Bice, Green Lead Bipartisan Group Urging President Biden to Follow Through on K2 Study
Washington – Congresswoman Stephanie Bice and Congressman Mark Green (TN-07)) led a bipartisan group of Representatives in sending a letter to President Biden, requesting that he follow through with efforts to study the toxic exposure of nearly 10,000 military personnel previously stationed at Karshi Khanabad (K2) Air Base in Uzbekistan.
K2 was a former Soviet air base located just a few hundred miles from the Afghanistan border. It was used as a key military base in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, between 2001 and 2005. Thousands of U.S. service members were stationed there, but according to a 2015 study by the US Army, military personnel who served there during that time are nearly 500 times more likely to develop certain types of cancer.
“A constituent reached out to me whose health has been critically impacted as a result of his time served at K2 during Operation Enduring Freedom,” Congresswoman Bice said. “President Biden needs to follow through on the work already done to help ensure that a toxicity study takes place, so we can provide necessary healthcare to the men and women who served at K2 Air Base.
The letter, signed by 18 House members from both parties, requested the President also continue to advance the policies of Executive Order 13982, by former President Donald Trump, which ordered the DOD, in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to conduct further study and to consider designating these heroes as having served on active duty in a theater of combat operations for the purposes of receiving medical care.
“It’s far past time for our government to break the shameful pattern of waiting decades to acknowledge toxic exposure experienced by our men and women in uniform. We are urging President Biden to follow through on President Trump’s Executive Order modeled after my K2 Veterans Toxic Exposure Accountability Act and ensure that DOD faithfully executes a study of toxic exposure at K2 Air Base. These heroes fought for us, now we must fight for them and the care they need to survive. It is our duty to recognize and address their exposure to cancer-causing toxins at K2 and urgent need for medical care. We cannot wait,” said Congressman Green.
“We owe our veterans a debt we can never repay, and I am committed to getting our veterans the services and care they have earned,” said Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-11). “I join my colleagues in urging President Biden to complete the study requirement we passed last year and work with the VA to ensure these veterans are receiving the medical care they need.”
“Thousands of veterans have fallen ill or are dying from what they believe to be related to toxin exposure while serving at K2,” said Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02). “They defended our great nation when called upon and deserve full medical care as well as answers about what happened while they served there.”
“We have long known that service members stationed abroad face many threats to their health and well-being in addition to those posed by our enemies. And all too often, those threats include exposure to chemicals and other dangerous substances on the very bases where they live and work,” said Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01). “I urge President Biden to listen to our bipartisan call to continue to study the toxic exposure of nearly 10,000 military personnel stationed at Karshi Khanabad (K2) Air Base. This will help provide much-needed information and begin the process of determining what we can do for those service members who have been made sick and for the families of those we have lost as a result of their time at K2.”
“For as long as these brave men and women answer the nation’s calls, we will never forget their sacrifices and will continue to honor our contract with them,” said Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07).
Read the full letter here: