06 October 2015
My C-123 Agent Orange Claim Approved Yesterday
I had to work long and hard on this claim, using it to advance all C-123 veterans' claims, for nearly all of the past four and a half years for this claim. I had to spend over $22,000, plus about $11,500 contributed by other C-123 vets (most of whom are already covered by VA) to pursue the final resolution.
I detail all this only because it should have been unnecessary, but became essential when VA opted to disregard its legal and moral duties. The effort was worthwhile because it led to coverage for thousands of Active Duty and Reserve C-123 aircrew, maintainers and life support veterans, and our families.
I sincerely appreciate the unfailing support from Senators Burr and Merkley and their staffs, and the more recent efforts by VA leadership and staff to resolve my claim and those of other C-123 veterans.
But, as Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) told the Associated Press about us,
"It shouldn't have been this hard or taken this long."
The worry remains: how many other veterans are in similar situations having faced different hazards, but perhaps don't even know it or can't self-advocate?