Wednesday, March 31, 2010


from a retired Air Force Sergeant

The news release went on: "Overall, Ranch Hand pilots and ground crews examined in 2002 had not experienced a statistically significant increase in heart disease relative to the comparison group. Associations between measures of cardiac function and history of heart diseases and herbicide or dioxin exposure were not consistent or clinically interpretable as adverse."

Similarly, "the Ranch Hand enlisted ground crews, the subgroup with the highest dioxin levels and presumably the greatest herbicide exposure, exhibited a 14 percent decreased risk of cancer."

We do not concur. We believe that dioxin is associated with a lot more conditions that ravage and can eventually end the lives of our brother and sister veterans. We believe that the Ranch Hand Study should not end the government's investigation into the adverse health effects caused by or associated with exposure to Agent Orange. We are particularly concerned for our offspring and their children: There must be further investigation into the intergenerational effects of dioxin.

I'm proud that VVA took the lead and prodded the government to recognize the insidious and lingering effects of Agent Orange and other defoliants on the health and well-being of ground troops in Vietnam and, of course, the Air Force "hands" that did the spraying.

I hope that VVA will continue to lead, advocating and putting pressure on the powers that be in our government and insisting that additional research be properly funded and undertaken. We owe this to our children; the government owes this to us.




Tuesday, March 30, 2010

House Approves Legislation to Protect TRICARE
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., introduced legislation on March 19 which explicitly states that TRICARE and nonappropriated fund (NAF) health plans meet all of the health care requirements for individual health insurance. This technical correction will ensure TRICARE beneficiaries don’t suffer any inadvertent penalties under the language of national health care reform legislation passed by the House March 21.

While beneficiaries of these programs will already meet the minimum requirements for individual health insurance and will not be required to purchase additional coverage, H.R. 4887, The TRICARE Affirmation Act, would provide clarification by changing the tax code to state it in law. The bill was approved in the House by a vote of 403 to 0.

Monday, March 29, 2010

VA Proposes Important Amendment to Expand Healthcare for Veterans

Swords to Plowshares Encourages Vietnam Veterans Impacted by Agent Orange to Re-Open Claims

San Francisco (Vocus/PRWEB ) March 29, 2010 -- Vietnam War veterans who have endured the devastating health effects of Agent Orange for decades are encouraged to file a new claim or re-open an existing claim at the VA.

VA’s proposed regulation, which will make several diseases with proven scientific association to Agent Orange, has the potential to expand access to free lifetime healthcare for 200,000 or more Vietnam War veterans.

''We applaud Secretary Shinseki for taking this very important step to finally provide free healthcare and pay compensation to our Vietnam veterans who were denied the treatment they were rightfully owed,'' said Michael Blecker, Executive Director at Swords to Plowshares.

Secretary Shinseki is proposing, if the new rule is accepted, that Vietnam War veterans suffering from B-cell leukemias, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease will only have to show they have the condition and that they served in Vietnam in order to receive VA compensation payments as well as free VA healthcare.

“The Obama administration and VA Secretary Shinseki have demonstrated that they understand the urgency it takes to prevent further suffering and premature deaths among our aging Vietnam War veterans with serious, chronic illnesses caused by Agent Orange poisoning,” said Blecker.

Give aid to vets before foreigners
By Letters to the Editor/Gloucester County ...
March 19, 2010, 3:00AM
To the Editor:

As I struggled to find the size of the total worldwide aid package to which our country commits, I found two things:

The United States made a commitment over 50 years ago because we were the biggest, richest and most powerful — and smartest? — country in the world. We still get criticized for not giving enough.

I don’t have a master’s degree or a Ph.D in accounting, and the only thing I got from trying to compile this information was a big headache. When I tried, I only got to the millions upon millions upon millions section, and had to stop.

Why am I telling you this?

There are about 800,000 Vietnam war veterans out there not getting the appropriate aid from our country for the illnesses they received while fighting under some commitment nearly 50 years ago. Yet, we keep on sending aid to countries that are committed to either sitting on their lazy rear ends or stealing as much as possible before it gets to the poor, under an “at least some (aid) gets through” attitude.

U.S. House Resolution 2254 (The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009) would stop this madness and get aid to more of those who those would use it, with thanks that really shouldn’t be needed.

I understand that some 200 members of Congress have been pounding their chests in support of HR 2254 since 2009. Thank you, but please stop pounding and start pushing this through.

Many died over there in Vietnam and now, unfortunately, many who served there are dying here, in the biggest, richest and most powerful — and smartest? — country in the world.
If you really want to help a vet, spread the word, and make a call.

R. Eugene Mills

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More from George Claxton on Midland, Michigan Cleanup

Recently, DOW Chemical received an extension on enforcement of dioxin clean up in the area around Midland, Michigan.

The dioxin polluted area around Midland may be in more serious trouble than people may realize. In December, 2009 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decided that 2,3,4,7,8 Pentachloro -dibenzo-furan and PCB 126 were "human carcinogens" just like dioxin was in 1997. This was published in the journal LANCET ONCOLOGY.

There are, at least, three pollutants in the Midland, Michigan area which are now human carcinogens. Simply imagine what kind of injury they can have when combined together. ALL OF THE CLEAN UP SHOULD BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

George Claxton

Friday, March 26, 2010


(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc (VVA) applauds the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for attempting to utilize modern technology in the adjudication of claims for VA benefits. “We have been advocating for years that the VA implement some type of meaningful adjudication software and lifetime electronic health records,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.

“Although we commend the VA in their recent decision, we are somewhat disappointed that it took them this long to attempt to put a plan into action. VA also has a horrendous track record in managing and supervising IT contracts. We only hope they have learned from past mistakes and that they are prepared to use the lessons they have learned,” noted Rowan.

“There are, of course, many unanswered questions about VA’s proposal for which we hope to receive answers in the very near future. The VA News Release stated, ‘The contract is expected to be awarded in April with proposed solutions offered to VA within 90-days. Implementation of the solution is expected within 150 days.’ What concerns us is that VA will issue a contract for claims adjudication assistance before it knows what it wants and needs. It would obviously be poor judgment to execute a contract before the terms and conditions have been enunciated,” said Rowan.

There is also a concern that claimants for benefits with a claim based on ischemic heart disease may have their claim granted before a similar claimant with a claim such as diabetes type II related to exposure to Agent Orange. We must ensure that all veterans, no matter when or where they served, are treated equally. An additional concern is for claimants who file a claim based on ischemic heart disease and other conditions not related to exposure to Agent Orange. How will the VA process these claims in two different locations when there is only one claims file?

We are grateful to the VA and Secretary Shinseki, however we are still awaiting additional details regarding the implementation of this proposed initiative.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Technical legislation would clarify that VA health care for dependents meets minimum standard in health insurance reform bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced S. 3162, a bill to clarify that the health care VA provides to children with spina bifida born to veterans of the Vietnam War and to some veterans who served in Korea during specified times, as well as to children of women Vietnam veterans with certain birth defects, meets the standard of minimum health care coverage required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“This technical legislation will clarify that veterans’ dependents receiving VA health care meet the standard of minimum health care coverage,” said Akaka.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, individuals must hold a minimum level of health care coverage. Akaka’s bill would simply clarify that care provided by VA to certain dependents with spina bifida and other birth defects as well as to other dependents under the CHAMPVA program satisfies that requirement.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Sunday, March 14, 2010

EPA has extended the public comment period on their proposed cleanup guidelines for Dioxin to Friday April 2nd

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Agent Orange Used in America
Forwarded, courtesy of Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk in Canada

Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk is a former senior environmental scientist with Hatfield Consultants, and is familiar with the history of Agent Orange.

Where Was Agent Orange Used?

Listing of the use, testing or storage of Agent Orange, Agent Blue, Agent
Purple, Agent White or other herbicides which contain dioxin.
* Aberdeen Proving Ground (Aberdeen, Maryland)
* Apalachicola National Forest (Sophoppy, Florida)
* Avon Air Force Base, Florida
* Beaumont, Texas
* Brawley, California
* Bushnell Army Air Field, Florida
* Camp Detrick, Maryland
* Dar and Prek Clong, Cambodia
* Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
* Fort Gordon, Georgia
* Fort Richie, Maryland
* Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
* Guanica, and Joyuda, Puerto Rico
* Gulfport, Mississippi
* Huntington County (State College, Pennsylvania)
* Jacksonville, Florida
* Kauai, Hawaii
* Kingston, Rhode Island
* Kompong Cham Province, Cambodia
* Laos
* Las Marias, Puerto Rico
* Las Mesas Cerros and La Jugua (Mayaguez, Puerto Rico)
* Loquillo, Puerto Rico
* Mauna Loa, Hilo, Hawaii
* Operation PACER HO (Disposal At Sea)
* Pinal Mountains (Globe, Arizona)
* Pranburi and other locations in Thailand
* Prosser, Washington
* Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
* Wayside and Wilcox, Mississippi

[Source: Congressman Evans News Release 9 May 2003;
POC: Mary Ellen McCarthy Tel (202) 225-9756]


It would be unconscionable for disabled veterans to miss out on months of benefits because the government could not get its act together to issue a regulation on time.

REPORT: VA TO ADD AGENT ORANGE PRESUMPTIVE DISEASES -- VA will add Parkinson's, ischemic heart disease and hairy-cell leukemia to list of diseases presumed to be caused by Agent Orange exposure.

VA CONFIRMS NEW AGENT ORANGE PRESUMPTIVE DISEASES -- NOW WHAT? -- Approval of ischemic heart disease expected to clog VA's already backlogged disability benefits system.

VA PUTS "STAY" ON CLAIMS FOR NEW AGENT ORANGE PRESUMPTIVES -- Regional Offices told to hold, or "stay," claims for ischemic heart disease, Parkinson's and B-cell leukemia related to AO exposure.

VETS' GROUPS TO SUE VA IF AGENT ORANGE REGS AREN'T PUBLISHED BY MARCH 12 -- NVLSP, the Legion and MOPH say delay will harm the Vietnam veterans who suffer from VA's new presumptive diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CLAXTON - Dioxin Cleanup - Midland, Michigan

from GEORGE CLAXTON, past National Chair,
Vietnam Veterans of America Agent Orange/Dioxin Committee

Recently, DOW Chemical received an extension on enforcement of dioxin clean up in the area around Midland, Michigan.

The dioxin polluted area around Midland may be in more serious trouble than prople may realize. In December, 2009 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deceided that 2,3,4,7,8 Pentachloro -dibenzo-furan and PCB 126 were "human carcinogens" just like dioxin was in 1997. This was published in the journal LANCET ONCOLOGY.

There are, at least, three pollutants in the Midland, Michigan area which are now human carcinogens. Simply imagine what kind of injury they can have when combined together. ALL OF THE CLEAN UP SHOULD BE DONE IMMEADIATELY.

George Claxton

Dioxin Contamination Issues in Midland
Questions and Concerns of the Midland Community
Prior to the May 26, 2004, Community Meeting on Dioxin, Midland citizens were invited to submit their questions and concerns to the City of Midland regarding the dioxin issue in our community. Many of the hundreds of questions and concerns received were provided to the panelists who attended the meeting. These questions and concerns were used by the panelists to develop presentations for the first half of the Community Meeting. In addition, questions and answers from the community and audience members were addressed in a follow-up Q&A session during the second half of the meeting.
Following the Community Meeting, City staff compiled and categorized the questions and concerns received from Midland citizens. Because so many of the questions and concerns were similar, 15 main questions were developed from the hundreds that the City received. These 15 questions summarize and address the primary concerns of Midland citizens.
The answers provided below stem from information provided by the MDEQ, Dow, the Midland County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Community Health, City of Midland officials and the City's toxicology and legal consultants.

There was a study on the Midland area. The title was "Spatial variations in the incidence of breast cancer and potential risks associated with soil dioxin contamination in Midland, Saginaw, and Bay counties, Michigan, USA". The authors were Dajun Dai and Tonny J Oyana. The study was published in the journal "Environmental Health 2008, 7:49"

The conclusion of the study stated "These findings suggest that increased breast cancer incidences are spatially associated with soil dioxin contamination".

EPA to accelerate work underway to reassess health risks from exposures to dioxin

In May 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson directed EPA to accelerate work underway to reassess the human health risks from exposures to dioxin including completing the development of draft interim preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) for dioxin in soil. Following through on that commitment, EPA has developed the draft interim PRGs and is requesting public comment. EPA began taking public comment on the draft interim PRGs on January 7, 2010, and will accept comments for 50 days. EPA anticipates issuing the final interim PRGs in June 2010.
To offer comments, go to: and enter docket ID number: EPA-HQ-SFUND-2009-0907.

BPA regulations, Bush-era superfund cleanups and Ohio's red carpet event

State-by-State BPA Regulation Falters in OR

In the two years since CHEJ co-released Baby's Toxic Bottle, the public's demand for safe, toxic-free baby bottles has sky-rocketed. Major retailers like Toys-R-Us have bent to consumers' demands and advocates' campaigns for baby bottles and children's products that are free from the hormone-disruptor, bisphenol-A (BPA).

The case of BPA regulation has been a lesson in how real change starts at the grassroots level. When the federal government was unwilling to regulate this toxic threat, advocates for children's health started a grassroots consumer campaign to get the toxic bottles off of store shelves. Last year state legislatures began jumping on the bandwagon, with Minnesota and Connecticut becoming the first states to ban the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA.

This year, more than ten states will consider banning BPA in baby bottles and other children's products. Washington State has already passed the legislation.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Was Death of Justice’s Son Reason for Recusal in Agent Orange Cases?

One Year Ago

Justice John Paul Stevens declined to participate in the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear three cases involving Agent Orange yesterday, prompting questions about whether his son’s cancer death was the reason.

Stevens' son, John Joseph Stevens, was a Vietnam veteran who died of cancer more than a dozen years ago at the age of 47, reports Legal Times. The publication contacted the justice’s daughter, Susan Mullen, for more information, but she said she doesn’t know the reason for her father’s recusal.

Mullen, a special counsel at Cooley Godward Kronish, told Legal Times that her brother died of a brain tumor and he had served in Vietnam. Asked if Agent Orange caused the death or if he made an Agent Orange claim, she replied, "He got ill and died too quickly for him to get involved in any legal matters."

The suits before the court were filed by American and Vietnamese citizens who want companies that made Agent Orange to compensate them for cancers and birth defects that they believe were caused by the U.S. military’s use of the defoliant, the Associated Press reports. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York had dismissed all three cases, including two suits filed by veterans who became ill too late to participate in a 1984 settlement, the wire story says.

The U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on whether late-filing veterans’ suits could proceed in 2006; Stevens did not participate in the decision.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


EPA has extended the public comment period on their proposed cleanup guidelines for Dioxin to Friday April 2nd

March 10, 2010

Dear [[First_Name]],

At the request of Dow Chemical and the American Chemistry Council, the EPA has extended the public comment period on their proposed cleanup guidelines for Dioxin to Friday April 2nd. Now more than ever, we need your help to counteract lobbying by Dow Chemical and the chemical industry.

There is still time to let your voice be heard! To date over 1,400 people have raised their voice and told EPA they want stronger cleanup guidelines for Dioxin, one of the most hazardous chemicals known to man. Dow Chemical and the American Chemistry Council have pressured EPA to expand the public comment period through April 2nd. Let's use this to our advantage and allow EPA to hear from you!

Take action by joining parents and families across America in telling EPA you want stronger cleanup guidelines for Dioxin.

Dioxin poses a serious health risk to both children and adults. In response more than 100 countries have signed a treaty that calls for a global phase out of Dioxin. Dioxin is a powerful cancer causing agent and human carcinogen. Join over 1,400 Americans by telling EPA that more stringent guidelines must be developed for Dioxin cleanup.

Remember, there is still time to take action and let your voice be heard!

Thanks for all your support,

Mike Schade
PVC Campaign Coordinator

Take action by joining parents and families across America in telling EPA you want stronger cleanup guidelines for Dioxin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VA to automate its Agent Orange claims process


WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce today that it will fully automate how it pays claims for illnesses related to exposure to the chemical Agent Orange to keep an overburdened system from collapse.

It is the department's first effort at automating claims processing in its 80-year history, says VA chief technology officer Peter Levin. It comes as the agency struggles to cut a backlog of more than 1 million disability claims, appeals and other cases.

The system "is likely to break" if nothing is done, Levin says.

"Look, the bottom line is why the hell they didn't do (automation) 30 years ago," says John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America. "The question is whether they will do it right."



VA is committed to Advocating for Veterans.
Providing benefits to Veterans who served in Vietnam and are suffering from ischemic
heart disease, Parkinson's disease and B-cell leukemias is the right thing to do. Secretary
Shinseki has stated that he intends to advocate for Veterans, and his decision to add these
disabilities to the list of those subject to the presumption of service connection as a result
of exposure to Agent Orange demonstrates that commitment.
Overview of Issue(s)
Three new diseases are being added to the list of diseases subject to the presumption of
service connection as a result of exposure to Agent Orange for Veterans who served in
the Republic of Vietnam or who can document exposure elsewhere. VA estimates that
this decision will result in a 22 percent increase in claims for disability compensation
benefits during fiscal year (FY) 2010. Meeting this new demand while continuing VA’s
commitment to improvement in the time it takes VA to decide a claim requires new
Proposed program solution.
VA is developing internal process changes to meet the challenge and will explore a “fasttrack”
option to automate the processing of the newly submitted Agent Orange claims.
VA will seek input from industry and stakeholders for the “fast-track” option.
Input from Stakeholders.
VA will release a Performance Work Statement (PWS) to engage multiple subject matter
experts to identify key issues and concerns with the proposed automated solution. In fact,
we will actively solicit feedback from our employees, Congress, Veterans Service
Organizations, labor unions, and other subject matter experts during the comment period
of the PWS, which we intend to release very soon. The purpose of this meeting/phone
call/message is to let you know in advance that the request for submissions is coming.
VA is committed to reducing the backlog and improving decision time even in the face of
the projected workload increase.
This effort will provide valuable insight as to how VA and its dedicated employees can
tackle issues related to surges in claims for benefits, and will result in a long term benefit
to veterans and survivors, the VA, and its employees. When implemented and in
combination with other initiatives such as Veterans Relations Management (VRM) and
the Veteran Benefit Management System (VBMS), VA will be able to provide world
class service and eliminate the backlog of claims.
Fast-Track of AO claims will be good for veterans.
The goal is to minimize processing times for this group of claims and alleviate the
impact to VA's inventory of claims. This is good for veterans who are currently waiting
for their claims to be processed as well as veterans who may have been waiting years for
these diseases to be associated with Agent Orange exposure. VA seeks input for a system
that will allow us to do the right thing while minimizing the negative impact that the
increase in claims may have on veterans.
This proposed solution is good for our employees.
The final decision regarding entitlement to benefits will continue to be made by a VA
employee. This system is being designed as a tool to assist employees in doing their jobs,
it is not a system designed to replace them. By providing a streamlined process and an
electronic packet for decision-maker review, VA will empower its employees responsible
for adjudicating these increasingly complex claims.
This system will be designed to work with existing VA systems. No jobs will be lost.
How will this be different than previous efforts with outside contracting?
First and foremost, we start by engaging our stakeholders. Improving service delivery
and reducing claim wait times to the lowest level possible cannot be solved by VA alone.
That is why the labor unions, VSOs, Congress, and others are being asked to participate
prior to release of the request for information and comment from industry.
Second, this effort does not seek to reinvent the wheel. We look to augment the existing
system for a relatively small percentage of claims.
Off-the-shelf systems, with relatively minor customization, can potentially serve as the
model to process claims more quickly than we do currently, at lower cost, and with much
better tools for our dedicated employees.
How are we funding?
This will be funded from current appropriations. If needed, VA will request additional
resources from Congress. Most important, this process will be cost effective.

Veterans urged to file Agent Orange claims now

Tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B cell leukemia should file claims now with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation, not wait until VA publishes a regulation officially linking these diseases to wartime service.

Advocacy groups are urging the swift filing of claims because veterans eventually found eligible for disability pay for these diseases will be able to receive compensation back to the date their claims were filed.

Those who wait for a regulation to add these ailments to VA’s list of diseases presumed caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other toxins used in the war could lessen, by several months of compensation, any retroactive pay that they will be due once their claims have been approved.

Secretary Seeks Fast Track to Process Claims
March 9, 2010
Secretary Seeks Fast Track to Process Claims
Focus on 200,000 Veterans Expected to File Claims under New Agent
Orange Presumptives over Next Two Years

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today an
aggressive new initiative to solicit private sector input on a proposed “fast track” Veterans’
claims process for service-connected presumptive illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure
during the Vietnam War.
“This will be a new way of doing business and a major step forward in how we
process the presumptive claims we expect to receive over the next two years,” Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, Eric K. Shinseki said. “With the latest, fastest, and most reliable
technology, VA hopes to migrate the manual processing of these claims to an automated
process that meets the needs of today’s Veterans in a more timely manner.”
Over the next two years, about 200,000 Veterans are expected to file disability
compensation claims under an historic expansion of three new presumptive illnesses
announced last year by Secretary Shinseki. They include Veterans who have Parkinson’s
disease, ischemic heart disease and B-cell leukemias.
In practical terms, Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have
one of the illnesses covered by the "presumption of service connection" don’t have to prove
an association between their medical problems and military service. This “presumption”
makes it easier for Vietnam Veterans to access disability compensation benefits. Vietnam
Veterans are encouraged to submit their claims as soon as possible to begin the important
process of compensation.
Along with the publication of proposed regulations for the three new presumptives
this spring, VA intends to publish a formal request in Federal Business Opportunities for
private-sector corporations to propose automated solutions for the parts of the claims
process that take the longest amount of time. VA believes these can be collected in a more
streamlined and accurate way.
Orange 2/2/2/2
Development involves determining what additional information is needed to
adjudicate the claim, such as military and private medical records and the scheduling of
medical examinations.
With this new approach, VA expects to shorten the time it takes to gather evidence,
which now takes on average over 90 days. Once the claim is fully developed and all
pertinent information is gathered, VA will be able to more quickly decide the claim and
process the award if granted.
The contract is expected to be awarded in April with proposed solutions offered to
VA within 90-days. Implementation of the solution is expected within 150 days.
“Veterans whose health was harmed during their military service are entitled to the
best this nation has to offer,” added Secretary Shinseki. “We are undertaking an
unprecedented modernization of our claims process to ensure timely and accurate delivery
of that commitment.”
Last year, VA received more than one million claims for disability compensation and
pension. VA provides compensation and pension benefits to over 3.8 million veterans and
beneficiaries. Presently, the basic monthly rate of compensation ranges from $123 to
$2,673 to Veterans without any dependents.
Disability compensation is a non-taxable, monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans
who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during
active military service.
For more information about disability compensation, go to
Additional information about Agent Orange and VA’s services and programs for Veterans
exposed are available at
# # #

Friday, March 5, 2010

Who Ordered Agent Orange To Be Used?

Veterans Today, Military Veteran and Foreign Affairs Journal
March 4, 2010 by James Alonzo
With all the illnesses, malformed babies, and suffering from Agent Orange, one could wonder who the person that ordered it to be used was. It was Elmo Zumwalt Jr., who as commander of U.S. naval forces in Southeast Asia
that ordered the chemical defoliant sprayed over the South Vietnamese countryside to deprive communist troops of cover.

Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. (November 29, 1920 – January 2, 2000) was an American naval officer and the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. As an admiral and later the 19th Chief of navel Operations, Zumwalt played a major role in U.S. military history, especially during the Viet Nam War.

After his selection for the rank of Rear Admiral, Zumwalt assumed command in July 1965 of Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla Seven. In September 1968, he became Commander Naval Forces, Viet Nam, and Chief of the Naval Advisory Group, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

Zumwalt’s command was not a blue water unit, like the Seventh Fleet; it was a brown water unit: he commanded the flotilla of Swift boats that patrolled the coasts, harbors, and rivers of Vietnam. Among the swift-boat commanders were his son, Elmo Russell Zumwalt III, and later future Senator John Kerry. During this time, the elder Zumwalt had an opportunity to safeguard the men who served under his command from the Viet Cong who hid in the jungle and ambushed American and ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) patrols at will.

see Agent Orange Zone blog posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Postage stamp commemorating the life of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.

To All:
Please disseminate the attached letter widely and seek support for this proposed postage stamp honoring Admiral Zumwalt. As one who was privileged to know and work with the Admiral in our joint quest to improve the lot of those of us who served in Vietnam through our work with the Agent Orange Coordinating Council many years ago; it is the least we can do for a man who did so much for us.

Paul Sutton "Dominus Fortissima Turris"
Patriotism: Supporting your Country ALL THE TIME; and, your government when it deserves it - MARK TWAIN

Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Solving the Agent Orange Problem!

Pelosi, McCain, Kerry, Burton All Step Forward in Support of the Agent Orange Bill
(LITTLETON, Co.) - In a historically unprecedented show of bipartisanship and solidarity in support of the veterans of this great country, key figures in both chambers of Congress stepped forward to give their support to the Agent Orange legislation.

Speaking forcefully, Senator John McCain referred to his brothers in arms, saying "Those who so nobly served our country and their families have been patient long enough. This should not be a political debate. They deserve answers. They deserve action."

Hoping to quell any division of Congress on this issue, McCain went on to say, "I believe this is a fair and equitable approach to deal with the controversy that surrounds Agent Orange. For too long, much too long, the Government's response to Agent Orange has been based on opinion, perhaps even politics, but certainly not on facts... Our Vietnam veterans served our Nation with dignity and honor..... In spite of the risks, they answered our country's call to fight. It is time we settle the controversy over Agent Orange once and for all."

Stuff My Dad Says about Monsanto - a "Roundup," If You Will

Leslie Hatfield - Senior editor, GRACE Foundation

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

VA delay may stall benefits for Vietnam vets

By Kelly Kennedy - Air Force Times staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Mar 2, 2010

Three veterans groups have threatened the Veterans Affairs Department with a lawsuit if VA does not publish regulations by March 12 about three Agent Orange-related diseases that the Institute of Medicine has deemed should be presumed connected to military service.

Every two years, the IoM reviews scientific evidence to determine if diseases could have been caused by dioxin, the harmful ingredient in Agent Orange. Agent Orange is an exfoliate widely used during the Vietnam War to clear forests.

In its latest review, IoM found that ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemias all could be linked to Agent Orange exposure. VA is required by the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to publish a regulation, making veterans eligible for benefits, within 210 days of such findings. In this case, that would have been Feb. 19. VA doesn’t have to pay out benefits until after the regulation is actually published.