East Texan recalls surviving atomic test blast - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

East Texan recalls surviving atomic test blast

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An East Texas veteran is remembering his experience of surviving an A-bomb testing in the 1950s.

Gladewater army veteran Millard Parker says he and many others now have lasting health effects because they were so close to where the military was testing A-bombs. When he was 18 , Parker was in the army at Yucca Flats Nevada on May 5th 1955. A mile and a half away from a ground zero test blast site.

"I was up on the mountain in a cut-out. I got up after the concussion went past me and I got knocked down by the implosion. It knocked me flat on the ground," he says.

It was a project called 'teapot'. An atomic bomb test. And Parkers 723rd tank battalion was assigned to the test site.  Being a good soldier, Parker didn't question.

"I never really gave it that much thought," he says. 

The danger was radiation exposure, something that wasn't known much about at the time.

"One of their own scientists had died due to radiation exposure," Parker says.  

Many in Parkers unit suffered numerous health problems decades later.

"Quite a few of them died, and at an early age. I had cancer of the throat , tonsils and tongue. During the Clinton administration Janet Reno came on and said if you were there we owe you money so I filed and I was denied. I did have the cancer they were talking about but it wasn't certified," he says.   

Parker has tried every government and veterans agency for years to get compensation.

" I feel like my government has abandoned me," he says.

Parker says some veterans who were at similar bomb tests have been compensated. He says he will continue to fight for his own compensation.

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