Nearly three dozen
rugged C-123 transport planes formed the backbone of the U.S. military’s
campaign to spray Agent Orange over jungles hiding enemy soldiers
during the Vietnam War. And many of the troops who served in the
conflict have been compensated for diseases associated with their exposure to the toxic defoliant.
But after the war, some of the planes were used on cargo
missions in the United States. Now a bitter fight has sprung up over
whether those in the military who worked, ate and slept in the planes
after the war should also be compensated. Two U.S. senators are now
questioning the Department of Veterans Affairs’ assertions that any
postwar contamination on the planes was not high enough to be linked to disease.
“It appears that [the VA] does, in fact, plan to deny any C-123
claims regardless of the evidence submitted in a particular case,” the
senators wrote. The letter notes that a group of outside experts have
called the VA’s scientific conclusions “seriously flawed.”
The Air Force says the planes’ destruction was handled properly.
of the potential stigma associated with these aircraft, the Air Force
ensured that the recycling of the aircraft was accomplished completely
and that the metal was not stored improperly or abandoned prior to being
smelted,” an Air Force statement said.
READ MORE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/agent-oranges-reach-beyond-the-vietnam-war/2013/08/03/803e57c0-e816-11e2-aa9f-c03a72e2d342_story.html