09 May 2015

C-123 Veterans Ask, "Where is my Senator's help with our Agent Orange illnesses?"

Saturday, Ohio's C-123 veterans gathered to enjoy the fellowship of each other's company. They also discussed the Agent Orange exposures suffered during the years of flying former Operation Ranch Hand C-123 spray aircraft. They were joined by Dr. Pete Lurker who explained the C-123 contamination studies done by the USAF and the Institute of Medicine.

For fourteen years Ohio's volunteers were subjected to this deadly toxin which the VA has only recently acknowledged. But...VA has done nothing further, nothing to help.

Although VA has accepted the findings of the Institute of Medicine which confirmed both the C-123 contamination and the veterans' exposures, Secretary McDonald of the VA has yet to permit any medical care or other benefits earned by these men and women.

Members of the Senate have spoken up in defense of C-123 veterans. In an effort first led by Senator Burr of North Carolina and Senator Merkley of Oregon, and joined by Senators Warren, Wyden, Bennet, Blumenthal and Brown, the VA has been called to task for its stubborn refusal to care for C-123 veterans' Agent Orange illnesses.

Ohio's veterans and C-123 vets from every other state besides Oregon ask, "Where is my senator – why isn't any help offered in our struggle with the VA? Are we vets not worthy of our senators' involvement in this bipartisan and bicameral effort?"

Oregon is the only state with both its senators involved. Five states have one of their two senators helping but forty-four states are represented by legislators who've not yet stood with us!

Colorado veterans ask about Senator Gardner (R) and hope he'll help as has Senator Bennet (D.) We ask as well about every other senator not shown below. Why, in particular, is Senator Burr the sole Republican in this worthy cause, in an effort he initiated way back in 2011?

Does consideration of our suffering move Democrats more that it moves Republicans?

The VFW, DAV, American Legion, Air Force Sergeants Association, Paralyzed Veterans Association, Vietnam Veterans of America, C-123 Veterans Association and Reserve Officers Association ask why Secretary McDonald has not yet acted to protect C-123 veterans. VA has known of our Agent Orange exposures for four years or more but the Secretary still forbids any care for their resulting illnesses. Our legislators can ask any of these veterans organizations about the justification and the need to press VA to care.

Please, Senators...invite leaders of the veterans' groups or invite our own C-123 veterans to learn more about this issue. We'd appreciate the opportunity to brief staff (we hear the real work is done there!)

We all ask, why aren't all one hundred members of the United States Senate shown below along with these seven legislative leaders who truly care about America's veterans?

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