• Petitioned United States Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

This petition was delivered to:

Senator Burr, Ranking Member & Senator Sanders, Chairman
United States Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Honorable Eric Shinseki
U.S. Senate

VA must care for USAF C-123 Aircrew Agent Orange exposed veterans

    1. Petition by

      C-123 Veterans Association

These aircrew and flight nurse vets are denied medical care for flying warplanes acknowledged by decades of USAF testing as "heavily contaminated" with dioxin, the toxin in Agent Orange. Agent Orange-exposed veterans need and deserve care they are eligible for under Title 38 (and under the Federal Register 8 May 2001 page 23166) regarding VA treatment of C-123 veterans exposed to herbicides, a category for which the law directs appropriate benefits which parallel those of Vietnam War veterans covered under their "boots on the ground" provisions. These men and women volunteer airmen flew the C-123 medium assault transports between 1972-1982, and while some of these veterans are also Vietnam veterans and covered under the VA's "boots on the ground' category, most are post-Vietnam veterans and were exposed AFTER the war aboard these toxic airplanes but absolutely qualify for the same care.

VA opposes, stating regardless of the law and regardless of other experts such as the US Public Health Service and  the CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry which agree with the veterans, VA will care only for Vietnam veterans, or others if able to prove exposure to LIQUID Agent Orange and the toxin in it, dioxin. VA refuses care for veterans exposed to DRY dioxin. VA has even denied some C-123 veterans' claims with the statement that Agent Orange is "harmless," an issue resolved decades ago but surfaced here to help prevent these veterans being added to the VA's roles. VA even bars C-123 veterans from physical exams for their illnesses at VA medical centers, citing unpublished, internal VA policies while their Internet pages clearly state otherwise.

In my own denied claim (submitted as a test case as I'm already 100% VA disabled), the VA determined that my VA urology oncologist (who is also a professor at the Oregon Health Sciences University and also an acknowledged Agent Orange expert) was an "unqualified lay witness." They also dismissed expert scientific opinions confirming my Agent Orange exposure aboard my aircraft as "unqualified scientfic" observations - from Columbia University School of Public Health, from the University of Texas Medical School and from the Toxicology Department of the Oregon Health Sciences University.

And my claim is one of those on which VA stated "In summary no harm is known to be caused by TCDD (note: TCDD = dioxin, the toxin in Agent Orange, acknowledged even by the VA as a potent carcinogen.) Even the VA disagres with their own statement as per the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. VA has told representatives of the C-123 Veterans Association that no amount of scientific, medical or legal evidence will be allowed to affect our exposure claims because they have already determiend that we somehow were not exposed to the dioxin contaminating our warplanes while flying the toxic airplanes for a decade...and being exposed and reexposed flight after flight. Dioxin builds up in the body, and can take 7 to 11 years to reach "half-life." Repeated flying simply built up our dioxin via inhalation and dermal routes of exposure, per the US Public Health Service.

Frankly, this seems to be a VA prejudicial prolicy, not an evenhanded evaluation of veterans' claims supported by mounds of non-VA evidence! We wish the Secretary were aware of this injustice.

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Alan Tarlo ROYAL OAK, MI
      • 5 months ago

      Vietnam Veteran

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    • Larry Levan FREDERICA, DE
      • 5 months ago

      Soon after getting into the VA Healthcare system, my Dr. informed me of my coverage for any diabetes, as it relates to Agent Orange while in Vietnam. If I qualify for this coverage, surely, these veterans are no different than I.

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    • dennis mansour SMYRNA, DE
      • 5 months ago

      I was in Nam and exposed to agent orange and feel anyone who was exposed to it should have benefits and treatment from the VA

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    • Larry Manson ENGLEWOOD, OH
      • 5 months ago

      The VA needs to step up to the plate. 100% of those in Thailand were exposed. Those working on C-123's were exposed. The VA is guilty of massive coverups. Now we find maybe even those at Chanute & other bases in US were exposed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Rossie LITTLETON, CO
      • 5 months ago

      This is an important VETERAN issue. This is a failure on the part of the VA and an example of the VA's ADVERSARIAL attitudes toward veterans.

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