Wednesday, December 12, 2018

VVA Condemns Obstruction of “Blue Water Navy” Bill by Sen. Enzi




IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            December 11, 2018 No. 18-25
Mokie Porter
301-996-0901

VVA Condemns Obstruction of “Blue Water Navy” Bill by Sen. Enzi

(Washington, D.C.) -- “It is beyond disappointing that a single senator, Mike Enzi (R-WY), has obstructed H.R. 299, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, a bill that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 382-0 and would assuredly pass in the Senate if the members of that body were given the opportunity to vote on it,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.

On Monday, December 10, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) brought up the Blue Water Navy bill on the floor of the Senate. When she asked for unanimous consent, it was the senior senator from Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who objected, citing cost concerns and saying that it would cause “budgetary and operational pressures that would happen at the VA.”

Earlier this year, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie voiced opposition to the legislation, reversing an earlier commitment by his predecessor, Dr. David Shulkin, to “do the right thing.”

“Congress is only too glad to throw money, and lots of it, at the Department of Defense for questionable programs, citing the need for a strong defense,” said Rowan. “The Senate is being prevented from ‘doing the right thing’ for a relative handful of veterans who served with honor in the waters off the coast of Vietnam and are now hurting from effects of exposure to Agent Orange.”

“Contrary to the VA’s assertions, we have the science that shows the pathways of exposure to this insidious herbicide. So we endorse the sentiments of two legislators, a Republican senator and a Democratic congressman, who make the case for passing this long-needed legislation.”

“This is an issue of justice,” said Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). “This is an issue of bureaucracy, frankly, not doing the intent of what Congress was, when it was originally passed. And this would clarify that so that we can make sure these vets get the benefits they deserve.”

“All too often,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), “members of this Congress are willing to pay lip service to the sacrifices our military and military veterans make, then fall into the trap of playing politics when there’s a chance to actually do something to help them.”


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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - Agent Orange Newsletter

MESSAGE FROM DR. LOREN ERICKSON

Dr. Loren Erickson , MD, MPH, DrPH
As both a Veteran and the son of a Vietnam Veteran, and as the Director and Chief Consultant for VA’s Post Deployment Health Services (PDHS), I welcome you to the 2018 issue of the Agent Orange Newsletter. This newsletter includes information for Veterans and their families who may be concerned about herbicide exposure. I appreciate the contributions of Veterans, and I hope this issue of the newsletter provides you with helpful information.
This issue provides information on the conditions that VA presumes are caused by Agent Orange exposure and how to obtain benefits for health conditions. You can also read about the health care and benefits available to those who have lived or worked at Camp Lejeune and about liver fluke infection from eating undercooked or raw fish during military service in Southeast Asia. In addition, this issue profiles Veterans who have served in Vietnam and their reflections on VA services, including the Agent Orange Registry.
PDHS is a VA-delivered Foundational Service, meaning its work is fundamental to VA’s mission and is rarely found outside of VA. Along with the information provided in this newsletter, you can learn more from PDHS about diseases, benefits, and other resources related to Agent Orange at:

Monday, December 10, 2018

Torpedoing the Navy Veterans Agent Orange Bill

Is The Seven-Year Effort To Care For Blue Water Navy Veterans Exposed To Agent Orange Being Torpedoed By Senate Republicans And President Trump?
Where We Were December 3, 2018:
H.R 299, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act Of 2018, was passed by the U.S. House unanimously, 382 to 0, and went to the Senate on June 25. but a week ago, in an article from Tom Philpott in Stars and Stripes, we learned that as many as four Senators had placed a hold on the bill that President Trump has already agreed to sign, and that the bill was in jeopardy of failure, after seven years of legislative work by the non-profit, Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc. (MVA). Senators Paul Rand (R-Ky), Mike Lee (R-Ut), Mike Enzi (R-Wy) And Bill Cassidy (R-La) either had concerns about the veracity of the science or costs associated with the bill after years of research, gathering of eye-witness affidavits, capitol hill political wrangling, and several years of attempted passage of the bill, not to mention an estimated 20,000 deaths of the approximately 90,000 U.S. Navy Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Navy Vietnam veterans feeling betrayed march on VA

WASHINGTON (WFLA) - Navy Vietnam Veterans marched from a Washington, D.C. federal courthouse to the steps of VA headquarters with a message: They were poisoned at sea.
New Port Richey veteran Mike Kvintus was among them.
"All of us veterans have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and with that oath, we expect the country to take care of us," the Navy veteran said.
Instead, with a stroke of a pen, the VA abandoned 90,000 Navy Vietnam veterans who did not step foot on Vietnam soil.
The VA contends unlike troops that served on the ground, these Blue Water Navy veterans were not exposed to Agent Orange.
"It's a national disgrace as far as I'm concerned," Mike added.
The military sprayed 20 million gallons of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on Vietnam.
It ran into rivers and streams. It contaminated harbors and bays.
Ships like the American Victory, which served in Vietnam, turned contaminated sea water into fresh water. The distillation process only enhanced the chemicals, unknowingly poisoning crew members.
"We took water and distilled it, and actually bathed in it, ate food cooked in it and drank it," Mike explained.
Mike served on the U.S.S. Buchanan, a destroyer that according to deck logs, anchored in Da Nang Harbor when the military sprayed Agent Orange.
"The plume covered that whole harbor," Mike recalled.
The herbicide is known to cause at least 14 illnesses, including some cancers.
Mike suffers from three of the conditions.
"No one else in my family has any of these issues," Mike said.
A bill providing health care coverage and disability benefits for the Blue Water Navy veterans sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives, passing unanimously.
Republican Mike Lee of Utah holds it hostage in the Senate.

Price of Service: Health care program available for vets who served at Camp Lejeune

With a name like Marine, it sounds like a foregone conclusion what Richard Marine would be, but it wasn't easy. He was sitting in his seat on the bus going to boot camp at Parris Island when the drill instructor came on the bus.
“He was going through the checklist of names, “Richard recalled. “And he stopped and said, ‘I don’t believe this. You know who you are, stand up.’ And I assumed he was speaking to me because of my last name, which was correct. From that point forward, I had a certain level of special attention in order to earn the title Marine.”
After graduating boot camp at Parris Island in the summer of 1969, it was on to 10 weeks of infantry training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
“Everything I learned in the Marine Corps I was able to apply in life. I said life was wonderful and that's really the truth because we raised our kids, established our roots in the community, and got involved with a lot of things that were fun and fulfilling, and here we are. Despite what I consider to be myriad benefits, there was a significant price.”
In 2008 came the news that changed his life: he was diagnosed with cancer.
“People don't realize when they get struck down by cancer they don't immediately jump back to their time in service,” Richard said. "You don't even know how to make the connections.”

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 7, 1941


Agent Orange: Actions Needed to Improve Accuracy and Communication of Information on Testing and Storage Locations, Report to Congressional Addressees

Homeland Security Digital Library

"The House report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 included a provision that GAO [Government Accountability Office] review the government's handling of Agent Orange on Guam. This report examines (1) information the federal government has about the procurement, distribution, use, and disposition of Agent Orange; (2) DOD and VA [Veterans Affairs] efforts to make information about where Agent Orange and its components were tested and stored available; and (3) challenges associated with Agent Orange testing. GAO reviewed agency policies, documents, and available archival records that GAO identified; interviewed DOD, VA, and other agency officials; and met with a non-generalizable sample of 38 veterans and a veterans service organization."

Report Number:               GAO-18-24
Publisher:            United States. Government Accountability Office
Date:     2018-11
Copyright:           Public Domain
Retrieved From:               Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/
Format: pdf
Media Type:       application/pdf

Monday, December 3, 2018

Nature: 50 years after the US army sprayed Agent Orange over Vietnam, the wildlife is fighting back

Dawn. Smokin’ jungle either side of the Ho Chi Minh Highway: deep thick forest like giant broccoli, standing proud and high on slopes of dizzying steepness. A sweet coolness in the air that won’t last. And then the singing began: a joyous lamentation that filled the air above the trees, ringing out from one valley to the next.
Southern white-cheeked gibbons. Classified as endangered. They sound like the Clangers with more feeling: long, heartbreaking, ululating phrases that form the national anthem of the family that does the singing. It’s about family, territory, life, and the future. This is our home. Let’s keep it that way. It was a sentiment I encountered again and again in Vietnam.

H.R. 299 CBO Cost Estimate

READ ALL ABOUT IT!
On May 15, 2018, the Congressional Budget Office transmitted an estimate of the budgetary effects of H.R. 299, a bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes, as ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on May 8, 2018. Among other things, the act would provide disability compensation to more of the veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War under the assumption that they had been exposed to Agent Orange, a blend of herbicides used by the Department of Defense to remove dense tropical foliage. CBO estimated that those provisions would increase direct spending by about $900 million over the 2019-2028 period.
The bill that was passed by the House amended the earlier version to expand the nautical area in which veterans would be presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. That change would increase CBO’s estimate of the costs of the legislation by about $250 million to account for the additional veterans that would be affected.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

BLUE WATER NAVY VETS NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT












Contact your Senator NOW and ask them to please support H.R. 299 Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018

Vietnam Veterans of America - Legislative Alert 
November 29, 2018
Congress is very close to finally passing Blue Water Navy legislation, but unless the Senate acts in the next two weeks, that effort will fail.
For over a decade, Vietnam Veterans of America has sought legislation to restore presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to members of the Armed Forces, who served in the territorial waters of Vietnam.  H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, passed the House by a vote of 382-0 on June 25, 2018.
When the bill is enacted into law, “Blue Water” veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam, veterans who served near the demilitarized zone in Korea, and certain veterans who served in Thailand will again be eligible for compensation for service-connected, disabilities related to their exposure to Agent Orange.
VVA believes Congress should recognize that these veterans were exposed to Agent Orange and should authorize presumptive status for VA disability claims associated with this exposure. Now is the time to contact your Senators to ask them to support this bill. 
Take Action enter your zip code, and send the prepared letters to your Senator requesting that Senator Isakson, Chair, Senate Veterans Affair Committee  move H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2018, out of committee and on to the Senate floor for a vote and passage.
Please follow-up your letter with a call to the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator.
These veterans are aging, and the time to help them is now!

Barney Miller, Season 7, Episode 5 - Agent Orange

Sunday December 2 on FETV Network
CHECK YOU LOCAL LISTINGS...

















AGENT ORANGE and YOU!

courtesy Paul Ammiano via Paul Sutton

Reliving Agent Orange: What The Children of Vietnam Vets Have To Say
What Is Agent Orange? | History
The Dark Shadow of Agent Orange | Retro Report | The New York Times
The Children of Agent Orange
Impacts being seen in grandchildren of Vietnam War veterans, is it Agent Orange?
The Children of Agent Orange
Reliving Agent Orange: Blue Water Navy Veteran Jim Smith
What Agent Orange Does To The Body
Agent Orange Aftermath - Vietnam Veterans Speak Out - Vietnam: The Secret Agent
Do You Ever Think About A Vietnam Veteran's Kid?
Reliving Agent Orange: Charles Marshen was 'drenched in the defoliant'
Sprayed and Betrayed: Veterans exposed to Agent Orange feel abandoned by VA

Congress takes steps to expand burn pit research efforts

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming increasingly concerned that exposure to toxins produced by burn pits during deployments will mirror the experiences of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. In an effort to help address these concerns, earlier this year Congress passed the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. This Act marks the first major step by Congress to research how burn pits affected veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, while this legislation is another step forward in helping veterans suffering from exposure to burn pits, a true solution for burn pit exposure is most likely still years away.
Responding to the increasing concern regarding how exposure to burn pits is affecting veterans, this September, Congress passed the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. The Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act is the second piece of legislation Congress has passed to help veterans suffering from the effects of burn pit exposure, but the first piece of legislation that may finally provide answers regarding what conditions are caused by burn pit exposure.
In 2013, Congress required the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to establish the Burn Pit Registry to identify health conditions possibly related to burn pit exposure. While the Burn Pit Registry provided data for use in research it did not provide funding to carry out research regarding the data collected from the Burn Pit Registry.

Vt. Guard general’s death draws attention to burn pit dangers

Flags in Vermont are flying at half-staff in honor of a former Rhode Islander, Vermont National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael T. Heston, 58, who died Nov. 14 from an aggressive cancer linked to his three tours of duty in Afghanistan, one with the Rhode Island National Guard.
Flags in Vermont are flying at half-staff in honor of a former Rhode Islander, Vermont National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael T. Heston, 58, who died Nov. 14 from an aggressive cancer linked to his three tours of duty in Afghanistan, one with the Rhode Island National Guard.
Heston was buried with full military honors at the Veterans Cemetery in Randolph, Vermont, on Saturday. An order from Vermont Gov. Philip B. Scott said flags would be flown at half-staff until sunset Monday.
Heston, the oldest son of Thomas and Dorothea Heston, grew up in Cumberland, graduating from Cumberland High School in 1978 and from Roger Williams College in 1982.
During his 34-year military career, he rose to the second-highest rank in the Vermont National Guard. He was also a trooper in the Vermont State Police for 26 years, retiring as a sergeant in 2010.

Monday, November 26, 2018

'Dr. Orange': GAO report corroborates conclusions

The long-awaited Government Accountability Office report on the use of Agent Orange on Guam was not quite the smoking gun some veterans hoped for.
It does not conclude that the toxic herbicide made landfall or was used on island, as claimed by certain veterans.
For one man familiar with the history of Agent Orange, the report speaks more toward the opposite.
Alvin Young, commonly called "Dr. Orange" for his expertise on tactical herbicides, said the GAO corroborated his prior conclusions.
Young often has been criticized for his opposition to claims that Agent Orange was used on Guam and elsewhere. Pro Publica, a nonprofit based in New York City, ran an exposé on Young, tying the scientist to government rhetoric denying Agent Orange claims.
The military consistently has denied that Agent Orange was ever present on Guam.
But the issue has weaved in and out of headlines over the years, and recent claims of herbicide spraying from the late Master Sgt. Leroy Foster reignited interest in the topic. Certain members of Congress requested a review of potential links between the herbicide and Guam.
After reviewing logbooks for 96 percent of vessels known to have transported Agent Orange, the GAO found one ship carrying Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides stopped at Apra Harbor en route to Vietnam more than 50 years ago, but there is no evidence indicating the toxic cargo was offloaded on island.
"They did acknowledge that the SS Gulf Shipper stopped at Port Apra on the way to Vietnam. However, they make the argument that why unload any tactical herbicide and move it to Andersen (Air Force Base) when there was simply no justification – especially if the conclusion is that the tactical (herbicide) was then flown to Vietnam. Makes no sense," Young said.

Benefits for thousands of Navy veterans depend on Georgia senator's next move

The clock is ticking on a bill to help Vietnam-era Navy veterans, and time is running out on many of them who are now sick.
The legislation extends health care and disability benefits to Navy veterans suffering from exposure to the toxic herbicide known as Agent Orange.
The so-called Blue Water Navy bill would assist 50-70,000 Navy veterans. 
In June, the measure sailed through the U.S.House of Representatives, where it received a unanimous endorsement.
Then instead of leading the way, Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson, blocked the door.
About 90,000 U.S.sailors fought in the Vietnam War, not on the ground, but from the sea. 
Their ships pulled into Vietnam's bays and harbors.
Veteran Mike Kvintus of New Port Richey was one of them.
"My ship sailed into Da Nang Harbor, and the days that I was there, they sprayed Agent Orange all over the harbor," Mike recalled.
The U.S. military sprayed millions of gallons of the herbicide Agent Orange on Vietnam, to kill vegetation in which the enemy hid and rob them of their food supply. 
The powerful defoliant is now killing Americans. 
"I have diabetes, I have heart disease, neuropathy, I have kidney disease, all these are associated with Agent Orange.
The VA doesn't agree.
It maintains the science connecting Agent Orange to sailors that never touched Vietnam soil, is just not there.
"Baloney," Commander John Wells of Military Veterans Advocacy said.
According to Mr. Wells, a major force behind this bill, this isn't about science, it is about money that the VA does not want to pay.
Cdr. Wells cites studies that show Agent Orange ran into streams and rivers, then ended up offshore.
There, U.S. ships converted contaminated sea water to water that crews drank, cooked and bathed in.
The distillation process only enhanced the Agent Orange.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 2018

AOZ will be closed until Monday December 3 so our feral staff can enjoy the 
holiday with with anyone willing to tke the risk

Dioxins in food more harmful than thought, EU watchdog says

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Tuesday slashed its recommended limits in food of dioxins and related toxins - chemicals that have been linked to problems with reproductive health, the immune system, hormone levels and tooth enamel.
Dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs are mainly by-products of industrial activities and can accumulate in the food chain, notably in fatty fish, cheese, eggs and farmed meat.
New data and techniques for modeling how long dioxins stay in the body convinced EFSA that the maximum weekly intake should be cut to just 2 trillionths of a gram per kilogramme of body weight - one seventh the previous limit, set in 2001.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Scientists call on VA to study Agent Orange impact in Vietnam veterans' kids

A new report calls for the Department of Veterans Affairs to look at the generational impact of male Vietnam veterans' exposure to dioxin -- a component of Agent Orange.
Decades after the Vietnam War ended, the children of soldiers who served say they continue to struggle grapple with the impact of Agent Orange exposure.
The new report, released Thursday by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, specifically looked into generational health effects of dioxin after a special request from the VA.
The group noted "there are relatively few studies on the health effects of paternal chemical exposures on their descendants, and none address Vietnam veterans specifically."
The majority of generational studies done by the scientific community regarding Agent Orange has been focused on women and not men. The report is the final study from the Veterans and Agent Orange series, a Congressionally mandated review that was required following the passage of The Agent Orange Act of 1991.
Agent Orange is a term that is used to describe a series of odorless herbicides that were used by the U.S. military to defoliate hiding places, fields and rice paddies used by the Viet Cong for survival.
Almost 20 million gallons of Agent Orange was sprayed in Vietnam, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs between 1962 and 1971.
The Vietnam Veterans of America, last week told ABC News that they will continue to educate and advocate for its members and their descendants regardless of the outcome of the report.

Gulf War and Health, Volume 11: Public Briefing

Dear Interested Parties:

This is a reminder that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Gulf War and Health, Volume 11: Generational Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War will hold a public briefing for the release of the committee’s report on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, from 10-11 AM in Room 250 of the National Academy of Science’s building at 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC. You and any interested colleagues are welcome to attend the briefing in person or via a webcast (using Zoom). The briefing will be led by the committee chair, Dr. Kenneth Ramos.
If you have not already done so, please let Pam McCray-Ramey (PMcCray@nas.edu) know in advance if you plan to attend the meeting in person.  If you’d like to participate via Zoom, please let Pam know and she will provide you with information for accessing the briefing on Monday, November 26.  You are welcome to distribute this notice to other interested parties and ask them to contact us about participation.

Sincerely,

Robbie Wedge
Roberta (Robbie) Wedge, M.S., Study Director
Senior Program Officer 
Health and Medicine Division | Find us at nationalacademies.org/HMD
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-334-3106

Veterans and Agent Orange: 11th Biennial Update

News from National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Nov. 15, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hypertension Upgraded in Latest Biennial Review of Research on Health Problems in Veterans That May Be Linked to Agent Orange Exposure During Vietnam War
WASHINGTON -- The latest in a series of congressionally mandated biennial reviews of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War found sufficient evidence of an association for hypertension and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS). The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report, Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018), focused on the scientific literature published between Sept. 30, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017.
From 1962 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed herbicides over Vietnam to strip the thick jungle canopy that could conceal opposition forces, destroy crops that those forces might depend on, and clear tall grass and bushes from the perimeters of U.S. bases and outlying encampments. The most commonly used chemical mixture sprayed was Agent Orange, which was contaminated with the most toxic form of dioxin. These and the other herbicides sprayed during the war constituted the chemicals of interest for the committee. The exact number of U.S. military personnel who served in Vietnam is unknown because deployment to the theater was not specifically recorded in military records, but estimates range from 2.6 million to 4.3 million.

GAO Report re: Agent Orange claims

READ THE REPORT

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

AGENT ORANGE TOWN HALL MEETING SCHEDULE

We update our meetings regularly on the Town Hall Meeting Calendar:
https://vva.org/AOTownHall.html








November 16, 2018
Libby, Montana
Contact: Willa Burgess

Burn Pits – the Agent Orange of the Iraqi War

The same deadly chemicals found in the herbicide Agent Orange that was sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam during the Vietnam War are being released in burn pits on U.S. military bases across Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Otherwise​ healthy U.S. service members are returning from deplo​yment with cancer, leukemia, respiratory illnesses and other chronic conditions,” said Chelsey Poisson, a RIC nursing student with prior military service in the R.I. Army ​National Guard. Poisson has made it her mission to advocate for service members who have been exposed​ to burn pits and to push for legislation to change military policies.
​​​Burn pits are massive holes backhoed in the ground to dispose of waste/garbage​ on U.S. military bases​. ​One of the largest burn pits​  – at Joint-Base Balad in Iraq – spanned 10 acres. Smaller metal barrels are used at smaller platoons. ​The danger, Poisson said, is what is being burnt in them.
“Everything is burned,” she said. “Because you’re in a war zone, you can’t call up the local waste management or recycling company t​o come by and pick up your trash. So the military thought the best way to get rid of their waste is to dig a large hole, pour in diesel fuel and set the trash on fire.”
“B​urn pits smolder for weeks or months at a time, often around the clock,” she said.
“When diesel fuel burns it releases benzene, a known carcinogen.”​ Benzene, she added, is also contained in many of the items being burned – paints, solvents, paint thinners, rubber, pesticides, chemically-treated uniforms, Styrofoam and plastics. 
And plastics proliferate on base, she said​​. Plastic water bottles have replaced canteens,​​ and plastic utensils have replaced their metal counterparts. When plastic burns it releases the same dioxins found in Agent Orange, another known carcinogen. ​
Exposure to benzene, dioxins and other toxic chemicals ​occurs through inhaling or passively ingesting the fumes, gases or ashes. If toxic ash settles in water bottles, eating utensils or on ​cigarettes, it can be passively ingested orally, w​hile airborne ash that settles on the very fine Iraqi sand can enter the lungs during strenous work or outdoor exercises.
Joint-Base Balad, an air base, had one of the largest burn pits in Iraq, said Poisson. “On average, 147 tons of garbage were burned per day,” she said​. “Burning operations ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep up with the trash accumulating on the base.”

Vietnam War veterans' kids say Agent Orange impact 'a nightmare'

READ THE STORY
Angelica Caye Kuhn was on the road to becoming a nurse.
The mother of two was working as a patient care technician nearly two decades ago when one day she heard a pop in her back.
She was in pain for days and, after several tests, she was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, a spinal cord defect common in children of male Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. The daughter of a combat Vietnam veteran who served in 1969 until 1970 in areas that were the most heavily sprayed with Agent Orange, Kuhn said most of her life she struggled with neurogenic stomach and bowel issues that were often misdiagnosed.
Her father years later would later be diagnosed with several heart conditions and diabetes all related to Agent Orange exposure.
Kuhn eventually received her nursing license and went back to work, but her career was short-lived. Since then, she has had 28 different surgeries and is now legally disabled.
"I am a hostage and a prisoner," she wrote in an email to ABC News. "Imprisoned by my handicap. All because of a KNOWN toxic chemical that was dumped on my unsuspecting father and millions of other unsuspecting members of our military, who have/are paying with their lives and the lives of their children!!!"

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Friday, November 9, 2018

Public release and briefing - National Academies Veterans and Agent Orange report

We are writing to inform you of the public release of the National Academies report "Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 11 (2018)". The release will take place at 11am EST on Thursday, November 15, 2018.
Concurrently, we will conduct a briefing on the report’s content presented by committee members Dr. Karl Kelsey, Dr. Mary Fox, and Dr. Wendy Bernstein. The briefing will be November 15 from 11:00 am to noon EST at the Keck Center of the National Academies (500 Fifth Street, NW; Washington DC 20001), Room 101. This briefing will also be broadcast over the web—remote participants will be able to view slides, hear the presentation, and participate in the question and answer session that follows.
If you would like to be a part of the briefing, please register by responding to this email with the name[s] and email address[s] of the participants and indicating whether they will attend in person or via the web. Questions may be directed to veterans@nas.edu. All are welcome; interested persons who are outside the Washington, DC area are encouraged to participate via the web.
Thank you for your interest in our work.

Dioxin contamination in Da Nang more serious than expected

The dioxin contamination of soil in Da Nang was worse than expected, experts said at a conference reviewing the cleanup on Tuesday.

The event, organized by the National Steering Committee for Post-war Clearance of Ordnance and Toxic chemicals and USAID, shared some details on dioxin cleanup at the Da Nang International Airport, a U.S. air base during the Vietnam War.
Pham Quang Vu, head of the Air Force and Air Defense’s Military Science Division, said earlier calculations had underestimated the actual contamination at the airport.
He said the actual amount of contaminated soil is 162,500 cubic meters and not 72,900 cubic meters as earlier estimated.
Anthony Kolb, chief of USAID’s environmental remediation unit, explained that experts only took soil samples from the surface and from that determined the depth to which the dioxin could have penetrated.
The dioxin had percolated three meters deeper than expected, he said at the conference in Da Nang.
Vu said the miscalculation could be attributed to the fact this was the first time this particular technology was used to remove dioxin from the soil on such a large scale. It involves heating the contaminated soil while covering it in concrete.
The finding could help make future dioxin assessments more accurate, especially at another ongoing cleanup project at the Bien Hoa Air Base in the southern province of Dong Nai. Bien Hoa is considered one of the worst dioxin-contaminated spots, with some 850,000 tons of soil feared contaminated.

Burn Pit Vet's Widower: Memos Show that Illness Didn't Need to Happen

It was in 2009 when Brian Muller first met his wife, Amie.
"We actually met at a music venue. And at the time I was playing music in a band and she had some friends there that were at the event," Muller, 45, from Woodbury, Minn., recalls in a recent interview with Fox News. "Her friends forced her to go out. I forced myself to go out and just to see some music."
He remembers how they discussed her service with the Minnesota Air National Guard.
"We ended up talking about what she does with the military," he says, "and at that time, she was doing a project to make video memorials for gold star families. Families that lost loved ones in Iraq or Afghanistan or any type of war."
"She asked me to write a song for those videos. And that's how we kind of started our relationship, as-- friends, and then it developed from there."
Brian has never served in the military but was impressed by Amie's service -- including her two tours in Iraq.
"She wanted to fly, and she joined the Air Force. And she got deployed and had her life kind of uprooted there for a while."
Amie was stationed at the Iraqi air base in Balad during both of her tours in 2005 and 2007. While her active service was already behind her, the effects from her time on that base still lingered.
"She didn't really want to talk about her time over there," Brian says. "Anytime a door would slam or a loud noise, she'd get startled very easily. She had a lot of PTSD [episodes] from just little things."
A decade after returning from Iraq, Amie's physical health also suffered. She was diagnosed with Stage III Pancreatic Cancer.
"I still remember Amie getting the call, and she looked at me," Muller says about the day they found out about her diagnosis back in April 2016.
"We walked around the corner just to make sure the kids didn't see. I could tell by the look in her face how scared she was. And I just kind of listening in to the call. And we just started shaking.
Both she and Brian believed it was related to her exposure to open-air burn pits used to destroy trash generated on the base. Nearly every U.S. military installation in Iraq during the war used the crude method of burn pit disposal, but Balad was known for having one of the largest operations, burning nearly 150 tons of waste a day.
The smoke generated from these pits hung above Amie's barracks daily.
"She talked about the burn pits even before she got cancer," Muller recalls, "and how the fact that they would change the filters on these ventilation systems quite frequently. And every time they'd change it would just be this black soot, so thick that you would think you'd have to change it every hour."

Supreme Court grants certiorari

In Gray v. Wilke the court will answer the question of “whether the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction under 38 USC § 502 to review an interpretive rule reflecting VA’s definitive interpretation of its own regulation, even if VA chooses to promulgate that rule through its adjudication manual.” The question arises out of the VA’s interpretation of the Agent Orange Act, an act that made it easier for veterans “to obtain disability compensation.” The Agent Orange Act “creates an automatic presumption of service connection” for any veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam and developed “one of several diseases medically linked to Agent Orange.” However, “[o]ver the past 20 years, VA has repeatedly narrowed its understanding of which Vietnam War veterans ‘served in the Republic of Vietnam’ and thus qualify for the Agent Orange Act’s automatic presumption.”

Monday, November 5, 2018

Vets Exposed to Agent Orange May Get Help From SCOTUS


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review a case that could eventually make it easier for veterans exposed to Agent Orange to obtain benefits.
The court said it would take a look at a 2017 ruling finding that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit didn’t have the authority to review 2016 changes by the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

Okinawa and Review of the Historical Records on Agent Orange



This paper by Dr. Alvin Young flies in the face of several documented instances where it has been proven that herbicides were, in fact, on Okinawa.

The Brown Water Navy

















courtesy Brian DuMont via Paul Sutton
This 1996 History Channel video is 46+ minutes long but well worth watching and really explains the history of and development of the Brown Water Navy in Vietnam. Many of the Brown Water Navy innovations came about once then-Vice Admiral (later CNO) Elmo R. Zumwalt became commander of all naval forces in Vietnam.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Big tax refunds coming for 130,000 veterans

More than 130,000 veterans are receiving letters on how to apply for refunds of taxes they paid on disability severance pay dating back to 1991 — a minimum of $1,750 per veteran.
While exact estimates were not available, because each veteran’s payout varies, the government could be paying out a minimum of $228 million in tax refunds, if all those eligible file claims.
The eligible veterans will have a year after the date of their letter from the Defense Department to file a claim for the refund, or three years after filing their tax return that reported the disability severance pay, whichever is later. Survivors of those who paid the taxes are also eligible for the refund, which would be paid to the estate of the veteran.
The mailings to 130,062 veterans started on July 9, and are scheduled to be completed by July 20. The letters are being sent by the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the Defense Department, because the IRS maintains the last known addresses of taxpayers, said Army Lt. Col. David Dulaney, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council.
These refunds are the result of a law passed in 2016 — the Combat Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 — which applies to veterans who received this pay dating back to Jan. 17, 1991, with taxes withheld. By law, DSP is not taxable if:
The DSP is paid for combat-related injuries determined by the military service at the time of separation, or, the veteran is eligible for disability compensation from the Veterans Affairs department.