Agent Orange’s Toxic Legacy Hits Home

January 13th, 2011

By Jan Barry

Retired Master Sergeant LeRoy Foster is haunted by the job that launched his 20-year career in the US Air Force—spraying 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 couldn’t 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 Guam—as well as at many other active and former US military bases around the world.

Relentlessly working the Internet, Foster and a group of fellow veterans who were stationed on Guam have persistently lifted the lid on a long-hidden story beyond the widely reported use of Agent Orange herbicides in Vietnam. Their research unearthed information that their experience on Guam was hardly unique. The secretive transition of chemical warfare agents designed to kill crops and defoliate forests to routinely used all-purpose weed-killers had many way stations.

The Story Beyond Agent Orange

The wider story is that a witches’ brew of herbicides contaminated by dioxin, and other hazardous substances, were used at numerous military bases stateside and overseas. Far and wide beyond Vietnam—where a decade of massive spraying missions with Agent Orange and other herbicide mixtures left dioxin “hot spots” at former US bases and many local residents have gruesome birth defects and other severe health problems—hundreds more military sites were contaminated by a toxic mess of chemical spills, cleaning solvents, heavy metals such as lead, plus dioxin in many cases.

During the height of military use of herbicides, which started in the 1950s and mushroomed in the 1960s, millions of soldiers, family members and civilian workers were on these bases, from Florida to South Korea. It was an era in which chemical herbicides were a modern marvel; in which benzene, trichloroethylene and other powerful chemicals were routinely used to wash nearly everything, from “dry cleaned” laundry to engine parts and greasy hands, with the residue washed into the nearest drain. In the decades since, millions more people have been stationed at these bases, which in many cases ended up with some of the most contaminated soil and water outside of industrial plants that manufactured these hazardous materials.

Like many veterans, Foster didn’t connect his health woes to Agent Orange until recent years when news articles reported that the VA kept adding more and more diseases, plus birth defects in children, to a growing list of health effects associated with dioxin exposure. Then he painfully recalled his herbicide-spraying days as a young airman. The VA’s response was to deny Foster’s claim for additional compensation, beyond his 70 percent disability rating for spinal and heart diseases that were deemed service connected, stating that there was no proof Agent Orange was used in Guam.

Foster’s Internet research found that, elsewhere in the country, some veterans of Guam duty have gained VA compensation for Agent Orange exposure based on data they provided. That propelled him to document his knowledge of herbicide use and to tell his story as widely as he could.

“I prepared, mixed and sprayed Agent Orange herbicides on Andersen AFB Guam and off base fuels facilities and pipelines and security fences surrounding those facilities on and off base” from September 1968 into the 1970s, Foster wrote last spring in a blog forum response to the Chicago Tribune’s extensive series on lingering health effects of the US military use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. “Many of my buddies ended up sterile like me, chloracne covered my body, severe ischemic heart disease, diabetes II, high blood pressure, high cholesterol unaffected by meds, immune problems, ankylosing spondiolitis, spinal stenosis, osterporosis, severe arthritis, and many more diseases,” he wrote of the health problems in various combinations that he and others had developed. “This is the truth so help me God. Many of my buddies are dead now and many are dying.”

A few weeks later, Foster sent emails to officials at Department of Defense schools in Guam stating that he had learned from Internet networking that many former students of these schools have severe health problems. “Some of the alumni kids from Andersen AFB have contacted me with some of their stories of health problems,” he wrote. “This is very sad to find that they have problems like LUPUS, DIABETES II, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES MIXED CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE, MULITPLE MISCARRIAGES, STILL BIRTHS, BIRTH DEFECTS IN THEIR CHILDREN. ETC. I highly recommend that DoDDs Pacific, DoDDs Guam, the Air Force Surgeon General and student alumni associations contact one another to find out what is happening to them and do an investigation to help them.”

Last September, Foster was invited to address a federal Institute of Medicine committee meeting in Washington, DC on his research efforts about dioxin’s health effects on veterans and civilians who lived in Guam. It was the culmination of a determined campaign to get federal officials to examine the health concerns that disturb him.

“I believe that after conversation with the Buffalo NY Veterans Administration that United States Congress needs to direct the VA or the US court of appeals to order an immediate remand of all claims denied to Agent Orange exposure especially those which were outside the country of Vietnam especially Guam, Okinawa and Thailand,” Foster wrote to members of Congress in seeking a congressional investigation. “I was told by the VA in Buffalo NY yesterday that they will not seek out those veterans who were denied nor all of those dependent children of those veterans who would have been entitled to Dependency Indemnity Compensation DIC from the exposure of their father’s and mother’s to Agent Orange, Agent White and the other herbicides used during the Vietnam WAR.”

Air Force Has No Records

In response to previous congressional queries, Foster found, the Department of Defense maintained the Air Force has no records of Agent Orange being used in Guam. It insists that high levels of dioxin at Andersen Air Force Base discovered by an EPA investigation were due to burning hazardous materials. However, the DOD added in a letter to Rep. Lane Evans in September 2003, Army records show that Agent Orange and similar herbicides were used in testing, storage or war missions in numerous other places, including Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington state, Hawaii, Maryland, Pennsylvania., Rhode Island, Puerto Rico, Canada, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

And by the way, the DOD added in its letter to Rep. Evans, another chemical agent called Herbicide Purple was stored on Guam in the early 1950s during the Korean War. Purple was part of a rainbow-colored array of military commissioned chemical agents—including Pink, Green and Orange—that were contaminated in the manufacturing process by a highly toxic byproduct called TCDD or dioxin. The most widely used, according to military records, was Agent Orange. Health studies reviewed by the Institute of Medicine, and accepted by the VA as a basis for claims, link dioxin to various kinds of cancer, spina bifida birth defects, ischemic heart disease, diabetes II, numerous other health problems and a skin disorder called chloroacne.

Other veterans Foster contacted found VA references to Agent Orange use along the DMZ in South Korea and at Fort Drum, NY. A 2001 government document noted that the VA was seeking further information on other “areas where veterans allege AO to have been sprayed [that] include:

1. Guam from 1955 through 1960s (spraying).
2. Johnston Atoll (1972-1978) was used for unused AO storage.
3. Panama Canal Zone from 1960s to early 1970s (spraying).
4. Eglin AFB (FL) (Agents Orange and Blue) on Firing Range and Viet Cong Village.
5. Wright-Patterson AFB (OH) and Kelly AFB (TX).”

Foster has heard from other veterans who say the herbicides were also used at bases on Okinawa and in the Philippines. At issue, Foster and many other veterans believe, is a fiscal resistance by federal agencies to acknowledge how widespread the health legacy of dioxin-laced herbicides extends. As Politico.com writer David Rogers noted last summer in an article titled “The bill for Agent Orange comes due”:

“Age and Agent Orange are closing in on Vietnam veterans, a legacy of hurt for those who served — and a very big bill for American taxpayers. It’s a world turned upside down from decades ago when returning soldiers had to fight to get attention for deadly lymphomas linked to the herbicide. Now the frailties of men in their 60s — prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease — lead the list of qualified Agent Orange disabilities, and the result has been an explosion in claims and the government’s liability.

“The latest expansion, approved by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in October, adds ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s and will cost at least $42 billion over the next 10 years. The VA estimates 349,000 individuals are already receiving Agent Orange disability benefits, and that number could soon reach 500,000 — or one out of every four surviving Vietnam veterans by the VA’s count.”

Big Hazardous Waste Problem

In fact, the health bill could be far larger—if the effects of exposure to the full array of hazardous materials at military bases were subject to VA health care and compensation coverage. Foster found another veteran had dug up disturbing records of congressional hearings in 1987 on hazardous waste at military sites. These hearings noted that the Pentagon “in 1986, produced hazardous waste at 505 of its 871 installations in the United States. The types of hazardous waste found at DOD installations include, among others, solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), contaminated sludges, acids, cyanides, and contaminated fuel and oil. … In a classified report concerning hazardous waste management at overseas installations, we also identified similar problems to those found at bases in the United States.”

Foster’s research found that one of the largest hazardous-waste problem areas is Guam, where the EPA lists more than a dozen Superfund sites, areas deemed among the most contaminated, at island bases. Meanwhile, he found, a private company that rates corporate environmental problems stated that Agent Orange manufacturers such as Dow Chemical and Monsanto have a growing liability problem in Guam. The 2004 report by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, an investment risk group based in New York, noted:

“Agent Orange exposure has also become an issue for military personnel stationed outside of combat zones and for U.S. civilians as well. Soldiers stationed on Guam who handled Agent Orange have become ill and symptoms of TCDD (dioxin) poisoning are apparent in the general population of the island as well, TCDD contamination as a result of Agent Orange handling has been measured at up to 1900 ppm in some areas of Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. Given that safe levels of TCDD have been placed at below 1 ppb by the EPA and even lower by many state regulatory agencies (toxic effects have been measured at parts per trillion), this implies an extraordinary level of contamination. TCDD has been shown in laboratory animals to have multigenerational impacts, not just on the offspring of exposed animals, but on the next generation as well.”

After all he has discovered about the toxic stew he helped to create while in the Air Force, Foster’s latest mission is to help spur ways for veterans and civilians who were at military bases, and their families, to exchange information and get the best health assistance.

“What shocked me is when kids contacted me on the Internet and I knew their fathers [on Guam]. I sprayed right past their houses,” Foster said in a recent interview for this article. Now grown, many of these military dependents, he learned, have severe health problems, including birth defects. “There’s been no movement by anybody to help the kids who were on Guam. I feel bad, because I was there going around spraying that stuff…

“My daughter found out what is being passed down to her children now, so she has decided not to have any more,” he added. “So I will only have one grandchild. This is a story of genocide to an entire section of Americans. We were the poor and the down trodden who served in the Vietnam War. We need our stories told and recorded for all time.”

Foster and several other veterans have kick-started the process of recording their stories by posting personal statements, VA claims records, military medical records, photos and other documents on a website, www.guamagentorange.info. Foster has also initiated an online petition seeking Congressional action on their concerns regarding Guam. The petition is at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/guamagentorange/.

“I want to convey to everyone, especially the veterans service organizations,” said Foster, a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America, “and to all of the public schools and universities who have contact with vets and their children and grandchildren, to organize, to share, to be kept informed and to help one another. We are all in this together. I am sorry to say lots of information has been kept from us on purpose. They didn’t want to scare us or make us so angry that we would result in uprisings or anarchy, but this is really bad and really terrible.”

For further information:

http://www.guamagentorange.info/home

Jan Barry, a veteran journalist who served in the Army in Vietnam, has investigated Agent Orange health issues in news reports carried by the Associated Press and published in the New York Times and many other publications
.

(This article was also posted at EarthAirWater.)


Articles written by
Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: Military, News, Politics, Science | Comments (37) | Home

Bookmark and Share

37 Responses to “Agent Orange’s Toxic Legacy Hits Home”



  1. Tom Carter |

    Thanks, Jan, for a great report on the challenges faced by many veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides during their military service. It’s been a long time coming, but it appears we’re approaching the point where most claims are being treated as legitimate and help, with some limits, is available. Unfortunately, though, individual veterans still struggle with the problem, and the case of MSgt Foster illustrates that well. He and his family suffered and continue to suffer as a result of his service, and they deserve better support than they’ve received.

    I’ve been doing some reading around the internet on the subject, and there are an unfortunate number of people who still think Agent Orange-related illnesses and disability claims are bogus. That’s just plain ignorant. There’s a lot of information available to refute their views, but the VA’s position alone should be enough. Those who doubt should look at the VA site and follow some of the links. Still, we haven’t gotten as far as we should have.


  2. Jan |

    Jan,
    For your information and reference. Here is another story about Agent Orange – an 18 year old girl at the time volunteering with the USO, exposed to Agent Orange, subsequent two cancers developed, the total lack of help for this American civilian, the struggles suffered — both financial and emotional for a lifetime.

    It is MY Story.

    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/november202010/agent-orange-innocence-lm.php

    Thank you for taking the time to “meet me.”

    Sincerely,

    Lesli Moore Dahlke
    alossofinnocence.com


  3. Jan |

    The latest news on MSgt. Foster’s story is one of the quickest updates in my journalism career, conveyed in an email sent yesterday:

    THANK YOU EVERYONE. SGT RALPH STANTON, THE UNITED STATES SENATE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMIITTEE, CONGRESSMAN FILNER, VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA OF NEW YORK, CONGRESSWOMAN BORDALLO, GUAM SENATOR BEN PANGLINAN, SENATOR SCHUMER, SENATOR GILLIBRAND, CONGRESSMAN HIGGINS, AMERICAN LEGION, MARY ELLEN MCCARDY, CAROINE WEKSELBAUM, GRETCHEN GARDNER, ALAN OATES OF THE VVA, MOOKIE PORTER OF THE VVA, TOM BERGER OF THE VVA, SHARON PERRY, THE DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS OF NEW YORK, DAVE BARKER, NY SENATOR CATHY YOUNG, AND COUNTY EXECUTIVE GREG EDWARDS,

    The Buffalo VA Regional office called me this morning to tell me the good news that my long battle for AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE is finally over. They told me that my claims were approved and that I would be a getting a very large claims package in the mail shortly. I believe this is the very first AGENT ORANGE HERBICIDE EXPOSURE CLAIM approved at VA Regional level. There were seven or eight previously approved claims but at COURT OF APPEALS LEVEL. I want to thank all of you for being a part of this battle and hope all veterans who were exposed to AO herbicides will be approved quickly. I hope those denied will have immediate reviews of their denied claims and the children / grandchildren affected will be helped quickly. thank you so much for your help and Praise God for answering our prayers for help.

    LeRoy G. Foster, MSgt, USAF, Ret
    Life Member of the DAV of New York At Large member
    Member of the American Legion of New York Post 777, Celeron, NY
    Life Member of the Vietnam Veterans of America New York Chapter 459
    Member of War Vets of Fluvanna, New York
    70% Service Connected 100% Unemployable
    Totally and Permanently Disabled from Agent Orange on Guam


  4. Tom Carter |

    That’s great news! I know the lives of Msgt Foster and his family are never going to be “fixed,” but at least they’ll get the support they need and deserve.


  5. Jan |

    The latest twist of fate for MSgt. Foster is that he subsequently learned the local VA office approved an “increase of my disabilities [compensation payments] and the presumptive disease of AO but did not approve the AO exposure,” he wrote in an email. “They have denied my claim for AO exposure on Guam. I will be appealing it to the BVA AND I AM SURE TO THE COURT OF APPEALS.” He also launched a letter-writing campaign to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer of New York, seeking congressional action on this issue.

    Coincidently, days later, the Cleveland Plain Dealer launched a series of articles on the lingering health effects of Agent Orange on families in Ohio and Vietnam: http://www.cleveland.com/agentorange/index.ssf/2011/01/unfinished_business_suffering.html#incart_mrt


  6. William Kemp |

    Need your help. Am searching for anybody that can help verify the fact that pre-flight Navy students were taked from Pensacola,NAS in the 1960s to Eglin,AFB for survival training. Am trying to find a silibus or anything to document for an Agent Orange VA claim. Any help will be appreciated.


  7. MSgt Foster |

    Thanks Jan for getting the word out about Agent Orange herbicides and all the veterans, military dependent children, families and future generations of children of AO exposed veterans of the diseases, miscarriages, still births and birth defects facing them. I can not thank you enough for taking the time to write such a wonderful written article. It gets the point across to the readers and hopefully it will be shared because many thousands of American families are affected by AO locations other than Vietnam “boots on the ground” because of the policy of base commanders have unaccountable authorization to use AO herbicides on their bases.
    I go MARCH 22, 2011, this Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. to the White team at the Erie VAMC in Erie Pa for a comp and pen exam with a VA Doctor on memory loss/dimentia/parkinsons disease/MS and anxiety/depression which I was treated for at the US NAVAL HOSPITAL AT CHARLESTON SC IN 1978-80 TIME FRAME SOON AFTER RELOCATING PCS FROM ANDERSEN AFB GUAM IN JUN 78 AND MY FINAL DUTIES OF AO HERBICIDE HANDLING THERE. I never knew depression/anxiety/memory loss/dimentia/parkinsons were connected to AO exposure till recently. This was all kept quiet and kept from active duty and veterans who had no idea what was happening to them. This was wrong. Terribly wrong. There are so many things going wrong with my body now it is hard to keep up with them all.
    What is ironic is the VA Comp and Pen people and other VA officials and Congressional officials wanting you to remember things about AO handling and spraying and the Veteran has memory loss/dimentia/ parkinsons disease/ms…it all kind of makes sense doesn’t it ? sound like a nightmare to me ! …OR THE VA SAYS PROVE IT , PROVE YOUR EXPOSURE WHEN THEY KNOW THE RECORDS HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AND THE VETERAN HAS NO WAY OF PROVING ANYTHING. THIS MAKES SENSE DOESNT IT ?

    THE GUAM VETERANS ON THIS EMAIL KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT AS THEY DEAL WITH SURVIVING EACH DAY WITH THEIR AO DISEASES WHILE THE VA CONTINUES TO DENY THEM AND MAKE THEM GO THROUGH THE COURT OF APPEALS PROCESS WONDERING IF THEY WILL LIVE TO SEE THE END OF THAT PROCESS AND THEIR QUAILITY OF LIFE SUFFERS WITH LIVING ON THE EDGE OF POVERTY AND MAKING THROUGH EACH DAY WITH BROKEN DOWN VEHICLES, EMPTY CUPBOARDS, COLD TEMPS IN THE HOME WITH THE THERMOSTAT ON 60 OR LESS BECAUSE OF HIGH HEATING BILLS, ETC…YOU GET THE PICTURE. THEY KNOW WE CAN’T WORK ANYMORE AND THEY KNOW IF THE DENY LONG ENOUGH WE WILL DIE FROM PNEUOMONIA OR HEART ATTACK OR STROKE OR CANCER. THE ODDS ARE AGAINST US living through it FOR SERVING OUR NATION IN A TIME OF WAR.


  8. Patricia Keefe-Miyaji |

    MSGT Foster, what a great report! I, too am a Vietnam Vet who has some really strange tings happening to me. I laugh and say the loss of memory is just my “Blonde” coming out, but I guess it is more serious than that. I have two children who have birth defects, one has ADHD, the other was born blind in one eye, my grandson was born with fluid on the brain, so he is slower than normal and wears a shunt in his brain and always will, GOD BLESS HIM! It is all because I chose to serve my country. What a legacy! The Women in Vietnam were subjected to millions of gallons of the herbicides being sprayed on us because we were at Long Binh, the most important base in Vietnam, we did all of the Logistics for the military in NAM. So a zapper raid on our compound would have been a catastrophe. I was contacted by four other women from my unit and of the four two of us are still alive but both of us have Breast Cancer the other one is dying and is likely dead now of Breast Cancer, the other two died of Breast Cancer, so there is a connection there. I am, I think,the lucky one of the bunch, I am 10 years in remission, but for how long? That is my question. But, all in all, great report MSGT Foster, Love and aloha and lots of chocolate kisse, Kui


  9. Rickey Lee |

    MSgt. Foster I think this is the best report ever about A/O. I will share this with everyone I know. Thanks for the Good word
    Rickey Lee Guam USA July 1974–Nov 1975.


  10. Jan |

    A lot of veterans of the Vietnam war era are pressing the feds for information on what they were exposed to while in the service that may have caused horrendous health problems. In today’s news, a newspaper in Albany, NY shines some light on what was clearly an unhealthy arrangement of chemicals and troops at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, home of the Chemical Corps.

    “Female veterans of Fort McClellan in Alabama are questioning whether their serious health problems are related to the time they spent there after learning that the Army base was contaminated with harmful chemicals.

    “Linda Geser and Paula Hebert, who live doors apart in Troy’s John F. Kennedy Towers, completed basic training at the Anniston, Ala., base during the Vietnam War. The sprawling facility hosted the Women’s Army Corps School, Military Police School and Chemical Corps, and served as the military’s primary chemical and biological training center before closing in 1999…”

    The full report is here: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Did-Army-service-make-them-ill-1245415.php#page-1


  11. Carol Tamara |

    First of all let me say I was really pleased to read the article on Agent orange and that concern for individuals that the article expressed. Also, I want to apologize for any typographical errors, however, I am disabled and must use the word recognition system to type for me. My husband, was a Physician stationed at the U.S. naval hospital guam from 1968-1970. We were married in 1966 and I worked for the U.S. naval hospital in Bethesda up to the time I joined him one Guam. We have filed a claim because all three of us were affected by Ao. We have been trying to locate anyone stationed at the U.S. naval hospital at around that time. I’m sure many others were affected as well and feel as if they are the only ones. Additionally, I worked at the naval air station for about six months when I became pregnant with my son. He suffers from a developmental disability called autism which is also considered a neurological disorder. Please continue to do the good work in helping many individuals suffering unnecessarily while serving their country. God bless all those people affected and especially those helping the people affected.
    Carol Tamara
    Martinsburg, West Virginia
    janetw77@comcast.net


  12. Mike |

    Outstanding, informative article, Thank You.. I enlisted, a patriotic, very healthy, young boy, No member of my family had any health issues except for the heart. I was first stationed outside Subic Bay, Philippines ( I have heard toxic waste was dumped into waterways, and landfills from Clark A.F.B. and into Subic Bay) I spent one and a half years here, then I was assigned to the USS Okinawa..Amphibous Squadron Seven, some 1500 U. S. Marines, and approximately 25 Helicopters, and a ton of Marine supplies. I made it back home, safe and except for the treatment of our citizens (you know what I mean), I was happy to be home !! However, over the past 40 years I have had cancer removed twice, and some 5 related operations..I could and I would accept these health issues and I would again feel more American, If only our own country and our own government would stop treating us as a threat !! and treat us as the U. S. Veterans that we are … I don’t understand what we did that would cause our own country to turn on all the Vietnam Veterans…


  13. Mike |

    MSgt Foster commented 20 Mar 2011, locations ofter than Vietnam Boots on the Ground, I think “Boots on the Ground” is a diversion to divide Vietnam Veterans, weaken our unity, and I feel the same applys to Vietnam era Veterans…If you were stationed at a supply depot in San Francisco during WW 2, and you never saw Okinawa, or Guam, you were STILL a World War 2 Veteran, this too is a way for the government to divide us…keeping them in control…and weakening us…United We Stand and we become a force.. Divided we fall….Good Song, true meaning !!


  14. MSgt Foster, USAF, Ret. |

    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/investigation-full-disclosure-where-and-when-agent-orange-herbicides-were-used-outside-vietnam/rQdBtRyd


  15. MSgt Foster, USAF, Ret. |

    I want every reader to know that since I put in a petition on the White House website WE THE PEOPLE area the White House staff have raised the bar saying that we need 25,000 signatures by October 22 or they will delete the petition for a FULL OPEN INVESTIGATION INTO WHERE AND WHEN AGENT ORANGE HERBICIDES WERE USED OUTSIDE OF VIETNAM TO INCLUDE GUAM. The government does not want this petition to be successfully reaching the required number of signatures. PLEASE HELP US. PLEASE. THE LINK IS

    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/investigation-full-disclosure-where-and-when-agent-orange-herbicides-were-used-outside-vietnam/rQdBtRyd


  16. 1stSgt Glen Saunders USMC (ret) |

    I’m in this with you MSgt. Semper Fidelis


  17. MSgt Ed Jackson |

    Leroy,

    By the WH “raising the bar” by 500% (from 5,000 signatures to 25,000 signature, but within the same period of time, one month) shows that this President is not interested in what Agent Orange on Guam has done to us, or the people who live on that beautiful island.


  18. Cleveland Walters,Jr. |

    Tsgt Cleveland Walters, Jr. TxANG,(ret)

    Msgt. Foster,

    Thank you for bring this horrible situation to light. I, like many others had no idea to what was happening to me. I was tdy to Andersen AFB, Guam on Bulletshot, Linebacker 1 and 2. I did the whole nine-yards, 27 July-29 Dec.1972. Being only 18 years old, and the youngest in rank, I was given nearly every funky detail, known to man, including spraying weeds, mowing, weed hooking, etc. I handle stuff,I didn’t know what it was, but I did everything, I was sworn to, follow orders by those appointed over me. I, believed they wouldn’t put me in a harmful state as this, Herbicide exposure, but shamefully,they did. Now within 5-7 years, I began having dizzy and blackout spells, and have been so for up to now, since 1977, after that, I began having a bad skin rash on my head, face, ears,and chest. Then about 1996-7,I began to have itching ,burning ,crawling and stinging of my nerves. Then shortly after that, I became weak on the whole right side of my body,sometimes causing me to fall. I didn’t know until I started checking on symptoms of agent orange and herbicides, and found that I had these symptoms. I never would have put it together, because we figure, it was a Vietnam thing. Than I came up on this site, started reading what others were saying, and said to my family,”That’s me!”. They nearly all had the same problems. Now I knew I wasn’t alone. So Sir, thank from myself, my wife and children, and all whom I served with on linebacker,busting our rear-ends, for 12 or more hours , seven days and nights a week,keeping them flying. May GOD BLESS each and every one of you!


  19. AECS Steve Avens |

    Msgt. This a great story Thanks for passing the information. I have had some of the same experiences except my services was in the Philippines. You mentioned people from the Philippines contacted you could you pass that info on to me or if anyone has any experiences with AO please contact me at savens6333@gmail.com. Thanks to all


  20. Jacque Zamora |

    I applied for compensation for herbicide exposure in August of 2011. So far I have received two letters of denial. I spent 11 months on the DMZ in Korea 11/70 to 8/71 on a radar site that we set up from the ground up. I also spent 7 month at Utapao, Thailand right on the Munitions Storage Facility. I have been suffering from Ischemic Heart Failure, Diabetes II, Hypertension, Nueropathy and I also fear that other things are lurking in the background I have alot of shaking and headaches. One of the presumptive diseases would be one thing but to have so many of them is really strange. I pray that the VA will do the right thing for my family and for all the families of the vets that served honorably.


  21. Robert Erhard Sr. |

    Please read THE Institute of Medicine…IOM REPORT > minor Rev.3 Jan.2012 (yes,that’s 3 Jan. 2012). THE IOM REPORT (3 Jan. 2012) places The Blue Water Navy…and others… in the worst of situations,conditions,and atmosphere exposed to agent orange…including the distillation of water for boilers aboard ship… including Water For Drinking. It is my opinion that THE IOM REPORT (3 Jan. 2012) is a must read for all Vietnam Veterans and their Offspring. The Department of Veterans Affairs denied my claim of “THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING”…the blood sausage…agent orange made of my body and mind because: SERVICE (treatment) RECORDS do not contain complaints, treatment, or diagnosis. THE DECISION is…”A false Truth”: It can take 20 to 40 years for symptoms and/or illnesses to surface. THE IOM REPORT (3 Jan. 2012) tends to “Fire” The Department of Veterans Affairs… Dr.”FOOT ON GROUND” and Dr.”BOOT ON GROUND”. It’s my opinion that The Department of Veterans Affairs sitting on the information…to revoking claims…determined by Dr.FOOT ON GROUND” and Dr,”BOOT ON GROUND” constitutes …medical malpractice.


  22. Steve |

    Does anyone have a claim in for TCE in the Phillippines and was anyone exposed to agent orange at clark air force base.


  23. Mindy |

    My NAVY husband was exposed to AO on Guam! mindyjgirl@gmail.com, I have a all kinds of information and links for you. write us a letter if you wish. Thank you! still looking for information of Ao in longapo ? Go Navy!!!love you guys!!!


  24. Robert A. Erhard Sr. |

    For those of you whom were in the Blue Water Navy (and others), agent orange and other highly contaminated places were/are : Guam, Clarks AFB and water around Subic Bay (The Phillipines), Taiwan, and Panama(including The Panama Canal), I had “foot on ground” and drank the water. Visitors to those places (to include Vietnam) now know not to eat the food or drink the water.Thento, if you suffer of illnesses, the same as exposed to agent orange,to have symptoms and/or illnesses surfacing 20 to 40 years later, you now know why !
    The Department of Veterans Affairs requested that The Institute of Medicine further investigated agent orange exposure. THE IOM REPORT 3 Jan. 2012 revealed that The Blue Water Navy was in the worst of situations, conditions, and atmosphere exposed to agent orange including…on-sight distillation of water for DRINKING. The Blue Water Navy was exposed to ten-fold of those having “Foot on ground” in Vietnam. And, THE IOM REPORT 3 Jan. 2012 (yes, 3 Jan. 2012) gave acceptance of “The Danang Harbor Report”.Hence, The Dept. of Veterans Affairs refusal to accept “THE medical evidence of THE IOM REPORT” is unconstitutional: The VA denies Veterans compulsory evidence in favor of Vietnam Veterans claim(s).


  25. Jon Mangis |

    I am not certain of the exact dates but USAF could track if they would. I was assigned to the 1st Mobile Comm Gp, Clark AB, Philippines. Since our unit was highly classified our maintenance warehouse was away from the main base. Nationals were not allowed to load any of our equipment so many of us were assigned to loading teams as an additional duty. We had a variety of vehicles assigned to us and generally parked (when not in use) at one end of the warehouse in a field. A big field. One night one of our deuces was stolen by Filipinos who breached the perimeter fence .. cut the chain to the lock got in and drove off base being waved on by AP’s on duty at check point. Lots of stuff was stolen off clark and even though we found the truck where the bad guys lived the shot callers did not want to create an incident so did a report of survey on the last airman to drive it saying he did not secure it when he parked it. Going to make him pay for it. Since the trucks and much of our mobile comm vans were parked in or near tall grass,, they decided to take the grass down to the ground so it would lessen someone sneaking in undetected. So, the next thing we see are people and trucks spraying the grass and yep, the grass turned brown and laid down and no green grass came back. I’m guessing it was pretty potent stuff. Those who say that Agent Orange or similar defoliants were not used at Clark AB are working for the company. Perhaps not in the amounts used in RVN or Korea… they definately used it. As a side note, the deuce driver and some friends one night went into Angeles City , waited for darkness , a few beers and went to the barrio where the USAF deuce was parked…….stole it back. Drove to the base , waved on and parked it back in its original spot…… now you would think the big shots would have been happy, they got their truck back. Nope, shit hit the fan but they really didn’t know where to go with it…… Statement of Charges was after some nasty name calling , dropped. GI’s are great. But, fact is they sprayed and sprayed again…this was security. If someone needs a statement I’ll be happy to provide with as much as I know for fact.


  26. Jon Mangis |

    As a follow up to the above, I might also note for those who were in the MOB (1st Mobile Communications Group), I mentioned that almost all of our equipment was classified comm gear. Loading teams were assigned to load this equipment when our teams went out to Vietnam, Thailand, Laos,etc. On the flip side, the same teams did the unloading when a team came back to Clark. You could count on filthy dirty com vans, trucks, metal radio cases, everything. Not only did you unload it … you ended up washing it. The odds of the dirt and mud on stuff coming out of vietnam containing AO .. I would think, pretty high.

    Good luck to anyone trying to establish a claim for service with the MOB,, If I can help with a letter,, I will. jm


  27. Anonymous |

    thank you Msgt Foster, I was living on Anderson when I was a child . I have numerous health issues your imfo is much appreciated.


  28. Don Dubocq |

    USAF-Kelly AFB-1973 thru 1975- Drums of toxic herbicides were transported from airfield to Kelly Annex for storage and disposal. Some toxic agents were dumped directly into ground while some were shipped elsewhere. Military Spokespersons have admitted that toxic agents used in the making of A/O were in fact there during this timeframe. I was involved with some of the transportation of these drums and was exposed to these chemicals. I later was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and diabetes mellitus Type II. The SSA ruled in my favor. I am disabled for life. Yet still my claims are denied by the BVA. What does a Veteran have to do to get the VA to compensate those of us who were exposed? We were there when needed by our country. Now, Where are they? And why are they, for decades now, finding ways to coverup the truth ?


  29. Dave Wilder |

    I am looking for others who served at Clark AFB in 1970-1971, who can verify the spraying of defoliants and herbicides around the perimeter, the attacks by the Philippino “commandoes” on our garbage trucks, and the unmarked barrels with liquids that we moved into the bunkers on the Munitions Maintenance Squadron field and then moved to the dump outside the perimeter of the base. I personally had to report to my CO after several attacks, and we had MP’s on the truck with us after that. I have the ‘soup’ of symptoms of AO exposure, including digestive issues, type II diabetes, heart blockage, several hernias, gastropathy, cysts in my colon, kidneys, liver, spinal problems, neuropathy, chloracne, high blood pressure that is not controlled, as well as high cholesterol and diabetes that can’t be controlled, with constant nausea, bleeding, and other issues, more than I want to list, but the same as the other guys here who know they had contact with toxins at Clark AFB and at Subic Bay on leave. I have applied for increase in my 10% disability, but the VA doesn’t listen. They say there is no evidence of any hostility toward us, there is no evidence of AO being used there, and that I am not eligible for ratings on my illnesses which are all on the presumptive list for Vietnam Vets with boots on the ground in ‘Nam. I was asked for names of others who were affected or who witnessed the things I reported. I had no names. I can’t remember any names. My training was in electronic radio communications and munitions maintenance. I know that the perimeter was defoliated so that no further attacks could take place by the Philippine combatants coming onto the base to steal whatever they could find, and that nothing grew back in that area, and that I had to traverse it several times every day I was on duty in the bomb dump. If there is anybody who has been successful in filing for herbicide, toxic chemicals, pesticide or other toxic exposures while serving in the Philippines, I would love to hear how you managed it.


  30. Sondra |

    I have a friend who served with Unit 604 MATS at Clark AFB about 1966 to 1968. He remembers being exposed to Agent Orange on the planes he serviced and around the base. We are looking for others who served at that time who remember the presence of Agent Orange at Clark AFB.


  31. DJS |

    This is to Jon Mangis. I need more info about there being Agent Orange on Clark’s AFB during Vietnam.


  32. Barbara Carson |

    My late husband flew for 6 years in the C-123s that were used to spray Agent Orange. This was in the 1970s in the Reserves at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio.. He was diagnosed with lupus within 3 years of beginning to fly these planes. He died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1998. The VA is denying claims of those who are ill from AO and flew these planes. Feel free to contact me if you have any information specific to these planes at Rickenbacker. barb.a.carson@gmail.com


  33. Donna |

    Barbara,

    I have no info about that but you need to find other guys that were with him that might have had or have the same issues. I am doing that for a claim for my late husband who was in the AF during Vietnam. Keep searching the internet.
    Good Luck.


  34. Jon mangis |

    DJS comment on 11/1/2013

    I apologize for not getting back quicker. I was at Clark AB 1964-1965. I can not say that I ever saw a storage area for agent orange. I would not have know what to look for. But, as I mentioned before (above) after the stolen vehicle incident the entire area around our warehouse was sprayed with something pretty powerful. It was jungle growth, mostly grass… it laid down and died quick and i never saw any green again. This was done for security reasons but it was done without any warning to any of us who were standing next to our vans watching. The pick up trucks being used had 50 gal drums in the back with a pump sprayer attached.. one guy drive and one guy in the back with the wand spraying (this guy had goggles on but did not have any other protective clothing). Also, re mention the load / unload of our equipment. Filipinos were not allowed to load our stuff because it was classified. So we all got to participate in a load team.
    When stuff came back from deployment it was usually a mess with lots of mud on it (trucks, vans, steel radio cases. We unloaded it and we washed it. You can bet your dime that AO was is the mud.
    Don’t know how you would ever get USAF to admit to use of AO at Clark…… they got in a lot of crap for lying about other areas that later got vetted. Good luck on your claim. Someday, if any of us are still living we might see a little justice.


  35. jim burres |

    Please Let Me Know If Anyone Can Talk To Me About Compensation -Being Paid To Your Dependants As A Result Of Your Time In Any Contaminated Military Housing Location Either Stateside Or Overseas


  36. jim burres |

    Jim Burres – Phone Number – Oregon 503-318-2559


  37. Amanda |

    When I lost my father before the age of 60 to conditions under presumed exposure to Agent Orange and I was born with rare birth defects I decided that I would speak up. Here I am speaking up! His ship is not on the Blue Water Navy list of exposure. All Vietnam Veterans should have qualified!


Leave a Comment


(To avoid spam, comments with three or more links will be held for moderation and approval.)












Authors

Recent Posts

Categories


Archives


Meta

Blogroll



Creative Commons License;   

The work on Opinion Forum   
is licensed under a   
Creative Commons Attribution   
3.0 Unported License
.    






Support Military Families 
















My Zimbio  

Political Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory   Listed in LS Blogs the Blog Directory and Blog Search Engine

   Politics Blog Directory  

Demand Media

Copyright 2014 Opinion Forum