Sunday May 19, 2013
The C-123 Agent Orange Saga ContinuesWes Carter Special to Salem-News.com
Did you fly the C-123 between 1972 and 1982? If so, you've been exposed to Agent Orange.
(DA NANG Vietnam) - Jeanette DeForge, a fantastic reporter with the Springfield (MA) Republican, has a front-page story covering the C-123 Agent Orange saga... Click here for her report: Veterans: Westover planes fouled with Agent Orange - Jeanette DeForge, The Republican
Aircrews, maintenance folks and aeromedical evacuation crews all were exposed to deadly dioxin remaining in our airplanes after their service in Vietnam.
Air Force tests first established the dioxin contamination in 1994 with an examination of Patches (Tail 362) as it was prepared for display inside the Air Force Museum. The toxicologists, Dr. Ron Porter and Captain Wade Weisman, learned that Patches and the other aircraft were "heavily contaminated", and later, Dr. Porter testified in federal court that the C-123s we flew were "a danger to public health!"
All current entries about the C-123 Agent Orange problem are found at: www.c123kcancer.blogspot.com
We also post all the source documents there.
You can help! The USAF School of Aerospace Medicine has been tasked with researching our potential exposure to dioxin. They need flight orders, Form 5s, photographs of the aircraft which might show dirt, red clay, black gunk. They need personal recollections of any cleaning efforts.
We all know Patches and some of the other spray aircraft really stank! But that wasn't Agent Orange, which is odorless. Instead...we were smelling what was most likely malathyon, left from insect control operations. The Agent Orange settled into nooks and crannies, soaked into wood and fabric surfaces, and penetrated the paint throughout the aircraft.
Did you fly the C-123 between 1972 and 1982? If so, you've been exposed to Agent Orange. We all need to contact the VA's Agent Orange Registry Hotline at 1(800) 749-8387.
Filing a claim with the VA means you've applied for medical and pension benefits due to your service-connected illness or injury. In our case, exposure to Agent Orange means a higher-than-average risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, soft tissue sarcoma and a whole list of other potential illnesses.
Once your claim is approved (that's our current struggle...convincing the VA that the proven contamination in the aircraft equals exposure) you can receive the medical care you need and, if appropriate, a pension.
You can do this on your own by accessing the VA's web site and completing their forms online. We recommend instead accepting the services of one of the veterans' service organizations. Groups like the VFW, DAV, Paralyzed Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America are eager to have their case management specialists assist you in building a successful claim. They do all the work, expertly and for free!
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