More than four decades ago, the U.S. military blanketed Vietnam with
Agent Orange and researchers continue to find ways the toxic herbicide
has sickened the nation's veterans.
The U.S. military used Agent Orange to deforest land during the Vietnam War.
date, researchers blame Agent Orange for causing 14 illnesses in
veterans, who are eligible for federal compensation and health care.
But some Vietnam vets are sick with conditions not on the official list, but insist Agent Orange is the cause.
However for many purported connections, there is no proof, at least so far.
Gumm lives in the small house he grew up in on the west side of
Milwaukee. Photographs of his parents dot the living room walls. His old
dog tags hang over one frame.
Forty-five-years ago, Gumm was
stationed at a small air base tucked between rice paddies in
southwestern Vietnam. He recalls U.S. transport planes spraying Agent
Orange around the base, to defoliate the land.
“This was not
gentle stuff and you know, we had to walk through it. And you didn’t
know what it was. That’s the problem. Some people got boils, some people
got sick,” Gumm says.