27 September 2014

Joint Services Records Research Center Confirms C-123 Veterans' Agent Orange Exposures

After years of effort, and countless documents submitted to both VA and the Joint Services Records Research Center from other government agencies, the USAF and civilian authorities, JSRRC has finally been permitted by VA to update C-123 veterans' exposure claims.

JSRRC will now reply to VA with the statement below, citing CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports which VA itself had since 2011...but chose to disregard until now. Even with this evidence to satisfy all requirements, VA has ordered its regional offices to delay or all deny C-123 claims until the current IOM C-123 committee report is released. Regional offices thus are to ignore the JSRRC report despite their own VA21-1MR which "has the force of law" according to the Federal Circuit Court. But...VA views laws as requirements upon veterans, not their Department.

VA's regulation VA21-1MR states that for non-Vietnam exposure claims VARO adjudicators should inquire at the US Army Joint Services Records Research Center for military documentation. Since 2011, VA has hindered JSRRC in what can be fed back to VA, with VA authorities insisting on only military source documents.

This was impossible, because the C-123s were not known to be contaminated with Agent Orange during the years we flew (1972-1982) so naturally there are no contemporary documents about ant contamination. This May, however, VA relented under Congressional pressure and permitted JSRRC to reveal its documents. The documents make the case rock-solid: C-123 vets were exposed!

It is unacceptable for VA to continue ordering is regional offices to dismiss all medical and scientific evidence C-123 veterans submit, because this action denies us due process. We can't expect adjudicators to be experts in Constitutional law, but Cushman is easily Googled and after reading that, every claims official should realize his/her individual duty to obey his/her oath of office..."to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Here is the current JSRRC response to VA inquiries regarding C-123 veterans' claims:

"In the course of our research, we located additional information that could be relevant to Mr. Carter's Agent Orange claim and appeal, and therefore, are forwarding this information to your office:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the Department
of Health and Human Resources communicated its opinion
regarding the Agent Orange contamination and exposure
issue surrounding UC-123K planes utilized in the United
States, post-Vietnam, by Air Force Reserve units. The
opinion of the CDC regarding these aircraft and the
AF Reserve aircrew and maintenance personnel that served
on these aircraft includes the following findings:
a. Based on the information reported in a Department of
the Air Force Armstrong Laboratory consultative letter
dated December 19, 1994, (a review of dioxin sampling
results from a UC-123K aircraft) aircrew operating in
this environment were exposed to TCDD (dioxin).
b. Inhalation exposure to TCDD while working on contam-
inated aircraft could not be excluded.
c. TCDD levels on-board these aircraft were likely even higher
in 1972 through 1982 than in 1994 when the samples were
taken.

Also, the Air Force Armstrong Laboratory consultative
letter reported the following information regarding
the UC-123K aircraft sampled:
a. The interior of the aircraft was heavily contaminated
with PCDDs (dioxin).
b. All four samples tested positive for dioxin congeners.
The source was likely from Agent Orange.
c. Once the aircraft is restored, viewing should be
limited to the exterior of the aircraft only"

The JSRRC point of contact is Mr. Dominic Baldini, Chief Joint Services Records Research Center, Fort Belvoir, VA. The VBA liaison officer to JSRRC is Mr. James Sampsel, Compensation and Pension Service. We do not know the name of the VBA or VHA official who permitted C-123 veterans' to be denied Due Process in the adjudication of our claims.

3 comments:

  1. Hello,

    My name is Kayla Kemp. I am a law student at the University of Missouri School of Law. I am currently enrolled in the Veteran's Clinic. We are currently trying to establish that a fuel specialist was exposed to Agent Orange through his job of refueling and maintaining flight logs in C-123's at Elmendorf, AFB.

    Our clinic would love to discuss the facts of our case with you and possibly gain any insight you may have for trying to prove exposure to Agent Orange.

    Thank you for your service. Have a good day.

    Best,

    Kayla Kemp
    Law Student
    k.e.kemp@mail.missouri.edu
    573.579.6029

    Angela Drake
    Supervising Attorney
    drakea@missouri.edu
    573-882-7630

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr. Carter:

    Your work on agent orange exposure has been of great help for law students at the University of Missouri Veterans Clinic. I'm a 3rd year student researching the case of a deceased veteran who refueled airplanes at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska from 1965 to 1968. He recently died of complications from type II diabetes. We're looking for USAF veterans connected to Elmendorf who can attest to the type of planes that flew into the base, as well as the nearby use of agent orange for foliage control.

    Our clinic is helping the veteran's widow collect deferred medical and disability payments. If you know of Elmendorf veterans through your professional network, please share my contact info with them. Also, feel free to get in touch with questions or concerns.

    Best,
    Matt Schacht

    University of Missouri
    School of Law
    423-742-1429 (cell)
    matthewschacht@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe the situations are different, with this JSRRC applying to post-Vietnam vets whose squadrons had assigned to them former Agent Orange spray aircraft. These planes didn't rotate back to CONUS until 1971-1972, and wouldn't have transitted Elmendorf. Good luck finding other vets who can recount local herbicide spray operations.

    ReplyDelete

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