Several military veterans were essentially tricked into testing new drugs at Edgewood Arsenal back in 1968. “The idea was they would test new Army field jackets, clothing, weapons and things of that nature, but no mention of drugs or chemicals,” said Tim Josephs, who was just an 18 year old Army Private at the time. He first thought things were fishy when the place looked more like a hospital than anything else. When he went to do paperwork, he noticed people wearing white lab coats, which raised his suspicion even further. But there were no second thoughts to be had. When he mentioned he wasn’t entirely sure about volunteering anymore, an Army officer took him aside and told him that if he didn’t go through with volunteering that he would go to jail. The officer followed up by saying, “you’re going to Vietnam either way, before or after.” I’m sure that was comforting for the eighteen year old Private.
The range of things tested at Edgewood between 1955 and ’75 is astonishing. A variety of dangerous chemicals was tested on animals as well as human test subjects such as Private Josephs. According to CNN, chemicals tested “ranged anywhere from ranged from potentially lethal nerve gases like VX and sarin to incapacitating agents like BZ.” I would hate to be a test subject where things like “tear gas, barbiturates, tranquilizers, narcotics and hallucinogens like LSD” were being tested on me. One of those poisons is enough, but to have all different chemicals tested on you cannot be healthy. Thankfully, one of the good things Nixon did during his reign as President was ceasing the human testing of dangerous chemical weapons. The testing was being used to prepare for a war with the Soviet Union, which we now know only turned out to be the Cold War. What is even worse than chemical testing of items that were never even used in a war with the Soviet Union, is the fact that those administering these tests assured participants that there was nothing there that could ever harm them.
Days before his Edgewood duty ended, in February 1968, Josephs was hospitalized for days with Parkinson’s-like tremors, symptoms he said have followed him on and off throughout his adult life. -CNN