BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Agent Orange was a defoliant the U.S. military dropped from the sky to clear large expanses of jungle and forest, to expose enemy hideouts.
It contained highly toxic chemicals and everyone got sprayed, enemy combatants, innocent civilians, even our own servicemembers.
It took many years before the government even acknowledged the toxic nature of Agent Orange was sickening returning veterans and their families.
But the medical benefits were only extended to those who fought on the ground or within three miles of shore.
Thousands of servicemembers who served outside of that zone, known as “Blue Water Navy Veterans” were denied those benefits.
But over the years, retired Senior Cheif Petty Officer Ron Carrick told us, many of those Blue Water veterans have shown symptoms identical to those for Agent Orange.
“We are the forgotten guys. They don’t want to acknowledge us. If you were not a boot on the ground you didn’t count, was basically the way they looked at it. The wind shifts, three miles is not very far,” Carrick said.
Senior Chief Carrick says if you are one of the estimated 90,000 surviving Blue Water Navy veterans, you should go immediately to the VA and get checked out.
Carrick tells News 4 he has been to the VA and got a clean bill of health.
Earlier this week, President Trump signed the measure into law extending medical benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans.
The new parameters include Vietnam deployment from 1962 to 1975 on a vessel within 12 miles of shore.