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bkgrnd

Vietnam Veterans: A Sad Story

12.08.2008

Dear Friends,

I read this heartbreaking story today and thought you'd be interested. While we are and should be very thankful for the medical services and benefits provided to Vietnam veterans, we can see in this story things that should bring shame to civil leaders when men who served in Vietnam are not being made aware of the serious diseases that spring from Agent Orange exposure so long ago.

As a Christian and a Vietnam veteran I know that mankind, all of us, are plagued by a sin nature that operates out of a spirit of fear, militant pride, and the love of money and ourselves, 1 John 2:16. These are just a few of the elements of our sin nature which explain what we see on the television screen and experience in our personal lives every day.

Civil leaders are subject to this sin nature and according to some commentators have withheld the proper notification to veterans out of fear that it would cost too much money to take care of and send benefits to afflicted veterans. After the latest bailouts of the banking industry that have reduced the "power of money" into the hands of fewer people worldwide, setting the stage for the coming Antichrist, the money needed for ailing Vietnam veterans is in comparison a drop in the bucket, as the saying goes!

But there is hope. Jesus Christ has shed his pure sinless blood to pay for those sins and offered us forgiveness and a new heart surrounded by the indwelling Holy Spirit that can overcome these things until he returns in great power and glory to finally end the awful wars that have stricken the human race. The fallen angels who inspire the sin nature in men will be imprisoned in Hell along with all men who reject the only way into eternal life, the Lord Jesus Christ. When he comes we shall be given new resurrected bodies that will never tire or get sick again, and most of all, we shall live in the bodily presence of the Son of God on this Earth for 1000 years. God bless you all, my veteran friends.

Your eternal friend,
Jack

------------------------------------------------

VIETNAM VETS KEPT IN THE DARK ON AGENT ORANGE http://www.vawatchdog.org/
By Sam Cook
scook@news-press.com

Audrea Anderson has been a spokeswoman much of her career in higher education, yet she hasn't brought a message more important than now.

"My husband died as a result of Agent Orange,'' she says. "The government is not doing a good job of telling Vietnam War veterans about the dangers they will face in their later years.''

Isaac Anderson, 61, a Fort Myers native who served as county and circuit judge for 26 years, died Dec. 15, 2007, after battling prostate cancer.

"It makes me so sad to know that Isaac did not know what caused his condition,'' says Anderson, 61, associate vice president for community relations and marketing at Florida Gulf Coast University. "It was all a puzzle to him.''

The judge served in the U.S. Air Force from June 8, 1965, to Sept. 10, 1968. He entered at 19 and served as a communications specialist in Vietnam.

"Any ground personnel during those years when Agent Orange was sprayed were exposed from 1962 to 1971,'' Anderson says. "Our Vietnam veterans need to get screened and see if they are in danger.

"They are eligible for treatment and benefits.''

The military developed herbicide Agent Orange to deny enemy cover by stripping trees and shrubbery in Southeast Asia.

A research paper published in 1970 detailed the dangers of Agent Orange. Its use was discontinued in 1971, but it was too late for many of 1.5 million American soldiers exposed to cancers and diabetes.

Dr. Robert A. Wascher, director of surgical oncology at Newark (N.J.) Beth Israel Medical Center, writes the link between Agent Orange and prostate cancer is strong.

"Agent Orange contains chemical contaminants known as dioxins, which are organic chemicals that tend to persist in the environment, and within exposed humans and animals, for many years.''

These dioxins, Wascher writes, are referred to as "persistent organic pollutants."

Anderson says the judge was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 at age 54. He underwent radioactive seed implantation, a treatment where tiny pellets containing radioactive material are implanted into the tumor-containing organ, according to Cancer News.

"Isaac was fine until March of 2007, when prostate cancer came back,'' she says. "The doctor said the malignant strand was a very different kind of cancer - highly aggressive and highly resistant to treatment.

"It was different from the original cancer.''

Researchers found veterans exposed to Agent Orange have a 48 percent increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence following surgery than their unexposed peers, according to a May 2007 report on the Medical News Today Web site.

Anderson says the judge received treatment at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Neither arrested the disease.

His fight lasted nine months.

VA SOLVES PUZZLE

The puzzle continued until David Lockhart, veterans service counselor for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fort Myers, saw that the judge had died.

"I was a juror in Judge Anderson's court in the early 1990s,'' says Lockhart, 62. "The obituary mentioned he was Vietnam veteran and died of prostate cancer.''

Lockhart put one and one together and got Agent Orange.

He contacted Judge James Adams, a friend of the Andersons, and asked him to contact the judge's widow.

"I was totally shocked when I got the phone call,'' Anderson says. "I had no idea his disease could be service-related.''

Lockhart, who served three tours of Vietnam and has Type 2 Diabetes, told Anderson she was probably eligible for death benefits from the government.

Anderson filed a claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation in January. The VA granted it in October, retroactive to her husband's death. She also is eligible for Dependents' Educational Assistance, a health-benefits program, Armed Forces Commissary and Exchange privileges.

"As you can see, I learned about the government's responsibility by accident,'' she says. "If Isaac had not been a high-profile person of this community, chances are that I would not have learned about this at all.''

Anderson says the government's method of disseminating Agent Orange information is archaic and inadequate.

"I understand that the government sent notices to the American Legions and other veteran haunts,'' she says. "But many veterans do not frequent those places.''

A document Anderson received from the VA in St. Petersburg confirms her theory.

"We sent a copy of this letter to your representative, American Legion, whom you can also contact if you have any questions or need assistance,'' writes B.C. Gibbard, veterans service center manager.

"Vietnam veterans are not joiners like soldiers were from World War II and the Korean War,'' Lockhart says. "When we came back, participation was not as widespread in veterans service clubs.''

GET THE WORD OUT

Lockhart says VA announcements need more circulation.

"The word does not get out as well as it should,'' he says. "Judge Anderson had prostate cancer in 2000. He should have been receiving benefits with that initial diagnosis.''

Lockhart says the judge's visibility made him newsworthy, which alerted the VA.

"But what about old Snuffy out there in North Fort Myers?'' Lockhart asks. "He's just going to die. And Mrs. Snuffy isn't going to get her dependency and indemnity compensation.

"That's kind of the rub.''

Anderson says enlightening veterans to treatment and benefits would be a start, but the government has a lot of making up to do for Agent Orange.

"Shame on our U.S. government for taking lightly those who risked their lives,'' she says. "For the government to put soldiers at risk is unforgivable.''

Exposed veterans brought a successful class-action lawsuit in 1979. It was settled in 1984.

"Any veterans of the Vietnam War need to go in and be tested,'' Anderson says. "That's the whole point of this story - to get medical care and benefits.''

Her message is clear.

"My husband was such a caring person with strong feelings about personal rights that I know he would feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that he helped others,'' Anderson says.


posted by Larry Scott
Founder and Editor
VA Watchdog dot Org
http://www.vawatchdog.org/

 

bkgrnd