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A history of veterans and their attempts to secure Veterans Affairs benefits for Agent Orange exposure.
Created by kristinhale
on Jul 16, 2014
Last updated: 07/16/14 at 12:06 PM
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An Air Force study agrees quantifiable levels of chemicals used in Agent Orange have long been present in C-123s.
Wes Carter, a retired major who now lives in Colorado, but who flew at Westover from 1974 to 1991, founds the association. He is fighting to receive Agent Orange-related coverage from his many years at Westover. http://c123kcancer.blogspot.com/
Battista throws his time and energy into getting disability compensation for veterans exposed to Agent Orange, but did not serve in Vietnam.
The VA extends the presumption of exposure connection to veterans who did not serve in Vietnam, but were exposed to herbicides. The language is vague and does not cover all exposed veterans.
The Air Force recommends the General Services Corp. scrap sales of C-123s due to "public health concerns."
15 years later, the Air Force orders a follow up test on the C-123 examined in 1979. This time, researchers conduct swab tests and find Agent Orange chemicals on all interior surfaces tested.
Congress passes the Agent Orange Act, which states that any veteran who served in the Vietnam War is presumed to have been exposed to herbicides and is thus eligible for disability benefits.http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/radiation/dir/mstreet/commeet/meet3/brief3.gfr/tab_g/br3g1f.txt
Congress requires Veterans Affairs to develop disability policies for Agent Orange veterans. The VA does not do this.
Vietnam War veterans begin to push for disability compensation due to herbicide exposure.
The Air Force tests a C-123 plane for airborne herbicides, and finds them.
After returning from the war, Battista begins his military career, which includes flying C-123s in hundreds of training missions out of Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee.
Archer Battista, a now retired Air Force Col. living in Belchertown and fighting for veterans' rights, enters the war.
As part of the Vietnam War offensive, C-123 aircraft are used to transport, spray and store 19 million to 20 million gallons of tactical herbicide, including 12 million gallons of Agent Orange.
Throughout the decade the U.S. government becomes more and more aware of the negative, often cancer-causing, effects of Agent Orange exposure/