C-123 veterans were invited by the Institute of Medicine to present the basis for their Agent Orange exposure claims at the Institute's 16 January 2013 meeting at University of California-Irvine. The basis for their exposure claims for service aboard contaminated C-123 military medium assault transports used first in Vietnam for spraying Agent Orange, were discussed in detail with the IOM and are reported here.
Scientists from several universities, as well as from the CDC/ATSDR, US Public Health, EPA and others had already joined in confirming the Agent Orange exposure of C-123 veterans - all expert opinions were unpaid. Only the VA among federal agencies has concluded veterans weren't exposed and did so by inventing "bioavailability" as additional requirement, not in the law, to establish dioxin exposure. Further, VA has grouped all expert findings, other than those from VA staff, as "unacceptable lay evidence" to include exposure confirmations even from VA physicians and other doctors.
USAF faced the necessity of destroying the remaining C-123 aircraft stored at Davis-Monthan AFB's "boneyard" due to their Agent Orange contamination. Sales and parting out were not possible and a potential $3.4 billion EPA fine was in view. DOD Agent Orange Consultant recommended destruction of the airplanes, especially because veterans (already exposed!) who'd flown the airplanes earlier might learn of the contamination, and their exposure, and turn to the VA for medical care. OSD's statement clearly was to prevent veterans from proceeding on their claims, and the statement to the AF was taken up by managers at the 505th Sustainability Squadron as they sought Air Staff approval for C-123 shredding and smelting...and by repeating OSD's recommendation to hide the process from the media and the veterans, it became AF policy.
It should be clear. Veterans had ALREADY been exposed...the harm was done. They should have been told of this when first discovered by the USAF, rather than having the evidence about it destroyed specifically to prevent their learning of the C-123 contamination history and the right...indeed, for many, the NEED to turn to the VA for medical care for exposure to deadly dioxin. Shame on the Air Force Surgeon General for opting NOT to inform exposed veterans of the damage to their health "out of concern not to cause undue distress" as reads his distribution memo.
Shame on all parties involved for this "magnificent" deception. Shame on those who congratulated the players for their secrecy. Shame on the Base Public Affairs for a piece of tainted "journalism" which brings discredit to the United States Air Force!