Blytheville Air Force Base was established in 1942 as a pilot training station. After a brief hiatus of less than a decade, the facility reopened as the Blytheville Air Force Base. The base's primary mission shifted to bomber training. It was renamed Eaker Air Force Base in 1988, in honor of General Ira Eaker, an aviation pioneer and second commander of the Eighth Air Force during WWII. Following the facility's completion, the Arkansas International Airport and Arkansas Aeroplex were built on the site. Under the auspices of the EPA and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, environmental cleaning and restoration started on the site in 1984. Groundwater tests from the former Blytheville Air Force Base consistently found elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA from older stocks of AFFF.
The former Blytheville Air Force Base was once a 2,600-acre army airfield complex utilized by the United States military during World War II, one of several airfields constructed around the nation during the war. Former Blytheville Air Force Base was established as an Army Airfield in 1942 on the site of a former agricultural field. Following World War II, the airport was decommissioned and its ownership was passed to the City of Blytheville.
The facility was deactivated in December 1992 and reopened as the Arkansas Aeroplex, a general aviation/commercial airport, and industrial park. The Arkansas Aeroplex is a multi-modal transportation hub that presently includes the Arkansas International Airport. The Arkansas Aeroplex has made use of many of the old base structures and amenities, including the runway. The military still uses Arkansas International Airport for aircraft training exercises and as a landing zone for local National Guard troops.
Following its closure, the base was subjected to different phases of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) remedial action procedure to mitigate the effects to anthropogenic sources caused by base activities. Three solid waste management units (SWMUs) and one Area of Concern (AOC) are still actively engaged in successful groundwater contamination cleanup efforts. The remaining AOCs and SWMUs have been closed in accordance with federal and state legislation.
When it comes to military bases, especially installations operated by the United States Air Force, such as the former Blytheville Air Force Base, the capacity to suppress flames as quickly as possible and keep them suppressed is critical to the health and safety of pilots, personnel, firemen, and the aircraft itself. AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) was developed to put out Class B fires involving flammable liquids. An aircraft fire is considered a class B fire due to a large amount of jet fuel onboard.
Since the chemical properties of PFAS prevent oxygen from reaching the fire, the "foam blanket" formed by AFFF is very efficient in smothering it. Additionally, AFFF emits a liquid that forms an aqueous layer around the fuel, isolating it from the environment and limiting the escape of fuel vapors. Since the mid-1960s, AFFF has been widely employed in commercial and military aircraft facilities. For many years, the effects of using AFFF to extinguish airplane fuel fires - most notably, the detrimental effect on groundwater and surface water - were underestimated. This hazard was only recently acknowledged, and even more recently, the management of firefighting debris was addressed directly.
PFAS are a class of compounds that are very hazardous and persistent in the environment. Breast cancer, renal problems, and a variety of birth and developmental issues have all been linked to these pesticides.
Known as "forever chemicals" as well, PFAS are prevalent in the environment due to the fact that they tend to bioaccumulate in humans, fish, and animals. Apart from that, the sheer quantity of PFAS compounds is staggering (there are hundreds of different PFAS compounds), as is their durability and resilience to water, lubricants, and heat, which makes them widespread in both commercial and industrial environments.
If you developed any of the following health conditions while you were stationed on the former Blytheville Air Force Base for 1 year or longer you are eligible to file a claim for compensation:
If you develop one of the aforementioned health issues, our team of experts can help you - or your spouse, if you're married to someone who served at the base - gather the necessary paperwork to file a claim and receive fair compensation.
Numerous former or active military members experience life-threatening health issues and have legitimate concerns about the health of their families, casting a pall over their futures. If you were stationed at the former Blytheville Air Force Base as a veteran or as a family member of one and came to struggle with a linkable disease as a consequence of exposure to PFAS, our case managers can help you check if you meet the eligibility requirements for a PFAS claim. Our legal experts can investigate your case and devise an effective approach to recover your deserved compensation.
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