Saturday, August 28, 2021

DOD Identifies Marine Corps, Navy and Army Casualties in Afghanistan


Aug. 28, 2021

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 13 service members who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They died Aug. 26, 2021, as the result of an enemy attack while supporting non-combatant evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation.   

For the Marine Corps, the deceased are: 

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts. 

Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, California. 

Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California. 

Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska. 

Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana. 

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas. 

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri.  

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyoming. 

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California. 

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California. 

Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, and Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui were assigned to 2nd  Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California.

Sgt. Nicole L. Gee was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th  Marine Expeditionary Unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo was assigned to 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Naval Support Activity Bahrain. 

For the Navy, the deceased is: 

Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio. Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak was assigned to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st  Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California.

For the Army, the deceased is: 

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee. Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss was assigned to 9th PSYOP Battalion, 8th  PSYOP Group, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Study identifies potential link between Soldiers exposed to blasts, Alzheimer’s


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- Research shows that Soldiers exposed to shockwaves from military explosives are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease -- even those that don’t have traumatic brain injuries from those blasts. A new Army-funded study identifies how those blasts affect the brain.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in collaboration with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, now known as DEVCOM, the Army Research Laboratory, and the National Institutes of Health found that the mystery behind blast-induced neurological complications when traumatic damage is undetected may be rooted in distinct alterations to the tiny connections between neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain particularly involved in memory encoding and social behavior.

The research published in Brain Pathology, the medical journal of the International Society of Neuropathology, was funded by the lab’s Army Research Office.

“Blasts can lead to debilitating neurological and psychological damage but the underlying injury mechanisms are not well understood,” said Dr. Frederick Gregory, program manager, ARO. “Understanding the molecular pathophysiology of blast-induced brain injury and potential impacts on long-term brain health is extremely important to understand in order to protect the lifelong health and well-being of our service members.”


How Veterans Affairs is helping to lead the way on prostate cancer research


Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among America’s veterans population. An estimated 500,000 veterans are living with a prostate cancer diagnosis today. So it makes sense that the Veterans Health Administration would make prostate cancer research a priority. One of the latest developments is a partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Among other things, it’s helped to fund research into precision oncology – treatments that are tailored to each patient’s specific physiology. Dr. Matt Rettig is the chief oncologist at the VA of Greater Los Angeles. He joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk about some of the research questions VA’s trying to answer.

Interview transcript:

Dr. Matt Rettig: Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed major malignancy amongst veterans. In fact, it’s the most common major malignancy amongst males in the general US population, with somewhere around 200,000-250,000 new cases per year. Currently, there are approximately 500,000 veterans who are alive with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and about 16,000 to 17,000 of them who have the most advanced stage of the disease, that is called metastatic prostate cancer, meaning it’s spread beyond the prostate to another organ. So it’s a big problem. It’s associated with a lot of complications, what we call morbidity, as well as unfortunately, mortality. And so it’s a high priority malignancy for the VA so that we can better understand it and better treat it for our veterans.


VA Spotlights Special Benefits for Elderly Wartime Veteran Population


WASHINGTON — As a follow up to National Financial Awareness Day, August 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs is launching an awareness campaign to inform elderly wartime Veterans and their families of their lesser-known va logo300pension, funeral, burial, and survivor benefits.

“VA’s pension benefit helps Veterans, and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income,” said Acting Under Secretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy. “Currently, only 189,800 wartime Veterans and 139,800 surviving spouses are using their needs-based pension benefits that are meant to ease the burden on them, their families and caregivers. We need to ensure all of our wartime Veterans and their survivors are aware of their benefits.”


Friday, August 20, 2021

Journalist Joe Galloway, chronicler of Vietnam War, dies


WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime American foreign correspondent Joseph L. Galloway, best known for his book recounting a pivotal battle in the Vietnam War that was made into a Hollywood movie, has died. He was 79.

A native of Refugio, Texas, Galloway spent 22 years as a war correspondent and bureau chief for United Press International, including serving four tours in Vietnam. He then worked for U.S. News & World Report magazine and Knight Ridder newspapers in a series of overseas roles, including reporting from the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Galloway died Wednesday morning, his wife, Grace Galloway, told The Associated Press, after being hospitalized near their home in Concord, North Carolina. He is also survived by two sons and a stepdaughter.

“He was the kindest, most gentle and loving man,” Grace Galloway said. “He loved the boys and girls of the U.S. military. He loved his country.”

With co-author retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, Galloway wrote “We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young,” which recounted his and Moore’s experience during a bloody 1965 battle with the North Vietnamese in the Ia Drang Valley. The book became a national bestseller and was made into the 2002 movie “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson as Moore and Barry Pepper as Galloway.

“Joe has my respect and admiration — a combat reporter in the field who willingly flew into hot spots and, when things got tough, was not afraid to take up arms to fight for his country and his brothers,” Gibson said Wednesday.

Galloway was decorated with a Bronze Star Medal with V in 1998 for rescuing wounded soldiers under fire during the la Drang battle. He is the only civilian awarded a medal of valor by the U.S. Army for actions in combat during the Vietnam War.

Galloway also served as a consultant for the 2016 PBS documentary “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. They said he will be missed.

“Joe was a very brave and courageous reporter and phenomenal storyteller the likes of which they don’t make anymore,” Burns and Novick said in a joint statement. “We were lucky he came into our lives and made our understanding of the Vietnam War that much more vivid.”


The cost of war: Burn pit exposure hurt our vets. They deserve better | Asszony


For the first time, veterans who were exposed to the hazards of burn pits in the middle east will get presumptive disability benefit status.

Burn pits are trash piles in which food, human and medical waste, heavy metals, and all sorts of other waste are coated with diesel and other fuels and then set ablaze. 

During the month of August, the Veterans Administration will begin processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis as the presumptive illnesses caused by  exposure of particulate matter from burn pits during military service. The VA will only process claims if the conditions have manifested themselves within 10 years of veteran’s overseas service. These benefits would apply to those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of southwest Asia operations from 1990 to the present.

A presumptive illness status eliminates the need for veterans to prove that their illness is tied directly to their military experience when applying for disability.

However, the VA still does not consider certain cancers as a presumptive illness — and cancer diagnoses are coming at a high rate among veterans who were exposed to burn pit smoke.

In 2009, the VA requested the National Institute of Medicine to conduct a study on the long term health effects of exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. In November of 2011, it was reported by the Institute of Medicine that no evidence between exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan and long term health problems. 

Mr. R. Craig Postlewaite, the department chief of health assurance, claimed, “The toxicology isn’t there; the science isn’t there.”

In 2013 the War Related Injury and Illness Center, the research arm of the VA, wrote a document titled "Burn Pits (Trash And Human Waste Exposures)" in which they stated “there is not enough medical or scientific information on potential for long-term health effects in service members caused  by exposures to smoke from burn pits.”


These Mid-Atlantic bases have toxic levels of cancer-linked chemicals, report finds


Hundreds of military installations show unsafe levels of toxic “forever chemicals” in their ground water, including a handful along the Chesapeake Bay, according to a study released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.

Using Defense Department records, researchers noted that there are eight bases with between 0.8 and 2.2 million parts per trillion of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, compared to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of 70 parts per trillion.

“The chemicals have seeped into the bay, affecting its wildlife, and potentially harming residents’ food supply and livelihoods,” according to the report. “The contamination underscores the need for swift DoD cleanup.”

Affected sites include Aberdeen Proving Ground, Naval Research Laboratory Blossom Point, Martin State Airport Air National Guard Base, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the Naval Academy and Naval Research Laboratory Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, as well as Joint Base Langley-Eustis and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Virginia.

Five of those installations show PFAS contamination above 70 parts per trillion.

Langley, home to Air Force fighter squadrons, reported the highest contamination rate, at more than 2.2 million parts per trillion. PFAS contamination in the military is largely attributed to the used of aqueous film-forming foam, a flame retardant used to put out aircraft and vehicle fires.

All of the sites, save Aberdeen and Blossom Point, are in some stage of remediation, whether it’s investigations or assessments.


Thursday, August 12, 2021

Birth Defect Research for Children

Veterans Research

Birth Defect Research for Children has worked with Vietnam veterans’ families since 1986 when the first Agent Orange Class Assistance Programs were funded. Although BDRC did not have AOCAP funding, we worked with the University of South Carolina in case work that involved counseling with veterans’ families and creating a series of fact sheets on the disabilities they were reporting in their children. During this time BDRC also began the first initiative to set up the National Birth Defect Registry, partly to collect the information being reported by the veterans.

BDRC worked with the New Jersey Agent Orange Commission to develop the Vietnam veterans’ exposure section of the registry questionnaire. BDRC has collected information from thousands of families of Vietnam veterans and has found a consistent pattern of disabilities in their children. These data have been presented to the National Academy of Sciences, congressional committees, the Veterans’ Administration and in national media forums.


August 10, 1961 - First use of Agent Orange in Vietnam


Agent Orange was a chemical herbicide used to destroy forest cover used by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. In what became a program codenamed Operation Ranch Hand, the U.S. sprayed more than 19 million gallons of the chemical over 4.5 million acres of land, including roads, rivers, forests, crops and military buildings.

It should come as no surprise that Agent Orange was later revealed to cause very serious health problems, including tumors, birth defects and cancer among U.S. and Vietnamese personnel and their families.

In addition to Trichlorophenoxyacetic and Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, Agent Orange also contains Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin. TCCD is known for being extremely dangerous, even in small amounts. When troops serving in Vietnam came home, many reported side effects of cancer, congenital disabilities in their children, miscarriages and skin diseases among others.


Military PFAS Lawsuits: Did You Get Sick from Contaminated Water?


courtesy VVA National Office

This Alert Affects:

Anyone who lived on a military base and suspects they developed cancer, thyroid disease or another illness as a result of exposure to contaminated water.

What’s Going On?

DuPont, 3M and other companies that made firefighting foams used in military base training exercises are being sued over claims that, knowing their products contained PFAS chemicals that could contaminate local groundwater and cause serious health effects, they failed to take the steps necessary to protect the public. More than 700 military bases are suspected or confirmed to have had their water contaminated due to the use of firefighting foams.

What Diseases Have Been Linked to PFAS Chemicals?

Ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and several types of cancer, including lymphoma, leukemia, liver cancer, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and multiple myeloma, have all been linked to PFAS exposure.

What You Can Do

If you suspect you or a loved one developed cancer or another disease as a result of drinking or otherwise being exposed to contaminated water, fill out the form on this page. Attorneys working with are offering free consultations to those who lived on military bases to help these individuals determine whether they can take legal action.


Impact of catastrophic Agent Orange disaster still lingers


Hanoi (VNA) – Sixty years have passed since the US army dropped tens of millions of extremely toxic chemicals on various areas across the south of Vietnam, but their devastating impact still lingers, destroying the environment and claiming the lives of many generations of Agent Orange (AO) victims.

About 4.8 million Vietnamese people have been exposed to AO, and more than 3 million others who are their second, third, and even fourth generations have still suffered from pains and losses even when the war ended nearly 50 years ago.

In 1961, then US President J. Kennedy authorised chemical warfare, aside from the “hot war”, in Vietnam.

To conceal their plan from the public, the US Department of Defence used the code name “Operation Ranch Hand” and spread a false belief among US troops and people that the chemicals used were just normal herbicides and defoliants aimed to uncover the enemy’s hiding places and minimise casualties for the US army and its alliance’s troops, and that they were not hazardous to animals and did not have considerable impact on human health.

However, it is a fact that the chemical warfare waged by the US in Vietnam was the largest and longest one causing the most destructive consequences in human history.


Vietnam’s capital Hanoi to extend COVID-19 curbs until Aug. 22

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam’s capital Hanoi will extend its coronavirus restrictions for another 15 days until Aug. 22, the state Vietnam News Agency reported on Friday, following the discovery of new clusters of infections in the city over recent days.

VA Taking Critical Steps to Prepare for Expanded Veteran Benefits


Leaders across VA address how they are focusing on efficiency to provide all veterans with their full benefits.

Leaders from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefits and health units are opening up about the technical implications for a few of its recent expanded focuses in electronic health records and other benefits for veterans, especially those in underserved communities.

“I want you to know that on our end, we’re doing our that together, everywhere, we can tell that person on the other end of the phone that we haven’t given up on you,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Veteran Health Administration’s deputy under secretary for Health for the Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, during DAV’s 2021 National Convention in Tampa, Florida, last weekend.

VA's recent expansions of a few key areas — including the electronic health record (EHR) program, toxic exposure benefits, claims processing and health equity — means shifting priorities on the technology supporting those processes.

Clancy reiterated the agency's focus on an enterprise structure for its EHR program to ensure a "seamless flow of information" between VA and the Defense Department, for instance.

“We believe quite strongly that we need to have a unified, enterprise approach to this,” Clancy said. “We won’t get the most out of this record and provide the highest quality, highest value care to veterans unless we are standardizing and making our workflows consistent across the system.”

As for VA's other expanded benefits, the agency is working on ensuring the technology is in place to support them. That also means expanded the research and scientific support behind these efforts.

"One of the biggest things that we’re starting to add to the equation of doing the research that Dr. Clancy’s group has done for years on presumptives, specifically Agent Orange, is looking at evidence in different areas and evidence that we have in VBA from years and decades of claims experience,” said Michael Frueh, principal deputy under secretary for benefits at Veterans Benefits Administration, at the DAV event. “That is part of this new framework that, quite honestly, we hadn’t been looking at before.”


Thursday, August 5, 2021

Samaritan CME Live Webinar September 22: Agent Orange - Health Effects on Veterans


“Agent Orange: Health Effects on Veterans”


Mitchell Turker, PhD, JD

Professor, Medical Genetics, OHSU


September 22, 2021 12:30-1:30pm

MS Teams Meeting 

(Contact Kyle @


Activity Objectives:

  • Review what is known about health effects from exposure to Agent Orange and its most toxic ingredient, dioxin
  • Explain why we do not have a complete picture of the health effects from Agent Orange exposure
  • Explain the regulatory approach that was created to deal with Vietnam Veteran concerns that their long-term health was negatively impacted from their exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants


Samaritan Health Services is accredited by the Washington State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


Samaritan Health Services designates this live activity for a maximum of one (1) AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Dr. Turker and the planners for this educational activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

VA processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter


Editors Note: "Particulate matter" is a euphemism for Exposure to Toxic Burn Pits

VA will begin processing disability claims Aug. 2 for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a presumptive basis based on presumed particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas – if these conditions manifested within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service.

VA conducted the first iteration of a newly formed internal VA process to review scientific evidence to support rulemaking, resulting in the recommendation to consider creation of new presumptions of service connection for respiratory conditions based on VA’s evaluation of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report and other evidence.

The process concluded that particulate matter pollution is associated with chronic asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990 to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001 to the present. VA’s review also concluded that there was sufficient evidence to presume that these Veterans have been exposed to particulate matter.

“I announced my intent to initiate rulemaking on May 27 to consider adding respiratory conditions to the list of chronic disabilities,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “Through this process I determined that the evidence provided was sufficient to establish presumptions of service connection for these three respiratory conditions. This is the right decision, and VA will continue to use a holistic approach in determining toxic exposure presumptives moving forward.”


The Media's Failure on Agent Orange


This story is so seriously underreported that for many it hardly exists. But it does exist in a multitude of ways that are impossible to count. It has a continuing and important effect on people's lives, including unborn children, in South East Asia, mainly Vietnam, and in the United States, particularly among veterans. Until we solve the ills Agent Orange caused—and still does—the press gives it the coverage it demands and deserves, many people will continue to suffer in unimagined ways. It is media neglect of the worst sort.

Despite all the problems and the terrible damage it left in its wake, stories about the deadly defoliant are hard to find in newspapers, television or the Internet. Rarely is there anything new to report, so there is nothing to read or view. To its credit, PBS did air a substantial documentary recently, and there is an occasional newspaper story, but they are not enough to make people conscious of what the defoliant destroyed in South Vietnam in its more than eleven years of unbridled use.

I became acquainted with Agent Orange on every base that I set foot on from Can Tho to Dalat, from Saigon to Danang, from Tay Ninh to Pleiku. Every American base had its share of steel storage drums, some rusting, that were often leaning against the walls of American soldiers' and Marines' sleeping quarters, near a commissary and dining hall where troops ate, even a medical shack in Danang. By the way, its name comes from the color-coded hands painted on those steel drums, thus orange hands became Agent Orange, an easy transition as part of the language of war.

The rampant use of Agent Orange, a sort of poetic name for a killer, is one shame among many, committed by the United States in Vietnam. Even after more than 46 years since the war ended in 1975, we do not know how many suffered and how many still suffer from the effects of this powerful defoliant and herbicide.

Concerned about the movement of troops and supplies from North Vietnam into South Vietnam down the Ho Chi Minh Trail (really a spider web of narrow footpaths, wider trails, small streams, truck routes, mountains and jungle) confounded the American command’s efforts to close the seemingly unstoppable trafficking by Hanoi. Very early in the war, in 1962 when American advisors ran the show, staff in the Pentagon and White House came up with what they considered a failsafe plan to stop the ongoing influx of Hanoi's men, women and supplies into South Vietnam. It was simple: dump a variety of herbicides and defoliants with a bit of powerful dioxin included, to destroy all vegetation and crops, including trees, as well as to pollute streams and rivers. That way they would open the jungle to enable American and South Vietnamese aircraft and artillery to better detect and destroy their enemy. It never worked to stop traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, but it was not until 1971-1972, with the damage already done, that the program ended.

Ron Steinman was bureau chief for NBC News in Saigon from 1966 through 1969, including leading the coverage of the Tet Offensive in 1968, and covered the war until 1972. Over the war years and after the war ended, he interviewed many soldiers and Marines to get their stories about Agent Orange, some of which are in his oral histories of the war, The Soldiers Story; Women in Vietnam; and his memoir, A Saigon Journal: Inside Television's First War.  


Leverkusen explosion: What exactly are dioxins, furans, PCBs and PAHs?


After an explosion in Leverkusen in western Germany, authorities are warning that a series of toxins were probably released into the atmosphere. Locals have been told not to eat fruit and vegetables from their gardens.

During an explosion at a hazardous waste incineration plant at Chempark near Leverkusen in western Germany earlier this week, tanks containing chlorinated solvents burst into flames. The solvents, as well as greases, waste medicines, tar and other pollutants are usually incinerated at temperatures of around 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,012 degrees Fahrenheit).

Only when they are incinerated at temperatures of over 850 degrees Celsius can it be ensured that no dioxins, furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remain in the combustion gases.

But if the incineration is not done properly, certain toxins, which belong to what are known as the dirty dozen of organic environmental pollutants, can remain or even be produced and then be dispersed into the atmosphere.

Thus, following this week's explosion, authorities have warned local residents not to touch any particles of soot or eat any fruit or vegetables from their gardens.

DW looks into what these different toxins are:

Dioxins and furans

This is a collective term for a group of 75 polychlorinated dibenzo-para-dioxins (PCDD) and 135 polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF). One of the most toxic is the compound 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which is associated with the 1976 Seveso disaster when between one and three kilograms (between approximately 2.2 and 6.6 pounds) were released into the surrounding area after an accident at a chemical manufacturing plant in Meda, not far from the Italian city of Milan. Some 3,300 animals died and there were about 200 cases of severe chloracne among humans.


How the CDC Betrayed Victims of Agent Orange


courtesy of Patty Fisher of Ohio, via Paul Sutton

There are few things in this world with the long-term toxicity of Agent Orange, the chemical herbicide used in Vietnam. Polonium-210 in a cup of tea will kill you – just ask former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko – but, unlike Agent Orange, its damage isn’t generational.

For the uninitiated, Agent Orange is the moniker given to the “mixture of butoxyethanol esters of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T).”1 It was a nasty chemical compound manufactured primarily by Dow Chemical and Monsanto (and others) at the instructions of the United States government during the Vietnam war.

From 1962 to 1971, the US Air Force sprayed at least 11 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam. The purpose of Agent Orange, primarily distributed through Operation Ranch Hand, was defoliation to improve visibility for military operations and the destruction of enemy food supplies. It was mostly sprayed by plane, although it was also sprayed through helicopters, truck, boat, and backpacks to clear foliage around bases and landing zones.

What made Agent Orange so dangerous was that during production, a dangerous byproduct formed: dioxin TCDD, a chemical so toxic it damages is calculated not in years but in decades or even centuries.

Dow Chemical and Monsanto knew the risks of Agent Orange and dioxin. In 1965, scientists from four rival chemical companies met at Dow Chemical to discuss the “health hazards of dioxin.” By then, the companies had been manufacturing Agent Orange and other defoliants for the US war in Vietnam. It was agreed upon at this meeting that the toxicity of Agent Orange – which caused “severe” liver damage in animal subjects – would have to remain a secret because the situation might “explode” and “generate a new wave of government regulation for the chemical industry.”



Civilian Exposure Base Profiles: PFAS Contamination at U.S. Airbases in Germany

Fire-fighting foams used on air bases by the U.S. military are poisoning water systems throughout Germany. The foam spray, used in routine fire drills, is made of a carcinogenic material known as Per and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS. For training purposes, the American forces light massive, petroleum-fueled fires and extinguish them using these foam sprays. Afterward, the foam residue is allowed to run off, polluting the soil, sewers, surface water, and groundwater. The US military also uses sprinkler systems in hangars to create a foam layer to coat expensive aircraft. The frequently tested systems can cover a 2-acre hangar with 17 feet of poisonous foam in 2 minutes. (.8 hectare with 5.2 meters of foam in 2 minutes.)



5 High-Paying Career Fields for Recently Separated Combat Arms Veterans


There are a lot of benefits to military service, and the first among them is job training that can translate to a real-world career after leaving the military. The trouble with that particular benefit is that some military careers don’t always have a direct civilian counterpart.

Infantry and combat arms veterans really don’t find careers that closely resemble what they did in the military. This experience isn’t wasted by any means. They still gain work experience and the soft skills that come with an infantry career. These skills are highly desired by civilian employers and include teamwork, demonstrable leadership and the ability to follow instructions, among many others. Combat arms personnel excel at those things.

When considering a post-military career, many veterans have a clearer understanding of where to go in their careers. Combat arms personnel may feel a little lost in finding the next step. The good news is that the world is actually wide open. The U.S. Census Bureau recently compiled data that points to great careers offering high starting salaries for these kinds of veterans.

1. Scientific and Technical Services

2. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction

3. Utilities

4. Educational Services

5. Public Administration