families.
We, as a Nation, spend billions of dollars to raise other countries’ armies but neglect our own country’s soldiers. It is time for us to do what is right for our own.
Charles Eric Allen
Jack W. Rogers, 57. died November 30, 2014. MP School, Fort McCellan, Al, 1975
Lisa Ann Rittenhouse, 50, died October 27, 2014, Military Police School, Fort McClellan, Al. 1990
Lt. Colonel Ronald Michael Levy, 57, died March 12, 2014. Served in the US Army on Fort McClellan for several years in the Chemical Unit. He joined the Army Reserves and served in the Alabama Army National Guard retiring as a LTC.
SSG Wendi L Goodman, USA (Ret), 55, died Jan 30 2014. USWAC Basic Training Battalion, Company C, at Fort McClellan, AL 1976
Sgt. Donald Lee Jenkins, 48, died April 28, 2011. MP School, Fort McClellan, Al.
USA CPT Agnes M. “Irish” Bresnahan, 58, died March 11, 2009. USWAC Basic Training, Fort McClellan, Al, 1971
Ardyce A. Gregor, 62, died December 11, 2011, Stationed at Fort McClellan, AL, as a member of the Women’s Army Corps Band, 1968 – 1978
Sgt Melba Sue “Lin” Lindsey, 58, died November 5, 1999. USWAC Basic Training, Fort McClellan, Al. 1965, Leader Orientation Course, and Clerical Training Course at Fort McClellan. Lin stayed at Fort McClellan with administrative assignments to the Dental Clinic, and S-3, Training Division. Women’s Army Corps Training Battalion.
Pvt. Gary Earl Brown, 20, died January 1985 in Noble Army Hospital during Basic Training, Co. E, 2nd Bn, Fort McClellan Al
Master Sgt. James C. Bromwell, 45, died May 25, 1983 in Noble Army Hospital while stationed at Fort McCellan, Al
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