This summer, ProPublica and our partners at The Virginian-Pilot asked Vietnam-era veterans to help us investigate
the generational impact of Agent Orange exposure by sharing their
stories with us. More than 3,400 people have done so, including nearly
600 spouses, sons and daughters of veterans. Many of these relatives are
concerned that their veteran's health problems — and sometimes their
own — may be tied to wartime exposure to the toxic chemicals.
Mary said she believes her husband Robert's health issues — which
include Parkinson's disease – are connected to Agent Orange. Robert
served as an Army nurse in 1967 and 1968 in Da Nang, Vietnam.
"Robert worked in evacuation hospitals on the front lines," Mary
wrote. "He met and helped evacuate the wounded from the medical
helicopters, removed their contaminated clothing and prepared them for
Tamara suspects her father Stanley's heart and neurological issues
are tied to his service in the Army's 25th Infantry Division, which also
operated in Da Nang.
"My father explains about being completely covered in Agent Orange
during his tour in Vietnam," Tamara wrote. "He was in constant contact
with the ground and foliage. He suffers from severe [pulmonary disease]
and is oxygen dependent due to breathing Agent Orange and living IN IT!"
Four decades after the fall of Saigon, these families and many other
Vietnam veterans are struggling with health problems they say are
related to Agent Orange.