January 7, 2017
“I can well remember, as most Veterans my age can, standing in line with my 82nd Airborne Division unit, with blood streaming down our arms as the air injectors were used to give us inoculations before deployments,”
wrote Robert McDonald, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in a January 2nd email.
No matter gender, rank or branch of military service, veterans can easily recall their military vaccinations via jet infectors. Veterans remember visually seeing blood on the nozzle of the device and seeing blood at the injection site. The obscure devices which resembled a handgun attached to an air hose line were novel objects that caught the attention of every man and woman who had the opportunity to experience one. Yet it was the pain from the high velocity of liquid medicament being injected into them along with the visible presence of blood on the jet injector and at the injection site that left a remarkable impression in every veteran’s memory.
The Secretary’s statement came after thanking him for taking my initial inquiry concerning veterans with Hepatitis C and jet injectors seriously and to bid him farewell on his unknown future.
The statement acknowledges what veterans have been stating for years—the military’s assembly-line inoculations with jet gun injectors were bloody. In the Secretary’s own words, “Blood streaming down our arms.”
McDonald is not the first Secretary of the VA to address concerns about jet injectors and the high prevalence of Hepatitis C within Vietnam era veterans. Former Secretary Anthony Principi told journalist Mike McGraw of the Kansas City Star Newspaper in an interview, ”We need to look at the air gun” (McGraw, 2003).
Discussions about military jet injections between VA Headquarters and myself are currently ongoing. One of the main issues at hand is to address the many discrepancies and various opinions about these devices amongst VA staff and how these inconsistencies affect veterans.
- (McGraw, 2003) McGraw M. Job-related infections hard to prove [news article]. The Kansas City Star Newspaper. 10 Nov 2003. Available at: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/special_packages/hepatitis/7208607.htm.