Skip to comments.Agent Orange’s Toxic Legacy Hits Home
Posted on 01/13/2011 9:52:15 AM PST by DanMiller
Retired Master Sergeant LeRoy Foster is haunted by the job that launched his 20-year career in the US Air Forcespraying herbicides along perimeter fences and fuel pipelines at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. This duty seemed inconsequential, field maintenance work done amid B-52 bombers thundering in and out to refuel for bombing raids over Vietnam and a beehive of other military operations buzzing at Navy bases on the small island in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Despite nasty outbreaks of acne that a military doctor recorded in a 1968 medical report, he couldnt imagine that the government-issued weed-killers might be planting tiny time bombs powerful enough to destroy his health and the lives of many other people.
Forty-some years later, MSgt. Foster spends much of his time in a wheelchair, anxiously rocking his infant grand daughter, who was born last year with extra toes and fingers and a heart abnormality. At 62, living on VA disability and military retirement checks, he also spends hours on his computer in Westfield, NY, a small town near Buffalo, emailing to wider and wider circles of other veterans and public officials. High on his to-do list are pleas for a federal investigation and public health warnings of the potential effects of the toxic legacy of extensively contaminated land and water in Guamas well as at many other active and former US military bases around the world.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinion-forum.com ...
Jan Barry, a retired journalist, has written an important story on Msgt. LeRoy Foster, USAF Ret., who lives in Westfield, NY, near Buffalo, NY. The story details the difficulties Foster and his family have been forced to deal with because of his exposure many years ago to Agent Orange. His health and his familys health have been severely affected by this toxic exposure, and he has struggled with the U.S. government to get the help he needs. Foster and other veterans have tried to work together to raise public attention and to get help for themselves, but they havent been very successful.
The story also provides important information on the extent of contamination by Agent Orange and other toxic substances at locations around the world, including military installations in the U.S.We all deal with contentious political and ideological issues. This story in large measure transcends those.
Because there is no political gain from either side in discussing VietNam era problems. Even though this is a disaster of military/gov’t policy and something should be done.
Lamar Williams, bass player for the Allman Bros in their “Brothers and Sisters” era died from Agent Orange exposure.
He stated unequivocally that he had never seen a legitimate case of illness caused by agent orange in all of his years working with the VA. He went on to state that soldiers and airmen that loaded it and sprayed it, and were covered with it on a daily basis, never had any anomalous symptoms of any kind. He was emphatic that all claims of any “agent orange syndrome” were complete fabrications.
Zumwalt’s son, Elmo Zumwalt III, died in 1988, aged 42; Zumwalt’s grandson (born 1977) suffers from a congenital dysfunction that confuses his physical senses. Zumwalt’s son said in 1986 that “’I am a lawyer and I don't think I could prove in court, by the weight of the existing scientific evidence, that Agent Orange is the cause of all the medical problems - nervous disorders, cancer and skin problems - reported by Vietnam veterans, or of their children's severe birth defects. But I am convinced that it is.”
Admiral Zumwalt said he felt his son's cancer was most definitely due to Agent Orange. He also mentioned that his grandson Russell suffered from very severe learning disabilities that could possibly be traced to it as well. However, Zumwalt said he did not regret ordering the use of Agent Orange, because it reduced casualties by making it difficult for the enemy to hide and find food
But if I had to render an opinion about the subject, I'd have to agree with Ehlers, it's nonsense.
I analyze VA medical records for cancer research, and worked for military healthcare for years, and I’ve seen all kinds of strange sarcomas with behaviors you don’t see in many tumors, and other malignancies in these Agent Orange vets. We aren’t seeing as much now, as so many of them are already dead. In Vietnam the population exposed to Agent Orange has experienced a wide variety of health problems, most notably cancers and birth defects.
The VA admits that Agent Orange causes Prostate Cancer and Various heart conditions an well as many birth defects.
Those who claim that Agent Orange exposure does not cause serious health problems are very poorly informed. The VA recognizes these problems across a wide spectrum of illnesses, and the list is constantly growing. It’s a tragedy that veterans and their families have had such a difficult time receiving the treatment and support they so desperately need.
A number of my fellow Vietnam War veterans have suffered with the effects of Agent Orange caused cancers. I was based in the Delta where Operation Ranch Hand was very active.
C-123 Veterans: Operation Ranch Hand (color)
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