By Jim Belshaw
“I never put two and two together,” Joe Ingino said.
It took a long time before he could do the math, and even after the metaphorical numbers in his Agent Orange equation added up, he still had difficulty talking about it. He does to this day.
“Talking about it now, you just get choked up,” he said. “Sometimes you want to punch something, you know? You just keep blaming yourself. I went to two Agent Orange town hall meetings and listened to other fathers talking about their children, and it just gets very emotional. It’s very difficult to listen to them and then to speak about your own children. It’s very hard.”
Joe served with the First Infantry Division in 1969-70. In 1971, he met the woman who was to be his wife. In 1972, they married. His wife would suffer through several miscarriages, but eventually they had six children, one of whom lived for only a brief time.
“My wife carried our daughter for seven months, and something happened that caused the baby to break away from her,” he said. “She lived for a day and a half, maybe two days. Then she died.”
READ ALL FACES stories: http://vva.org/Committees/AgentOrange/index.html#FAO