In July 1969, a leak of chemical weapons on Okinawa sickened more than 20 U.S. soldiers and laid bare one of the Pentagon's biggest Cold War secrets: the storage of toxic munitions outside of continental United States.

Public outrage following the Okinawa accident forced the White House to launch Operation Red Hat — codename for a mission to remove the chemicals from the island.

For more than four decades, details of that project have been kept firmly under wraps. But now, newly disclosed scientific studies — and accounts from U.S. veterans who participated in Operation Red Hat — are casting light on the mission and exposing what truly occurred — including the alleged dumping of chemical weapons off the coast of Okinawa.