Vietnam Veterans of America Charles Kettle Chapter 31
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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.
A new study of more than 300,000 Vietnam-era U.S. veterans has found that those who were exposed to Agent Orange are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia as those who were not.
The new finding, published Monday
in JAMA Neurology, is among the most substantial to date linking cognitive
decline with chemicals used for defoliation during the Vietnam War.
For the study, researchers at the
San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System examined the medical records
of thousands of veterans and found a two-fold risk of dementia for those whose
medical records indicated evidence of exposure.
According to Deborah Barnes, a
researcher with the University of California San Francisco and the Department
of Veterans Affairs, the study authors found that, over the course of time, 5%
of veterans with a documented exposure to Agent Orange were diagnosed with
dementia compared with 2.5% of vets with no known exposure.
"Even though the absolute
rates ... are low, these veterans were still relatively young, so if the risk
holds, we would expect that to increase as they age," Barnes said in an
interview with JAMA Neurology.
A French court will on Monday hear a case against more than a dozen multinationals, accused by a French-Vietnamese woman of causing grievous harm to her and others by selling the Agent Orange defoliant to the US government which used it to devastating effect in the Vietnam War.
Tran To Nga, born in 1942 in what
was then French Indochina, worked as a journalist and activist in Vietnam in
She filed the lawsuit in 2014
against 14 firms that made or sold the highly toxic chemical, including
Monsanto, now owned by German giant Bayer, and Dow Chemical.
Backed by several NGOs, she
accuses the companies of being responsible for injuries sustained by her, her
children and countless others, as well as for damage done to the environment.
"A recognition of Vietnamese
civilian victims would constitute a legal precedent", said international
law specialist Valerie Cabanes.
American and Vietnamese personnel have removed dioxin from an area of 5,300 square meters at Bien Hoa airport, the most contaminated spot in Vietnam.
The remediation work which began
in December 2019 removed 1,134 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated sediments
from Gate 2 Lake within the airport in Dong Nai Province, an hour’s drive from
Bien Hoa airport was the largest
U.S. military base in Vietnam during the war and is now used for military
The remediated area will be handed
over to local authorities in the next few days.
At an event held at the airport on
Wednesday to announce the results of one year of work, the Air Defense Air
Force Command signed an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) to hand over an area of 7.2 hectares at the airbase for the
latter to decontaminate over the next two years.
The two nations' governments have
agreed that some 515,000 cubic meters of soil on 52.24 hectares at the airport
is contaminated with dioxin, a deadly chemical used in the defoliant Agent
Orange by the U.S.
Cleaning it up is expected to take
at least 10 years and cost the two countries $300 million each.
Officially, the Vietnam War ended for the United States in 1975.
What many Oregonians don’t know is that one of its most
deadly weapons simply followed them home.
Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide combo developed to
defoliate the jungles and expose the enemy to American bullets, did its job so
well it drew the attention of researchers for the timber industry. Chemicals
that take out weeds and broadleaf trees from the air? Conifers stay standing?
Hey, we could use something like that here for our Doug firs in the Pacific
That idea sets the stage for “The People vs. Agent Orange,”
a documentary by the husband and wife team of Alan Adelson and Kate Taverna.
During Desert Storm, there were many faces of the war. President George H.W. Bush made decisions as the commander in chief and delivered remarks from the White House to the American people on the war’s opening night. Defense Secretary Dick Cheney advised the president on policy. Army Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf led the troops downrange. Serving as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, there was an Army Veteran advising Bush and Cheney while working with Schwartzkopf: Gen. Colin Powell.
Powell was less than a year into his tour as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Operation Desert Shield started in August 1990. Soon after, he was a key player in a war that the now 83-year-old Veteran fondly recalls during his travels downrange to visit deployed service members.
“These youngsters were great,” the retired general said. “These youngsters were fabulous. These youngsters wanted to do their very, very best. These youngsters trained, like you wouldn’t believe to get ready for this conflict.”
Thursday, January 21, 2021
When elected officials gather on Capitol Hill to formally convene the 117th Congress on Jan. 3, they’ll do so with 91 veterans among their ranks, the lowest total since at least World War II.
The number of veterans in Congress
has declined almost steadily since the mid-1970s, as the military shifted from
an end strength of largely drafted individuals to an all-volunteer force. In
1973, nearly three in every four members of Congress had some type of military
service. In 2021, it’ll be about one in every six members who have military
Here’s a look at the group, by the
91 total veterans in the 117th Congress.
17 will serve in the Senate, 74 will serve in the House.
28 are Democrats, 63 are Republicans.
13 served in the military in the 1960s or earlier.
50 served in the military after 2000.
More than half (49) had overseas combat deployments.
15 are first-time lawmakers.
6 are women, a decrease of 1 from last Congress
44 served in the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard.
15 served in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard.
15 served in the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve.
17 served in the Navy or Naval Reserve.
None served in the Coast Guard.
Texas has the most veterans in their state delegation, with nine.
12 states have no veterans in their state delegations (Idaho, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming)
WASHINGTON — The Army will review thousands of discharge records of veterans affected by military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other behavioral health conditions following a class-action lawsuit, the service announced Tuesday.
The review is part of a settlement
reached in the lawsuit Kennedy v. McCarthy, which was preliminarily approved
Dec. 28, according to the Army. The service will look at discharges of veterans
affected by PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma or other
behavioral health conditions.
“Under the agreement, the Army
will automatically reconsider certain discharge-status-upgrade decisions made
by the Army Discharge Review Board between April 17, 2011, and the effective
date of settlement that partially or fully denied relief to Iraq- and
Afghanistan-era veterans with less-than-fully-honorable discharges,” the
Veterans who were discharged and
did not receive an upgrade to honorable from the review board between Oct. 7,
2001, to April 16, 2011, will also be able to reapply due to the settlement.
The lawsuit was filed April 2017
in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut by Army combat veterans Steve Kennedy
and Alicia Carson, both of whom suffered from PTSD and other health conditions,
but where given a general discharge despite their medical issues, according to
the complaint. Their case was handled by the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at
Yale Law School.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Vietnam will develop its own technique to clean up dioxin left from the Vietnam War instead of relying on U.S. collaboration.
Colonel General Nguyen Chi Vinh,
Deputy Minister of National Defense, told a Friday meeting Vietnam targets to
complete dioxin remediation across all contaminated areas that have been
detected by 2025.
Affected areas include Bien Hoa
Airport, the most contaminated spot in the country in Dong Nai Province,
neighboring Ho Chi Minh City, and A So Airport in central Thua Thien-Hue Province.
Related agencies will continue to
investigate the current status of toxic chemical and dioxin residues in other
areas sprayed during the war that last from 1955 to 1975.
Vietnam is expected to develop its
own method of cleaning up dioxin, with all such projects thus far completed in
collaboration with the U.S.
Between 1961 and 1971, the U.S.
army sprayed some 80 million liters of Agent Orange, compounds of dioxins and
dioxin-like mixtures, over 78,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles) of
Dioxin, a highly toxic chemical
contained in the defoliant, stays in the soil and at the bottom of lakes and
rivers for generations. It can enter the food chain through meat, fish and
other animals, and has been found at alarmingly high levels in human breast
Between 2.1 to 4.8 million
Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals, which
have been linked to cancers, birth defects and other chronic diseases.
On Jan. 1, 2020, the Blue Water Navy (BWN) Vietnam Veterans Act went into law, supporting Veterans who may be eligible for benefits based on presumption of herbicide exposure. One year later, VA reflects on its progress.
As of Nov. 30, 2020, VA has processed
39,061 of 75,205 claims received. Of those, 27,366 were granted – awarding more
than $724 million in retroactive benefits. The most common granted claims
included medical conditions diabetes, malignant growth of the lung, coronary
bypass surgery, malignant growths of genitourinary system and coronary artery
In addition, the law provides
benefits for children born with certain health conditions whose parent was a
Veteran with verified herbicide exposure while serving in Thailand.
The law affects Veterans who
served on vessels operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the
demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, as defined in Public
Law 116-23 . Veterans, their dependents, and survivors who meet this
criteria can apply for these approved benefits.
Veterans – and survivors of
deceased Veterans – who served in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone from
Sept. 1, 1967, to Aug. 31, 1971, can apply for benefits.
To help implement the law, VA
collaborated with the National
Archives and Records Administration to digitize all Navy and Coast
Guard deck logs for ships with known Vietnam service. Digitization of the Navy
deck logs was completed in December 2019; Coast Guard deck logs were completed
in September 2020. As part of the agreement, VA provided digital images of the
deck logs to NARA to make them digitally available in the National Archives Catalog. Veterans may
contact email@example.com if the deck log they are seeking is not
available in the National Archives Catalog.
Learn more about Agent
Orange exposure and VA disability compensation or call 800-827-1000
for more information.
The federal government is taking its first steps toward formally acknowledging U.S. troops were stationed at a secret base in Uzbekistan where veterans say they were exposed to toxic hazards that have caused deadly diseases and illnesses.
President Donald Trump signed legislation Jan. 5 requires VA
and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to conduct a 10-year
study of cancers and other diseases among Karshi-Khanabad (K2) veterans. The
Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 also opens VA’s burn
pit registry to servicemembers who served at the former Soviet base in southern
Trump also is considering an executive order allowing former
servicemembers who served at K2 to apply for the same VA care and benefits as veterans
who were exposed to burn pits or depleted uranium in Afghanistan. In addition,
a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act directs DoD to conduct an
epidemiological study of toxic exposure among K2 veterans.
None of these measures provide presumptive service
connection that would require VA to cover health-care costs for K2 veterans who
are dealing with rare cancers and other illnesses they believe were caused by
toxic exposures at the base. However, the executive order and NDAA directive
are steps toward the federal government’s acknowledgement of the base’s
hazardous legacy, K2 veterans say.
Monday, January 4, 2021
A half-century ago, Air Force veteran Victor Skaar and hundreds of other troops were exposed to radiation when they responded to a Cold War-era accident in rural Spain involving lost nuclear weapons, a nightmare situation known best by its code name: Broken Arrow.