Virginia Air National Guard pilots muzzled for getting too close to the military’s deepest secrets

(WMR)—Virginia Air National Guard F-22 Raptor pilots Major Jeremy Gordon and Captain Joshua Wilson are facing the loss of their wings and punitive administrative reprisals for appearing on CBS 60 Minutes to discuss pilot safety issues with regard to the F-22’s oxygen system. The pilots revealed problems with pilot sickness, including hypoxia, or the loss of oxygen to the brain, as a result of “unknown” problems with the F-22’s oxygen system.

The F-22 oxygen problem has already resulted in the death of Air Force Captain Jeff Haney when his F-22, manufactured by Lockheed-Martin and the most expensive jet fighter ever built at $395 million per plane, crashed during a training mission in Alaska in November 2010. Lockheed and the Air Force blamed the crash of Haney’s plane on pilot error. However, other F-22 pilots have experienced similar problems with disorientation, hypoxia, and dizziness as a result of the oxygen system.

Lockheed Martin is loathe to discuss the problem with the F-22. Their contract with the Air Force to supply 200 F-22s is valued at a whopping $79 billion.

Pentagon and industry insiders have revealed to WMR that the “unknown” problem with the F-22 is the result of a fuel additive that has long been used by the U.S. and other military forces around the world to extend the life of aircraft components over the life cycle of not only the F-22, but other military aircraft and even armored vehicles, such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The fuel additive in question is triorthocresyl phosphate or TCP. Lower concentrations of the synthetic organo-phosphate are found in the commercial fuel additive STP but the military, in an effort to increase and extend the performance of aircraft and vehicle components, uses higher, and more toxic, concentrations of the additive. When the TCP neuro-toxin is released into an aircraft’s oxygen system, pilot incapacitation, partial or full paralysis, hypoxia, and disorientation can occur.

Experts suspect the Pentagon has been covering up the TCP problem for decades. In 1977, an Air National Guard navigator became incapacitated on board a C-130 Hercules. The cause was determined to be air contamination from jet engine synthetic lubricating oil.

TCP is also used in commercial aircraft and commercial pilots have blamed the additive. An article in the February 25, 2006, London Observer cites complaints from the British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) that TCP has caused British pilots, including a pilot flying a FlyBe airliner from Belfast to Gatwick, suffered double vision, headaches, nausea, loss of concentration, and disorientation during the flight, symptoms also cited by pilots of the F-22 and other military aircraft.

TCP can also result in neurological psychotic behavior by pilots and may have been a factor in the March mental breakdown of JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon, who, while flying at 35,000 feet, stormed out of the cockpit of his New York to Las Vegas aircraft and screamed to startled passengers that there was a bomb on the plane and they were going to crash. Osbon has been criminally charged in the incident. In 1996, a Maersk airlines co-pilot forced his Britain-to-Italy bound aircraft to make an emergency landing after he broke into a sweat and began complaining that he was afraid of heights.

The military and commercial airline industry has a history of covering up the true nature of such incidents to protect the secret about TCP.

Veterans of the Gulf War and the 2003 war against Saddam Hussein have long complained about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other health issues from combat duty in Iraq and the Gulf region. “Gulf War syndrome” has been chalked off to everything from the alleged release of nerve agents by Hussein and vaccines administered to troops to the use of insecticides and psychosomatic emotional issues. Military insiders have revealed that classified studies point out that 70 percent of PTSD issues have been linked to the use of the TCP neurotoxin in fuel used in military vehicles, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, and Humvees.

WMR has been told that mechanics who serviced military vehicles that returned from Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom became mentally ill from the effects of TCP. In addition, a series of brutal murders, especially many in Fort Bragg, North Carolina involving combat veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, including Special Forces personnel who murdered their wives before committing suicide, may be linked to previous exposure to TCP. TCP exposure has been linked to extreme psychosis among returning combat veterans, including U.S. Marine Corps and Army Special Forces personnel.

WMR has been told by insiders that the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick has conducted ethically-questionable TCP studies on human patients, some of which have resulted in deaths, and is treating the results of those studies as highly-classified information. Detrick personnel have been warned of the dire consequences of leaking such information to the media. With the Obama administration bringing Espionage Act charges against six government whistleblowers, those government personnel who might have had thoughts about warning the general public about the dangers of TCP for military and commercial aircraft are thinking otherwise.

The military and Department of Veterans Affairs has been willing to relax the qualifications for PTSD disability payments in order to keep the TCP causes out of the public eye.

TCP is so toxic that when it was used in the late 1920s to adulterate “Ginger Jake” moonshine during Prohibition, 30,000 people died from ingesting the substance.

One of the companies that has ensured that TCP remains a top secret is The Carlyle Group. After buying United Defense, which relies on TCP for its military vehicles, Carlyle did not want to suffer litigation from the exposure of TCP as the cause for a number of military deaths and illnesses.

And it is not just the military and those who fly commercial planes who are at risk. TCP is also used in the hydraulic fluids used in elevator systems and there have been reports of similar TCP-caused illnesses among elevator repair personnel.

The 1999 crash of the Sunjet Learjet 35 that carried golfer Payne Stewart and three others on a flight from Orlando to Dallas may have also been caused by TCP vapors leaking into the cockpit and passenger cabin of the aircraft. It is believed by many experts that the pilot, co-pilot, and passengers suffered from hypoxia and passed out. After the crew and passengers became incapacitated, the jet continued on a northwesterly course until it ran out of fuel and crashed, killing all those aboard.

Virginia Air National Guard pilots Gordon and Wilson have hit the “third rail” of military and commercial secrets. If pilots and airline passengers, as well as those who operate military vehicles, understood the dangers involved with the fuel additive military forces and commercial airlines around the world continue to use because of the lack of a suitable replacement, the global war machine and the commercial aviation industry would grind to a halt.

Further reading: The RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal December 2008.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2012

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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