Since then, researchers have focused on defending against biological attack.They used Area B, a 399-acre tract on the western side of the base, as a proving ground to test methods of delivering biological agents. Environmental Protection Agency, though the Army says it wasn't the type that can make people sick.White hired epidemiologists and toxicologists to monitor the air, soil and water around Detrick.
When doctors told White in 2009 that their conditions were likely caused by something in their environment, the Frederick native thought of Fort Detrick. Detrick was home to the nation's biological weapons program from the 1940s through the 1960s.
It remains a key center for medical research."Anybody that lives in Frederick knows all the rumors," White says.
"Without him standing there shaking his hands and dancing around, it would not have gotten this much attention," says Jennifer Peppe Hahn, a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma, growths on her pancreas and thyroid, and breast cancer."When Randy came forward about his daughter's death," she says, "somebody had enough money and enough passion at that point that nobody could ignore it."White, a former evangelical pastor and a businessman who first contacted officials last year, is demanding information about activities at Fort Detrick past and present, an apology to the people he believes were sickened, and a congressional hearing "so this never, ever happens again in the United States of America."He also has filed a mass tort lawsuit.
He has been joined by more than 100 fellow plaintiffs."I didn't want to fight, but the fight kind of came to me," says White, 53.
It has also excavated and removed almost 4,000 tons of contaminated soil, according to the state.