03 November 2014

General Officer Statement on C-123 Safety

Patches, Tail # 362, now at USAF Museum, Dayton OH
In October 1979, even after tests were performed on a C-123K assigned to the 731st Tactical Airlift Wing and Agent Orange was identified which still contaminated the airplane, BG Don Haugen made the following statement to thousands of his personnel:
"As far as aircraft safety is concerned, although there is never a warranty, the C-123 is as safe as humanly possible."
I personally worked for this leader and admired him greatly. But he was in error.

The C-123 was a deadly hazard that had already poisoned us for seven years, and that would continue poisoning us for three more until the last was flown into desert storage. 

Agent Orange, identified on Patches (Tail #362,) remained on many of our aircraft following their Vietnam Agent Orange spray missions. The Conway tests proved this, but neither we nor our leadership were informed then, or ever since. We had to find out by the Freedom of Information Act.

What happened? Where was the leadership due us from the USAF Surgeon General?

Where is the leadership and responsibility of the Department of Veterans Affairs when we turn to it with proof of our illness, proof of our exposures, and find the VA locking its hospital doors against us?

Has VA not read its own mission statement, so horribly abused this Year of VA Scandals?

Mission, Vision, Core Values & Goals

Mission Statement

To fulfill President Lincoln's promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.

Core Values

VA’s five core values underscore the obligations inherent in VA’s mission: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence. The core values define “who we are,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans and eligible beneficiaries. Our values are more than just words – they affect outcomes in our daily interactions with Veterans and eligible beneficiaries and with each other. Taking the first letter of each word—Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence—creates a powerful acronym, “I CARE,” that reminds each VA employee of the importance of their role in this Department. These core values come together as five promises we make as individuals and as an organization to those we serve.
Integrity: Act with high moral principle. Adhere to the highest professional standards. Maintain the trust and confidence of all with whom I engage.
Commitment: Work diligently to serve Veterans and other beneficiaries. Be driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission. Fulfill my individual responsibilities and organizational responsibilities.
Advocacy: Be truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries.
Respect: Treat all those I serve and with whom I work with dignity and respect. Show respect to earn it.
Excellence: Strive for the highest quality and continuous improvement. Be thoughtful and decisive in leadership, accountable for my actions, willing to admit mistakes, and rigorous in correcting them.

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