Ever-eager to stomp our hopes into the ground, the VA on December 14 released an explanation of their investigation of the Agent Orange contamination of our C-123 aircraft and how they reached the determination that somehow, despite the aircraft contamination, we have not been exposed.
Readers with a scientific background will recoil in horror at this report being called "scientific". It is not. It was prepared with the predetermined objective of insuring a negative response to our exposure claims...and that ain't science, folks! Science requires being led where the facts take you, not cherry-picking data to make sure your report satisfies the boss.
Simply put their report is full of holes, not full of science.
It cites, first, a report prepared by then-Staff Sergeant Conway who inspected Patches in 1979. While respectful of all NCOs (I spent half of my career as one), I hesitate to base the health care of 1500 veterans upon the report of a 5-level NCO. Further, as confirmed by Prof. Jeanne Stellman of Columbia University's School of Public Health, that inspection did not test for dioxin. Well, duh...isn't that what this is all about?
Next, the VA cites the 1994 test on Patches at the AF Museum, but fails to note those toxicologists (Dr Ron Porter and Capt Wade Weisman) who determined that the airplane was "heavily contaminated" with dioxin. Dr Porter later testified in a federal court case that the C-123s were "a danger to public health." I think this rates another "duh".
The VA concludes by citing the 2009 Hill AFB report "Dioxin and Herbicide Characterization of UC-123K Aircraft - Phase I." However, to make sure their "research" properly reflects their predetermined conclusion, they do not mention that the author of that report himself insisted, on 26 October 2011, that no conclusions be drawn, one way or another, regarding aircrew exposure during 1972-1982! This is another solid "duh".
Finally, to reach for some scientific reason to bolster their denial of veterans' claims, the VA says because chemical wipes were required to release dioxin from the surfaces tested that implies flying personnel wouldn't have been exposed because of dermal protection. Guess these VA "scientists" forgot to read carefully the test protocols which later specified that water, not chemical, wipes would be used for testing. A final, solid "duh" called for here, right?
Good thing that the Armed Services are led by people with a sense of honor and intense dedication to doing their jobs right, rather than by civil servants who yield to their boss' dictating research results to insure veterans are denied well-earned benefits! And that's no duh!