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Veterans Affairs holds Agent Orange town hall meeting in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)-- Veterans from all over the United States came to Wilmington to fight for a cause at the Agent Orange town hall meeting.

Agent Orange is a dioxin that many soldiers were exposed to during war. The Veterans Affairs say it is pretty strongly linked to the Vietnam War. Now, they are fighting for diagnosis and treatment for their children and grandchildren that could be affected.

One woman is still very concerned after losing her son and then her husband to what she thinks was caused by Agent Orange.

"I’m still worried,” Lynn Olsen said. “I have grandchildren. I have two sons that I love desperately. I don't even want to think about what could possibly happen to them.”

Veterans Affairs wants anyone that has a claim to go to a local office and report it. They are trying to get a bill passed in Washington that will establish a national center for the treatment and diagnosis of conditions caused by exposure to these toxins.

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Korea - Agent Orange........

Subject: Dioxin (Agent Orange) Long Term Residual Effects Korean DMZ

Four months ago, I found out that I have Adult Diabetes Type 2, which is one of the many side effects of Dioxin exposure. I already knew many veterans who have served in Vietnam and Korea suffer from not just this side effect but many others. I have discussed with other veterans who have also served in Korea, in particular those who have also served up on the DMZ north of Freedom Bridge/Imjin-gak (River). Many of these veterans also suffer not only from Diabetes, but many of the other side effects of Dioxin exposure.

Agent Orange was used in Korea from approximately 1968 to 1971. Those that served in Korea at that time are the only ones who are acknowledged to have had exposure to Dioxin. It does not cover those that were exposed afterward, where it resides in the dirt for many years to come. From 1971 to 1991 we still had Troops running patrols, manning Guard Posts, and Observation Posts in the American Sector (11 Mile Stretch) after the use of AO.

Our final troops exited Vietnam by 1975 and they are covered in the Zone for Agent Orange. But, in Vietnam we did not naturally get a chance to see the effects of Dioxin exposure in the ground to those Veterans. In Korea, many of us believe we were exposed to it through the 70s and 80s due to aliments we now suffer from.

The US Government/VA needs to look at supporting and caring for these Veterans who are suffering from the side effects caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The Government needs to determine and accept that Dioxins remained in the area/ground well after its use and not just during. We exposed these Troops to an unsafe environment and now they suffer from it in sickness/illnesses, and in some cases death. I believe you will find in most cases, it has taken several years for the illnesses to appear, quite similar to those who were exposed to Agent Orange when it was used in Vietnam. Also, many Korean DMZ veterans do not know that A.O. was even used there.

From 1972 to 1991, approximately 50,000 troops have served in the American Sector of the DMZ, and that is a conservative number! For the VA to see an issue/trend here is very limited due to relatively small number of veterans who have served there. With DMZ veterans spread in 50 states, territories, working, living, and retired overseas, and in some cases have passed on, it is hard to see that there is a trend/issue especially if veterans don't know they were exposed.... The VA and the Federal Government has not taken any measures to notify these veterans either. “Hide the information, nobody knows”.

My son John H. Lucken suffers from Spinal Bifida, a birth defect from those who were exposed to Agent Orange and it's Dioxins. A birth defect that is define by the VA. As of a recent C-Scan on John, he is found to have 2 ½ kidneys also! This C-Scan is on record with the Pana, IL Hospital.

John was born on July 17, 1989 at 121st Evac Hospital, Yongsan, Korea. John's mother is Korean from the north part of the ROK. Her name is Mun, Yong-Cha!

John's spinal bifida is on record with the VA besides dealing with PTSD from Afghanistan 2009. Would I know that my service would come back to haunt him even more, then me!

Agent Orange veterans still Denied by the VA till they die

Veterans directly exposed to Agent Orange herbicides on Guam, Okinawa, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Panama, Philippines, Ft McClellan, Ft Detrick, Ft Drum, Eglin AFB, and more are denied by the VA. Ships are added but not locations and then they want veterans to prove it knowing they destroyed all the evidence. We need a National

Agent Orange used on Guam by me

Blue water navy are not the only ones exposed to Agent Orange herbicides. I power sprayed it on and off base at AndersenAfb. Many veterans directly exposed and didn't know it. I sprayed it from Sept 68 to Jun 78. Thousands died from it. Thousands of unborn children died in the womb from it. Military dependents directly exposed

VA wrongful deaths?

Perhaps the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans should be considered wrongful deaths and be compensated?

Exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to numerous health problems, including non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, prostate cancer, Type II Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other issues. In 1991, legislation was enacted that empowered the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to declare certain illnesses "presumptive" to exposure to Agent Orange and enabled Vietnam veterans to receive disability compensation for these related conditions. However, in 2002, the VA limited the authority of the Act to only those veterans who could provide orders for "boots on the ground" in Vietnam. As a result, veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam were forced to file individual claims with the VA to restore their benefits, which are then decided on a case-by-case basis. After 40 years the evidence needed for these Veterans to obtain benefits no longer exists. Please help correct this inequity.

I urge you, the public, to communicate to Representative Jeff Miller R-FL, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, that HR 543, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, now has 225 cosponsors. This is enough for a discharge petition to force it to the House floor. This would be an embarrassing situation to this committee. After 14 years of being disenfranchised by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Blue Water Navy deserves it’s day on the House floor for a vote.

The estimate is that 20,000 Veterans of the Blue Water Navy are being denied health care today. With the fiasco facing this nation with the deaths of Veterans in care of the DVA, let’s not add to the count. Please ask Representative Miller to bring forth this bill for a full vote of the House.