Appeal to the Veterans Administration
On August 11th, 2008, a short time after Matthew died, Lisa was informed that the
Veterans Administration had decided to re-open the appeal on Matt's case. As much of
this information is of interest and important to other families in similar situations we are
going to print some excerpts from the actual appeal. Eventually, we would like to include
the applicable medical information, as well. At this time we are in the process of getting
copy-right permission to re-print some of the medical articles.  If you have any questions
or know of someone in a similar situation please contact us.

Excerpts from VA Appeal sent September 2008:

Re:      Matthew J. Bumpus

"The initial letter of denial for service connection for AML was determined based on ruling
of 38CFR3.309 and 38CFR3.307.  At this time we are asking you to consider that more
applicable rulings would be:

38CFR3.303; Principles relating to service connection “…the facts, shown by evidence,
establish that a particular injury or disease resulting in disability was
incurred coincident with service in the Armed Forces.”  “Each disabling condition shown by
a veteran’s service records, or for which he seeks a service connection must be
considered on the basis of the places, types, and circumstances of his service as shown
by service records, the official history of each organization in which he served, his medical
record and all pertinent medical and lay evidence.”  “Service connection may be granted
for any disease diagnosed after discharge, when all the evidence, including that pertinent
to service, establishes that the disease was incurred in service.  Presumptive periods are
not intended to limit service connection to diseases so diagnosed when the evidence
warrants direct service connection.  The presumptive provisions of the statute and
Department of Veteran Affairs regulations implementing them are intended as
liberalizations applicable when the evidence would not warrant service connection without
their aid.”

38CFR3.304; Direct service connection; wartime and peacetime determination
“. . . should be based on thorough analysis of the evidentiary showing and careful
correlation of all material facts, with due regard to accepted medical principles pertaining
to the history, manifestation, clinical course, and character of the particular injury or
disease or residuals thereof.”  “Satisfactory lay or other evidence that an injury or disease
was incurred or aggravated in combat will be accepted as sufficient proof of service
connection if the evidence is consistent with the circumstances, conditions or hardships of
such service even though there is no official record of such incurrence or aggravation.”

38CFR3.311; Claims based on exposure to ionizing radiation “determination of dose and
exposure. . . in all claims in which it is established that a radiogenic disease first became
manifest after service . . . and it is contended that the disease is a result of exposure to
ionizing radiation in service, an assessment will be made as to the size and nature of the
radiation dose or doses. . . exposure at the highest level of the dose range will be
presumed.”  “. . . the veteran subsequently developed a radiogenic disease; and such
disease first became manifest within the period specified. . .”  “. . . for the purpose of this
section the term ‘radiogenic disease’ means a disease that may be induced by ionizing
radiation and shall include the following: (i) all forms of leukemia” “leukemia may become
manifest at any time after exposure.”  “…consider the claim if
. . it is at least as likely as not the veteran’s disease resulted from exposure to radiation in
service.”  “… ‘sound medical evidence’ means observations, findings, or conclusions which
are consistent with current medical knowledge and are so reasonable and logical as to
serve as the basis of management of a medical condition.”  “the disease, including the
specific cell type and stage, if known, and when the disease first became manifest; the
circumstances, including date, of the veteran’s exposure.”

Matt was a veteran of the Gulf War Era, he served in the Army from August 22, 1996 to
February 28, 2005. Matt served as Staff Sergeant and was assigned to Company C, 2nd
Battalion, 3rd Infantry during combat operations in support of Operation Iraq Freedom
from November 2003 through October 2004. Matt and his unit were engaged in direct and
heavy combat during their deployment to Iraq.  

Throughout his years of service Matt was exposed to numerous toxic chemicals (including
benzene), any of which could have had repercussions to the status of his health.  The
specific AML that Matt suffered and ultimately died from has been directly related to
radiation/chemical exposure. We believe this exposure most likely occurred on a specific
mission his unit undertook on December 23, 2003 at the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons
Complex.  We believe that the facts, shown by evidence listed below, establish that his
AML was incurred coincident with service in the Armed Forces during wartime and that it
was, in fact, service related.

As previously mentioned, there was a specific incident that was of great concern to Matt
and which we believe may have resulted in radiation/chemical exposure. Matt mentioned
the incident several times in his Post Deployment Health Assessment (as did most of those
who were present at the time).  The incident occurred December 22-24, 2003. At this time
Matt served as Staff Sergeant and was assigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 3rd
Infantry, in support of Operation Iraq Freedom and was on deployment in Iraq.

C Company had an informant that told them he knew the location of a site that produced
weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  The Company understood this to refer to WMD
such as nuclear, biological, and or/chemical weapons.  The informant stated that weapons
from this site were being sold on the black market.  The C Company’s mission was to
assess the location and find and secure any weapon caches they might locate.  At this
time, apparently, neither the informant nor the Army, were aware that the location was
actually the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons Complex.  There was a sign posted on the
highway, just outside the complex, that read  “Welcome to mustardville.”  The sign was
posted in English.

Matt’s description of the incident is as follows:

It was some kind of former military base with huge bunkers.  They were not like fighting
position bunkers but dirt covered concrete bunkers used to hide or store weapons in.  The
informant took us to the right bunker, which at first, looked like the rest.  But it had big
doors that had been sealed with cinder blocks and mortar.  The bunker we went in was a
little different because two of the doors were at 90 degree angles.  We went in and
everything was dark, but of course we had our big flashlights.  In order to get to the main
area we had to go through some kind of ventilation shaft.  Once we looked downstairs we
saw that there were probably more than 1,000 155 mm mortar rounds and all kinds of
‘pigs’ which are big barrels of bad stuff.  It smelled horrible.

When we reported that we found ‘unknown chemicals’ a Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC)
specialist responded to the site and went in. When he recognized one of the chemicals he
quickly left the site and returned in full protective gear.  He went in and came back out with
two positive readings.  One of them was a strip of paper and the other was a hand held
machine.  They both tested positive but for different things.  I don’t know what they were.  
He did identify the mortar rounds as the right kind to deliver NBC attacks, at least some of

When the NBC specialist reported in more advanced NBC specialists are sent out.  In the
meantime, we are told to guard the area.  We spent the night on site.  The next day we are
told that we need to be at least a kilometer away from the entrance.  So we moved about
1.5 kilometers to a place we could continue to observe the site.  We pulled up to this
building and started setting up our observation post.  As we set up our perimeter and
check the building for security we find disposed NBC protective masks and suits, needles,
and some white powdery stuff in big bottles with a long name.  About that time we get
another message telling us we need to be at least “4k” away.”

The following reports provide critical information about the Al Muthanna Chemical
Weapons Facility (a.k.a. Project 922 & Samarra Chemical Weapons Facility) and the
cruciform bunker we believe that Matt and the C Company were exposed in:

Al Muthanna Chemical Weapon Complex, a report by the Central Intelligence Agency
2004.  Please also note the attached photographs in comparison to
C Company’s photographs of the same site, specifically the cruciform bunkers.

•        To maintain anonymity, Project 922 was known to Iraqis as a pesticide production
company.  The State Establishment for Pesticides Production (SEPP) became the front
company for Iraq’s 100 square kilometer industrial facility dedicated to chemical and
biological weapon production.  Project 922 was referred to as the Samarra Chemical
Weapons Production and Storage Complex.  The name was chosen because of its close
proximity to Samarra, Iraq.  Currently the complex is referred to as Al Muthanna Chemical
Weapons Complex.
•        Initial research focused on Mustard, but rapidly progressed into Tabun and Sarin (G-
agents). In 1987 Iraq produced almost 900 tons of mustard agents.  Iraq produced 2.5
tons of VX in 1988 before ending production due to the end of the Iran-Iraq War.  
Production of Sarin, VX, and Mustard resumed in 1990.
•        The majority of the Al Muthanna Chemical Weapons Complex was bombed during
Desert Storm, completely incapacitating Iraq’s chemical weapon production capabilities;
however, large stockpiles of chemical weapons and bulk agent survived.
•        The pilot plants survived much of the bombing during Desert Storm. Several
structures remained intact including the Inhalation Chamber, Quality Control Lab, and two
production areas.  The Sarin production area was struck but not destroyed.
•        Chemical munitions stored throughout Iraq were gathered and destroyed at the
Al Muthanna.
•        Two cruciform bunkers were sealed containing munitions too dangerous for
destruction.  The two cruciform bunkers contained the largest declared stockpile of
chemical munitions, old bulk chemical agent, and hazardous material associated with the
chemical weapons.
•        The two damaged cruciform bunkers were used to seal damaged chemical
munitions, residual chemical agents, and hazardous material.  The contents of these
bunkers were declared to the UN but never fully.  The munitions inside the bunkers were
damaged from ODS bombings, fires, leaking munitions, and physical damage to munitions
made the environment inside the bunker extremely dangerous.
•        The tag system used by the UN was known to not be robust, and given the absence
of inspectors between 1998 and 2002, Iraq would have had little incentive to maintain the
tags in good condition.
•        ISG exploitations indicate that the storage area still remains a threat despite testing.
Chemical storage containers filled with unknown hazardous chemicals are showing signs
of rusting through and leaking.
•        Stockpiles of chemical munitions are still stored there.  The most dangerous ones
have been declared to the UN and are sealed in bunkers.  Although declared, the bunkers
contents have yet to be confirmed.  These areas of the compound pose a hazard to
civilians and potential black marketers.
•        The contents of two of the cruciform bunkers bombed during Desert Storm showed
severe damage.  Due to the hazards associated with this location, the UN decided to seal
the bunkers.
•        UNSCOM viewed the contents of the two bunkers; however an accurate inventory
was not possible due to the hazards associated with that environment.
•        Military field testing equipment showed positive for possible CW agent in the
cruciform bunkers that contained munitions and a storage bunker that contained bulk
•        ISG also exploited the underground pilot plants, which also had been breached by
looters, and found a reactor unit that was suspect.  The reactor should have been
destroyed as part of UNSCOM inspections.
•        The team found multiple glass-lined reaction chambers, remnants from the former
CBW programs, some which were UN-tagged and others which did not bear tags.
Inconsistencies in the destruction methods among reactors might allow for cannibalization
of parts to produce chemical munitions, and provide Iraq with a force multiplier sufficient to
counteract Iran’s superior military numbers.

Muthanna State Establishment Samarra.
•        The Iraq designated name of the large Samarra chemical weapons production
facility is al Muthanna State Establishment.  The Muthanna State Establishment was Iraq’s
primary chemical weapons research, development, and production facility.  This 5 km by
5lm facility operated continuously from 1983 to 1991, producing thousands of tons of
precursors, nerve agents, and mustard gas. Chemical agents included mustard gas,
Sarin, Tabun, and VX.
•        Cruciform bunker area – Iraq is believed to have stored its chemical weapons in
eight cruciform bunkers at Samarra and 22 “S” shaped bunkers at 14 other locations.  The
bunkers at Samarra are earth covered with reinforced concrete construction. Security
barriers are maintained at the front entrance which is double-doored.  During the
construction of the bunkers, a grid work of underground piping was placed.  The purpose
of this grid work is unknown.
•        Three stake-bed trucks, including one carrying four possible Scud warhead
canisters, were observed on 26 December 1990 apparently preparing to depart the
munitions filling and storage area at Samarra.
•        Muthanna was also the initial location for Iraq’s Biological Weapons (BW) program.  
Agents investigated include anthrax, botulinum toxin, aflatoxin, and ricin.  Muthanna also
conducted small scale production of botulinum toxin, and, in addition, provided
weaponization expertise to the BW program, primarily CW munition technology and testing.

As the particular AML Matt suffered from is also associated with benzene exposure and
Iraq is one of the leading producers of benzene.  I have attached a chart,
Gasoline/Benzene Production January 2004, which demonstrates that the week that Matt
was in this area the production of benzene was approximately 15 million liters per day.

Matt was diagnosed with AML in July 2006 after being rushed to the hospital with acute
appendicitis. I believe medical records substantiating this have been previously reviewed
as part of the initial claim.  In the Chromosome Analysis Report and Addendum dated 7-31-
2006 it states that this “is best classified as acute myeloid leukemia with 11q23 (MLL)
abnormality.”  Based on the Chromosome Analysis, his oncologist, stated to Matt that she
believed his AML was related to radiation exposure.  Matt had no incidents of exposure
prior to or after his military service (with the exception of chemotherapy after diagnosis).  
AML with 11q23 (MLL) abnormality is the type of leukemia that is most commonly
associated with radiation/chemical exposure.  Medical studies which most closely associate
with the aforementioned chromosome abnormalities are those done in the study of therapy
based radiation exposure (a.k.a. t-AML).  It is our contention that these studies can be
applied to Matthew’s unique and rare chromosome abnormalities, as well."

Ed note: multiple medical studies confirming these facts were included in the appeal, we
hope to be able to publish these soon}

cc.   Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator David Cox
Assemblyman Ted Gaines
California Department of Veteran Affairs
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
John McCain
Barack Obama

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