29 January 2013

VA & Army Seek C-123 Source Documents

In his letter to The C-123 Veterans Association dated 4 December 2012, the Director of the Army's Joint Services Records Research Center defended his agency's responses to inquiries about C-123 issues from the Veterans Administration. [CLICK HERE for our response, mailed 31 Jan 2013]

Director Dominic Baldini explained that when JSRRC is asked to provide information about  veteran's service they consult unit histories to form their response. Baldini further explained "it is not the JSRRC's mission to conduct scientific studies or research of this nature or comprehensive scientific literature or documentation reviews." He does, however, promise "if during the course of unit records reviews in individual claims, the JSRRC finds information, however indicative, to any degree, of AO exposure to C-123 air crew members, we would immediately notify our VA contacts."

This is reassuring. What is not reassuring, however, is the fact that twice our Association has provided just those essential source documents to the JSRRC! Of course, because concerns about Agent Orange were not known in the 1972-1982 timeframe when unit histories would have made mention of the issue, we had to turn to other official documents. We provided flight orders showing tail numbers of aircraft, AFMC records from Davis-Monthan detailing which aircraft were known to be spray aircraft, reports from other federal agencies such as the CDC/ATSDR stating that C-123 aircrews were exposed! How much more could Mr. Bonomi demand?

Further, I am confused about how JSRRC could have ignored the initial, 1979 testing on Patches, so clearly documented at both AMC and USAFSAM. The additional testing at The Air Force Museum further substantiated the contamination, and that report was overlooked also. As was all the documentation from Hill AFB and Davis-Monthan.


Conclusion: Get them even more data. Get it from our members, from the 439th and other units which flew the post-Vietnam C-123 fleet, and get it from HQ AFRC. To do this well, I need EVERYONE's collection of official documents, such as flight orders, Form 5s and anything showing tail numbers and units to which the airplanes were assigned. Now, if you can...pretty please?

Otherwise, JSRRC will happily continue to screw every single C-123 claim we submit to the VA!

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