Monday, December 28, 2020

It's a slow Agent Orange news week - so here's a little history...The Fairchild C-123 Provided Just What the Air Force Needed in Vietnam


The C-123 Provider, which had a crew of three or four, could carry up to sixty passengers or up to twenty-four thousand pounds of cargo.

One of the lesser-known aerial workhorses of the Vietnam War was the Fairchild C-123K Provider, a short-range assault transport that was used to airlift troops and cargo to and from short runways and even unprepared airstrips. The rugged aircraft provided the United States Air Force with the means to reach remote areas, where it could deliver supplies and evacuate wounded, while the hardy transport plane was later used to spray Agent Orange as part of the U.S. military’s defoliant operations.

Originally designed as an assault glider for the Air Force in the late 1940s, the Chase Aircraft XCG-20 evolved from earlier large gliders. A powered variant was subsequently developed with two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-23 air-cooled radial piston engines—and the first of those prototypes made its initial flight in 1949. While Chase began manufacturing the rugged assault transport in 1953, the contract was subsequently transferred to Fairchild, which produced about three hundred C-123Bs.

A second prototype was also built and fitted with four General Electric J47-GE-11 turbojets in two pods. Known as the XC-123A it had the distinction of being the U.S. Air Force's first jet-powered military transport, even if it was just an experimental prototype.

However, the Air Force opted for the piston-powered version, which was seen as well-suited for use as a tactical transport. Known for its ruggedness and reliability, and more importantly, its ability to operate from those short and even unimproved airstrips, it was just what the military needed for the coming conflict in Vietnam.

C-123 Provider, which had a crew of three or four, could carry up to sixty passengers or up to 24,000 pounds of cargo. It had a maximum speed of 228 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 173 miles per hour and a range of 1,035 miles.

Between 1966 and 1969, a total of 184 C-123Bs were converted to C-123Ks with the addition of two J85 jet engines for improved performance. The jet engines increased the C-123’s payload weight by a third, shortened its takeoff distance, improved its climb rate, and even gave a much greater margin of safety should one of the piston engines fail.

During “Operation Ranch Hand,” eight of the aircraft were also modified to spy defoliant, which was used to destroy the heavy vegetation that provided cover to the enemy soldiers near U.S. forward bases. 

Two additional Providers were also modified under Project Black Spot to the NC-123K configuration, and equipped with a long, 57.75-inch nose fairing that housed an X-band forward-looking radar. The aircraft were also fitted with two rectangular aluminum weapons dispensers stacked within the fuselage and each container housed twelve cells containing three Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs) for use in night time operations. Those two aircraft were first deployed operationally at Osan Air Base, South Korea, between August and October 1968, where they flew in support of operations against North Korean infiltrators approaching by boat.

Upon completion of their Korean assignment, the Providers were deployed to South Vietnam for a combat evaluation of the “Black Spot” weapons system and used in night operations against the Viet Cong. 

As the war in Southeast Asia wound down, the U.S. military transferred many of its Providers to the South Vietnamese Air Force as well as the Royal Thai Air Force. The remaining USAF C-123s were transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserve, which flew them well into the mid-1980s. Other operators of the Provider also included the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as with the air forces of the Philippines, South Korea and Venezuela.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

VA COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 vaccines: Stay informed and help us prepare

We’re working to get COVID-19 vaccines to Veterans as quickly and safely as possible. Sign up to help us understand your interest in getting a vaccine when one is available to you. We’ll send you updates on how we’re providing vaccines across the country—and when you can get your vaccine if you want one.

VA releases COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

Who will get a COVID-19 vaccine first?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine.  We have a limited amount of this vaccine to start.

We’ve worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal partners to develop a phased plan that will help us do the most good for the most people during this time. Under this phased plan, we’ll first offer vaccines to Veterans in our long-term care facilities and frontline VA health care workers.  Vaccinating our health care workers first helps us continue providing care for Veterans.

After 2 groups, we’ll begin to offer vaccines to more Veterans who are at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Your VA health care team will contact you if you’re eligible to get a vaccine during this time.

We will follow CDC guidelines for determining who is considered to be at high risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. Factors that may influence the risk of severe disease include the following:

  • Age. The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age.
  • Existing health problems. People with certain health problems (like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity) have a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
  • Other factors that raise a person’s risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, such as living in a nursing home or other group living facility.


More questions answered at:

VA receives 73,000 coronavirus vaccines in initial distribution


WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday administered its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine as part of national inoculation effort to prevent the disease as the death toll from the virus surpassed 300,000 in the United States.

World War II Army veteran Margaret Klessens, 96, is the VA’s first patient to receive the vaccine, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced. She is a patient of the Bedford Healthcare System in Massachusetts. The Bedford VA system is a set of three clinics outside of Boston that has seen 473 coronavirus infections and 39 deaths, according to the VA.

The VA has 73,000 vaccines of the initial distribution, according to Christina Noel, a department spokeswoman. It is unclear when the department will get more doses.

Thirty-seven hospitals within the Department of Veterans Affairs have been selected to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, though VA officials are not confident that every veteran will have quick, easy access to the treatment.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Wilkie Disparaged Congressional Aide Who Alleged Sexual Assault At VA Facility, IG Probe Confirms


Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie disparaged a veteran who claimed she was sexually assaulted at a VA hospital and sought to undermine her credibility, a new investigation from the department's inspector general has found. The report did not, however, substantiate reports that Wilkie actively investigated the former service member or ordered others to look into her background.

The VA IG has since February been investigating allegations that Wilkie took steps to discredit Andrea Goldstein, a Navy Reserve intelligence officer and adviser to the House Veterans Affairs Committee, after she said she was groped at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in September.

In a report released Thursday, Inspector General Michael Missal said his office could not substantiate the charge that Wilkie actively sought proof that Goldstein had filed "at least six equal employment opportunity-type complaints" while she was on active duty.

But the VA IG did find that VA officials began to take actions within hours of Goldstein's report that appeared to seek reasons to undermine her credibility. According to the investigation, the same day as the complaint, they began discussing whether Goldstein had complained about verbal abuse from a VA provider. And, the probe found, they ran a background check on Goldstein and circulated the findings before a background check was conducted on the accused, and later launched a media campaign to question Goldstein's credibility, targeting nine national press outlets.


Military Rape Cases Have No Statute of Limitations, Supreme Court Decides


In an 8-0 opinion issued Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that military personnel accused of a rape between 1986 and 2006 -- a period previously subject to a five-year statute of limitations -- can be charged for the crime.

At issue in U.S. v. Briggs is a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, or CAAF, to overturn three rape convictions that occurred within that 20-year period.

Prior to 1996, the UCMJ held that rape was a crime punishable by death and therefore had no time limit for prosecuting the crime. A 1998 CAAF ruling established the five-year time limit, which remained in place until Congress moved to abolish it in 2006.

In the new opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the justices said the Uniform Code of Military Justice favored the government's interpretation that military rape cases are "punishable by death" and therefore, carry no statute of limitations regardless of when the crime occurred.

The justices also agreed with government's argument that rape is a particularly damaging crime in the military context because it disrupts good order and discipline.


Agent Blue haunts Vietnam War vets


from Paul Kasper via Paul Sutton

Add one more primary color to the poisonous palette of Vietnam: Agent Blue.

Agent Orange, its toxic defoliant cousin, has become well known in the US for its lethal effects on American troops who served in the war 1965-75 – and on their offspring.

Agent Blue, an arsenic-based herbicide, is becoming known because it has no half-life – in other words, it lasts forever in soil, sediments, rivers, canals and public water supplies.

Once it is in the environment, its toxicity is magnified as it moves up the food chain, slowly killing and disabling humans as it accumulates in the body.

Kenneth Olson, professor emeritus of soil science at the University of Illinois and a US Army Vietnam-era veteran, has studied and published on the soils and sediments of South Vietnam, the roles they played in Vietnam warfare and the legacies left behind.

Olson’s recently released paper, “The Fate of Agent Blue, the Arsenic Based Herbicide Used in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War,” is co-authored with Larry Cihacek, also a US Army veteran, who is professor of soil science at North Dakota State University. It is their most recent in a series of papers on Vietnam soils and sediments and herbicide persistence in the environment.

“Agent Blue was sprayed on 100,000 hectares (one hectare is about 2.5 acres) of mangrove forests and about 300,000 hectares of rice paddies just before rice harvest time,” Olson said. That “resulted in destroying the standing crop and contaminated soils and water sediments with arsenic.”


Thursday, December 10, 2020

One phone number to reach VA



The number to call when you don’t know who to call.

You only need to remember one number for information on VA care, benefits, and services or to speak to a live agent for assistance!

Climate change puts the heat on cleanup of Dioxin hotspot


Vice Mayor alerts City Council to Arcata Bay Shoreline dioxin threat

City Council Vice Mayor Paul Patino said he intends to pull the approval of the Wastewater Treatment Facility Plan and Plant Improvement Project from the items scheduled to be rubber stamped by the city council.

The $60 million investment is a response to the threat of sea level rise which involves enlarging levees around the Arcata Wastewater Treatment Facility. Patino is calling on the council to further discuss the project after he learned the mud around the bay shoreline of the wastewater facility has the highest levels of dioxin ever discovered in Humboldt Bay sediments.

“I don’t see how you could mess with that area without it affecting that dioxin,” Patino said. “I think we need to get clear here.”

Dioxin can cause birth defects, cancer and organ failure. It is known to undergo bioaccumulation, meaning it increases in toxicity as it moves up the food chain from plants to predators. It was widely used from the 1940s to the 1980s before the EPA started regulating its use.

Patino raised particular concern with the staff report in the council packet where it states, “This project would involve enlarging the levee surrounding the majority of the outer perimeter of the Arcata Wastewater Treatment Facility (AWTF) by increasing the levee’s height and volume.”

The Arcata City Council is faced with the choice to approve the final application for the project, or first investigate the dangers of the dioxin believed to be largely the result of pentachlorophenol used during historic lumber mill operations up Jolly Giant Creek several blocks south of the town square.




A Danish study found that people with elevated levels of a compound called PFBA were more than twice as likely to have a severe form of Covid-19.

Elevated levels OF a PFAS compound were associated with more severe forms of Covid-19, according to a Danish study now undergoing peer review. The research, which involved 323 patients infected with the coronavirus, found that those who had elevated levels of a chemical called PFBA were more than twice as likely to have a severe form of the disease.

PFBA is one of a class of industrial compounds, often called “forever chemicals,” that has come to contaminate soil, water, and food around the world. It has been presented as relatively safe because it stays in human blood for much less time than some of the other compounds in the class and is a shorter molecule. Both traits are thought to be indications of its innocuousness. PFBA, which was created by 3M, is based on a four-carbon chain and is gone from human blood in a matter of days. It is still in use, while PFOA, which is based on eight carbons and stays in the human blood for years, has been phased out since 2015.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

December 7, 1941


Looking back 38 Years: How dioxin and flooding wiped Times Beach off the map


On Dec. 5, 1982, about a month after residents learned of dangerous dioxin levels in Times Beach, the town along the Meramec River was ravaged by a record-breaking flood. The flood damaged or destroyed most homes in the town.


Internal Documents Detail Who VA Will Vaccinate First

The Veterans Affairs Department's multi-tiered plan prioritizes delivering COVID-19 inoculations to high-risk staff and patients.


The federal agency that will likely receive the largest distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses plans to quickly inoculate some employees upon first receiving the vaccine, according to internal documents describing the phased rollout, but other workers could wait for some time before they're eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Like all jurisdictions around the country awaiting vaccines against the novel coronavirus, the Veterans Affairs Department is planning a multi-tiered, phased approach to inoculate its workforce and constituents based on the availability of doses. Staff will comprise four of the first five populations to receive the vaccine, according to a predecisional, draft document obtained by Government Executive. Employees at department nursing homes and its 25 Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders Centers would receive the first batch of vaccines, followed by veterans at those facilities. 

VA is one of five federal agencies slated to receive a direct distribution of vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after viable candidates are approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration. The department, which runs the largest health care network in the country, has faced criticism for failing to publicize a detailed vaccine distribution plan, with Democratic senators last week imploring VA to develop a comprehensive strategy. VA has told employees it will only finalize its vaccine strategy after a candidate is approved for use. 

After vaccinating its employees and patients at long-term care sites—more than 105,000 veterans receive long-term care through VA—the department under the draft plan would move, in successive order, to inoculate staff in emergency departments, COVID-19 intensive care units and COVID-19 non-intensive care units. Employees in “other congregate living settings” and veterans over the age of 85 would then receive vaccines from VA. The department has not yet set out timelines for each phase of its distribution plan, as it would depend on vaccine availability.


Black veterans more likely to test positive for coronavirus than white veterans


Black veterans are twice as likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, compared to white veterans, according to a new study.

Medical records from over a thousand Veteran Affairs (V.A.) hospitals and clinics, which provide healthcare to more than 5 million U.S. veterans, were analyzed. Between Feb. 8 and July 22 of this year, researchers found that about 16,000 veterans tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 1,000 died.

Among the veterans who were tested for the coronavirus, 10.2% of Black, 11.4% of Hispanic, and just 4.4% of white veterans tested positive. Despite the racial gap in positive tests, there weren’t any differences in the proportion of deaths from COVID-19. The findings were reported in the journal PLoS Medicine on Sept. 22.

These results were surprising because the racial disparities in positive test results remained, even after accounting for things like where the veterans lived and  medications they were taking, said Christopher Rentsch, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the U.K.

Rentsch’s findings differ from previous research studies. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Black and Hispanic patients were twice as likely as whites — 5.6 vs. 2.3 deaths per 10,000 people — to die from COVID-19, based on data collected from nearly 400 different hospitals in 21 states. Another study, from the U.K., also found that minorities had the highest risk of death from COVID-19, even after accounting for each person’s health issues, including heart disease and diabetes.


VA, Defense Department under new pressure to help ailing veterans who served at toxic Uzbek base


Hundreds of veterans have come forward after a CBS News investigation revealed new evidence of toxic materials at a remote base the U.S. military used after 9/11. 

More than 15,000 U.S troops passed through Karshi-Khanabad, or K2, a former Soviet air base in Uzbekistan that U.S. forces used to hunt Al Qaeda in nearby Afghanistan.

The investigation was cited at a recent House hearing that put new pressure on the Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments to address health concerns from sick service members. 

Although nearly 2,500 current and former service members have now reported rare cancers or other illnesses they believe are linked to their deployments, neither the Defense Department nor the VA acknowledges a link between K2 and illness.

CBS News' Catherine Herridge spoke to K2 veteran Mark Jackson, whose illnesses have baffled doctors for years. 

"I went from being able to run a marathon to not being able to walk up a flight of stairs," he said. "Turns out my thyroid simply did not function. I was 28 years old."


Birth Defect Research for Children - The Agent Orange Next Gen Campaign

During the Agent Orange litigation, 65,000 veterans reported that their children had been born with birth defects or developmental disabilities. Now veterans are also reporting that their grandchildren are affected. Yet, no government studies have been done on the association between the father’s exposure to Agent Orange and adverse outcomes in their children.

Since 1990, only Birth Defect Research for Children has collected data showing a pattern of birth defects and disabilities in the children of Vietnam veterans.

The Agent Orange Next Gen Campaign will draw attention to how many veterans’ families have been affected and raise funds to continue birth defect research.

Join the Vietnam Veterans of America Charles Kettle Chapter 31 in showing your support for the children and grandchildren of Vietnam Veterans affected by Agent Orange. Wear an Agent Orange Next Gen mask. For each $10 mask sold, a donation will go towards research connecting Agent Orange exposure to the birth defects and illnesses that veterans’ children and grandchildren are facing every day. Please help by ordering your mask today.


Agent Orange disaster and efforts to overcome the consequences

 thanks to Alan Stelzer for forwarding this story...


Part 1

Agent Orange disaster

During their invasion war against Vietnam, the US Army conducted the largest-scale and longest-time chemical warfare in Vietnam, which has caused unprecedented consequences in human history.

In April 2012, an international scientific symposium was held in Yale University, the US, attracting a large number of world leading scientists. The participating scientists discussed the latest scientific research projects on chemical warfare and concluded: The US has conducted the largest, most cruel and inhumane chemical warfare in human history in South Vietnam.

During the 1961-1971 decade, the US Army sprayed some 80 million liters of toxic chemicals, including Pink, White, Green, Purple, Orange, among others. Among the toxic chemicals, Agent Orange (AO) accounted for 61%. This amount of AO containing 366kg of dioxin was sprayed onto one fourth of the area of South Vietnam, of which 86% was sprayed twice and 11% was sprayed 10 times or more.

“Agent Orange/dioxin” that is often used to label the toxic chemical sprayed in South Vietnam by the US Army contains 2,3,7,8 tetracholorodibenzodioxin (called dioxin in short) – the most poisonous chemical compound. According to the World Health Organization, some dozens of nanograms of the chemical compound can kill a person.

Dioxin is an unwanted by-product, which is born during production of other chemicals. If AO is produced properly at 88.80 degrees Celsius in 12 hours, the by-product of dioxin is insignificant.

But in order to get more profits, US Agent Orange manufactures shortened the production time to eight minutes and raised the production temperature to 277.70 degrees Celsius, which made the amount of dioxin in the AO product increase by hundreds of times.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Is Trump ‘foolish enough’ to veto the defense bill?


FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed today and when signed into law by the President, will add three Agent Orange-related diseases--bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the Department of Veterans Affairs list of conditions linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam and elsewhere.

WASHINGTON ― House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said he believes it’s still possible President Donald Trump would veto the annual defense policy bill but warned it “would be a huge political mistake.”

The House and Senate versions (which were reconciled Wednesday after months of negotiations) initially passed by veto-proof majorities, and Smith predicted that Republicans would vote to override in the event of a veto. Beyond the bill’s role in setting military personnel and acquisition policy, and securing a pay raise for troops, Smith touted its inclusion of new benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.


Get Your Free Flu Shot


Monday, November 30, 2020




AOZ will continue to post important and relevant information relating to Agent Orange/Dioxin, and other chemical contamination issues affecting veterans and their families.

The staff here at AOZ regrets this sudden change in our practices, but repeated conflicts with numerous bulk mail services has lead to this decision.

It has been our pleasure to provide this service to you since the inception of AOZ in July 2009.

Thank you for your support and continue to check AOZ for important updates and feel free to share it with your personal distribution network. 

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien Announces $20 Million to Clean Up Agent Orange Contamination


National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien announced this week that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed an additional $20 million toward the remediation of dioxin at the Biên Hòa Airbase Area, the primary site for the storage and handling of Agent Orange during the U.S.-Vietnam War and the largest remaining dioxin hotspot in Vietnam.

This announcement increases USAID’s funding to date for the clean-up of Biên Hòa to over $110 million. This joint effort between USAID and the Government of Vietnam’s Air Force-Air Defence Command (ADAFC) is expected to take a total of 10 years to complete. Trigon Associates, LLC, a woman-owned small business based in New Orleans, Louisiana, is providing the master plan for the multi-year clean-up project.

USAID’s work to improve the lives of those in and around Biên Hòa follows the successful conclusion in 2018 of a similar project between USAID and the Government of Vietnam to remediate contamination caused by dioxin at Đà Nẵng Airport.


CATHIE DRAINE When it comes to pesticides, do your homework


There are seven types of pesticides: insecticides kill insects, herbicides kill plants, rodenticides kill rodents, bactericides kill bacteria, fungicides kill fungi and larvicides kill larvae.

One of the three most common pesticides, the chemical dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, known to gardeners as 2,4-D was developed at Rothamsted Experimental Station in England and was in widespread use by the late 1940s. Some authors suggest it was part of a program to discover a product that would destroy food crops in Germany and Japan, or equally possible, to increase crop yields of the Allies by suppressing weeds.

2,4-D kills plants by causing the cells in the tissues that carry water and nutrients to divide and grow without stopping. We recognize plants affected by 2,4-D by their elongated, grossly twisted stems. Herbicides that act this way are called auxin-type herbicides.

It is difficult to state specifically when public concern was first raised about the presence and the amount of 2,4-D in our gardens and fields. An article available on line, “Agent Orange in Your Backyard” by Gina Solomon in the February 2012 edition of The Atlantic magazine, discussed concerns, now common, of 2,4-D (tracking it into the house, its presence on the feet of pets) and also listed common over-the-shelf products that list on the label, in very small print, 2,4-D mixed with other pesticides that can cause havoc in the garden and the compost pile. The author cited Bayer Advanced All in One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass killer (2,4-D, Dicamba and others); Ortho Weed B Gon Max (2,4-D, Dicamba, Quinclorac and others); and Sta-Green Weed and Feed (2,4-D, Dicamba and others). To know exactly what is in the products you use, Google: ‘list of ingredients in (name of product).’


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

The AOZ Staff is grateful for everything we have, especially our health. We offer you our best wishes for a safe holiday.

Research Delays Push Back VA Decision on New Agent Orange Conditions


The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the results of two research studies that Veterans Affairs officials say are needed to determine whether new health conditions should be added to the list of Agent Orange-connected diseases.

A VA spokeswoman said Tuesday that results of the two studies -- the Vietnam Era Health Retrospective Observational Study, or VE-HEROeS, and the Vietnam Era Mortality Study -- aren't expected until at least next year, and in the case of the mortality study, until "mid-2021."

"There has been a shift in the schedule for [VE-HEROes] ... because the team members responsible for handling these duties are supporting VA's response to the COVID-19 national emergency," VA spokeswoman Christina Noel said in a statement to

"The Vietnam Mortality study,” she added, “is expected to be submitted for peer review and publication starting in mid-2021.”

VA officials had said they were waiting for the results to be analyzed, reviewed and readied for publication before they would make a decision on adding bladder cancer, Parkinsonism, hypothyroidism or hypertension to the list of Agent Orange presumptive conditions.

Some 34,000 Vietnam-era veterans were exposed to herbicides during the war and later diagnosed with bladder cancer, Parkinsonism or hypothyroidism. More than 156,000 veterans who served and were exposed have been diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure.


VA and Army collaborate in response to COVID-19


VA is collaborating with William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) to open a 16-bed mobile intensive care unit (ICU) on the campus of WBAMC and the El Paso VA Health Care System.

“VA’s mobile ICU hospital offers unique capabilities and affords Veterans the same high standard of care in a state-of-the-art environment. It also allows the William Beaumont Army Medical Center to free up bed space,” said Paul D. Kim. Kim is the VA Office of Emergency Management executive director.

VA transported the mobile ICU from Florida to El Paso for El Paso VA and the Army to use in response to the recent increase in the area’s coronavirus cases.

The units arrive on tractor trailers and then open and extend on two sides. Then each unit can join the next. The mobile ICU is assembled in the parking lot.

“El Paso is very fortunate to have this type of deployable resource to assist during this unprecedented time,” said Jamie Park. Park is the El Paso VA associate director. “The arrival of the mobile ICU is the result of proactive, strategic planning. We want to ensure we are able to serve Veterans in the midst of any situation or circumstance.”


Buyer Beware

US documents on toxic substances in Okinawa 

This is a brazen attempt to sell a $24.95 book. The link at the bottom of the article does not work. A search of takes you to Roman Publishers which markets the book by the same title. The article tells us nothing we don't already know, and have for 30+ years.

Paul Sutton

Paul Sutton is an old friend of AOZ who has forgotten more about Agent Orange/Dioxin than most people know.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Vietnam, US agree to further cooperation in handling common challenges


NDO/VNA - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien on November 21 agreed that Vietnam and the US will continue cooperating in order to cope with common challenges, thus significantly contributing to peace, stability, prosperity and cooperation in the region and the world.

At a reception for O'Brien in Hanoi, PM Phuc said he was happy at the developments in the Vietnam-US ties, especially at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations.

The relationship has made comprehensive and practical strides forward, significantly contributing to regional and global security, peace, cooperation and development, he said.

He spoke highly of the close and timely cooperation between the two countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanked the US President and Government for extending sympathies and assistance to help Vietnam deal with flood consequences in the central region over the past time.

The PM particularly appreciated the US Congress’s approval of US$20 million to fund the dioxin remediation project at Bien Hoa airbase during the upcoming fiscal year.

The US’s commitment to supporting Vietnam in war aftermath settlement, such as decontaminating dioxin hotspots, assisting Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin victims, clearing bombs and mines, and identifying remains of Vietnamese fallen soldiers, as well as Vietnam’s efforts to help with the search for missing-in-action US servicemen have contributed to enhancing mutual trust and creating a foundation for the bilateral relations to grow further, he said.


VA digs in, says more data is needed on toxic exposure before providing health care to more veterans


WASHINGTON — A Department of Veterans Affairs official on Wednesday drew the ire of some House lawmakers during a hearing over the agency’s continued resistance to

providing health care to more service members and veterans for toxic exposure, stating more data is needed to conclude exposure leads to illnesses such as cancer.

“More scientific investigation is needed to enable VA and [the Defense Department] to perform a reliable assessment of the possible or known long-term adverse health effects,” said Dr. Patricia Hastings, chief consultant for post-deployment health services at the VA.

But recently declassified Defense Department documents show the Pentagon knew troops were exposed to multiple toxins and hazards that have led to hundreds of cancer cases and dozens of dead veterans after deploying to the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, known as K2, in Uzbekistan in the early days of the War on Terror.

Some lawmakers responded harshly to the VA’s stance during the hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s subpanel on national security.


Parkinson’s Foundation, VA Team Up to Help Vets Manage Disease


Of the roughly 1 million U.S. residents with Parkinson’s disease, some 110,000 are veterans. To improve this population’s health, well-being, and quality of life, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has formed a partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation.

The intent of the collaboration is to ensure that veterans diagnosed with Parkinson’s have the information and resources needed to effectively manage their condition, which has an economic burden of Parkinson’s of nearly $52 billion annually, according to a recent study published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation with support from the Parkinson’s Foundation and others.

“We’ve found that veterans are not always aware of the Parkinson’s-related resources and services available through the VA, which leads to them being underserved in terms of healthcare access,” Veronica “Ronnie” Todaro, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Parkinson’s Foundation, said in a press release.

“Our partnership with the VA is designed to improve our understanding of priorities so we can fill those gaps. We want to make sure Parkinson’s is identified early so that people can engage with providers who have experience with the disease, as well as have the information they need to best manage their PD,” said Todaro.

About half of veterans are at least age 65, putting them at greater risk for Parkinson’s, which usually manifests in patients 50 and older. In addition, many veterans have sustained traumatic head injury or have been exposed to environmental hazards, both of which are associated with Parkinson’s development. In particular, those who served from 1962 to 1975 are at an increased risk of the progressive disease due to the military’s tactical use of the herbicide Agent Orange.


NPRC Delays Due to COVID-19

From: Provost, Lawrence A.  

Sent: Friday, November 20, 2020 9:01 AM
Subject: NPRC Delays Due to COVID-19

Good Morning,

Please see the below, important announcement regarding delays at the National Personnel Records Center in obtaining military documents for eligibility determinations due to Covid-19. 

Our very best thoughts and wishes are with you, your loved ones, and the Veterans you serve now and always. 


Delays in Obtaining Military Documents for Eligibility Determinations


The federal government’s primary repository for military personnel records, the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), has been closed to the public since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to numerous and increasing COVID-19 exposures at the facility, NPRC recently informed Veterans Affairs (VA), they have shut down most of their remaining operations for the foreseeable future.

While NPRC continues to provide military records to determine eligibility for burial in national cemeteries, NCA has found NPRC’s minimal staffing has resulted in delays in obtaining these records  At this time, NPRC is working with NCA to identify records related to casketed interment requests.  Once NPRC can resume normal operations, NCA will then request records for cremated interments.  (NCA can establish eligibility for burial without NPRC coordination in the great majority of cases - approximately 13.5% of burial requests required documents from NPRC in FY2020.)

VA has asked our stakeholders, including funeral home directors, to inform family members of this issue and ask them to search for any additional military documents which may be in their possession.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

VA Won't Fight Court Ruling Awarding Payments to 'Blue Water Navy' Vietnam Vets


The Department of Veterans Affairs has no plans to challenge a court ruling last week ordering it to make retroactive payments to a small class of "Blue Water Navy" Vietnam veterans and their survivors who were wrongly denied benefits for exposure to Agent Orange, the head of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) said Wednesday.

The Justice Department has not indicated whether the Nov. 5 ruling by federal District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco will be appealed, but Paul Lawrence, VA under secretary and VBA chief, said the The VA had prepared for the possibility that Alsup would rule against it, Lawrence said in an interview with

"So we tagged certain claims so that we could go back, were that ruling to happen," he explained. "I think we have to go back and find the estates of those who could have potentially filed claims. We have history around this; we are prepared."

The case involves a 1991 consent decree in which the VA agreed to pay death and disability benefits to Blue Water veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam, along with those who served on land, for exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic defoliant used widely during the war.


Residents near dump fire on alert after council's dioxin notice


Authorities have advised pregnant and breastfeeding women to temporarily shift away from an underground fire burning at a landfill near Pukemiro and Glen Afton.

Waikato Regional Council's preliminary health assessment over the weekend, based on a report from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, referenced a similar event overseas. It indicated there was potential for increased levels of dioxins as a result of the landfill fire.

The council said the presence of dioxins was yet to be confirmed with local tests, which would require specialist equipment to arrive from overseas.

Dump owner John Campbell refused to talk about the alert to RNZ; last week he ridiculed locals' health fears as made up and bordering on "hysteria".


Friday, November 13, 2020

Lawmakers Investigate Cancer Cluster of Veterans Who Served at 'K2' Base


A House committee is investigating cancer diagnoses in more than 400 veterans who served in Uzbekistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The House Oversight and Reform National Security Subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Nov. 18 to determine whether the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense are taking the health concerns of these former service members seriously.

"The courageous Americans who served at [Karshi-Khanabad, or K2] were among the first boots on the ground after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Today, many of them face devastating health conditions potentially tied to their service. They are looking for answers -- answers our government has denied them for years," Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said in a release Wednesday.

He added that a bipartisan committee has found "clear evidence that K2 veterans were exposed to toxic and environmental hazards."

"Yet the VA has refused to provide the full range of treatments and benefits these veterans deserve. I remain committed to advocating on behalf of our K2 heroes and look forward to hearing the VA and DoD's plans to right this injustice," Lynch said.


Braniff Airways Foundation Announces Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Initiative on Veterans Day


DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Braniff Airways Foundation announces its initiative to assist Vietnam Veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange during their time in service. Many of these soldiers traveled aboard Braniff aircraft to and from their service region.

The Foundation has assisted Vietnam Veterans by providing them with access to Braniff Military Airlift Command flight records to help prove their exposure to Agent Orange. Every Veteran that the Foundation has written to the Veterans Administration on their behalf has successfully received their Government mandated settlements and disability payments after only the initial request for benefits.

The Foundation provides this service without charge and does not receive remuneration from the US Veterans Administration or any Veteran we assist. Braniff gives to our Veterans because they gave so much to all of us. If you feel you were exposed to Agent Orange during service in Vietnam and need assistance with proving your exposure please click the link below:

Braniff International, the former international airline, is a leading global historic airline branding and marketing, online retail and historic airliner tour firm, which was originally formed in 1928. Braniff manages over 770 licensing agreements worldwide and continues to offer the licensing of the Braniff brand for new projects. The company today operates its lucrative Braniff Boutique Online Retail store that sells to 123 countries worldwide along with three brick and mortar stores. Braniff also administers its original Employee Airline Pass Program, which offers current and former employees discount travel on partner airlines and travel companies.


Court orders VA to redecide thousands of Vietnam era 'blue water navy' veterans claims


WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of thousands of so-called Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and their survivors Nov. 5.

The ruling was in response to a motion filed by attorneys from the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) to enforce the 29-Year Old Class Action Consent Decree in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Administration. The Court ordered the VA to automatically readjudicate thousands of benefits claims that the Court found had been wrongly denied under the Consent Decree. The Court also ordered the VA to pay retroactive compensation if it finds the veteran served in the territorial seas of Vietnam.

“We applaud the Court’s recognition that Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and their survivors have been wrongly denied retroactive disability and death benefits ever since 2002, when VA reversed its prior position and denied the presumption of Agent Orange exposure to veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam,” said National Veterans Legal Services Program Executive Director Bart Stichman. “These veterans and their surviving family members have already been waiting years for benefits to which they are entitled under the Consent Decree simply because they did not set foot in the land mass of Vietnam.”


Gillibrand calls for expanded health benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange


(WRGB) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on fellow lawmakers to include expanded health care and benefits for veterans suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses to the final Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

She is calling on House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders to maintain the amendment, to establish a presumption of service connection for veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, who are then diagnosed with bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism.

More than 240,000 Vietnam-era veterans live in New York, and thousands of them have received those diagnoses.

While the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) has long established a link between these conditions and exposure to Agent Orange, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny veterans desperately needed care and benefits for these conditions.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Monday, November 9, 2020

U.S. Military Responsible For Widespread Pfas Pollution In Japan


WHILE COMMUNITIES ACROSS the U.S. have been struggling with massive pollution from the military’s use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS, Japan has awoken to its own environmental crisis from the industrial chemicals in the foam. The growing awareness of the issue in Japan is largely due to one reporter: Jon Mitchell, a British investigative journalist based in Tokyo, who has spent years chronicling environmental contamination in the Asia-Pacific region.

His most recent book, “Poisoning the Pacific: The U.S. Military’s Dumping of Plutonium, Chemical Weapons, and Agent Orange,” is based on thousands of pages of documents he obtained from the U.S. military through the Freedom of Information Act; they detail the widespread contamination of bases and the areas surrounding them with PFAS and other hazardous substances, including chemical weapons, Agent Orange, jet fuel, and PCBs.


VA Must Pay Retroactive Benefits to Blue Water Vietnam Vets


SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — The U.S. Veterans Administration must honor the terms of a 1991 settlement and pay retroactive benefits to thousands of Navy veterans who served on ships off Vietnam’s coast for Agent Orange-related health problems, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

“It makes a huge difference to veterans and their families,” plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Kinnaird of the firm Paul Hastings said in a phone interview.

The VA had argued that despite a recent law and court ruling entitling so-called Blue Water Navy vets to benefits, it never intended to include them in a deal it signed three decades ago. In that consent decree, the VA vowed to automatically reconsider past denials of benefits for conditions that it later found were tied to Agent Orange and to grant retroactive benefits.

Used ubiquitously by the U.S. military to clear forested areas in Vietnam, the toxic contaminant dioxin in Agent Orange has been linked to a slew of health problems, including leukemia, lymphoma, throat cancer and many other diseases.

A few months before the consent decree was signed in 1991, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act, which requires the VA to assume all veterans who “served in the Republic of Vietnam” from 1962 to 1975 were exposed to Agent Orange.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected arguments that the settlement was never meant to include Blue Water Vietnam Navy vets who served on ships in Vietnam’s territorial waters but never set foot on the country’s soil or entered its inland waterways.


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Agent Orange and Us

Fred A. Wilcox,author, Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange

October is Agent Orange month, a time to remember tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans, and a million or more Vietnamese who have died from their exposure to toxic herbicides.

The United States military used Agent Orange in Vietnam to drive the enemy out of its hiding places and to starve peasants off their land.

Food crops and water supplies were inundated with Dioxin, a carcinogenic and mutagenic chemical in Agent Orange. Women exposed to Agent Orange gave birth to babies missing arms and legs and brains. Vietnamese farmers developed skin rashes, their animals and their elderly died. American soldiers also suffered from skin rashes, nausea and severe headaches.

Soldiers did not know that the water they drank and the food they consumed in-country were contaminated with deadly chemicals. When they got sick, when their children were born with deformities and their fellow soldiers started to die, they sought help from the government they’d served. Only to be told their problems were psychological. They were accused of being malingerers, after money; told they were suffering from shell shock, later called PTSD.

Chemical companies that profited from manufacturing herbicides for use in Vietnam refuse to help veterans, nor have they offered to compensate Vietnamese victims of chemical warfare. There is no evidence, insist Dow, Monsanto,, that Dioxin harms human beings.

Veterans know this is a big lie. They watched triple canopy jungles die after being doused with Agent Orange. Mangrove forests sprayed with defoliants withered away. Monkeys fell from trees, fish floated to the surface of waters. The military dropped leaflets, telling the Vietnamese not to worry, herbicides were harmless to humans and animals.

Decades later, we thank veterans for their service. But are we willing to listen when they talk about Agent Orange? After all, the United States is not a war zone. Agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are in place to protect us from harm. Multinational corporations are not allowed to use our environment for their own toxic waste dump.

Agent Orange is about the cancer epidemic that is killing our friends, neighbors, friends and family. We like to think that scientists are about to find a cure for cancer. We eat organic food, drink purified water, and take lots of vitamins, hoping to avoid getting cancer.

Unfortunately, these survival strategies aren’t working. With friends in high places, the polluters know they can kill their fellow Americans with impunity. Sending tens of thousands of veterans to early graves did not diminish corporate profits. No need to stop dumping carcinogens into our water, poisoning our food, and filling hospitals with sick and dying children.

Vietnam and the United States are now friends. One day Vietnam’s defoliated forests may grow back, women will no longer give birth to deformed babies, children will grow up in a clean environment.

There must never be another tragedy like Agent Orange.