Navy sailor suing over Fukushima exposure dies from rare cancer near heart — TV: Navy lieutenant retires, says he’s unable to use leg muscles due to Fukushima radiation and confined to wheelchair — Both in mid-30s (VIDEOS)

Published: June 16th, 2014 at 5:51 pm ET


Tweets from Dr. Yuri Hiranuma, June 11, 2014: First death of a USS Ronald Reagan sailor hit by radiation from Fukushima Daiichi while on Operation Tomodachi. Theodore Holcomb, a former USS Ronald Reagan aviation mechanic during Operation Tomodachi, died of synovial sarcoma on April 26, 2014. Holcomb was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against TEPCO. He began experiencing “breathing difficulty, pain in right shoulder, and excessive heart rate while still in service. He was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma next to his heart, causing lung and heart issues, in late 2011. Holcomb was 38 years old and a father of a five-year-old girl.

Nuclear Hotseat, June 11, 2014 (at 1:30 in): First death of a USS Ronald Reagan sailor hit by radiation from Fukushima Daiichi while on the humanitarian aid Operation Tomodachi. Information just released today by the legal team representing the USS Reagan sailors in their billion dollar lawsuit against TEPCO. >> Listen to the full Nuclear Hotseat program here

WUSA, June 9, 2014: [Navy Lt. Steve] Simmons served on the USS Ronald Reagan during the March 2011 meltdown […] eight months later, he started feeling sick. Now, Simmons is confined to a wheelchair, with no use of his leg muscles. The 36-year-old blames radiation, but says no one will agree. Today marked his bittersweet retirement from the Navy. […] months after he returned from the humanitarian effort at Fukushima, he blacked out one day while driving. Then, he started experiencing high fevers. His health deteriorated to the point that he his now confined to a wheelchair. He blames radiation exposure at Fukushima. […] The Department of Defense says radiation levels were safe, and were the equivalent to less than a month’s exposure to the same natural radiation you pick up from being near rocks, soil and the sun. Steve does not buy that, “How do you take a ship and place it into a nuclear plume for five plus hours, how do you suck up nuclear contaminated waste into the water filtration system and think for one minute that there’s no health risk to anybody on board.” […] more than 70 sailors from the Reagan […] are now experiencing medical issues >> Watch the WUSA broadcast here

Watch the Military Honors portion of Holcomb’s funeral here

Published: June 16th, 2014 at 5:51 pm ET


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57 comments to Navy sailor suing over Fukushima exposure dies from rare cancer near heart — TV: Navy lieutenant retires, says he’s unable to use leg muscles due to Fukushima radiation and confined to wheelchair — Both in mid-30s (VIDEOS)

  • Ana Ana

    He is the first of the many US sailors who will die from radiation exposure. The Navy will deny and obfuscate just like the military did in Nam re agent orange and is currently doing in the assorted middle east wars re chemical agents and radiation poisoning from "depleted" uranium munitions.

    On another related topic, there have been two quakes right off the coast of Fuku. I have not been able to find damage reports though.

    Ana in Sacramento

  • davidh7426 davidh7426

    A tragic, useless and totally unnecessary death.

    The PTB have a lot to answer for, and a 'butchers bill' vastly bigger than even they, with their small, greedy, mercenary little hearts could ever conceive of, will be finding it's way to them. And I suspect that it'll be a bill that they be unable to pay.

  • Ana Ana

    I just found an article explaining that the San Diego Chargers held a football camp for children on the Reagan in 2013. Not kidding. They sent kids onto that radioactive hulk to do a football camp. You and I know that it will never be safe and they sent kids there to play. Is this some kind of sharing? Japanese kids are dying from Fuku radiation so we want our kids to die from it too???? I am overwhelmed with rage.

    Ana in Sacramento

    • Homolumina Homolumina

      Ana, I have fallen pretty silent here, just watching with an all consuming rage – when will parents realize what is being done to our children and all life on this beautiful planet I love with all my heart… Sending you love and a virtual hug

    • Jinxie1953

      I am so sorry for all these innocent children. I think it is just the thin end of the wedge. This evil desire to sweep everything under the carpet means crimes against humanity on a unimaginable scale are being perpetrated as we speak. I am also enraged because we have brought this beautiful planet to its knees. We are a cosmic embarassment.

      • We Not They Finally

        I'm sure that Earth is "a cosmic embarrassment." Don't bemoan benevolent aliens NOT landing on the White House lawn. They'd be shot down, then labelled Al Quaeda or something.

    • Archie

      I suppose if dead sailor's children also die the Navy won't have to support them as pensioners. Maybe I'm just being too cynical, but then again maybe not. The Navy didn't care about their own servicemembers after all, or even one of their ships.

      To paraphrase comedianne Lily Tomlin, 'Just when I think I am too cynical I realize that I am not cynical enough.'

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      Sadly, it's all a PR campaign to "prove" that there's nothing wrong with the ship… no problems…nothing to see… move along. And it is totally heartless and disgusting! What is even worse, is those camp-kids parents are probably all in the dark about it. Someone should reach out to them and track their health and any changes they may experience as a result. I can see another lawsuit if lawyers are paying attention to this little side story.

  • 2014 – 70 Plus Ronald Reagan Sailors Sick and Suing TEPCO Update; via @AGreenRoad

  • 300,000 Atomic Bomb Testing Veterans and 1 Million Agent Orange Victims; via @AGreenRoad

    Nothing new to see here, move on.. and definitely don't tell anyone else.. (sarcasm)

  • SadieDog

    Tepco says ice wall not going as planned… Really? NHK-

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    I'm very much saddened by this news.

    Jinxie1953, it does make one wonder how many innocent people will be sickened, will suffer, and die, as a result of the nuclear holocaust. Let's call it what it is.


      also amazed, HoTaters, that in the face of hundreds of potential USS REAGAN victims, the "…Department of Defense says radiation levels were safe…" Are they actually planning on using a Vietnam era strategy of denial, in this day and age?! With the latest VA scandal still bubbling in the background, who's the idiot within the DOD who sanctioned these denials?! By the time the fifth unfortunate sailor's lowered into the ground, they'll be no need reassuring denials. The world will know, the DOD cares nothing for those on the front line…

      • JimLynch JimLynch

        we are just the "useless eaters" to them utterly expendable


          they could've got away with this, JimLynch, forty years ago. Not now. The fact that they're playing this cheap game on these dying service personnel reveals their total disdain for these men and woman. And I'm not buy'n into the national security bugaboo that things must be kept under wraps. This has zero to do with state secrets or hidden agendas. They can easily take care of these people and their families, without drawing undo attention. Not one of these valiant sailors, or their support personnel, should fear leaving their families to the vagaries of this world! I'm infuriated that a bunch of 4-star-poofters would even think twice about committing every resource towards making these naval personnel whole. None of these people should have to go to their grave wondering if their loved ones will survive their untimely departure…

      • Winterborn

        I can't help believing that their mental process is something like "They'll believe whatever we tell them to believe", "Who's going to stop us?", "Why not, it's worked so far", "If we're wrong what's it going to matter", "Where will they get their information? Everyone 'knows' the internet is full of lies" and other such mental reassurance sound bites. Nuclear power plants, waste processing facilities, waste repositories, nuclear weapons manufacturing locations, nuclear test sites, missile silos and 'defensive' facilities spread evenly (enough) across the globe – We all know Fukushima wasn't the first and it isn't going to be the last. The end isn't avoidable at this point because it's been seventy years and we still don't have the foggiest idea how to deal with the deadly waste produced at all.

      • We Not They Finally

        Aftershock, you are so correct. But where IS the public outrage? Not seeing it.


          we banged heads, WNTF! I love when that happens! Kinda metaphysical in its timing.

          Please checkout up-above for my 10:49pm response to JimLynch.

          They're making a HUGE mistake thinking they can dismiss these military personnel, with back-handed platitudes…

          • Shaker1

            Aftershock, it doesn't seem very intelligent to anger or betray someone who've you trained and taught to use guns, does it?


              prior to the Vietnam conflict, Shaker1, there were rare instances of what's commonly referred to as "fragging". It was only when military policy was transferred to corporate decision makers (think Agent Orange and Monsanto) that we began to witness the breakdown of traditional lines of discipline, within the ranks of the Vietnam-era military personnel.

              There were innumerable other examples of corporate exploitation of military conflicts during that war. None of this escaped those had found themselves at the mercy of corporate-military profiteers. What started as a "police action" eventually morphed into fifteen years of harrowing conflict.

              The fact that today's DOD fears connecting the dangers of nuclear power with it's decades old defense strategy hints to why they're in denial. This is really about protecting corporate investment portfolios and nothing more. Otherwise, the sailors and support personnel who went to the aide of the Japanese people would've been hailed as one of the most honorable acts of personal sacrifice, since the storming of beaches at Iwo Jima…

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      HoTaters, you are very wise and this is/should be considered a legal (approved by/with/thru living law Word Craft) "nuclear holocaust" ! 🙁

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Never did and never will…

  • JimLynch JimLynch

    30 year olds dying of these rare cancers the shape of things to come no doubt. I can only hope their rest will be peaceful. Their valor will not be forgotten

  • zogerke zogerke

    T. Holcomb- the only solace is that he had a daughter before he went to japan, so hopefully, reproductively, she won't bioaccumulate, perhaps she was born before any damage. healthy. bereft but hopefully healthy. one hopes she was not exposed from clothes or other contact with her dad. One hopes his widow fights like a demon for truth and justice, with support.

    • melting mermaid melting mermaid

      Once they have been irradiated, aren't they emitting now. Like a walking x-ray? I don't know, but I do remember someone here whose daughter sat to close to an aquarium and killed their crawfish or something after chemo and it made me think, because my daughter's teacher has breast cancer, and run on sentence, she was getting chemo on the weekends and then teaching first graders. Are there any experts out there that aren't clueless to the effects of radiation? Just wondering. Oh, BTW, the teacher grew up next to an npp.

  • There was also a female sailor on board who found out she was pregnant at that time during the fuku crisis. Wonder how that turned out. Can't remember seeing any updates on her.

  • We Not They Finally

    There actually were updates on her baby girl. Born with defects. It's all unbearable.

  • hbjon hbjon

    People care deeply about this. Care till you don't care anymore. Care desensitization. We will all experience it. Care fatigue if you will.
    What about the thousands of fishermen and women out there? I care. About the million souls on land that got a whiff of it? We care. Recreational sailors and boaters. Yup, caring. How much do you really care? What are you prepared to do?

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Actually we are part of the 1% who actually care…the other 99%..just don't give a shit!

  • jec jec

    Either its caused by Fukushima radation..OR the nuclear power plant on the vessel. Cant have your cake and eat it too. Frankly, would think the US Navy would RUN to point the finger at Fukushima..and not at their nuclear design…Wonder what happens when Japan points the finger at the USS Ronald Reagan and said IT caused the radiation??(sarc)

  • tsfw tsfw

    RIP Theodore Holcomb and thank you for your service. May you and your family find peace again.

  • mamabride2