This morning (19 May 2011) the chief of the Combat Related Special Compensation Branch called to say that unless the VA first awards service connection to a veteran for Agent Orange exposure, the Air Force won't for the purpose of CRSC. A retiree can always file an appeal with the Board of Correction of Air Force Records, but the way the laws for CRSC were passed, the VA rating must come first. Thus, we aim at them first with all the logic of our arguments buoyed by whatever professional opinions we can gather. If you're not familiar with it, CRSC is a way to collect much of BOTH your Air Force retirement and VA disability...complex formulas best left to DFAS! They wouldn't even comment on our Narrative one way or the other.
I located the final report of the Ranch Hand Advisory Committee. Delivered by an Air Force Colonel Karen Fox, MC CFS, she didn't even mention aircrews nor the use of the aircraft between the Vietnam War's end and the retirement of the C-123K. I read through the entire final report and there is not a single mention of aircrews, either during or post-Vietnam...seem's the committee simply didn't deal with that group of veterans.
Also located literature about childhood leukemia in children of women veterans which is something of concern! I got it from Wikipedia and it is copied below for your review.
Seems like an uphill battle with everyone in authority having failed to consider us...not intentionally, but negligently. That means letters to your representatives, trying to get your state health departments to give an opinion, finding professional societies or at least professionals in the field of toxins and environmental health to give opinions supporting us are vital. I spent Wednesday online with four authorities which my county health department suggested...located the names of people in those agencies and emailed them the narrative and a cover letter. Most larger colleges and universities have departments we can approach for a friendly opinion...chemistry, environmental health, public health, etc....I've written the various departments at our two larger state universities, the Commander, School of Aviation Medicine at Wright-Patterson, the director of the Air Force Museum, the IG at the CDC, the IG at the Secretary of the Air Force, my Congressional representative, various writers including Tom Philpot, scientific societies, state agencies such as Public Health and Environmental Hazards...letters far and wide.
I expect the next batch of useful documentation to be in two forms:
1. Responses from our requests for professional opinions regarding whether or not we've been exposed, at least to the standard set by the VA
2. Data from FOIAs (seven) filed regarding aircrews, post-Vietnam Agent Orange exposure, storage and disposal of the C-123K fleet, etc.
Everyone should drop a note to Paul Bailey to help fill his database. Please...somebody with good statistical skills kindly offer your help to Paul to make it as effective as possible.
Prayers to Gabby and Dick Matti. Yesterday I received various emails which informed me of the deaths of Colonel Paskovitz and Doc Warner. At different times I worked for each man and admired each of them. Doc Warner even babysat our youngest son several times so my wife and I could go out to dinner while at Westover, and we had a bunch of great dinners at various AMSUS meetings, especially in San Diego. Lou got me to Germany for Reforger when we flew the C-123Ks to Stuttgart, my first overseas deployment after commissioning. I learned so much about leadership from him. My last conversation with General Walker, who is also quite ill, was over coffee in the BOQ as he detailed his prostate cancer suffering and the difficulty dealing with the VA, which had rejected his claim for service-connection.
Does anybody know where I can locate Major General Oates, once our vice commander of the 439th?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Agent Orange (disambiguation).
U.S. Army Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over Vietnamese agricultural land
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during theVietnam War from 1961 to 1971.
A 50:50 mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D, it was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical. The2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was later discovered to be contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, an extremely toxic dioxin compound. It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped 55 US gallon (200 L) barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called "Rainbow Herbicides".
Vietnamese man born with deformed face as a result of prenatal exposure to Agent Orange.
During the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed 20,000,000 US gallons (80,000,000 L) of chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of Operation Ranch Hand. The program's goal was to defoliate forested and rural land, depriving guerrillas of cover; another goal was to induce forced draft urbanization, destroying the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside, and forcing them to flee to the U.S. dominated cities, thus depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base and food supply.
Air Force records show that at least 6,542 spraying missions took place over the course of Operation Ranch Hand. By 1971, 12 percent of the total area of South Vietnam had been sprayed with defoliating chemicals, which were often applied at rates that were 13 times as high as the legal USDA limit. In South Vietnam alone, an estimated 10 million hectares of agricultural land were ultimately destroyed. In some areas TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered "safe" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Overall, more than 20% of South Vietnam's forests were sprayed at least once over a nine year period.
The US began to target food crops in October 1962, primarily using Agent Blue. In 1965, 42 percent of all herbicide spraying was dedicated to food crops.Rural-to-urban migration rates dramatically increased in South Vietnam, as peasants escaped the destruction and famine in the countryside by fleeing to the U.S.-dominated cities. The urban population in South Vietnam more than tripled: from 2.8 million people in 1958, to 8 million by 1971. The rapid flow of people led to a fast-paced and uncontrolled urbanization; an estimated 1.5 million people were living in Saigon slums, while many South Vietnamese elites and U.S. personnel lived in luxury.
According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to herbicides, resulting in 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
Chemical description and toxicology
Chemically, Agent Orange is an approximately 1:1 mixture of two phenoxyl herbicides – 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) – in iso-octyl ester form.
Numerous studies have examined health effects linked to Agent Orange, its component compounds, and its manufacturing byproducts.
Prior to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, there was already a large body of scientific evidence linking 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D to serious negative health effects and ecological damage. But in 1969, it was revealed to the public that the 2,4,5-T was contaminated with a dioxin,2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), and that the TCDD was causing many of the previously unexplained adverse health effects which were correlated with Agent Orange exposure. TCDD has been described as "perhaps the most toxic molecule ever synthesized by man". Internal memoranda revealed Monsanto Corporation (a manufacturer of 2,4,5-T) had informed the U.S. government as early as 1952 that 2,4,5-T was contaminated with a toxic chemical.
In 1979, the Yale biologist Arthur Galston, who specialized in herbicide research, published a review of what was known at the time about the toxicity of TCDD. Even "vanishingly small" quantities of dioxin in the diet caused adverse health effects when tested on animals. Since then, TCDD has been comprehensively studied. It has been associated with increased neoplasms in every animal bioassay reported in the scientific literature. The National Toxicology Program has classified TCDD as "known to be a human carcinogen", frequently associated with soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma andchronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
While the two herbicides that make up Agent Orange, 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, remain toxic over a short period—a scale of days or weeks—they quickly degrade. However, a 1969 report authored by K. Diane Courtney and others found 2,4,5-T could cause birth defects and stillbirths in mice. Several studies have shown an increased rate of cancer mortality for workers exposed to 2,4,5-T. In one such study, from Hamburg, Germany, the risk of cancer mortality increased by 170% after working for 10 years at the 2,4,5-T-producing section of a Hamburg manufacturing plant. Three studies have suggested prior exposure to Agent Orange poses an increased risk of acute myelogenous leukemia in the children of Vietnam veterans.