Ex-Indiana soldier who blamed cancer on chemical dies

A former contractor alleged that this drainage ditch where the soldiers worked was one of several areas contaminated with a known carcinogen.

Williams, IN - A former Indiana National Guard commander has died after suffering from lung cancer he believed was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in Iraq.

A funeral home says 52-year-old retired Lt. Col. James Gentry died Wednesday at his home in the southern Indiana community of Williams.

Gentry was commander of the 1st Battalion, 152nd Infantry, which was assigned to guard a water pumping plant in Basrah, Iraq, shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Several soldiers from the unit have sued defense contractor KBR Inc., alleging it knowingly allowed them to be exposed to sodium dichromate, a known carcinogen. Houston-based KBR denies any wrongdoing.

Gentry was not a party to the suit but believed his cancer was caused by exposure.

Services will be Tuesday at Kraft Funeral Service in New Albany.

The Indiana National Guard has a number for soldiers exposed to sodium dichromate. Call 1-800-237-2850 ext. 3128.

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