Camp Parks is a Air Force Base that was previously a Navy Base used for radiation experiments in the late 50’s to mid 60’s where they purposely spread radioactive materials onto streets, yards and buildings in order to figure out how to clean up after a nuclear blast. The Navy created dirty bomb incidents all over the Bay Area and trained military personnel from all branches to clean up after a nuclear blast to remove the radiation by scrubbing, firehosing or with street sweepers etc. In the early days, the late 1940’s they thought that fallout was not dangerous, it was not until Operation Castle in 1954 when radioactive fallout fell onto Enewetak Atoll where US military personnel were stationed as well as natives and they got radiation burned from the fallout.
Camp Parks Cobalt 60 Experiments
Camp Parks was used for many radiation experiments Which I will list above when I get the articles up on the site. Fortunately in Complex III tests they decided to limit the amount of radiation they spread onto the grounds, the roads and buildings to .1R per hour which today is a nuclear accident in a nuclear power plant.
Later it would dawn on the Navy that they could use a different colored sand and then just count the grains to figure out the amount of fallout.
Camp Parks was used by the US Navy Radiological Defense Lab until it closed in 1969 and then became a testing ground for Stanford University and SRI, Today it is being developed for real estate. The results of many of these tests were published by SRI Stanford Research Institute and the people who are moving into these areas should thank them for their service.
It should be noted that the Alameda County Fire Department burned down several of the buildings at Camp Parks in 2019 to train their firemen. One building of particular note is the gymnasium that was used up to the closing is now gone and I wonder if they burned it down for training because I remember it was used in radiation experiments to simulate raining fallout onto building structures because of its high ceiling. I will post more on this when I find the report.
The following are maps of the test areas that were also used in the Complex I and Complex II studies which used more radioactive materials.
Radiological Recovery of Land Target Components – complex III, W. L Owen (Stanford Research Institute, J.D. Sartor, San Francisco: US Naval Radiological Defense laboratory 1963
The Tests were conducted over a 3 month period to train military personnel. They used Barium 140 with a half life of 12.75 days which decays into Lanthanum 140 with a half life of 1.6 days so after 14 days of placing this on the grounds they would come in and clean it up to determine how ordinary weather would affect the clean up of the radiation. The report is full of charts showing the radiation level as the different materials are cleaned.
21 thoughts on “Dublin California Radiation Experiments at Camp Parks”
I was a reserve army medic in the 90’s funny because a year or so after I came down with testicular cancer and it had spread to my lymph nodes
I grew up on a radium site in New Jersey. I lost a friend on the 3rd and another of my friends has pancreatic cancer, announced by one of his sisters to me. In our town so many people have cancer from what the government has done that when I found out about Camp Parks and the URNRDL I had to publish this. You are not alone, and this has to stop. I am sorry you have to deal with all of this, if we could only go back in time and stop them from doing this but we live with this legacy.
I was a child that lived in Komandorski Village while my father was in Vietnam and went to the base elementary school near the radiation testing. I had to walk to and from school every day, exposed and unknowing. I, too, am a cancer survivor.
To give more information to my above comment. I have also searched your blog for any information about all the children that lived in the low income housing, Komandorski, and attended Camp Parks Elementary. Where are these children, now in their 60s and 70s? I am only one those children. The local Catholic church taught Catechism classes there after school also, which I attended. I remember air raids where we had to get under our desks when the sirens went off and also standing in line and getting at least one shot of who knows what. It was scary being a child, without my mom with me, and adults giving shots. I know the school was eventually closed, and demolished, but are there any records of attending children? We were in the thick of Camp Parks radiation and this should be noted as further information about our exposure comes forward and is validated.
The Navy wrote everything down, they make admit to information in other reports and it is just a matter of hunting it down. Don’t be fooled if they issue a denial of an event in the opening summaries of their reports, they usually do that no matter what but the data shows the opposite. In any Navy report they report everything that happened just to cover their bases so you just have to read everything. It is tedious but you can find your answers. Someone wrote it all down and it is just a matter of looking for it.
the National Archives is in San Bruno, on the former San Bruno Navy Base where unfortunately they did the same thing there, purposely irradiating the base but they did it in the late 1940s so it is still radioactive, they didn’t start using radioactive materials with short half lives until the mid 1950s. they have navy reports piled in boxes that take forever to look at. No order to them. Fortunately Google Books archived them online.
Google Books downloads are not searchable, you have to run Optical Character Recognition software on them which can be done using the full version of Adobe Acrobat, not the reader. Even then they have problems. Internet Archive has text but it is based on the files generated with adobe acrobat to recognize text. But the Hathi Trust it looks like someone went in and typed it all out so they are the best solution for searching the content online and then finding it at Google Books.
Good sources to find information:
For formerly classified government documents the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/navpers note this is the Naval Personnel page but if you use the search box in the upper right corner you can search all of the archive. Also watch out for collections of information, as they are usually off point and are a serious waste of time to search through them. Search for base names is best. Usually reports are listed with two versions of each report, so the camp parks reports results will have two responses for each item, they are separate uploads but the exact same document.
The Hathi Trust online website which I believe is the Stanford University online library https://www.hathitrust.org/
And the UNT Library, University of North Texas has the original Navy reports which is located about as far away from san Francisco you can get without getting the information from Washington or any of the ports on the East Coast. It proves the Navy was trying to hide all of this. https://digital.library.unt.edu/
Hi Marla, I am one of those very same military kids you speak of, who lived in Komandorski Village and attended Camp Parks Elementary School, where I too walked to and from home to reach. I posted something that might give you more insight about what happened to me. I believe I still have a couple of my elementary school class pictures. Not sure it that is anything you’d be interested in sharing. I just have to ask you this… do you remember that store that was at the back end of all the Komandorski Village
Buildings? I’ve never forgotten about that little store where I couldn’t wait to sneak off to and buy candy without my parent’s knowledge, lol. I would love to share stories with you if you are interested. I am 67 years old now. Wouldn’t that be crazy if we were in the same grade and school photo? I have always been interested in how I got sick when pediatric cancer was so very rare back then. It took decades for the government to declassify documents and the results are shameful. I’m also a retired legal nurse, and know from experience that what happened to us, while real and validated, was so many decades ago (I only have a few old yellow documents from my pediatric hospitalization as proof of diagnosis), that it would be a circumstantial claim against the government. While doable by some, I’ve fought to maintain a functional level of health so challenging, my fight will have to occur within my published stories. I think that is my life’s newest purpose. I would love to hear more about when you got sick and how you found about about the radiation experimentation at Camp Parks. I actually found out during the COVID pandemic initial lockdown. An accidental discovery of the truth shocked me. Then it angered me. Let’s share truths. Maybe we’ll find others that were there when we were. I did a lot of research following that discovery, and I can’t believe this was done while unsuspecting personnel and military families were serving their country. There is validation to feel as we do. We are victims first survivors second.
I am the retired 67 year old daughter of 21+ year military (USN) father. While born in Pearl Harbor, HI (1954), I grew up as a young girl from the age of 5-6 until the age of 10 on property that was a then classified government radiation testing site. My father suddenly retired from his longstanding military career (angry) after I suddenly became pediatric cancer patient #3 (Naval Hospital Oakland, CA AKA Oak Knoll Hospital) (opened during WWII and closed in 1996), diagnosed with a rare blood disorder within weeks of an older boy (patient #3) who lived two buildings down from me on the then government owned property of Komandorski Village which was a part of the Camp Parks military base (Dublin/Pleasanton area) and housed military families from multiple service branches. Nothing was known/disclosed about patient #1, but patient #2 (the 16 year old boy) died shortly after I was released from the hospital for lengthy treatment of what was then deemed blood cancer. Those were scary times and the first time I had been separated from my family, thirty-five miles distance between the hospital and Komandorski Village. The boy’s progression had reached his bone marrow. This was decades before treatment was developed or bone marrow transplants were possible.
I was treated with experimental drugs and ultimately survived to see my teenage years, adulthood and beyond, but was left with permanent damages to female reproductive organs (removed at age 21-22), tumors, auto-immune and neurological disorders (including stroke and MS) as a result of the high doses of steroids received prior to puberty. I still managed to have a career and to muddle through life with all the medical expense but no government compensation for what had occurred back in the 1950’s/60’s at Camp Parks. If living in the “Village” wasn’t close enough to radiation experimentation (this was done to determine the effects of atomic fall-out post atomic warfare on everything it touched/permeated), I attended Camp Parks Elementary School during all the years spent in the military housing close enough to walk to as a young child.
Though I am grateful for the chance to educate others as a career (now retired) clinical and legal nurse, what we have done with toxins (manmade or otherwise) in our world is nothing short of criminal and to classify radiological experimentation done without advising the people who live there (starting with the famous (US) Manhattan Project after bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki) for its effects on air, land, structures, people, animals… is both nothing new in our history but that which should soon be deemed punishable for those who commit said crimes against humanity. The “Do as I say and not as I do” strategy never really works out. Speaking from experience, we’re all going to be dealing with the exact same historical repercussions of “human experimentation” and atomic warfare if people continue to follow conspiracy theories versus all the now released unclassified documentation and all the reporting from those who were there or have dedicated themselves to the cause of change. It is hard enough to separate fact from fiction these days. J. Robert Oppenheimer (physicist), the man who developed the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (and ended WWII) spent the remainder of his career/life speaking up/against that which he himself created. He knew the Pandora’s Box he had been hired to open would never close again; experimentation continues in other countries. As a nurse, I cannot rationalize the inability for lives to be considered anything other than sacred, above all power, wealth, and/or political gain. Those are always the elements that get us into wars in the first place.
It appears the land my family was housed on is still being used to house others, only it is private land and new housing construction. Does anyone have any additional information they’d like to share with me? If so, please reply to my post with a corresponding email (or I’ll check this site periodically to obtain additional information). I am a writer and this story always manages to find it’s relevance in many of my fictional writings because the experience it effected my entire life and left a lasting one (effect). Thank you to those postings that tell me I wasn’t among the “few” I initially believed were affected. There is strength in numbers and increased volume in growing numbers of voices.
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Janet, I was able to get information from my sister, now 70, and wow did she have a lot! My sister not only knew patient #2, she visited him in the hospital. They were both 16 and friends. My sister would walk over to their apartment and then ride with his mother to the hospital. I have his name. It was very difficult for her after he passed away.
I have so many questions. A military hospital numbering the Komandorski/Camp Parks child cancer cases is mind boggling. As military, we were in and out every 2-3 years so how many cancer cases were treated elsewhere as Komandorski kids moved with their parents? How many Komandorski kids developed cancer as adults? The Job Corp had a facility where the men lived on Camp Parks. I wonder how many of those young men developed cancer? Why put them in harms way? Was it accidental or not to house them on the base?
I wonder if my Dad knew more than he talked about because it was important for him to give me the information about Camp Parks radiation when it was in the Navy Times. I do remember my Dad telling me, as an adult, that he was angry at my mom for moving us to Komandorski Village while he was in Vietnam. I assumed at the time that it was because it was old, but now reflecting back, lots of our military housing was in older apartments/homes. I wish I’d asked more questions when he was alive.
OMG Marla, I got as far as the first sentence of your reply to mine… and it stopped me in my tracks. I got full body chills, which being from Hawaii taught me is like a truth-o-meter emotion. I can’t believe I randomly put my story out there on this website, found your story, and then you write me back that your sister knew the 16 year old boy. His father is the man who came to my house to look at my body, which scared me as a ten year old, but I could sense that the bleeding from the gums, the bruising and petechiae over my entire body (which I believe my parents were extremely nervous about for obvious reasons of accountability or the lack thereof of however it got there), and the malaise. I remember sitting on a chair in the kitchen, which in our unit was right inside our front door, and a man I never met was ushered inside by two really serious parents. I was terrified because I knew this was an examination that the adults were trying to talk around, but I saw the look on all three faces. The teens dad, and my parents all in the small kitchen. I do not know how the adults shared information regarding children having the same bizarre symptoms, but he was there to inspect mine none-the-less. I was terrified when they lifted up the back of my shirt as I knew what lay beneath. The man said, “your daughter has the same thing my son has and you best take her to the hospital now.” His16 yr old son had already been hospitalized for weeks prior to the appearance of my symptoms and was not doing well.
I was quickly rushed from the family apartment in Komandorski Village into the family station wagon and driven by my parents 35 miles away to the Oak Koll Hospital (Oakland, CA) where my own nightmare began (I am currently writing about my story). All I could think of while sitting in the back seat while my dad drove in silence with my mother silent in the passenger seat, was that my mom needed to tell my girlfriend that I would not be at school the next day. I had no clue as to the seriousness of the situation, but know I was scared. My first night there (first ever sleeping away from home) the little girl across the hall (pediatric ward) died and her mother’s screams caused me the fear that if I went to sleep in the hospital, I would die too. I watched the little girls screaming mother drape herself across the gurney as it rolled out of her room and down the corridor with a large sheet draped over the girl’s small body. It was was during the time (1950’s-60’s) I developed the fear that anyone who went to the hospital died. First the teen, then the little girl. Really messed with my ten year old brain.
I know that the only way two kids who shared no common denominators other than their environment or any genetic precursors to cancer (none in my family prior to mine at age 10) had to have been environmental toxin/chemical/radiation exposure. The Government/Military know the risks of what they continue to do, and if there needs to be yet more proof that our Government continues the criminally negligent behavior/practice despite what history teaches us, I found the story (link below) this morning. I recently moved from HI to the Mainland at the beginning of the pandemic but have a good friend who I maintain contact with and like to know how safe she is on Oahu. There is so much to write, but I’ll give you my email address in the event you would like to continue to dig deep into the answers to the origin of our health nightmares which appear to be a large number of cancers. I’d be most interested in whatever your sister remembers as well. That I met someone who has family ties to “patient #2” is so incredible, but it leaves me with the peace that this young teenager had friends that visited him in the hospital. I only had my parents come every night (after my father was off naval duties) but the trauma that my sickness caused me and my family can never be compensated but I believe a class action with all the survivors might be the way all these cancer victims/survivors tied to the Radiation Experiment at Camp Parks, CA, deserves full exposure/national attention. I’ll do more research but are you aware of any legal action brought against the USN? If it is possible to share emails to continue our discovery of one another, let me know. I just checked the alert me on email if I receive a reply so my response time to you is sooner. Have you been able to locate any more of “us” Komandorski/Camp Parks victims/survivors?
I am overwhelmed by emotion at your response to my comments. Thank you. Thank you for validating what I have lived and learned. Thank you for sharing your story.
I was originally told by my father, after he read about one mans story about as a teenager of handling as a job, dead animals’ carcasses after their radiation exposure on Camp Parks. The story was published in the Navy Times and I’m guessing in late 1990s or early 2000’s. This mans story I believe included a child born with severe birth defects. It was enough of a concern that my Dad felt it necessary to inform me. I was busy raising a family so the actual year alludes me , but the story stuck in my brain only to resurface in my thoughts many years later when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2012. No family history, healthy lifestyle. I am currently 64, cancer free, yet still live with the anxiety of reoccurrence. My body cannot go through the side effects of chemotherapy again.
As a small child in Komandorski Village, I do remember that little store where pennies bought candy. I have one sister and two brothers who lived there also. Looking back, Camp Parks was an eerie base, quiet compared to all other bases I lived on or around. Not lots of hustle, bustle, and people. I have a vague memory of one young man in Komandorski (teen?) passing from cancer, but I was in 2nd and 3rd grade so my memories are not reliable. At that time, cancer was always whispered about, not spoken aloud, so all I “heard” was not meant for my ears. I’m going to check with my older sister to see if she has any memories since she was a young teenager at the time. I may or not get answers, as she has ongoing health issues.
The radiation testing that affected the children living in Komandorski Village and attended school at Camp Parks Elementary is a crime to all who have been exposed. Our government knew there were children exposed, but as Komandorski kids, were we just less valuable than their research? What about all the people doing the testing? Didn’t anyone ask about all the children exposed to radiation???? I suspect many, hundreds, exposed over the years and who knows how many dead from cancer. It’s heartbreaking. And only NOW, with government declassification, is the full truth exposed. Our government did radiation testing with children living and going to school within blocks of radiation fallout testing at Camp Parks in the 1950s and 1960s. Shameful!
Marla, I am so incredibly moved by your story and how well you describe it I am going to purpose we get together on this task and start making some noise so that we can find others. I am a retired legal nurse. If we can connect with more people, I’ll take on the task of getting us some free legal representation. Even if it’s an Erin Brockovich type representation. I believe I can get something published about this and if we can construct the stories from both you and me, I think we might just get justice here. If there are that many kids living on the base who were exposed, an obvious pattern will appear and proving each victims cancer origin will become a no-brainer. I think we at least have to try. Even if only to expose and shut down this continued poisoning of our own people by our own government is so beyond comprehendible. We know we’ve had a history of doing it to those in other countries, but this is, as you said… criminal behavior no matter who’s doing it. Sorry to hear your sister’s health is also compromised. There is strength in numbers and like you said, the validation alone is priceless. No, we are not crazy. Your father is right. My dad died in 2009, so I never got to tell him what I discovered. Both our dads were right. He lost faith in the government he served his entire professional life. How sad. I’m sure there are so many people out there who got sick and/or died… this might be bigger than we could have ever imagined. I’m going to commit to telling this story because now I have yours too. You interested in joining me? We can communicate via our emails to if you’re comfortable with that. Let me know.
I now have an email address associated with Camp Parks and Komandorski Village radiation testing.
This is the story my father sent me. It’s a piece of the sad story of Camp Parks. I thought his article came from the Navy Times but perhaps not, although my parents lived in Texas at the time, not anywhere near LA.
I was unable to send article to my new email so not sure why the hiccup. I sent to my most used email address without incident.
Marla and Janet you made a connection for me on this mess. The Oak Knoll Navy Hospital had a publication called the Oak Leaf which was a newspaper for the Oakland Naval hospital. If you can pinpoint a date I will see what I can find. I can also look at other records.
James, please email me and I will send you Patient #2 name. I’m not comfortable publicly posting it.
Had you already seen the LA Times article that I linked? There are a lot of names in this story and first, I hope their health has not continued to deteriorate, and second, I hope they have that nagging need to find answers to our radiation exposures as children and reach out on your blog.
Janet, I can’t get you and your journey out of my head. I wondered why Komandorski/Camp Parks continued in my thoughts, bubbling to the surface to keep me searching for answers till finding this blog. What are the odds of how our stories connected? Knowing I have the last name of the man that looked at your little-girl-sick body and said to get you to the hospital is IMO…. truly a God connection. Although your journey much greater both physically and emotionally than mine, finding that my pieces are connecting to your pieces is a gift for both of us.It helps to make sense of our experiences. As more people come forward, I hope their pieces come together for all of us, like a jigsaw puzzle. And time is of the essence, due to our age and medical histories. I look forward to your email.
The biggest question is, is it safe now for new families to move in?
I wouldn’t live there. The State of California Department of Toxic Substances doesn’t give a damn about anyone. They define toxic waste sites by property lines when the EPA defines them by distance to the toxic source. So for example Burlingame High School has separate properties that are confined by a chain link fence on their playground that are separate properties where it is against hte law for anyone under the age of 21 to be on the site. So if you do not cross the fence the school can exist.
It is insanity here are the EPA regulations used by every other state and territory in the country.
Everything within 200 of a toxic site is on the toxic site.
Everything within a quarter of a mile after the 200 feet is considered a Near neighbor
Everything within a mile after a quarter of a mile is a second class of Near neighbor.
There are distances for ground water contamination up to 4 miles, air contamination for up to 4 miles
And if the contaminatant gets into the Bay it can go as far as the tides which encompasses everything from the Pacific down to the bottom of the Bay all the way into Suisan Bay
Near neighbors have regulations on how many people can live on a site and the more people the mroe regulation of the site