18 January 2012

Pima Air Museum C-123K Confirmed as Spray Bird

Tail 54-0580, Pima Air Museum
Visiting Tucson's famous Pima Air Museum yesterday, I checked out their C-123K. Turns out it is Tail #54-0580, a former Hanscom and Westover bird. After retirement to the Boneyard it ended up with the Forest Service which has loaned it to Pima. The Agent Orange spray pipes are obvious between the engines and the fuselage...it is a spray bird after all!

Leaving the museum I was surprised to see a C-123 tail sticking up among a forest of Navy S-2s in a commercial aviation junk yard. The guys there drove me out to discover that it was another Westover bird, confirmed not by the ID plate (missing) but by the radio card (click for photo) which had its tail number #54-0706 penciled in, which we recovered from the cockpit. No wings, no wheels, and a tired old bird not likely to ever fly again! The owner sells parts off, such as the yoke and foot pedals, to collectors.

BTW, last week's visit to Warner-Robins' Museum of Aviation to see their spray C-123K brought no new information. I was told that the base Bioenvironmental Engineers controlled access to the aircraft but those folks said they knew nothing about it. A museum staffer was very knowledgeable about the provenience of this plane, detailing to me its various assignments and depot maintenance in nearby Dotham, Alabama by a contractor. One new point...the bench for weary travelers to rest upon is no longer directly below the spray pipes...it has been moved beneath another aircraft!

Master Sergeant George Gadbois Has Passed

We have lost Gabby! On January 11, the former first sergeant of the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron finally expired after so much suffering. His family was with him, a blessing itself, and he was at peace. My wife and I had come to the South to visit him (a trip happily interrupted by flying to Westover for his celebration) and we were fortunate to also attend his services.

Gabby and Wes (he's the good looking guy on the left!)
Gabby's family loves a gathering just as much as he did, and I'm grateful for the meal after the services to get to know them better. Later, they will let us know about arrangements for military honors in Spencer, Massachusetts which the family calls home.

Rest in peace, Gabby. You were a lesson for all of us on how to live our lives of faith and service.

Our dear friend, Master Sergeant George Gadbois, US Air Force, Retired.

15 January 2012

Appeal Readied to Seek Reversal of Aaron Olmsted's VA Claim Denial

Aaron Olmsted's VA claim was submitted and denied, then denied finally in his appeal decided 23 August 2007. Judge Stephen Cohn ruled that Tim had failed to provide evidence that the C-123s he flew were ever used to spray Agent Orange, and failed to provide evidence that there was any residue of Agent Orange in the aircraft. Tim, one of the country's more experienced aviators, died a couple months ago and an unexplained airplane crash.

Recent emails exchanges with VA, DOD, DOJ and documents provided by Hill AFB seem to give adequate meat to prepare an appeal to have the injustice done Tim reversed. I don't do this for a living...I don't know how such things are done. 

So, my draft of an appeal offered in simple English is attached. Normalspeak. And I've asked for editing from anyone except my wife who has already torn it apart nicely, thank you very much!

What now? Who can I get this to so that somebody will understand that the Air Force withheld documents which Tim's BVA judge cited as the ones missing from his hopeed for appeal for disability compensation? Is there an association of BVA attorneys (on both sides of the isle?) Is there a way to approach one of the judges or even the chairman of the BVA judges to say.."HEY...the government cheated Tim and his family."

Also, some emails and web postings have mentioned that I'm a pilot. Squash that. I am an MSC and therefore, by definition, a gentleman and not a pilot. John's the pilot, poor man.


   /s/  Wes Carter

02 January 2012

Gulf War Veterans - proposed final VA rules about undiagnosed illnesses

As many of the 74th-439th folks are veterans of Gulf War One, this proposed VA ruling is of interest and we should read carefully. The important points...extended time for illnesses to be noted, greater flexibility in determining noted but undiagnosed illnesses to be grouped into "Gulf War Illness" and easier approvals for ratings from the VA. We'll see, as thus far the VA mostly either denies that an illness or symptom exists or they decide it manifested itself too far after the War to be rated.

-------- from Paul Sutton -------

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is issuing this interim final rule to amend its adjudication regulation regarding compensation for disabilities suffered by veterans who served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Persian Gulf War. 

This amendment is necessary to extend the period during which disabilities associated with undiagnosed illnesses and medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses must become manifest in order for a veteran to be eligible for compensation.

This interim final rule is effective December 29, 2011. Comments must be received by VA on or before February 27, 2011


If you haven't already read Rosemary's email, Gabby has taken a turn for the worse and has been advised to arrange hospice care. Prayers are always welcomed by this faithful servant of Man, Nation and God.