More women service members report illnesses after deployment to contaminated airbase

Northwest Florida

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — There is more information on a WKRG News 5 investigation about the struggle of hundreds of veterans exposed to toxic agents while serving overseas. The vets all served at a remote base in Uzbekistan after 9-11 — a base that was highly contaminated with known carcinogens and radiation.

Now, more female vets are beginning to report diseases they believe are being caused by their service there.

Veterans like former Army intelligence analyst Elba Barr believe the four months she spent at the remote Uzbekistan base known as Karshi-Khanabad or K-2, is behind her chronic reproductive health issues.

Barr said, “There’s been something massive since 2013 every year, medical wise.”

As we’ve previously reported, K-2 was found to be highly contaminated with almost four hundred different toxic chemicals and radiation. Some 15 thousand service members were deployed there between 2001 and 2004 conducting missions in support of the war in Afghanistan.

CBS News reported Barr is one of more than 200 female K-2 vets who flooded a Facebook page that is also now a non-profit–the Stronghold Freedom Foundation. The organization says 40 percent of women self-reported at least one miscarriage, 8 percent reported breast or uterine cancers, and 30 percent reported ovarian cancer or related issues.

Barr said, “I had  cervical issues– continued having severe pain– endometriosis. Had to have a partial hysterectomy. Last year I had both of my ovaries removed. And they found onset, stage one cancer.”

Hundreds of service members have reported a variety of illnesses they believe are related to their service at K-2. We spoke with many who live in northwest Florida near Hurlbert Field, home of the Air Forces’ Special Operations which conducted many of the missions at K-2.

But the Defense Department and Veterans Administration have yet to establish a link between their service at K-2 and their illnesses.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has drafted an executive order that would include the Uzbekistan base as a zone of combat operations that would cover the vets who have not been able to get help. He believes that President Trump will sign it. So far, these vets are still waiting.

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