From 1962 to 1974, the Department of Defense's Deseret Test Center in Fort Douglas, Utah planned and conducted a series of biological and chemical warfare vulnerability tests. These tests are known as Project 112 and Project SHAD and consisted of both land-based and sea-based tests at different locations.
At VA’s request in 2000, the Department of Defense began declassifying and sharing information with VA about possible exposure to warfare agents during the tests and people involved.
Tests by land and by sea
Land-based tests were conducted to learn about how chemical and biological agents react under a variety of environmental and climatic conditions.
Ship-based tests, known as Project SHAD (an acronym for Shipboard Hazard and Defense), were conducted to identify the vulnerability of U.S. warships to chemical and biological attacks and procedures to respond to such attacks.
The Department of Defense (DoD) used a wide range of agents in the tests, including the biological warfare agents Coxiella Burnetii, Francisella tularensis, and Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B, and the nerve agents sarin, VX, tabun and soman.
Go to Project 112/SHAD Fact Sheets from the Department of Defense to learn more about the tests and agents used.
U.S. Servicemember participation in tests
Approximately 6,000 U.S. Servicemembers were involved in conducting chemical tests to defend against biological and chemical weapons threats. Most of these participants served in the Navy and Army, and some served in the Marine Corps and Air Force. Most were involved in Project SHAD. Go to Project 112/SHAD Fact Sheets from the Department of Defense to learn more about the tests, including what units or ships were involved.
VA is committed to reaching every living Veteran involved in Project 112/Project SHAD, based on rosters developed with DoD, and informing them of VA services available to them. When DoD provides VA the names of test participants, VA sends letters to these Veterans to inform them about the tests and what to do if they have related health concerns.
If you have not received a letter from VA informing you of your participation in Project 112/Project SHAD and need help verifying your possible participation:
- Call VA at 1-800-749-8387
- Call DoD at 1-800-497-6261