19 June 2012

Senator Burr (NC) to Receive AF Briefing re: C-123K Study

Thanks to the continuing interest by North Carolina's Senator Burr and his staff, leadership of the C-123 Veterans Association has been invited to participate in a teleconference next week as the Air Force briefs the Senator on their recent C-123 Agent Orange study. That report, much to the surprise of aircrews as well as scientists in this field, generally dismissed the likelihood that aircrew, maintenance and aerial port personnel were exposed to dioxin remaining in the aircraft following Vietnam for the decade in which we flew them.
Senator Richard Burr (D-NC) Ranking Member
Senate Veterans Committee

This will be interesting. Questions abound! Questions such as:
1. Who wrote the report? It was signed by Colonel Benjamin, USAFSAM/CC but he is a physician, not the scientists who first contacted us for our input
2. Does the AF repudiate the 1979, 1994, 1996 and 2009 reports in which dioxin was identified as present aboard the C-123?
3. Does the AF admit even a possibility of aircrew exposure, such a possibility being enough to suggest that the VA gives the benefit of the doubt to our claims?
4. What role did the VA have in the report (preparation, editing, approval cycles)?
5. Why did Dr. Ron Porter, co-author of the 1996 survey of Patches, testify as an AF employee in a federal court case that the C-123 "are a danger to public health", a case in which he was called as an expert witness on behalf of the AF and the GSA?
6. Phrases in the AF report and the GSA report explain that dioxin aboard the aircraft was detected by "advanced scientific procedures many years after use." This phrasing suggests that only such advanced procedures were able to identify the TCDD, yet the initial Conway report identified "military herbicides" with standard testing procedures and equipment in 1979 and Porter/Weisman did the same in 1996. In fact, no special, advanced scientific procedures or equipment were necessary to identify the TCDD, so why the evasive wording when standard procedures were all that were needed?Why did the GSA and AF further misdirect public understanding by not allowing that TCDD concentration was likely even more intense in 1972 as we began flying the Provider than it was in later years after decades of storage in desert conditions?

Questions abound. But will the answers?

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