Thursday, November 25, 2010

Speaking Out After Decades of Silence

Reporter: K. Oanh Ha

California is home to many Vietnamese-Americans who fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam war. Over time, these soldiers developed cancers because of their exposure to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange. But while American-born vets can get medical care and disability compensation for their Agent Orange-related illnesses, America's former allies get no such benefits.

Luc Nguyen is now a naturalized citizen, but in the 1960s he was a South Vietnamese soldier, working as a translator for the U.S. military. South Vietnamese soldiers frequently got Agent Orange on their skin and clothing when patrolling jungles that had been sprayed. Others were exposed when they sprayed agent orange by hand or helped transport and mix the chemicals.

Luc's former American commander, retired 4-star general Louis Wagner, says there's no question he and Luc were frequently exposed to Agent Orange.


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