SIDNEY – A legislative measure to fully identify military veterans exposed to the toxic defoliant, Agent Orange, has a strong local advocate.
Ed Ball, Executive Director of the Shelby County Veterans Service Commission, has gathered data for a long period of time seeking benefits for those he feels are being shut out of veteran’s benefits due their rightful share. He claims that currently more than 90,000 surviving servicemen should qualify for benefits that are being denied.
Attention to this effort continues to grow. His findings are now before federal and state officials, and will soon be distributed to state commission directors.
The social media world has endless listings regarding Agent Orange. As with any topic, the authenticity of the information found online can be questioned at times. The burden is clearly on the consumer to interpret such information.
To better explain Agent Orange and its impact, the SDN has provided the information below from the website for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at www.publichealth.va.gov.
• Agent Orange is a blend of tactical herbicides the U.S. military sprayed from 1962 to 1971 in the Vietnam War to remove trees and dense tropical foliage that provided enemy cover.
• More than 19 million gallons of various “rainbow” herbicide combinations were sprayed, but Agent Orange was the combination the U.S. military used most often. The name “Agent Orange” came from the orange identifying stripe used on the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored.
• Heavy sprayed areas included forests near the demarcation zone, forests at the junction of the borders of Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam, and mangroves on the southernmost peninsula of Vietnam and along shipping channels southeast of Saigon.