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Agent Orange Never Quits, and Doesn't Discriminate
Old 08-19-2019, 05:38 PM   #1
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Agent Orange Never Quits, and Doesn't Discriminate

Old Guy; twice retired
USN/USNR 1967-1988; retired as O-5 cryptologist
Civilian ER, Class of 2001 (18 years!)

If this is old news to anyone wandering through here or the military-related posts, mea culpa.

If it's news, and especially if it applies to you, mission accomplished.

While on Navy active duty I was stationed at NavCommSta Guam from 10/1969-04/1971. Did my time, left, and got on with things.

Earlier this year, I was made aware of the fact that "Rainbow Herbicides" including Agent Orange, were routinely and indiscriminately sprayed all over Guam from 1962 through 1980 to control vegetation. More info is below on the issue and background for those interested.

There are two purposes for my posting:

First,

If you, or anyone you served with or know, was stationed anywhere on Guam from 1962 through 1980, you/they were definitely exposed to Agent Orange because it was being routinely and indiscriminately used all over the island to control vegetation. We have first-hand reports from those who were in X-Division and did the spraying.

If you were stationed on Guam more recently, you were still exposed. The island's water sources are contaminated, so if you bathed, drank the water, cooked, etc., you were exposed. It never stops.

If you were there, please PM me for info on a facebook group that is advocating for those impacted.

Second,

H.R 1713, the LONNIE KILPATRICK CENTRAL PACIFIC RELIEF ACT, has been introduced in the current session of the House of Representatives. This bill will extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to all those who served in the areas listed above, and make dealing with the VA a lot easier in the future.

To date, 55 Members have signed on as co-sponsors, and more are expected to join when they return from recess in September.

Please reach out to your former shipmates. Make them aware of their possible exposure.

And please join in the fight if you can. If you support this legislation, let your legislators know.

Background:

The science, other than VA's consistent denial that there was danger, is agreed that AO was used at Andersen AFB, NCS Guam, NAS Agana, NavSta Guam, Poseidon Point, and virtually anywhere on the island where vegetation needed to be controlled. There are first-hand accounts from those who sprayed that detail when, where, and how much AO was used over the decades. It ain't pretty.

Lots of questions about the possibility that ANYONE who was stationed there, flew through, or even stopped for fuel/provisions, was exposed to Agent Orange and other deadly herbicides and chemicals.

Here's some information that has completely changed my life in the past 9 months.

From 1962 through 1980, Rainbow herbicides including Agent Orange and its toxic component DIOXIN were widely used and stored on Guam, in the Northern Marianas, on Johnston Atoll and in American Samoa.

Any military folks (USN, USAF, USMC, USA, USCG and their dependents) who were stationed on Guam, or came TAD through Guam, or were on ships that stopped on Guam during those years WERE EXPOSED to Agent Orange.

Make no mistake if you were on Guam from 1962 - 1980, you were exposed to Agent Orange. In fact, EPA reports that the ground and water supplies are still contaminated with these herbicides.

The science, reporting and first-hand accounts are overwhelming. That number is approximately 52,000 American service members, and does not include dependents, the indigenous Chamorro people, or any of our descendants.

How many are still alive, and how many died before their time? Nobody knows.

I know that I can now explain medical challenges that are unique to me in my family. Details not needed here, but no one else has experienced challenges that I've seen in the last 5-10 years. And I'm lucky. My shipmates are dying at a rate equal to that of those who were sprayed in-country, and from diseases that can only be attributed to their exposure to AO. And their descendants are experiencing issues through the 3rd generation at this point.
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:06 PM   #2
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It's too bad that you have to Lobby for this, and it not taken care of by Congress and the White House. With all of the 'Flag Waving' and 'Support the Troops' is mostly hollow cheering with little substance.


I also served in the U.S.N. from 71-75 (Not on Guam or any other AO place)... So the Bush Administration during the Gulf War took away my V.A. Medical Benefits, so they didn't have to raise taxes on the rich to fulfill their promise made to me over 40 years ago.


Every time I see a Flag Waver saying 'Support the Troops' I want to puke! (They really don't mean it, otherwise you would not have to post this)
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:23 PM   #3
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They seem to be doing a better job of taken care of those who were exposed to agent orange while stationed in Vietnam. A friend of mine who was in Vietnam came down with prostate cancer a few years ago, agent orange was presumed to be the cause and he was placed on full disability during the treatment until it was determined he was cured, maybe a 3 year period. I believe he still gets partial disability because of it.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:56 PM   #4
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OldGuy, CutThroat

Thanks for your service.

I read an article a few years ago that Agent Orange was also test sprayed on the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation in the Florida panhandle during the VN War years. I was in and out of VN a few times during 70-71 so the presumption is I might have been exposed. It's unlikely IMO.

2soon2tell USN 69-72
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:09 AM   #5
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I was stationed at Little Rock AFB in the early to mid 90's and for many years, they ran an incinerator next door (Vertac) to destroy left over Agent Orange and dioxin. For that entire time, the air smelled like an indoor pool. I am under no illusion that these "99.9% safe" fumes will have an effect on my life span and health.

https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/vertac-2198/

And Guam? Yep, spent quite a bit of time there shuttling troops/beans/bullets across the way.

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Old 08-20-2019, 10:36 AM   #6
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And you might still be using in your backyard today, aka
Pesticide 2,4-D.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...-2-4-d/253506/
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueskies123 View Post
And you might still be using in your backyard today, aka
Pesticide 2,4-D.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...-2-4-d/253506/
Article is over 7 years old. My guess is that 2,4-D is no longer in any products in the U.S.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blueskies123 View Post
And you might still be using in your backyard today, aka
Pesticide 2,4-D.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...-2-4-d/253506/
1) 2,4-D is an herbicide, not a pesticide. The headline and article are using the wrong term.


2) The most significant human health impact of Agent Orange is from the dioxin that was in that mix. The dioxin was not a deliberate part of the herbicide mix known as Agent Orange, but was a contaminant/byproduct of the way it was manufactured. That doesn't absolve the manufacturers of liability for its presence in AO.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:57 AM   #9
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Article is over 7 years old. My guess is that 2,4-D is no longer in any products in the U.S.
No, it is still very common. It has a long record of use as a broadleaf weed killer. Currently available 2,4-D does not have detectable dioxin. The last time I looked at this a few years ago, 2,4-D was widely recognized as safe when used as directed, though research will continue into that (as it should).
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:12 AM   #10
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Gents, thanks for the feedback. After ~48 years, learning about probable AO exposure was certainly not the way I wanted to start my 2019. But IIWII.

FWIW, Andersen AFB was & still is one of the most contaminated sites - the POL depot just inside the main gate is a SuperFund Site.

The last Congress passed the "Blue Water Navy" bill that extended the presumption of exposure to ships that were within specified limits from RVN. The VA has decided to postpone obeying the law until next year (?), and is being sued for their lack of response.

SamClem is right; these brews are all herbicides. They were used to control vegetation around flight lines, antenna fields, pipelines, etc.. Whether or not DIOXIN was a component or a byproduct, the manufacturers knew about it in the early '60s, told the government, and nothing was done until Vets started to die from diseases they should not have been suffering.

Remember, if you were there, you WERE exposed. DIOXIN has been found in the drinking water, in the ground, in underground plumes.

PM me if you want a contact FB page that's been set up to provide additional information.

Scary stuff, even for us rapidly-aging Old Guys...
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Old 08-20-2019, 01:52 PM   #11
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So the Bush Administration during the Gulf War took away my V.A. Medical Benefits, so they didn't have to raise taxes on the rich to fulfill their promise made to me over 40 years ago.
If you are a Veteran, like myself, you can still get free healthcare at the VA Hospital system. My father was also a Vet, and got out in 1968 after 20+ years. He delivered AO to Vietnam and suffered effects from AO.

If you are a disabled Vet, healthcare is 100% free, and covers everything except dental. You are classified as a priority three or higher. If you are not a disabled Vet, you can still get healthcare, although there may be a means test and a co-pay requirement. You are classified as a priority eight, of eight. Dental care is still available to all Veterans, although it is through a discounted insurance program. https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vadip/

You should consult your local Veteran's Service officer and see if you may be a disabled vet. I was classified disabled almost 35 years after I got out. The form to apply for VA Benefits is VA Form 10-10EZ. 100% of my healthcare is from the VA.

There was never any promise of any free healthcare based on any law, except as lied to you by a recruiter. In any case, the President doesn't pass or change laws, congress does.

Quote:
Clearly, these folks feel betrayed, so The Rumor Doctor set out to see if there is any truth to this belief that troops and veterans are entitled to free health care for life.

"The short answer is no," said Peter Graves, a spokesman for the assistant defense secretary for health affairs. "Health care benefits for military members, retirees, and their families are, and have always been, as provided by law, and the law has never promised free health care for life."

The law provides free medical care for servicemembers on active duty and their families, Graves said in an email.

Congressional Research Service, which provides analysis for Congress, issued a 2003 report that found veterans were not entitled to free medical care for life, even though they may have been promised exactly that by their recruiters.

https://www.stripes.com/blogs-archiv...life-1.161485#
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:09 PM   #12
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[Mod edit: Removed quoted text from a subsequently removed post]
[mod edit-- Removed text]
Eligibility requirements and tests since the ACA may have changed. You should re-apply if you have not done so recently. If you worked in a noisy environment, it maybe be easy. I have helped several Vets get access to healthcare.

You should look to your local Veterans Service Office to help fill out and submit the paperwork. You may have a co-payment, but should at least be accepted.

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All enrolled Veterans receive the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA's) comprehensive Medical Benefits Package which includes preventive, primary and specialty care, diagnostic, inpatient and outpatient care services. Veterans may receive additional benefits, such as dental care depending on their unique qualifications.
https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/303
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:39 PM   #13
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AO is the gift that keeps on giving. DH served in Vietnam from 69-70 and thirty and thirty-two years later was diagnosed with two 100% disabilities due to presumed connections to AO.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:49 PM   #14
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I was stationed in many places and probably exposed. I guess the real question is what do people want (remedy) for past sins and damages? Most of us will be on Medicare (or Tricare) and have the medical cost nearly covered.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:14 PM   #15
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And with all due respect for those in the military that were exposed, the effect on local civilians is greater and ongoing.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:22 PM   #16
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Agent Orange was a mix of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. It was widely used to control broadleaf plants in the U.S, Canada and elsewhere. It was the 2,4,5-T part that was found to be toxic and phased out in the 70's and 80's. I was sorry when they took it off the shelves because I used it for poison ivy. In low dose there is no proven harm. I now use Roundup which is much more expensive.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:34 PM   #17
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A friend of mine fought in the Vietnam jungle. He got a rare form of throat/neck cancer that is known to come from OA. While the VA gave him medical treatment they denied the cause which if acknowledged would have given him more benefits and one of them was the VA paying for his and his wife’s nursing home care. They dragged out the appeals until he died. It appears half the military judges are ruling for the soldiers but not all.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:01 PM   #18
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I was stationed in many places and probably exposed. I guess the real question is what do people want (remedy) for past sins and damages? Most of us will be on Medicare (or Tricare) and have the medical cost nearly covered.
Benefits go way beyond medical care. Disability benefits, depending on % rating can be substantial and well deserved by those who were exposed while defending our country.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:05 PM   #19
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My husband was in the Navy and stationed on Guam around 1983/1984. I read some of this to him. He was unaware of the AO still being there while he was stationed there. Interesting.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:33 PM   #20
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My brother is 65 years old and served in the Air Force and stationed in Vietnam. He was an air traffic controller, career, then another career with the FAA until age 55 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimers. The VA says his Alzheimers is 100% due to his exposure to Agent Orange while stationed in Vietnam.

We, me, DW, DB and his wife are scheduled to take an Alaskan cruise next month. Today my brother's wife called me to tell us that my brother will not be able to go and that the VA will be admitting him in their memory care unit in Oklahoma where they live.

It breaks my heart, what happened to my brother. At least the VA is taking responsibility. Once diagnosed, they picked him up every day in a limo and took him to a senior day care center. However, his demeanor has been slowly eroding and he can't stay there any more. His VA neurologist recommended immediate admission to the VA long term care center they run and they have an opening immediately.

To add insult to injury, the IRS just contacted my sister in law to tell her that income claimed from the early years of my brother's diagnosis isn't exempt like their tax man said it was and she now owes several thousand dollars. She told me she'll have to take a loan out to pay it.

I'm sorry. I went on a little more than the thread topic encompassed, but.... DAMN!
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