Ind. Guard seeks GIs possibly exposed to toxins
The Indiana National Guard is trying to track down former soldiers who might have been exposed to a toxic chemical while serving in Iraq in 2003, the Indianapolis Star reported Monday.
Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Indiana Guard’s adjutant general, said the Guard is working to contact all 139 soldiers with the 1/152nd Infantry based in Jasper and Tell City, and their larger battalion of 660 soldiers, the Evansville Courier & Press reported Saturday.
"We’re knocking on doors; we’re calling friends. We know who they are," he told a state legislative panel Friday, according to the Star. "But there are still a number we have not gotten in contact with."
Umbarger said the soldiers need medical evaluations to determine whether they were exposed to sodium dichromate, a known carcinogen, while guarding a water treatment plant in Basra, Iraq, for about six months.
Of the 660 Indiana soldiers, about half have been discharged from the military, and the rest remain in the Guard, the Star reported Umbarger as saying.
The Guard has set up a hot line — (800) 237-2850, ext. 3128 — for former soldiers who suspect they were exposed, according to the report.