WASHINGTON (June 18, 2015) —
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United is saluting today’s decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin accepting disability claims from veterans potentially exposed to Agent Orange-contaminated aircraft in the post-Vietnam era. The decision by VA Secretary Bob McDonald could now benefit as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who might suffer from any of 14 presumptive medical conditions that have been determined to be related to Agent Orange exposure.
The VA secretary made the decision to expand benefits following a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft
. The report found evidence that those who served aboard or worked on the C-123 aircraft were exposed to the herbicide, both during and after Vietnam, when many of the aircraft remained in service for aeromedical transportation or in a mosquito abatement role back in the U.S.
“The VFW has been pushing for this decision for years,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “because something inside these aircraft was making people sick years after the plane last flew a defoliating mission in Vietnam. We thank the Institute of Medicine for determining a contributing link between exposure and the 14 medical conditions, and Secretary McDonald for making a quick call to care for more veterans.”
All airmen who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (the 906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadrons), at Massachusetts’s Westover AFB (the 731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron), or with the 758th Airlift Squadron in Pittsburgh, during the period 1969 to 1986, and who may have developed an Agent Orange-related disability, are encouraged to file a disability compensation claim through the VA’s eBenefits web portal (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/
), or to seek the free and expert assistance of a national VFW Service Officer at http://www.vfw.org/NVS/
TOP (Tours Of Peace) Vietnam Veterans is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, created in 1998 for helping veterans and families throughprograms associated with Tours Of Peace.
TOP enables those impacted by war to move forward. Our Tours Of Peace include spouses, children and relatives of veterans, and those killed in action. Our logo colors are blue & green, symbolizing hope.
During the Vietnam War, the time a soldier served in Vietnam was called a “tour.” Today, the time veterans and families spend in Vietnam with TOP is a “Tour Of Peace.” Through revisiting the country where it all began, seeing Vietnam as it is today, and helping others in the process, the healing begins.
The Foundation is comprised of five programs: Veterans, Family, Humanitarian, Personal Effects, and Education. The programs are a result of our Tours Of Peace trips.
Our approach to veteran & family recovery integrates emotional and humanitarian components. Participants revisit old military sites of personal meaning, and conduct humanitarian projects nearby. By helping others, we help ourselves.
In October the Vashon-Maury Island Heritage Museum
opened an exhibit about Vashon and the Vietnam War. It was dedicated to the 12 soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. It will be open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 pm. This exhibit ends February 19, 2012 (2 more months).
**Sgt. Chris Gaynor from the 9th Infantry Division, 22nd Infantry Regiment put this exhibit together and is the curator. He was in III Corps area circa 1967.