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TORCHLIGHT TALKING PAPERS
As an organization, we have worked together to establish a clearly defined mission with regard to toxic exposure within the Missile community. We are determined to achieve actionable outcomes based on our advocacy, experience, and education. The following papers provide an in depth description of our mission, vision, goals, more information on the environmental hazards present in service locations, as well as our official position on current efforts to identify affected individuals and clean up the existing hazards.
- **NEW** Memorandum for Secretary of the VA RE Research Funding and Presumptive Service Connection for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Community Veterans | JAN 19, 2024
- About The Torchlight Initiative | OCT 3, 2023
- Missile Community Cancer Fact Sheet | OCT 3, 2023
- Identified Hazards In Minuteman ICBM Facilities | OCT 3, 2023
- PCBs In The Minuteman Weapon System | OCT 4, 2023
- Torchlight Initiative Opinion Paper on 2001-2005 Environmental Studies | OCT 3, 2023
IN THE NEWS
The Air Force said its nuclear missile capsules were safe. But toxic dangers lurked, documents show | DEC 29, 2023
A large pool of dark liquid festering on the floor. No fresh air. Computer displays that would overheat and ooze out a fishy-smelling gel that nauseated the crew. Asbestos readings 50 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety standards.
These are just some of the past toxic risks that were in the underground capsules and silos where Air Force nuclear missile crews have worked since the 1960s. Now many of those service members have cancer.The toxic dangers were recorded in hundreds of pages of documents dating back to the 1980s that were obtained by The Associated Press through Freedom of Information Act requests. They tell a far different story from what Air Force leadership told the nuclear missile community decades ago, when the first reports of cancer among service members began to surface.
The Air Force is expanding a review of cancers for service members who worked with nuclear missiles| DEC 4, 2023
The Air Force is expanding its study of whether service members who worked with nuclear missiles have had unusually high rates of cancer after a preliminary review determined that a deeper examination is needed. The initial study was launched in response to reports that many who served are now ill. The Air Force isn’t making its initial findings of cancer numbers public for a month or so, but released its initial assessment Monday that more review is necessary.
Air Force’s Missileer Cancer Study Now Looking at 14 Different Cancers and Environmental Risks at Other Bases| DEC 4, 2023
The Air Force said it is now examining whether 14 different cancers may be more prevalent among its active-duty and veteran missileers and expanding an ongoing study to see if service has put their health at increased risk.
Carcinogens found at Montana nuclear missile sites as reports of hundreds of cancers surface. | AUG 9, 2023
The Air Force has detected unsafe levels of a likely carcinogen at underground launch control centers at a Montana nuclear missile base where a striking number of men and women have reported cancer diagnoses.
The Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine sent teams to all three intercontinental ballistic missile wings to test for exposure hazards within missile alert facilities.
The tests are part of the ongoing missile community cancer study.
- USAF’s New ICBM Cancer Study to Examine ‘Everyone Possible’ | MAY 18, 2023
- Head of ICBM Cancer Study Says the Air Force Is ‘Fully Invested’ | JUNE 28, 2023
- They handled nuclear missiles. Now they’re getting cancer | FEB 3, 2023
- Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of missile crews | JAN 28, 2023
The community of missileers who have spent years standing watch in concrete bunkers for days at a time while operating America’s nuclear arsenal are voicing concern about a presentation detailing a possible link between their service and cancer.
The Air Force is looking into a possible association between cancer and missile combat crew member service at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana after a Space Force lieutenant colonel discovered that some former Malmstrom missileers developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) after serving at the base between the late 1990s and the late 2000s.
Tester calls for immediate investigation of cancer reports among Air Force Missileers | JAN 24, 2023
Following recent reporting on the high incidence of cancer among Missileers who served at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Cascade County, Montana, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is demanding answers and urging senior leaders at the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to take immediate action to ensure every potentially impacted veteran or servicemember is identified and receives an appropriate health assessment.
- Military probing whether cancers linked to nuclear silo work | JAN 23, 2023
Pentagon probes blood cancer cases among officers who served in nuclear missile bunkers | JAN 23, 2023
Nine military officers who worked decades ago on a nuclear missile base in Montana have been diagnosed with blood cancer and there are ‘indications’ it’s linked to their service, documents show. The officers, known as missileers, were assigned as many as 25 years ago to Malmstrom Air Force Base, home to a vast field of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos.
VA CLAIM SUPPORT
RESEARCH & REPORTS
- DOD Needs to Better Identify and Monitor Equipment Containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls | AUG 1994
- Environmental Impact Statement Peacekeeper Missile System Deactivation and Dismantlement | DEC 2000
- Exposure Assessment of Missile Crew Members in 564 Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, MT | DEC 2001
- AFSPC/SG Memo: Cancer Concerns Among Missileers | JULY 2003
- Review of Cancer in Missileers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana | APR 2005
- Environmental Assessment/564 MS Minuteman III Deactivation Malmstrom AFB, Montana | MAY 2007
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls Manufacturing, Processing, Distribution in Commerce, and Use Prohibitions | AUG 2023
- Air Force Missile Community Cancer Study | Ongoing
Both Tara Copp and Thomas Novelly are working on our stories. Each is covering a different area but both are invested in the veterans and families impacted by service-related cancers and their devastating impact. Please contact us via the contact form below if you are interested in sharing your story and we will connect you with Ms. Copp and Mr. Novelly. Note: The contact information for journalists contained on this website does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by Torchlight Initiative nor are they the only journalists investigating this issue. We are simply providing our members contact with interested parties in the media who have reached out to the organization.
AP| PENTAGON CORRESPONDANT
MILITARY.COM | AIR FORCE & SPACE REPORTER