Receiving long-overdue treatment, compensation, and respect.
Vietnam Veterans have historically been slighted by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) when it comes to medical care and benefits, but evidence is mounting that things are looking up for America’s Vietnam War Veterans!
After 50 years VA is finally providing large-scale deserved benefits for toxic exposures. This, however, is only half the battle as exposures go beyond the “boots on the ground” battlefield. Veterans complained about the lack of VA medical care and disability benefits after flying airplanes contaminated by Agent Orange, the deadly herbicide dioxin used during that war to defoliate large areas of jungle; and VA quickly responded to the Veteran’s denied claim. The Washington Post reports VA reversed its denial of Agent Orange-related disability benefits for an Air Force veteran who flew on contaminated C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam War.
VA’s decision is being described as the first of its kind for veterans seeking compensation for postwar exposure to Agent Orange, which has been scientifically linked to many types of cancer as well as numerous other serious health issues.
Paul Bailey, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who is very sick with cancer, received notice Monday that he would receive “a total grant of benefits” for cancer associated with his service in the United States aboard the aircraft which was used to spray Agent Orange during the war.
“The preponderance of the evidence suggests that you were exposed to herbicide onboard U.S. Air Force C-123K aircrafts,” wrote VA in approving benefits and care. “Reasonable doubt in regards to the exposure to certain herbicide, to include Agent Orange, as the result of occupational hazards onboard C-123K aircrafts is resolved in your favor.”
Honor and Respect
In a more practical sign of paying honor and respect to our Vietnam War Veterans the Washington Post also reports that under the “Clothe a Homeless Hero Act” the Transportation Security Administration began donating clothing forgotten at airport security checkpoints to local Veterans’ organizations and charities. The Post notes that 180 pounds of clothes were boxed up and given to the Vietnam Veterans of America.
And lastly, VA released updated statistics on the Vietnam War – and all other American wars – which you can review here. VA says there were 47,434 battle deaths and 10,786 other deaths in theater among the 3.4 million Veterans who deployed to Southeast Asia during the conflict, from 1964 to 1975.