We who have put on the uniform of the United States military were prepared for battle through meticulous training. We were told about the cunning ways of our enemy. We were taught how to fight the enemy not on his terms but ours.
We went to war in foreign lands. Many of our brothers and sisters engaged the enemy on the field of battle with devastating consequences. While the enemy felt our might, many of our brothers and sisters fell in battle. We honor and remember them, like the names on the wall.
We who remain have been fighting the Battle of Orange. It is an enemy we were not told about, nor were we prepared for the affect it has had on our lives over time. Without our knowledge or participation this enemy has whittled away at our body, cell by cell, tearing away at our bodies defenses.
Strangely once exposed to it, the affects are different for each of us. Many of us have yet to realize that we have been affected by it. We attribute our ill health as a process of aging, which might be true, to a certain degree.
We look at other brothers suffering and we feel compassion, but alas it is not I, we think. We go on with life and our brothers and sisters pass away, into eternity and the battle of Orange claims another victim.
What we are learning some 50 plus years later is startling, disheartening and often depressing. We find that the Battle of Orange is from friendly fire. It is self-inflicted by our unsuspecting brothers and sisters utilizing one of the many weapons of war – chemical herbicides.
They are called “Rainbow” herbicides for their many colors – Blue, White, Orange, Pink (just to name a few) each with their own concoction of chemicals, some more deadly than others and effective on plants, animals and humans.
We have heard of their use on foreign soil, used against the enemy to deprive of food and cover. What we have not heard is they were manufactured in chemical plants here on American soil and tested at home and abroad.
We have learned of their being tested, stored and used at various military installations in the United States, in the Central American country of Panama, where they were tested extensively prior to and during the Southeast Asian war in Vietnam. We find they were used in places like along the DMZ of Korea and in US occupied military bases throughout Thailand and in the countries of Cambodia and Laos.
We were told not to worry because these chemicals were used on the perimeter of bases and did not affect anyone except military police and dog handlers patrolling the fence line. We were told nothing about the potential for “drift” outside the spray zone. We were told nothing about why in a tropical environment there was little to no vegetation growing inside military bases.
It has been more than 50 years since many of us were little more than children, in a land with so much hidden dangers all around us where we spent 12 months or more exposed. The department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has comprised a list of ailments that are VA recognized as a byproduct of exposure to herbicides, and even though we have one or more of these ailments, we must PROVE we were exposed.
Are not the ailments proof enough? Even with our brothers and sisters dying from these ailments, proof is being denied?
What about our families, our children, our grandchildren? We have family members who were exposed? We have children and grandchildren born with a host of uncommon ailments, diseases or worse?
When will our Battle of Orange, (Agent Orange) end?
Death is not the end, the battle continues! – I am the Real Truckmaster!