Thursday, October 24, 2013

Consider Agent Orange benefits for C-123 crews, 20 members of House ask Shinseki

McMinnville's Wesley Carter runs a website devoted to the issue of Agent Orange exposure aboard C-123s, such as the one he flew in after the Vietnam War. The site is at 
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., joined with 19 other members of the House of Representatives to implore Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to reverse the agency's stance against awarding presumptive benefits for Agent Orange exposure to crews who flew aboard C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam war.
In a letter dated this week, the congresspersons cited the agency's recent decision to award such benefits to Lt. Col. Paul Bailey, who suffered from cancer that he believes stemmed from his service aboard a C-123 after the War.
The Air Force used C-123 to drop the defoliant Agent Orange over Vietnam during the war. Even after the war ended, the planes were deeply contaminated with Agent Orange, which has been determined to contribute to cancers. But the Air Force destroyed many of the aircraft and the VA has not acknowledged that crews who flew in the planes after the war may also have suffered the effects of exposure.
A national advocacy effort for C-123 veterans is led by retired Air Force veteran Wesley Carter of McMinnville, who has enlisted the help of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and others in a crusade to have the DoD acknowledge that many of them suffer from symptoms related to Agent Orange exposure.

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