15 June 2011

Vietnam Veterans of America - Riding to Our Rescue!

On June 21 I received an email, followed by a phone call, from Mr. Alan Oates who chairs the Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee for the Vietnam Veterans of America. He had recommended that the VVA support our position before their membership and before the leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

His recommendation was approved by the VVA executives, and they are now behind us 100%. I was very happy to learn of their improvement of our own proposal for recognition of the C-123K/UC-123K aircraft as an "Agent Orange Exposure Site" by the addition of the Army helicopters which did much the same thing...spray herbicides in Vietnam, then return to normal military duties throughout the world post-Vietnam...and thereby exposing Army aircrews as we ourselves have been exposed.

"No veteran left behind" is their motto. As aircrew, we'd never get out of an airplane without making sure everyone behind us was out first, and safe. We take care of the pax first, ahead of our own safety. Now, that same attitude of service is how the VVA is treating our veterans of the C-123K/UC-123K group...and I am proud to be first to offer our thanks for their pro-active position and service to all veterans, everywhere. We cannot fail but to benefit from their decades of leadership on veterans' issues, expertise on dioxin, and knowledge of the ins and outs of Washington's confusing corridors. Remember: it was Commissioner Linda Schwartz of Connecticut who put our two organizations in touch!

We have many of our group such as John Harris who are also Vietnam veterans...you should all be proud of your premier organization, the Vietnam Veterans of America!

Mr. Oates email from yesterday:

Dear Mr. Carter,
I am Alan Oates, Chairman of the Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Substances Committee for Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).  I am forwarding an email between President Rowan and myself and what VVA is working to do on your issue.  I appreciate the information you have been sharing with me over the past month.  Please continue to provide me with update information. 
Alan Oates

Subject: Fwd: Open Letter to Institute of Medicine Agent Orange Committee

President Rowan per your request,  I have followed up on this issue.  I find the information that this group has presented is factual.  I could not write the issue up any better than their open letter to IOM (forward as part of this email).    I have gotten feedback from many of the Agent Orange (AODOTS) Committee.  They are supportive of this group.  I have not conduct a formal vote on the issue as of yet.

I recommend that we write Secretary Shinseki and ask that post Vietnam war veterans who flew, served as crew members and maintained these aircraft be granted presumptive exposure.   I also would ask the Secretary to work with DOD in identifying and determine the disposition of all helicopters used in the Agent Orange spray operations.  This is needed as the veterans who flew and maintained these helicopter would are not recognized in the C 123 groups work.


Alan Oates
Agent Orange/Dioxin and Other Toxic Substances Committee
Vietnam Veterans of America

1 comment:

  1. I logged 1,266 Combat Hours on the C-123K out Of Phan Rang Air Base, Viet Nam as Flight Engineer.


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