Friday, September 09, 2011

They Find The Crews Ill or Dying of Agent Orange Exposure

Westover Vets Fight For Agent Orange Benefits

Sep 7, 2011 - In the years since they flew together out of Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts in the post-Vietnam War era, Wes Carter and Paul Bailey have stayed in close touch, swapping information about families, jobs, and their former crewmates in the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

This year, the conversation took a strange turn: Bailey, who lives in New Hampshire, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. Two months later, Carter, a former Massachusetts resident who now lives in Oregon, got the same diagnosis.

Curious about the coincidence, the two men began checking around with members of their Air Force Reserve squadron – particularly those who had flown the C-123 Provider, a plane that was used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and then was reassigned to domestic missions at Westover and two other U.S. bases.

Carter was stunned: the first five crewmen he called had prostate cancer or heart disease.

The sixth man he tried had died.

Since then, he and Bailey have found dozens more former Westover reservists who are sick – with prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy and other illnesses connected to exposure to Agent Orange [AO]. In just a few months, they have compiled a list of close to 40 of their fellow pilots, medical technicians, maintenance workers and flight engineers who are sick or have died of such illnesses, many of them from Connecticut and Massachusetts.

“I’ve had trouble finding guys who don’t have AO-related illnesses,” said Carter, who also suffers from heart disease. read more>>>

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