20 July 2013

DOD Denies Request to Designate C-123 as "Agent Orange Exposure Sites"

In May, the C-123 Veterans Association requested the Department of Defense to designate the already-destroyed toxic C-123 fleet as "Agent Orange Exposure Sites."

This designation is used by VA claims officials in denying exposure claims from C-123 veterans, as well as throughout the Internet and especially, on VA pages. DOD has refused, citing VA and USAF reports.

Why is this important? Because VA cites the absence of C-123s on the DOD list as their reason for denying claims.

Why is this ridiculous? Because DOD says they don't maintain such a list, and in particular, cites the VA as their authority for determining C-123s weren't contaminated. DOD also cites the 2012 USAF C-123 Consultative Letter which was flawed in so many scientific areas that it stands discredited. For instance, the Consultative Letter could never have withstood peer review and publication!

Next step? We again ask DOD's help. Framing our request around their response to our May inquiry, we'll ask that DOD realize that the issue of the amount of dioxin contamination is irrelevant. We'll ask that DOD weigh the role of OSD and AFMC officials in their efforts to destroy the C-123s to prevent veterans' claims. We'll ask that DOD weigh the USAF Office of Environmental Law's recommendation in 1996 to "keep all information in official channels only." And finally, we'll ask that DOD accept the fact that numerous other federal agencies have concluded C-123s were contaminated and the crews exposed.

Let's hope our request reaches somebody who actually wore a flight suit at some point in their careers, somebody who can weigh the importance of this argument.

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