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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Agent Orange: Tell a Vet

                   Agent Orange: Tell a Vet

        Sorry it has been so long since I wrote a post.  Events in my life have taken a strange turn and I have yet to determine if it is a Blessing or a Curse.  I had known for years that I had been exposed to Agent Orange.  I spent ninety days of my tour in Vietnam guarding some water pumps for the Air Force.  Thirty five of us were sent on this detail.  Every so often a helicopter would come out and spray the area around our camp.  We used to wave at the crew and they would wave back.  Little did we know they were spraying a potentially deadly toxin on us.

        About two and half years ago I attended a 4th of July Cookout at my best friend’s house. Many of the people attending were military retirees.  I did thirteen years and got out. In the course of the discussion a retired Lieutenant Colonel who was in the Air Force informed me that I was eligible for Compensation because I had a defibrillator.  It is one of the side effects of Agent Orange.  I did nothing about it till January of 2011.  Then I figured what the heck I would at least apply.

       After filing much paperwork and taking a physical.  Almost two years later I received my Agent Orange Compensation Award.  It included back pay to when I initially filed my application.  It came to a tidy sum of money and it is all tax free thanks a decision of the Supreme Court.  I have been busy the last month putting my affairs in order.  Not that I am dying.  Well I guess I am, but we all are and will sooner or later. Not only do I now have more money.  Now I have paid off the bills I had so I can live debt free and enjoy my remaining days.

       The reason I am writing this is that I know many Vietnam Era vets do not know that they are eligible for compensation.  The sad part is the government they served knows who is eligible for compensation.  The government is following an, if they don’t ask, don’t tell them strategy about the matter.  So my goal in writing this post is to spread the word.

        Unfortunately this is a practice followed by the government in many areas of compensation.  If everybody filed for what they are eligible for from the government the national debt would probably double or triple overnight.  This is something I have learned from watching friends and family get help. My twin premature grandsons got no help or compensation from the government.  Yet my premature twin great grand- daughters are getting compensation or assistance every month till they get caught up with the average child.  The difference is that one set of parents knew about the programs.  The others did not.  The government certainly does not spread the word.  It is the responsibility of the eligible party to apply for the help.

     I sincerely hope this helps someone get the assistance they are entitled to.  Please share it with any Vietnam Era Vets you might know.  Hopefully I will be getting back to writing and a fairly normal life.  Sorry for not sharing sooner why I have been gone from writing my blog.  Will keep this short so I can write a normal post.  Thanks again for reading and sharing.

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