03 May 2012

USAF Report Due out Friday May 4

The long-anticipated report prepared by scientists at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine should be released Friday. Prepared in response to veteran aircrew concerns, the report is to deal with the exposure by aircrew, aerial port and maintainers to dioxin remaining in the C-123 aircraft we flew between 1972-1982.

The VA's position is that we were likely not exposed to dioxin, or if we were exposed, we were not likely exposed to enough dioxin to cause long-term health concerns. In itself, an amazing statement. The VA agreed during our October 17 teleconference that they'd weigh very carefully the Air Force report. So, should the AF confirm what other researchers and toxicologists already have confirmed, we have a chance at convincing the VA to allow access to essential medical care for our Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses.

Without the report's support, we are again cast adrift, left to our own devices about seeking medical attention. Speaking for our Committee, we'd find any hesitation to support the fact of aircrew dioxin exposure to be absolutely amazing - and clearly, in studied defiance of the facts provided in their 1994, 1996 and 2009 studies of the contaminated fleet.

Any aircraft flown brings risk to the personnel aboard. In this case the risk came to be known only after the fact of our exposure to dioxin, but I'm sure we can count on the support of the flight surgeons involved in the report preparation and editing

After all, flight surgeons are the aircrew's personal physicians, right? Right? Certainly they'll place our needs above any political or financial influence which might be floating around the system! We can expect that they will remember their oaths as officers and physicians and not twist the facts against us, and let the truth come out.

Let's hope that OSD's influence doesn't reach into the bowels of the 711th Human Performance Wing!

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