Sick Area 52 Veterans Left Without Health Insurance

( – Air Force veterans are speaking out, stating they are being left without access to health insurance after their service at the top-secret nuclear testing site in Nevada known as Area 52 left them with health problems.

The government conducted tests for nuclear bombs for decades in the area, located 140 miles outside of Las Vegas. The mission was halted after the government said it was “against the national interest.”

Now, despite a 1975 federal environmental assessment that confirmed there was toxic radioactive material present at the site, the Air Force veterans are unable to get health insurance to cover their health problems related to their work.

Veteran Mark Ely, 63, said while working at Area 52 in the 1980s, he was stationed in the hidden hangars of the Tonopah Test Range, inspecting the secretly obtained Soviet fighter jets. Ely said the work left him with various health problems, including lipomas, tumors, cysts on his liver, and scarring on his lungs. Ely said he is denied health insurance because he was under a non-disclosure agreement during his time at Area 52, meaning it is not on his official service record.

Veteran Dave Crete, who worked at Area 52 between 1983 and 1987 with the Air Force’s security police squadron, suffers from breathing issues such as chronic bronchitis and has a tumor in his back. For the past eight years, Crete searched for and found other veterans who worked at Area 52 suffering from “all kinds of cancers.”

Other government employees who worked at Area 52, including those from the Department of Energy, received $25.7 billion in federal assistance. However, because their time at Area 52 is not on their records, the Air Force cannot prove they worked at the site and are unable to receive benefits.

In 2023, Crete Area 52 veteran Pomp Braswell filed a lawsuit against the federal government to attempt to get help with their health issues.

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