The Untold Story of the DoD’s Anthrax Vaccine Program, Serialized

By Ozymandias



Ozymandias shares a pivotal experience from his life in this non-fiction novel. Check back each week for a new chapter.

Chapter 1 – A Brief History, or “I’m from the government and I’m here to experiment on you.”

Join Ozymandias on the first chapter of the journey.

Chapter 2 – The Nuremberg Code

The first principle enunciated in the Nuremberg Code is that “the informed consent of the subject is absolutely essential.”

Chapter 3 – The General Did What?

Major John Hitesman graduated from the Norwich Military Academy a year before I graduated from Boston University. Like me, Hitesman had a “life” before becoming a lawyer.

Chapter 4 – Judicial Remedies in Our Republic?

The Declaration of Independence’s most trenchant historical observation is coupled with its boldest claim: “that governments are instituted among men, [and] deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Chapter 5 – The FDA, DHHS, & Vaccines: Anthrax Slides By

Before 1962, vaccines, drugs, and other such products did not undergo nearly the kind of scrutiny that they do today in order to become licensed.  It wasn’t until the thalidomide disaster of the 1960’s that federal regulation of drugs came to be what it is today.

Chapter 6 – The Gulf War and Its Experimental Drugs aka “Your Body is the New Battlefield”

In the late 1980s, the Department of Defense had a problem. It was anticipating the need for better means to combat chemical and biological agents and, to the point, the U.S. was way behind the Soviet Union in its chemical and biological warfare preparedness.

Chapter 7 – Congress Acts: 10 U.S.C. §1107

More can and must be done, however, to rebuild trust, to avoid repeating past mistakes, and to…

Chapter 8 – “It’s Against the Law!!”

I didn’t even knock on Justin’s door, I busted in like Kramer on a Seinfeld episode.

Chapter 9 – The History of the Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA)

The first use of a human anthrax vaccine took place in 1954.

Chapter 10 – The Anthrax Vaccine Fails, Is Awarded Zero Points… and you’ll still have to roll up your sleeve!

The anthrax vaccine’s manufacturer has had an interesting ownership history, beginning in 1968 as the Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH).

Chapter 11 – United States v. Stonewall, July 2000

I had defended Marines and sailors facing a lot more time or charged with much more serious crimes, yet I was more nervous than I had ever been before walking into court.

Chapter 12 – The DoD “Evolves” on the Anthrax Vaccine

During the hearings on the Nixon impeachment, Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) asked the now famous question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

Chapter 13 – Defense Delay

Chapter 14 – Secretary Cohen’s “Four Points”

In December of 1997, the anthrax vaccine manufacturer was shut down and could not manufacture anything related to the AVA.

Chapter 15 – The Stay

From the beginning I’ve had the sense that they have mischarged the offense, perhaps intentionally.

Chapter 16 – Guard Pilots Quit

The impact of the anthrax program on the Armed Services was substantial.

Chapter 17 – Science Intervenes and Project Badger Surfaces

These studies received little to no attention in the U.S.

Chapter 18 – The Walking Wounded

Coincidentally, in the first week of October 2000, the House Committee on Government Reform was holding another hearing on the anthrax vaccine program.

Chapter 19 – Working Behind the Scenes

I took in the room with a glance. There were two groups of people – ours and theirs.

Chapter 20 – Why?

Given how flawed the program has been from its inception – and all of the documents involved are public records, most of which were created by the U.S. government itself – the most salient question becomes ‘why?’

Chapter 21 – Back to Okinawa

At Dulles, I left without saying more than a brief goodbye.

Chapter 22 – Why, Indeed

Indeed, any detailed historical look at DoD and VA actions in the aftermath of large batches of veterans returning home and filing claims, reveals a shocking pattern.

Chapter 23 – Conviction

When Court ended that day, I knew that either we got a stay by the next morning or David Ponder and Jason Stonewall would be going to jail.

After Action

I feel compelled to offer a kind of “after action report” or lessons learned section on the AVIP.



To read more from Ozymandias, visit his website.