Army radiation cover-up charged

A former US Army medic, after 25 years of silence, said he followed orders to prepare phony records hiding high levels of radiation exposure to soldiers at four atomic tests in 1956 and 1957.

Van R. Brandon said his top-secret medic group kept two sets of ledgers to record radiation readings from film badges worn by soldiers at the Yucca Flat, Nev., test site. The badges were designed to record the levels of radiation to which the men wearing them had been exposed. One set of books showed no exposures over approved limits, while the other showed far greater exposures.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said he had no comment.

Brandon said in an interview that when he left the Army in 1961 he was warned that if he told anyone of his experiences ''I could be charged with treason under the National Security Act.'' He also said he was told that the top-secret medic unit which he says he was part of never existed.

During the tests, in June 1956 and April 1957, ''things were very highly contaminated,'' Brandon said. ''I mean the ground zero was hot for weeks afterwards. They didn't march people through ground zero, but they got them close.''

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