When Our Nation Called
Tomorrow is the day when America’s fallen soldiers are brought to the nation’s remembrance. It’s been said that we should not mourn their loss, but thank God that they lived.
From Iwo Jima to the River Kwai; the Frozen Chosen to Khe Sanh and the Hanoi Hilton; Somalia to Panama; Kuwait to Bagdad and Afghanistan; Fort Hood to Arkansas; and to VA facilities nationwide let us not forget the sacrifices given for service to God and to Country by our brothers and sisters and their families.
There are just too many battles, conflicts and wars to list here, but one that has gotten little to know attention is the “Battle of Orange” taking the lives of our Veterans every single day, so let me focus on one unrecognized and unknown Veteran.
When our nation called a young man named Mark Olson, from Montana, like so many others joined the military during the height of the Vietnam War, joined the U.S. Army. His training and skills took him to Southeast Asia where he served as an army engineer in Northeastern Thailand from 1968 – 1970.
This army engineer held a variety of jobs as a plumber, material handler and even working with a covert community action unit taking him into the jungles and at times “across the fence” into Laos. The nature of his varied jobs brought him into contact with “Orange” and other herbicides, which at the time had no special significance.
After the military life carried this army Veteran to many locations and many jobs and his health began to change, even his attitude changed and he began treatment under the VA for high blood pressure and a type of diabetes that has been attributed to the exposure to herbicides. Additional treatment began for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which seemed to help. Linking up with online Thailand Veterans groups gave him a new purpose, assisting Veterans and researching herbicide exposure on US military facilities in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
Mark’s story is one echoed across our nation as Veterans die from exposure to herbicides which at first our nation said were not used, around troops who “were not there” in a war being successfully won until lost by public opinion.
Mark’s battle is over now. It’s been two long years since the cumulative effects of the herbicide exposure (which the VA denied his claims of presumptive exposure) coupled with the PTSD took him from us in 2016, a belated casualty of the Vietnam War. Many came home already dead from the friendly fire of “The Battle of Orange”.
Senate S-2105 and House HB-4843 are in the Veterans Committees of Congress today as an attempt to rectify CFR 38 with wording to include Thailand Veterans of the Vietnam War who suffer the effects of herbicide exposure. (Contact your Congressmen and Senators today and ask for their support of these bills). – I am the Real Truckmaster!