VA was wrong. Easy for the C-123 veterans to say this in 2015, but it takes a careful review of VA's documents over these past four years to see the determination, and the deception, with which our claims were greeted...and doomed to VBA's blanket denials.
In this August 2013 document, the conversation is about Paul Bailey's DRO decision awarding him service connection for C-123 Agent Orange exposure. The award came just before Paul's death, and VA actually considered overturning it from Washington!
To illustrate how deceptive or mistaken VA was over the years, I've placed red X's over statements now shown by events to be wrong. VA was wrong scientifically, wrong morally, wrong per VA's own VAM21-1MR, wrong per the Veterans Claims Assistance Act.
VA was wrong. Veterans were right and the IOM C-123 report finally established the fact, but we were left to pay the price for VA's knee-jerk "not on my watch" response to our Agent Orange exposure claims. It is wrong that VA made us prove that our aircraft were contaminated and we were exposed to Agent Orange aboard them.
VA fought everything about this for four years when it should have been fighting for us, seeking a way for our veterans to qualify for service connection for the typical Agent Orange-related illnesses.
Given the seriousness of VA forbidding access to its medical care and other veterans benefits, there is no excuse for any errors made by VA in coming to their position against us and their decision to deny all our claims. But look below and read how VA tried to justify itself for opposing C-123 veterans' claims, and from today's perspective see how wrong VA was in its facts..
If VA moves to refuse veterans vital medical care for cancers and other ailments, such a fateful decision must be based on a perfect grasp of all facts, and a preference to qualify vets for coverage if possible rather than construct false barriers to their claims.
Below, there are far too factual errors, too many red X's when there's no excuse for even one, yet VA pumped out inaccurate correspondence like this for four years. We have yet to uncover any effort during these 48 months for such mistakes to be corrected, but rather, mistakes were heaped together to form VA's opposition to C-123 veterans, one mistake upon another.