11901 Samuel Drive
Garden Grove, California 92840
Written by: Jim Davis IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Edited by: Barbie Perkins-Cooper
Date: July 31, 2011
Contact: Jim Davis, Founder & CEO – Veterans for Change – Jdavis92840@sbcglobal.net
Veterans Serving in Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and CONUS Still Denied…Denied…Denied
Garden Grove, CA – 08/04/11 – As the founder and CEO of Veterans-For-Change, an advocacy group for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment, my co-members and I would like to bring to your attention the ever-increasing problems affecting veterans and their families every day.
Among the issues we would like to address are the following:
AO, TCE/PCE, Benzene Contamination (CONUS, Including Alaska, HI, and Canada, Panama Canal):
Every day, thousands of veterans who served in Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and CONUS are denied benefits they are entitled to for exposure to dioxin from Agent Orange and other defoliants. According to the website: http://www.vetshome.com/agent_orange_use_outside_of_viet.htm — “VA has received a listing from the Defense Department of locations outside of Viet Nam where Agent Orange was used or tested over a number of years. The information gives periods of time, locations and chemicals used. It does not contain units involved or individual identifying information. The listings are almost exclusively Army records although there are an extremely limited number of Navy and Air Force records. These listings relate only to chemical efficacy testing and/or operational testing. The records do not refer to the use of Agent Orange or other chemicals in routine base maintenance activities such as spraying along railroad tracks, weed control on rifle ranges, etc. Information on such use does not exist. VA will develop the listing for proof of exposure for claims for disabilities resulting from Agent Orange exposure outside of Viet Nam. VA does have significant information regarding Agent Orange use in Korea along the DMZ. DoD has confirmed that Agent Orange was used from April 1968 up through July 1969 along the DMZ. DoD defoliated the fields of fire between the front line defensive positions and the south barrier fence. The size of the treated area was a strip of lane 151 miles long and up to 350 yards wide from the fence to north of the civilian control line. There is no indication that herbicide was sprayed in the DMZ itself.
In addition to service overseas, we have countless thousands of veterans who served on many military bases stateside who were exposed to TCE, PCE, Benzene and approximately 35-45 more harmful chemicals, never provided safety and use instruction or equipment, and are now just as equally ill.
In both S.E. Asia and CONUS Agent Orange was used as a defoliant. In S.E. Asia, the chemicals were used to protect our troops and prevent the enemy from hiding in the foliage to kill many more of our fighting men and women. (Est. time frame of 1962-1975)
In the CONUS, [Continental United States] these harmful, debilitating herbicides were used to keep surroundings of various military buildings free from unwanted vegetation growth and keeps it clean and neat looking.
On all military bases, on board ships, everywhere mechanical components were cleaned and re-used TCE was the chemical of choice as a degreaser. PCE is the chemical of choice for dry cleaners, again never used with any protective gear.
Veterans who served in Korea and on the DMZ are denied benefits due to erroneous reports about where these chemicals were deployed and that there is no “residual life” of Agent Orange Dioxin which if it were true then why are we in Viet Nam helping the Vietnamese government to clean up the land that was contaminated some 40 years ago?
According to the reliable website, http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/ “October 13, 2009 Secretary Shinseki decided to establish service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with B cell leukemia, such as hairy cell leukemia; Parkinson’s disease; and ischemic heart disease. This is based on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine showing an association with exposure to Agent Orange. Vietnam veterans with these diseases may be eligible for disability compensation and health care benefits.”
Based on our research, interviews with veterans and additional resources as advocates for our military, Veterans-For-Change believes exposure to Agent Orange is truly exposure to a deadly chemical, regardless of the location where it was deployed. Please review the website http://thewe.cc/weplanet/asia/vietnam/agent_orange_victims_of-US_herbicide_spraying_vietnam.htm for further details. There have been far too many reports of illness, including cancers, Diabetes, heart disease, and many, many more – all related to service or tour of duty in a combat zone, or in a contaminated zone!
One of the chemicals in the Agent Orange herbicide combination contained contaminating traces of TCDD (dioxin). Dioxin has been shown to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. http://veteransinfo.tripod.com/Background_on_Agent_Orange.pdf. Studies also suggest that the chemical may be related to a number of cancers and other health effects in humans. http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/health_effects.asp The research data speaks for itself – Agent Orange was and is a deadly, toxic chemical, destroying the health and lives of many Veterans, including those who served in Korea and on the DMZ.
Many of these Veterans are continuously denied as the missions they served on were, and still to this day remain, classified by the DoD even though former President Bush signed executive order 13292 on March 28, 2003 http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/pdf/03-7736.pdf directing classified missions beyond 25 years be declassified. Veterans-For-Change, as an advocacy group, has as its mission to broadcast and inform all veterans about their rights concerning Agent Orange, regardless of when and where the military veteran was exposed. You, the legislators of our proud and courageous country owe a debt of gratitude and benefits and care to our veterans. Please take a stand and help us to provide the best care for our veterans. Take action today!
Block TRICARE Rate Increases
Veterans-For-Change joins with USDR and the National Association of Uniformed Services (NAUS) on this issue.
Military retirees and their families have earned the TRICARE benefit through 20 or more years of arduous uniformed service. What they have earned and what they have been promised should not be first in line for budget cuts when there are so many lower priority programs that should be chopped first.
As there have been no Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/colasummary.html for military retired pay for the past several years this increase in TRICARE fees will result in reduced military retirement pay.
You can block the Pentagon plan and stop the Pentagon from making a 13 percent increase in TRICARE Prime fees.
President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.” This statement was published in April, 2009. Isn’t it time for Congress and our Government to make these strong, compelling words come true for our precious Veterans who are finding living with the difficulties, physical and emotional wounds of combat more than they can tolerate?
If our nation rescinds its promises and ignores its obligation to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world, we compromise the right to ask our men and women to serve and defend our national principals. The choice is yours.
Isn’t it time America and the VA treated our soldiers and veterans with the respect, and the benefits so promised.
Veterans-For-Change has been crying out to all 535 members of Congress now for four years as of April 2006, as President Wilson said, a leader’s ears must ring with the voices of the people! Do you hear us?
Veterans and their families are tired of campaign promises and yellow ribbons and endless speeches that mean absolutely nothing. We need politicians on Capitol Hill to take immediate action to truly support all Veterans. It has been said that “Actions speak more than words…perhaps now is the time to truly take action and show our Veterans, we are America. We are proud, and we support and service our Veterans who served so proudly to defend our Nation.