Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Still Looking for Answers on Agent Orange
When Irwin Brawley came home from Vietnam in 1969, he really didn’t want to talk about the war. He got a job at Davidson College, kept his head down, got married and had two daughters.
“It was real liberal,” Brawley said. “They were protesting the war on the campus, but I just took the low-key approach.”
A few years ago, Brawley retired from Davidson. He was also diagnosed with ischemic heart disease. Someone told him that the cause of his heart problems could have been that while performing his job as a transport driver he was sprayed with Agent Orange, the dioxin-based defoliant used widely throughout the Vietnam conflict.
“They sprayed on us when we were in convoys, especially in the highlands,” he remembered.
He filed a claim to the Veterans Administration for disability compensation based on Agent Orange exposure and his claim was accepted. Now he gets about $600 per month after the VA determined about 30 percent of his disability was a result of exposure.
What really bothers Brawley now is not the problems Agent Orange may have caused for him but health issues his daughters have experienced all their lives, including autoimmune problems. One of his grandsons was born with webbed toes, and he wonders if that was because of his Agent Orange exposure.


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