25 October 2012

JSRRC Refuses to Release Contamination Proof!

Army Refuses to Release Proof of C-123 Agent Orange Exposure! 

Mr. Dominic Baldini,
Joint Services Records Research Center
7701 Telegraph Road Room 2008
Alexandria, VA  22315-3905
Dear Mr. Baldini,
Earlier this year, and also last year, I wrote to inquire about information JSRRC had concerning the C-123 “Provider” which I flew between 1974-1980. After my first FOIA approach to JSRRC I was told that you had no such information, and I then provided your agency a collection of official Air Force, GSA and other materials dealing with the C-123, in particular between the years 1972-1982 when the airplanes were assigned to the 439th Tactical Airlift Wing, Westover AFB, Massachusetts.

Yesterday I spent several hours at the Portland Veterans Affairs Regional Office, reviewing my application for Agent Orange benefits. My application was approved by the regional office, but Washington DC headquarters recommended denial on September 25, 2012.

I was very disappointed to learn that the VA had approached JSRRC for any supporting information regarding our aircraft, but your response was in the negative. In fact, all that was provided the VA was a partial quote from their own web site, a conclusion I disagree with and am working with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to address.

I don’t understand why our own unit histories aren’t able to provide much of the information requested by the VA. Besides the 439th Tactical Airlift Wing, the 439th Tactical Hospital, the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (now 439th AES) and the 901st Organizational Maintenance Squadron would have detailed C-123 Agent Orange issues in their unit histories between the years 1972-1980. Further, HQ AFMC directed depot-level maintenance regarding the contamination by military herbicides as well as a special toxicological inspection of one aircraft (Tail #362) in 1979, an inspection of great interest throughout our Wing and certain to be in many documents.

Later, in 1994, the National Museum of the United States Air Force conducted a similar exam of the same aircraft, performed by Armstrong Laboratories Brooks AFB, Texas. This should have been made available to all requestors by JRSSC.

May I once again provide you the materials collected from Hill AFB UT, Davis-Monthan AFB AZ, Westover AFB MA, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, and Warner-Robbins AFB GA. Documents are also available from the General Services Administration, USAF School of Aerospace Medicine and other official agencies.

I’m sure you realize that a negative response from JSRRC to a VA inquiry results in the VA’s own finding against the veteran’s claim. Here is your response to the VA’s inquiry about our aircraft and its herbicide history:

 “Unfortunately. the JSRRC is unable to verify or document that air crewmembers were exposed to Agent Orange resulting from Agent Orange residue or dioxin contaminated aircraft or aircraft parts.
Please refer to your (VA) website and the VA's determination for this information.

As you can see, your answer didn't even answer the question VA raised, but improperly gave negative weight to the claims I've made, and carefully document to both JSRRC and the VA.

Mr. Baldini, I understand it is not within your area of responsibility or expertise to confirm or deny the scientific question of dioxin exposure by aircrews, but you could at least have answered the question correctly. Further, JRSSC having been provided official documents addressing the issue of herbicide contamination as well as aircrew dioxin exposure, so it was certainly your responsibility to send them to the VA. Your answer to the VA that no such documentation exists creates an official response that there is no such documentation and the veteran’s claim without foundation. Were you determined to prevent my successful, and just, claim for Agent Orange benefits?

We flew those aircraft and the Air Force has documented the contamination of them. Simple enough, and within the charter of JSRRC to address. Isn't it fair to conclude your response to VA completely ignored the documents you have and served to help prevent approval of my VA application?

for the C-123 veterans:

Wesley T. Carter, Major, USAF Retired
Chair          rustysilverwings@gmail.com

Letter, Carter to Baldini
Portland VARC records re: Carter
Assorted USAF documents

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? Nothing commercial or off-topic, please.