HUDSON, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly a year ago, a Board of Veterans Appeals judge told 69-year-old Air Force Veteran Bill Davis of Hudson that he needed a letter from a doctor stating his illnesses are service-related.
He received two. But what he hasn’t received is a decision from that judge about his claim for disability benefits.
In 1972, the Air Force shipped Davis, then just 21 years old, to Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand.
Air Force Veteran Bill Davis worked with carcinogenic chemicals and was exposed to toxic herbicide while in Southeast Asia
Davis maintained OV-10s, fighters designed to photograph the enemy, destroy them or call in airstrikes.
“When I was in there, I gave them everything I had,” he explained.
When and if the time came, Davis only hoped the government would do the same for him.
Davis followed orders. He never asked about a weed killer sprayed on the flight line where he worked and the nearby base perimeter.
Bill Davis says he gave the Air Force everything he had while serving
“At that point in time, everyday, I was on that flight line, I was exposed to Agent Orange,” he claimed.
He never questioned – until his lungs later filled with tumors – cleaning fighter jet engine parts with Trichloroethylene.
“You filled the sink up with it and then you stuck your hands in there to move the parts around,” he recalled.
And never for a minute did Davis consider that when the Air Force sent the OV-10s, along with Davis, to Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, it would be left off his military record.
In 2012, Davis connected the dots linking Agent Orange and carcinogenic cleaners to his heart disease and Sarcoidosis of the lungs. The VA said none of that is service-connected.
“I put a claim in and they denied it,” Davis said.
The VA even told him with no record of him in Vietnam, he wasn’t exposed to Agent Orange.
“They just disgrace you,” he explained.