Monday, April 27, 2015

'We were just children': Yarmouth resident wonders about Agent Orange effects from time in Gagetown

Gehue was at CFB Gagetown in the 1960s with his father, who was a member of the military. While they were there Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide, was sprayed. It was sprayed by the US military, with Canadian permission, in 1966 and 1967.
“They were going around doing chemical sprays, near the tree lines. When we were kids, when they used to spray the insecticides, we used to run behind the trucks when they were spraying that stuff,” Gehue says. “Nobody told us not to.”
He says they’d play in the fields and when they came home they’d have this dust on the bottom of their pants.
“Mom used to say, ‘Get that off you before you come in the house,’” he recalls, so they’d brush it off with their hands. “It was a dust, orange. You used to have it all over your hands. Nobody told us we weren’t allowed to play in that stuff.”
Fast forward by decades.
Gehue suffers from many ailments and conditions – he’s got lung issues, heart problems, diabetes, etc. And he can’t wonder if some of it – maybe all of it – is linked to his exposure to Agent Orange.
He suspects it played a role in his father’s death.
“My father was in the army for 25-and-a-half years. When he got out he died three years later.”
He was just 47.
“When we moved out of there, we moved to Yarmouth, and in the 1970s we’d hear about Agent Orange and the stuff it does,” Gehue says. “When you turn 40 and 45 and everything starts breaking down . . . you start to wonder.”
He doesn’t know for certain that his health conditions are linked to Agent Orange. But he suspects they are. Many symptoms, he claims, match up.

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