(Washington, D.C.) – “It is an outrage that the VA, in effect, is continuing to deny these veterans justice,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America. “These VA bureaucrats attempting to delay justice ought to be relieved of their duties so that they can no longer abuse veterans with their tactic of ‘delay, deny, until they die.’ There is no excuse for why these worthy veterans are still not being treated with the appreciation and the respect their service warrants.” Rowan praised Wes Carter, the leader of the C-123 Veterans Association, for his spunk and spirit: “You’ve got to keep on keeping on,” Rowan urged, “and VVA will be at your side to convince the VA hierarchy that to continue to delay justice is to deny justice.”
For over five years, retired Air Force Reserve Major Wes Carter has led the fight of his life: to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to acknowledge that the C-123 Provider military cargo planes which transported Agent Orange to and from Vietnam had, in fact, been contaminated with dioxin. A number of reputable scientists and epidemiologists at federal agencies have gone on record, endorsing Carter’s stance that these craft remained hazardous to the health of the 2,100 crew members, flight nurses, and maintenance workers who serviced them between 1972 and 1982. “Yet the VA, in all its wisdom, maintained that these men and women who had been exposed to Agent Orange ought not be eligible to receive the same healthcare and disability compensation benefits that boots-on-the-ground veterans of Vietnam receive,” Rowan noted.
“VVA has long supported Major Carter in his quest for justice,” Rowan said. “When the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded, in a study funded by the VA, that the planes were actively contaminated when Air Force Reservists flew them, we were as pleased as Wes Carter, who exulted, ‘We won!’ The IOM report was released in January 2015, yet Major Carter and those who have been sickened with maladies the VA concedes are associated with exposure to Agent Orange have still not received the justice they deserve. Why? Because a few bad actors in the office of Public Health & Environmental Hazards at the VA continue their attempts to delay justice despite the conclusive report by the IOM.