Washington, D.C.—This week, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, held a hearing and received testimony from U.S. servicemembers who allege they were exposed to chemical and radiological hazards when they were deployed to Karshi-Khanabad (K2) Air Base in Uzbekistan after September 11, 2001.
- U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Paul Widener, Jr. (ret.) and U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer-2 Scott Welsch (ret.), two of the 7,000 plus U.S. servicemembers who previously deployed to K2 and were later diagnosed with cancer, testified about the toxic substances they were exposed to while deployed to K2 and the adverse effects they continue to suffer from, which they believe are connected to their military service.
- Master Sergeant Paul Widener testified that he is aware of 400 veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer since their deployment to K2, a significantly higher number than the 61 cases identified in a 2015 health assessment conducted by the U.S. Army.
- Last month, Chairman Lynch and Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney launched an investigation and requested information from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about potential contamination at K2 and related adverse health effects of U.S. personnel who served there.
- This week, Chairman Lynch and Rep. Mark Green (TN-7) introduced H.R. 5957, the K2 Veterans Toxic Exposure Accountability Act of 2020, which directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study regarding toxic exposures at K2 Air Base in Uzbekistan. The bill also directs the VA Secretary to establish a registry of U.S. servicemembers who may have been exposed to toxic substances while deployed to K2.
Paul B. Widener, Jr., K2 Veteran, Retired Master Sergeant - U.S. Air Force
Kim E. Brooks, Spouse of Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Brooks, U.S. Army
Scott W. Welsch, K2 Veteran, Retired Chief Warrant Officer 2 - U.S. Army
Watch Chairman Lynch’s question line here.