I wish to thank The C-123 Veterans Association for the tons of information on your website, I can see many days and sleepless nights compiling the info.
I am a Viet Nam Vet 66-67 and on disability (70%) from the VA, having said that, I am working on a claim for my ex-wife and daughter for direct exposure to AO, my daughter was born there in the Canal Zone and we lived in base housing. Your web site and the wealth of information on AO, has been a god send.
I was stationed with the 24th SOW, Howard AFB Canal Zone, 69 thru 73, and my wife and daughter was with me. In 69 the 24th SOW started getting C-123's directly from Viet Nam, they were a damn mess. Five of the birds were ex-Ranch Hand, 54-607, 54-656, 54-658, 55-4532 and 55-4571. From all of the correspondence on your website I know you recognize 54-607...I worked on it some. I worked primarily on 54-656 and your web site has been the only place that I have found any information saying that 54-656 was even a Ranch Hand bird I knew it was but couldn't prove it. There is very little info on it.
As I said, the birds were a mess inside and out the anti skid flooring was pealing up and missing in the fuselage the walls all stained troop seats filthy. My job was crew chief, cleaning the walls striping the floor new anti skid as much as I could even to taking all the troop seats home for home laundering this is all documented on my performance report by tail number. We did not know the danger, all the work was done in regular fatigues and boots no rubber gloves, no rubber boots or hazmat coveralls. I would go home and pick up my daughter and play with her wash her clothes in the same washer and drier as doing the troop seats and my fatigues, she would crawl all around on the floor where I had been walking in boots that just minutes before had been walking around in the ex-Ranch Hand birds.
James Dunn MSgt (USAF Ret)