U.S. soldiers inquire about exposure to chemicals at Base Gagetown
The Maine National Guard is trying to find out if its troops were exposed to Agent Orange or Agent Purple during their training exercises at Base Gagetown in the 1970s.
Officials with the Guard say they're getting calls from former soldiers asking for details about the spray program.
Members of the unit have trained at CFB Gagetown at regular intervals since 1971.
Major Michael Backus of the Maine National Guard says they're waiting for information from the Department of National Defence.
"The Maine Army National Guard is still trying to find out what relevance it has to the safety of our soldiers. That is our number one priority," Backus said.
Members of the Maine National Guard returned last week from another of their annual training missions at CFB Gagetown and they're expecting to be back next year.
Canadian officials say small amounts of Agent Orange and Agent Purple were used on the base in 1966 and 1967. That would mean the testing was over well before the Guard started training in New Brunswick.
But many former Canadian soldiers and civilian workers at CFB Gagetown say the military continued to use thousands of barrels of virtually identical defoliants at the base well into the 1970s.
- FROM JUNE 24, 2005: Views clash at Agent Orange forum