FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. — Battles are still being waged by Vietnam veterans, but, this time, from home. For Vietnam veterans in Moore and surrounding counties, across our State and nation, the Vietnam conflict isn’t over as the effects of exposure to Agent Orange takes its toll on them, their children and grandchildren.
The Tennessee State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, along with co-sponsor VVA Chapter 580, is pleased to announce that an Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting will be presented on Aug. 30 from 6-9 p.m. at the Fayetteville Municipal Building, located at 110 Elk Avenue South in Fayetteville.
The meeting is designed to educate, provide a platform for asking questions and an opportunity for veterans, children, grandchildren or surviving spouses to speak with Veterans Service Officers about filing claims for VA benefits. All veterans and families from all conflicts are urged to attend. For further information, contact Don Smith at (931) 335-0477.
“Operation Ranch Hand” was the code name for the spraying of a host of herbicides, primarily Agent Orange, by the U.S. military in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries to protect American and allied troops by defoliating the dense jungle vegetation hiding enemy positions.
Approximately 5,200 veterans — many from Moore County and surrounding counties — served in Vietnam, and no one knows for sure how many were exposed to Agent Orange. Some were deployed in areas during and immediately after spraying operations, while others actually handled Agent Orange and did the spraying.
Over the past few decades, a substantial body of scientific and medical research has shown that Agent Orange and other herbicides containing dioxin have an elevated probability of causing, or contributing to, a variety of sometimes fatal illnesses being suffered by veterans who served in Vietnam between January 1962 and May 1975.
The list of diseases related to the veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange is ever-growing. The evidence for inclusion of diabetes mellitus type II as a presumptive disease is very strong and the same is true of prostate cancer and other service-connected presumptive conditions such as: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and respiratory cancers (of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea).
The Gulf War of the early 1990s and beyond saw oil well fires, burn pits, etc., which caused their own problems for our modern war veterans, along with the contaminated water problem at Camp Lejeune, are just a couple of the chemical-related problems for veterans.