28 February 2012

Getting There Slowly - still hoping for VA to do the right thing!

The Old Sarge puts his faithful but tired C-123 out of its misery!
Support Comes In - Pressure Mounts on VA

C-123 veterans have been favored with strong support this month from Mr. John Rowan, National President of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Also, Independent Scientific Opinions were offered by Oregon Health Sciences University and by Columbia University.

No challenge or question has been raised about the dioxin contamination of the old Provider, nor about our aircrew exposure to all that dioxin which remained on the aircraft.

Next week, the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine runs their findings of a three-month investigation past Senate staffers who've been tracking our concerns (Mr. Brooks Tucker of Sen. Burr, NC) and we anticipate solid support from the Air Force. Last month the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry issued with everyone has been calling a "game changer"...directly challenging the VA's position against us, the ATSDR's official letter found that aircrews DID fly in a heavily contaminated aircraft, DID become exposed to the dioxin remaining from the Vietnam War, and DID suffer a 200-times greater cancer threshold. Further, ATSDR said the exposure was likely even more intense in the years 1972-1982 than when tests were finally done in 1994.

How much more of a case does a veteran have to make to the VA to get medical care for Agent Orange presumptive illnesses? We have had our flying buddies rejected by the VA and the Board of Veterans Appeals because no proof was available about the aircraft use in VN nor the specific aircraft contamination - because all such proof was withheld by the USAF Office of Environmental Law until released via the Freedom of Information Act in May 2011. Now that the information cited has been found, the VA develops new objections to allowing our crews and maintenance troops vital medical care. Now they say we weren't exposed to "enough" dioxin. Well, folks, the Institute on Medicine reports that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure. None. And in our case, tests show Patches and the other birds were exposing us to 200 times the safety threshold.

And what a delaying act the VA presents! This writer's own Agent Orange application for service connection (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, misdiagnosis, bad attitude) has been on the so-called "VA Fast Track" for 329 days. Thank goodness I'm already 100% for other issues or I'd have been devastated financially by now.

My senator's office called to say the VA was waiting for papers from another agency??? Huh? Takes a year to drop a memo to somebody and get a reply? Fast track? Off the track?

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