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Agent Orange and The ScrewJob of our Country's Heroes. The effects of Vietnam.

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posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 06:14 AM
Let me preface this by telling you the condensed story of my father. We'll start where Vietnam becomes involved.

In 1967, my dad was drafted into the Marine Corps and, like so many others, sent to fight for this country (supposedly) in Vietnam. While there, he was exposed dozens (if not hundreds) of times to the chemical Agent Orange manufactured (the majority) by the Dow Chemical Company.

Skip ahead awhile, and you find my dad returning home in 1972 with 6 purple hearts and an undying love for his country.

He suffered shrapnel damage to his back, face, arms, legs and most importantly his digestive system. I say most importantly because this damage effected him his entire life while the others simply left scars. However, each and every time he elected to be sent back to combat and and was sent home in '72 with an honorable discharge from the marine corps, though with no benefits.

Who cares right? Not my dad, that's for sure. Even though he personally was against the war in Vietnam (after he got over there and saw what it was all about), he still felt he did the right thing as he was a citizen of the United States and therefore, when drafted, it was his duty to fight for his country and do as he was told while there.

Now, when my dad returned home, there had been some very noticeable changes in him as a result of wading through the muck of Agent Orange that had adhered itself to any place it had been sprayed. (As a matter of fact, he had, on several occasions, been sprayed directly with the chemical from planes overhead as had his whole platoon)

The most noticeable was, he had no hair anywhere on his body other than his head. Unbeknownst to him at the time, this would last the rest of his life. Also, his skin had taken on a very dry and almost scaly look which also would last the rest of his life. But hey, worse things could have happened right?

Let's skip ahead to 1982. I was about to be 2 years old and my dad had just found out that he was a severe diabetic. Naturally, he had heard the fervor that was going on around Agent Orange and the dioxins that were causing many veterans to die way-to-early deaths as a result of various illnesses either caused or helped along by the exposure.

Let's skip ahead again (in the interest of not making this post 5 pages long), this time to the year 1999.

As of 1999, here is a list of illnesses that were recognized as Service-connected as a result of exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.

1. Chloracne
2. non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
3. Soft tissue sarcoma
4. Hodgkin's disease
5. Porphyria cutanea tarda
6. Multiple Myeloma
7. Respiratory and Oral cancers (including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and
8. Prostrate cancer
9. Peripheral neuropathy (acute or subacute)
10. Diabetes Type II
11. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - CLL

As of late 1999, my dad had Chloracne, Type II Diabetes and had just been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Of these, his Diabetes had effected him the worst. His mood was probably the most severely effected part of him. My dad was a very happy go lucky kinda guy. He didn't drink, didn't smoke and didn't take in any other substances that he was not given by the VA to help him with his problems. However, my dad could be getting ice out of the ice tray one minute and then punching his fists through the wall the next because he dropped an ice cube. Why? Because his blood sugar had suddenly spiked so high that it would not register. Also, since the early 80's his weight fluxuated extremely. He would go from 260 lbs, to 180, to 220, to 130 and repeat. He followed all of his treatments, visited the doctor as told and controlled his diet. However, his life was literally a living hell because nothing he did would help him with his health problems as a result of the diabetes.

In early 2000, after years of burning legs and fingers and a steady drop in strength in his limbs, my dad was diagnosed with Neuropathy. For those of you that don't know, it's a condition where the nerves in almost every part of your body gradually deteriorate. Now, my dad was still AMAZINGLY strong. I have seen days where he would go out back and pick his 16 foot john boat up at the middle and put it in the back of his truck. I have also seen him pick up a 400 lb roll of copper wire as if it were nothing and move it around the warehouse where he worked. However, something so simple as holding onto a drinking glass became a chore. Why? Because the nerves in his fingers were gone and he could not actually feel the glass in his hand. Not to mention, his vision was almost shot and he had nights of CONSTANT leg pain to the point that he would cry and try to rub them to ease them only to have the rubbing of his legs (because of the tenderness) make him cry harder.

In mid 2000, Neuropathy was also added to the list of service connected illnesses related to AO exposure.

Now, since I forgot to include this part, let me explain this to you. As a result of my dad's condition, there were many jobs he could not do. However, he was a hell of a salesman and that kept him, myself and mom living throughout my life. Both of my parents worked full time and still barely had enough money to scrape by. Since 1983, my dad received benefits for being 30% service connected disabled. These benefits arrived in the form of a check for 110 bucks every month. 110 dollars, think about how much that didn't even start to cover his medication that wasn't a gift of the VA hospital. Okay, now skip back again.

Mid 2000, my dad FINALLY receives his 100% disability after having, over the course of 20 years, lost 3 of his fingers, almost complete vision, feeling in his extremities and 2 toes as a result of his time in Vietnam. (more so the Agent Orange)

He finally gets a bit of pleasure out of his life by not having to worry about money any more as he is receiving almost 3000 dollars a month and no longer has to struggle while working. He actually gets to put some focus on some TONY things like working in the yard (as he can) and restoring old cars as well as his one TRUE passion, fishing.

You see, my dad was a fishing NUT. All my life I knew he to go fishing almost daily after work. And now, he was finally getting the chance to really enjoy it.
He and my mom made plans to travel all over the country in their free time and finally get some COUPLE time. Until...

[edit on 31-8-2007 by SimiusDei]

posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 06:20 AM
February 28th, 2001.

My dad is fishing in a pond across the street from my house. He stands up to pull in his anchor and loses his balance. He falls in the water and simply doesn't have the strength to get out.

Tony Jones had approximately 7 months of actual happiness and truly good times in his life because of that war over in Vietnam.

But, he wasn't the only victim. There are countless thousands still living with this nightmare and countless thousands of spouses that help those ex veterans through that nightmare. My mom stuck with my dad through EVERY SINGLE BIT OF IT.

Yet, she is not entitled to any of his benefits. She receives not one stitch of help from the government.

So many victims and this country has given those that suffered for it almost NOTHING in return.

The only people who have truly seen a benefit from the agent orange exposures in Vietnam have been the lawyers who have kept the lawsuits tied up in courts since 1979.

My dad's is just one story that goes far deeper than what I have talked about here.

There are, to this day, homeless Vietnam Veterans who are homeless now because of illness they received in Vietnam or TERRIBLE addictions they received in Vietnam as a result of the drugs their own government was giving them.

Next time you see a Veteran of any of this country's wars.....stop and tell them thank you. That is likely the only real payment they have ever received.


posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 06:41 AM
Amen to that.
I feel for you and your dad, as my father was there too.
He suffered ill effects after the war as well, although mostly mental, but painful all the same. His problems destroyed our family and he died broken and alone, in spite of our efforts. I regret not knowing him now that I am grown and I think about him daily. These vets have my undying respect and as a token of it, I joined the Sons of Vietnam vets. I rode with many vets and even escorted the wall as it came through our state. Thinking about their misery, and hearing stories of our young vets having similar problems with benefits makes me sad. I think that there should be more care offered when they come home. I think they should also make more money, as their families are mostly in need. I was appalled by how little a soldier makes a month. How do they survive on such little income?

Again, I feel for you and your family.

posted on Aug, 31 2007 @ 06:48 AM
reply to post by shadow watcher

Thanks SW.

Since, my father has now moved on to his next life, I feel more-so for those guys out there that are still struggling with problems that began 40 years ago.

40 years is a long time to live with anything, much less the stuff these guys have to live with.

As a note Watcher, I am sorry about your dad and family as well. I hope that you have been able to come to terms with everything as I know it's quite hard to do.

My dad also had mental problems, though he was good at keeping them under raps. Til' the day he died, he could not take any medicine at night because he was have horrid Vietnam dreams. Needless to say, he never got much sleep.

The way our Veterans are treated is a DISGRACE. 30 years from now, these stories will only be repeated....this time with DU being the main culprit.

It pisses me off.

posted on Sep, 1 2007 @ 11:27 PM
My sister is affected by Agent Orange. That is the only explanation for the disparity in health, intelligence, and physical appearance between her and my brother and I. She has numerous tumors that re-occur and has finally been diagnosed with cervical cancer that will probably kill her soon. She has never been "right". She suffers from paranoid delusions and bouts of rage that surfaced almost as soon as she could walk. I am five years older than her and the first time I remember her trying to kill me was when she was four.

My Father is what I would call a "crazy viet nam vet" in my early twenties when I was finally sure that I had and would survive it. It was an easy shortcut that glossed over the years of absolute insanity that he brought back from the war with him. He talked about the "thick rain" that followed the airplanes. The first time I remember hearing about it was when I was 10 or so. He talked about Agent Orange being in places it wasn't supposed to be.

I was born before he went. My brother also. My sister doesn't seem to have been as lucky. She was born in 1972 after he had been exposed and to be quite honest with you, my mother told me that he had insisted that she have an abortion when he found out she was pregnant. He was afraid there would be something wrong with the baby. He was right. I am not saying that all the enlisted men had knowlege of this. I am just saying my dad seemed to. But that is another story for another thread.

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