Film of the Navy purposely contaminating 43 square miles of San Francisco with Serratia marcescens in 1950 and in color, at 2:25 “Naval Concepts of Chemical and Biological Warfare” Naval Concepts of Chemical and Biological Warfare (1952), Department of Defense Film Production, National Archives and Records Administration Catalogue # 428.MN.9170A, Declassified NND Authority # 64044
They started this type of live training in 1949, This film is of a test from 1950. The hearings were not until 1977. How long did this continue? The Army was funding this test but it was the Navy that carried it out. Part of the Atomic, Biological and Chemical Warfare Defense courses at Treasure Island. This constant testing caused an incident in 1950 whereby 11 people in San Francisco were infected by a bacterium that produced a pneumonia that cost a man his life. Senator Edward Kennedy was very upset about this in a 1977 hearing and chewed out the Army official who told the committee about the problem.
NIH report on Serratia infections which shows that it’s a serious problem today, it was not “safe” like they thought it was in 1950 and is the cause of hospital infections to this day.
You may be asking why San Francisco? The Navy’s Biological Warfare Laboratory was at the Oakland Naval Supply Center where they experimented on flu, pneumonia, smallpox and polio viruses. It started out on the campus of the University of California Berkeley. The Oakland Supply Center was closed in the base closing in the 1990s.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Human Resources. Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research. Biological Testing Involving Human Subjects by the Department of Defense, 1977: Hearings Before the Subcommittee On Health And Scientific Research of the Committee On Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, First Session … March 8 And May 23, 1977. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1977.
United States Navy Biological Warfare Defense, Civil Engineer Corps, United States Navy, TECHNICAL PUBLICATION NAVDOCKS TP-PL-4; REV. 15 April 1953 (REPRINTED 1 SEPT 1953 INCORPORATING PRIOR CHANGES)
Department of the Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Washington 25, DC:
A1.05 Simulant Agents
Simulant BW agents are microorganisms or compounds having little or no pathogenicity or toxicity, but otherwise resembling true BW agents in certain characteristics or properties, such as viability, size, food or cultural requirements, growth characteristics, persistency, and routes of invasion. They are particularly useful in field testing the behavior of munitions, determination of effect of particle size on penetration of the air passages of animals, survival of vegetable and spore-bearing organisms under experimental and environmental conditions, testing of protective devices and procedures, and for training. purposes. Examples of microbial simulants are serratia marcescens or Bacillus prodigiosus, a vegetable nonsporulating organism, and Bacillus globigii, a spore-forming rod-shaped bacterium.
A general introduction to biological warfare defense, however, is included in the radiological defense courses held at the Chemical Corps School, Fort McClellan, Alabama, and at the United States Damage Control and Training Center, Treasure Island, California. The current issue of BUPERS 15795, List of Naval Schools and Courses, contains the latest information regarding convening dates of these courses. The Department of the Army is preparing a training circular, Defense Against Biological Attack, that will contain an outline for individual training. This course may be adapted for use by individual stations.
U.S. ARMY ACTIVITY
IN THE U S.
BIOLOGICAL WARFARE PROGRAMS
24 FEBRUARY 1977
UNCLASSIFIED Page 2
In late 1949, vulnerability tests with simulants were started in response to the Report on Special BW Operations which pointed out the U.S. susceptibility to covert BW attack. The first large area vulnerability test was conducted in San Francisco Bay in September 1950 using the simulants BG, “SM -and fluorescent particles. (Annex E).
IV. Use of S. marcescens by the U.S. Army relative to reports of disease at that time.
The only incidence of S. marcescens aerolization by the military referred to in the published literature occurred in the San Francisco Bay area, September 1950).
In 1957, Wheat, et al reported on 11 cases seen in a San Francisco Hospital from September 1950 – February 1951. However, the association with the above mentioned aerolization appears to be coincidental, since (1) no other hospitals reported similar findings; (2) and all the patients had urinary tract infections (2 subsequently developed septicemia, a well recognized complication of urinary catheterization). Thus, .considering the evolution of disease caused by S. marcescens, it is likely that this report was the forebearer of what was to come.
Intravenous drug abuse, which is frequently associated with an increased incidence of infections, was the underlying condition associated with 19 cases of endocarditis caused by S. marcescens in the San Francisco Bay area reported”
Serratia has dark history in region / Army test in 1950 may have changed microbial ecology
Bernadette Tansey, Chronicle Staff Writer Oct. 31, 2004 Updated: Jan. 23, 2012 12:15 p.m.
SMARTNEWS Keeping you current
In 1950, the U.S. Released a Bioweapon in San Francisco
This was one of hundreds of bioweapon simulations carried out in the 1950s and 1960s
Smithsonian Magazine By Helen Thompson SMITHSONIANMAG.COM JULY 6, 2015
WHEAT RP, ZUCKERMAN A, RANTZ LA. INFECTION DUE TO CHROMOBACTERIA: Report of Eleven Cases. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1951;88(4):461–466. doi:10.1001/archinte.1951.03810100045004
“Army Conducted 239 Secret, Open-Air Germ Warfare Tests,” the Washington Post
By George C. Wilson March 9, 1977
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