Monday, March 2, 2020

K2 military veterans, widow share stories of deadly exposure with lawmakers

More than 15 years after her husband died of stage three brain cancer, Kim Brooks of Norwood, Massachusetts, shared his story with lawmakers on Thursday.
"I'm here today because my husband, Lt. Col. Timothy Brooks, can't be," she said, testifying to the House Subcommittee on National Security -- only two weeks after her first visit to Washington, where she was part of a group that demanded a hearing before Congress to ultimately get recognition of the health effects that resulted from their exposure at an Uzbek military base.
Tim Brooks served at Karshi-Khanabad, otherwise known as K2, from November 2001 through Spring 2002. The U.S. had leased the former Soviet base from the Uzbek government following the 9/11 attacks -- largely because of its convenient location near al-Qaida and Taliban targets in northern Afghanistan.
In May 2003, Tim Brooks was at a pre-deployment meeting with his wife when he collapsed and had a grand mal seizure. A year later he died at age 36.
According to previous ABC News reporting, a November 2001 report by the Army Public Health Center found areas of the base "contaminated with asbestos and low-level radioactive depleted uranium," which were caused by the destruction of Soviet missiles.
Kim Brooks told lawmakers Thursday that she believes her husband's cancer was caused by these toxic exposures at the base, and now she's pleading for recognition from the government.
"K2 families and veterans deserve to know the full extent of what they were exposed to so that they can focus on their health and plan for their futures," she said.

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