Monday, August 24, 2015

A Poisoned Legacy: Contractors who worked at Eglin’s Agent Orange spray fields still live with its effects 
Von Jones sits at a conference room table, a yellow legal pad in his hands. On it are written the names of 40 of his former co-workers at Vitro Services, a defense contractor that once managed the test ranges on Eglin Air Force Base’s reservation.
According to Jones, many of the people on the list died from illnesses that scientists have linked to exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide made with the toxic chemical compound dioxin.
“There are probably more than this,” the Crestview resident said as he flipped through the pages. “Of course, some folks might have gotten some of these conditions whether they were exposed or not. But it sure is interesting that so many people got sick, don’t you think?” 
‘What went on’ 
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the term “Agent Orange”?
For many people, the word is probably Vietnam, where an estimated 2 million American service members and 4 million Vietnamese citizens were exposed to the powerful herbicide and others like it between 1962 and 1971.
For men like Jones and his fellow range technicians at Vitro, however, the term brings back memories of a very different place, far from the jungles of Vietnam. For them, “Agent Orange” will always be synonymous with Eglin Air Force Base’s Site C-52A, where the herbicide was tested from 1962 to 1970.
“Everybody always talks about the guys in Vietnam,” said DeFuniak Springs resident Jody Mitchem, one of Jones’ former co-workers at Vitro. “No one ever talks about what went on down here.”

No comments:

Post a Comment