Today I got a call back from the office of Jim Willis, Oregon's Director of Veterans' Affairs, and those folks are going to see what can be done at their level...perhaps miracles?? No word from my senators, other than Sen. Burr's office. My kids haven't written lately, either. What's going on out there?
Let's hope we're all behind the same marching band: Our goal is "boots on the airplane" recognition of the C-123K as an Agent Orange Exposure Site. Seems that's the fastest route for now...certainly faster and cheaper than a lawsuit which other organizations, far bigger and far richer than we, are still struggling with. However...if that's what it takes...
I heard through Dee Holliday from Gabby Gadbois, first shirt of the 74th who wrapped up chemo today, only to have MRIs and CAT scans which showed the cancer spreading so much more than he'd feared.
Thanks to the folks who looked over the amateur "appeal" ...the best I could put together by myself, however, regarding the late Tim Olmstead's obvious injustice at the hands of the Air Force. This time, surprise, NOT the BVA's fault ...the judge ruled correctly in Docket 06-42 315, in that Tim had failed to present proof of his claim that the C-123s we flew were those used in Vietnam and had actually sprayed Agent Orange, and he'd failed to proof that there was Agent Orange residue on the airplane. Why did Tim fail in this? Because the Air Force, beginning with the Office of Environmental Law at HQ AFMC decided to keep this vital information "in official channels only" and that later, when the aircraft were destroyed by smelting in 2010, a misleading press release was crafted to tell a lie by saying otherwise truthful words.
Prevaricate is the word, where here the issue is the decontamination by destruction of valuable aircraft because of dioxin contamination. That's the news here...the destruction of the airplane, and the destruction because of Agent Orange contamination. But here, this kind of Public Affairs dishonesty coming out of the 75th's PA shop... deception, misdirection and frankly stupid issue-dodging (as they were told to do, I agree) should come to the attention of the Air Force PA professionals who care about their profession.
American citizens and our news media expect and deserve an Air Force PA to eventually, slowly, perhaps regretfully...actually get around to keyboarding something approximating the truth. Not deal from the bottom of the PA deck of cards a crafty, sneaky, evasive, flim-flam handout solely meant to mislead the public.
A fictional example which best comes to mind is a situation where, say, a crowded 747 crashes on your runway. The PA shop prepares, but does not distribute...they wait in case anybody notices...a press release describing the event as
"a rapid airframe disassembly activity, followed by an unscheduled base-wide mass casualty exercise. 324 body bags were utilized to provide extra realism. Coincidently, the base runway will be closed for the next few weeks for unscheduled repairs. In other news, volunteers of all blood types are invited to visit the base clinic, now accepting donations on a 24-hour a day basis."In the case of the C-123s, the Agent Orange Consultant to the Office of Secretary of Defense recommended removing from the draft PA release tainted words like "Agent Orange, toxin, dioxin" in his personal fear of a media "storm", a storm certain to alert, as he points out, aircrews and maintenance folks who'd turn to the VA for treatment of Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses. Gosh, the 505th, AFMC and the PA profession sure don't want that! One specific PS lie was the inference that the aircraft were without value, when in fact, the Air Force and GSA had been forced to go to Federal court to PREVENT the sale of the toxic airframes to eager buyers. Even the "rare and valuable" engines were to be smelted, but not mentioned in the press release. Somehow, I think a little birdie is going to wing its way to a responsible journalist's ear with this news...and the Air Force would be blessed if somehow this joke was corrected by the service itself. Good thing Disney got its airplanes before the well ran dry!
Oh..and don't forget, this week a member of the senior federal executive service made special mention was made of us "freeloading, trash-hauling Air Force Reservists" looking for a Congressman to feed us tax free dollars. Kind, respectful, Total Force- type welcoming words from the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the person of the Secretary's Agent Orange Consultant.
Guess he didn't feel our F4, AC-130, C-141, B-52, and other combat flyers met his high standard for patriotism and valor.
I imagine OSD feels a C-123 vet like Colonel Charlie Brown, by arranging to be a guest at the Hanoi Hilton after being shot down, was the epitome of the Air Force Reserve freeloader because Charlie even managed to get free meals and tax-free fish heads and rice plus other cool stuff from the North Vietnamese while a POW.
Complete Document Set