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"They told us all to go in there, but don't put on your gas mask until you smell gas." (Audio interview, 5:58)

   Rollins Edwards
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 1329th General Service Regiment
Service Location: European Theater; Pacific Theater; Camp Clyburn, South Carolina; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Clark Air Base, Philippines
Rank: Sergeant
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Drafted into service with the Army's 1329th General Service Regiment in 1943, Sergeant Rollins Edwards served in both the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II. However, his most traumatic experience came before he departed for his overseas service, during training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, when he was routinely subjected to chemical weapons--including mustard gas and lewisite--as part of a chemical weapons testing program run by the Army. Every day for thirty days, he and other soldiers were given gas masks and locked in a room that was then pumped full of gas. This treatment left him with a lifetime of chronic, severe skin ailments, intense claustrophobia, and a deep sense of anger that no one was ever held accountable for what he endured.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (4 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (88 min.)
»Transcript
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»VHP 15th Anniversary
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (4 items)
Service at Fort Bragg and then Fort Jackson; being called and then picked up for an unknown assignment. (02:37) Exposure to mustard gas; intense burning sensation on skin; exposure to lewisite; getting intensely sick; boils all over skin. (06:05) Discharge from Army; making his way home; encountering segregation while still in uniform. (03:08)
Intensity of skin issues; being treated by dermatologists; testifying about treatment during VA investigation. (04:25)  
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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