The news comes after US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered an internal review of Pentagon records, which have now uncovered hundreds of troops who told the military they believed they were exposed to chemical weapons.
READ MORE: Veterangate: VA whistleblower says records of deceased vets were altered
Once the records were submitted, the military failed to take any further steps with the soldiers for more than a decade. The Pentagon did not compile data, monitor veterans with medical complaints, or circulate warnings to other soldiers and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite the men and women receiving wounds in action, the soldiers were not awarded Purple Hearts – one of the oldest and most sacred military awards.
The internal review was called following an investigative report last month by the Times into the illnesses experienced by 17 soldiers related to chemical weapons exposures to sarin and mustard gas, which occurred when handling abandoned and re-used munitions during the Iraq war. Once the story ran, another eight soldiers came forward with their stories about chemical weapon exposure.
Military brass said the information was kept classified so insurgents would not learn the whereabouts of Iraq's old munitions.