07 May 2011

Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II (and a Texas National Guardsman) was a great soldier and not-so-great husband. His widow Mrs. Pamala Murphy, passed away last month in California. She dedicated her life to serving veterans, working as patient liaison at the Sepulveda Veterans Hospital full-time until age 87. She gave every veteran the same respect she had for her distinguished husband. (BTW, the first VA hospital I was ever in was Audie Murphy VA Medical Center, San Antonio TX). Audie Murphy was young...so young that after the war he could portray himself in To Hell and Back as a 16-year old kid! His best movie was The Red Badge of Courage...interesting to have a genuine hero like him explore the character's fear and cowardice with such understanding and passion. 

Great input from Ranch Hand veterans, the elder statesmen of Agent Orange issues, who on 20 May offered us a reference about dioxin which is excellent reading. Dioxin comes from lots of sources. 

I have been trying to get various AF leaders to comment on the Narrative and the reports generated by the AF about C-123K contamination. Everyone, including EPA, keeps bouncing inquiries back to the VA. It is a knee-jerk reaction and gets a hot potato off their desk, but I sure wish we could get input one way or the other. 
Several 74th and 731st members have their AO/dioxin paperwork in with the VA, and the New Hampshire  State Department of Veterans Affairs VSO considers it a solid case very likely  (for his particular client) to get approval on the first pass, and virtually certain on appeal. Hard to deny the AF reports about contamination, hard to deny exposure to that contamination when flight orders place a veteran aboard the contaminated aircraft for years, and hard to deny the numerous AO-presumitives...but still the VA will try very, very hard to do just that...deny the claims! 

Potato (and onion) farmer Paul Bailey is traveling this next week but still working on getting health information and flight orders from everyone and building a data base for us. John Harris has been super about digging up other influential folks, ROA leadership, 731st veterans, and paperwork of use to us. One important thing we're looking for now is any VA denials of application for service connection from aircrews on Providers submitted between 1972-1982. 

We need to better understand the approach the VA took on denying applications. General Walker had prostate cancer and applied for service connection but was denied...others have as well and we need to get info. I will be submitted an FOIA to the VA on that today but a response will be a month or more away. 

Please...if you have a VA application which has been denied, please copy me on it after blocking your personal information! If you know the survivors of folks who've died of AO presumptive illnesses (such as MSgt Bob Boyd, General Walker and Lou Paskovitz) please contact them and offer information from our group...they might benefit from our efforts and I need their input if they'd be kind enough to correspond.