Memorandum: Accelerated Mortality Rates of Vietnam Veterans

July 1, 1999

Introduction

During the early 1980s, while first living in Franklin County, Massachusetts, I became active with other Vietnam veterans in response to the myriad physical, psychological, and social problems we seemed to be experiencing. I was active in a local Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) chapter, and subsequently became director of the state-funded Western Massachusetts Agent Orange Information Project, and later, executive director of a veterans outreach center.

Through numerous conversations and formal interviews with hundreds of veterans I began to establish an empirical substantiation of the syndrome of problems that certainly is one of the tragic legacies of the Vietnam War (i.e., the war against the Vietnamese which the Vietnamese call "the American War"). Grasping the depth of the prevailing sense of shame, malaise, and deteriorating physical and mental health, I began to understand more deeply both the burden and incredible potential wisdom of the war, not just for veterans, but for the entire American society. Both the syndrome known as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), often delayed for a decade or more enabling the psyche time to integrate the horrible realities that the Vietnam experience possesses for many, and exposure to the most intensive application of chemical warfare in history by the Pentagon (in cahoots with seven chemical companies, including Monsanto and Dow), directly contributed to a myriad of symptoms, physical, emotional, and psychic. A pattern of extraordinary sickness and depression for this age group of young males (age 30-45 in 1984-85) is believed unprecedented in the United States.

Nineteen million gallons of Agents Orange, Blue, White, and Purple were sprayed over an area the size of Rhode Island and Massachusetts combined (over 6 million acres), applied up to 14 times the recommended domestic agricultural application rate. Subsequently, these chemicals have been banned in the U.S. due to their intense toxicity, being considered, perhaps, the most potent cancer-causing substance ever studied by the Environmental Protection Agency. It should be noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, based on studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences ‘ Institute of Medicine, now presumes the following conditions as service-connected for Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides:

 

  • Chloracne
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Respiratory cancers (including cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Peripheral neuropathy (acute or subacute)
  • Spina bifida in children of Vietnam veterans

Mortality Rates for Vietnam Veterans

There have been a number of representations and claims over the years that more Vietnam veterans have died from suicide since returning from the war than the 58,000-plus who died in the war. There is no certain way for determining precise data on veterans’ suicides. My involvement with many physically and mentally troubled veterans, and search of "scientific" data about the subject of mortality rates of Vietnam veterans, produced the following information by mid-1986.

 

When first conversing with local veterans in rural Franklin County, Massachusetts in mid-1983, they informed me that there had been four suicides of local Vietnam veterans between 1981 and June 1983.

Phil Girard, in 1982 the Senior Vice President, Agent Orange Victims International, reported at a public meeting at Greenfield, Massachusetts Community College (April 17) that their organizational research indicated that "from the end of the war to 1981 there have been 109,000 veterans who have died."

An unpublished manuscript, Vietnam Veterans, by Tom Williams, University of Denver School of Professional Psychology, April 1979, concluded that "More Vietnam veterans have died since the war by their own hand than were actually killed in Vietnam."

Testimony presented to the Massachusetts Commission on the Concerns of Vietnam veterans in Greenfield, Massachusetts on May 4, 1982, declared that "Vietnam veterans have nationally averaged 28 suicides a day since 1975, amounting to over 70,000."

"Suicide rates 33% higher than the national average rate" were reported in The Forgotten Warrior Project by John P. Wilson, Cleveland State University, 1978. This definitive study was originally titled, Identity, Ideology and Crisis: The Vietnam Veteran in Transition.

A classified VA memo dated 6/30/82 identified a total of approximately 300,000 deaths occurring among Vietnam-era veterans from 1965-1981 calculated by adding together deaths in-service with an actuarial estimate of the number of Vietnam-era veterans who have died since returning to civilian life, a much higher figure than estimated by the VA in previous reports. Research conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in the early 1980s had found a number of illnesses and suicides contributing to elevated death rates for Vietnam veterans than for non-veterans in the same age group.

An alarming disparity in official VA figures reporting a dramatic decrease in the estimated number of Vietnam Era Veterans in Civilian Life from September 30, 1981 to March 31, 1983, reveals a loss of 793,000 Vietnam-era veterans in that 18-month period. The disparity was never explained. I suggest four possible explanations: (1) changed, inconsistent, and/or mistaken reporting and estimation procedures; (2) a large emigration of Vietnam-era veterans out of the U.S.; (3) a high mortality rate for Vietnam-era veterans; or (4) a combination of any and/or all of the above explanations.

On Monday, January 28, 1985, the Massachusetts Agent Orange Program of the State Office of Commissioner of Veterans’ Services released results of its study, Mortality Among Vietnam Veterans in Massachusetts, 1972-1983. The one-year study revealed that deaths due to suicides and motor vehicle accidents, along with kidney cancer, were "significantly elevated" among Vietnam veterans compared to non-veteran Massachusetts males for the study period 1972-1983.

A comprehensive research study by the University of California at San Francisco published in the March 6, 1986 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Delayed Effects of the Military Draft on Mortality," disclosed that Vietnam veterans were 86% more likely than non-veterans to die of suicide in the years after the war, and 53% more likely to die in traffic accidents. The researchers claim that this study of California and Pennsylvania men is the first to show a cause-and-effect relationship between military service during the Vietnam War and an unusual risk of suicide.

From Summer 1983 through Summer 1985 there were seven known additional suicides of Vietnam veterans in the Franklin-Hampshire County area of Massachusetts. Because one’s veteran status is often not known at time of death, whether by suicide or other cause, and because suicides are often masked under causes listed as single-car accidents, drug or alcohol overdose, etc., actual deaths by suicide remain unknown. Other veterans whom I knew in the 1982-1985 time period died of alcohol and drug abuse.

A November 1, 1984 U.S. House Report 98-1167, Diversion of Funds from Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Counseling Program, by the Committee on Government Operations, concluded that "the suicide rate among Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD is high . . . not because of massive underlying neuroses, but as a result of the harsh treatment they received in Vietnam, and experiences upon returning to the U.S." Dr. Arnold, Chief of Psychiatry at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona at the time, and an acknowledged expert on PTSD, explained to the Committee that the VA’s most rece
nt statistics indicate that while Vietnam veterans make up only about 14% of the veterans they treat, Vietnam veterans constitute 30% of the suicides of all veterans treated by the VA, over-contributing substantially to the total number of suicides of patients who are treated by the VA.

Conclusion

There is no certain way of knowing how many Vietnam veterans have died through suicide, motor vehicle "accidents," or illnesses. The available evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, however, suggests elevated mortality rates from suicides, motor vehicle accidents, and certain cancers for Vietnam veterans. In some cases the data suggests mortality rates are "significantly elevated."


89 Comments

  1. Posted March 5, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I was with the 25th inf. for my one year in V.N. and in an area that was sprayed a lot,my daughter ia now 37 and has the front of her spine deterated and as a result of that has had 12 vertabras fused and a titanum rod inserted the lenghth of her spine,I’m wondering if this was a birth defect from Agent Orange.Every time I check with the VA I seem to get the run around,can anyone out there help, Duane

  2. Posted March 5, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    You might ask the veterans advocacy group, Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco,[http://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/programsAndServices], who would be best to hear your questions about the connection between your daughter’s spinal medical problems and your exposure to Agent Orange. They may not be the right resource, but if they are not, they likely can direct you to one.

  3. Lorraine Plass
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Just wondering if you’ll be posting a 10 year update to Vietnam Study Information.

  4. Posted March 18, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Apparently 40 years after the war we are still seeing these problems.

    Quote from the Chicago Tribune:

    “According to data from the VA, 58 percent of the 490,135 Vietnam veterans who died from 2000 to 2007 were younger than 60.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/agentorange/chi-agent-orange2-dec06,0,2356181.story

  5. Posted March 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    PTSD – Iraq or Afghanistan, and over 250,000 have sought care in VA
    http://www4.va.gov/OCA/testimony/hvac/070725IK.asp

    Oct 3, 2007
    Over the past few years 3 out of 4 veterans seeking mental health treatment for the first time are Vietnam era veterans many in the 55-64 year old age group
    http://www4.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-statement-20071003-shepherd.pdf

  6. Posted March 25, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Looking for REAL NUMBERS:
    SUICIDES BY IN COUNTRY VIETNAM VETERANS.
    NUMBER OF VIETNAM VETERANS WHO DIE EACH DAY.
    nUMBER OF COMBAT VIETNAM VETERANS VS IN COUNTRY VIETNAM VETERANS,
    THANK YOU. MAX LOFFGREN

  7. Posted March 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I have no sources for that kind of very specific, and precise data. However, if you know of sources, please provide as I will surely use them.

  8. Rick Storino
    Posted April 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I served w/196th Inf. Bdg. Americal Div. for 2 tours in V.N. ’69-71. I regret and still do the “welcome back” reception we received back home. Is it possible that many of us Viet-Nam veterans still feel the neglet shown by American’s at that time to have some aspect on the “suicde” rate? Just a thought.

  9. EARL MCAFOOS
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    The va now admits that Ischemic Heart disease(blockage of the main artery)to be among those associated with agent ogange.
    The Viet vet is dieing between the ages of 57 years to 68 years old.I believe this to be the number one killer of the veteran next to cancer.

  10. Jimmy Ninefin
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I Served in the 25th Inf Div ’67-’68 from Cu Chi to Tay Ninh and all places in between. I have had PTSD, Prostate Cancer and hearing loss. 2 others in my squad have PTSD, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes. 1 other has prostate cancer, PTSD, doabetes. Agent orange was used everywhere we went. Why did it take so long for the V.A. to finally recognize these conditions?

  11. Posted April 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    A good read is Fred Wilcox’s “Waiting For An Army To Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange”(1989).

  12. Michael Mayer
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I am proud to have served with 1st Marines at Marble Mountain,DaNang, 1967-1968 when ‘my country’ called. And, I am still having issues with that experience..duh! I’ve got a PTSD claim pending but the VA Mental Health department is not staffed by people with real-life experiences anymore. I’ve met with a couple women there and explained what has been going on since then. I asked both of them if they were veterans..both said no. I asked then ‘How do you know what it’s like to be in a combat zone?’ One said, ‘I don’t have to(be a veteran),I’ve got a doctorate!
    Is it possible to talk with people who do know what it’s like and even give a s_ _ _ anymore?

  13. JERRY L. MOORE
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I SERVED WITH 1’27TH 25TH INF. KNOWN AS THE WOLFHOUNDS 1968-69. HOBO WOODS-MICHLEN RUBBER PLANTATION-MAHOME 1 & 2 out of dou tieng. they sprayed defoliation all over us but they fight us every step and try to make us prove it. god bless you all.

  14. Bill
    Posted May 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    To Duane

    No idea of your specifics

    You need to enlist the help of a good National Veteran Service Officer ie Purple Heart DAV. Give them your POA.
    Do not need a Purple Heart to have them represent you.

    Do it if you have not.

  15. Posted June 22, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I served with the manchus of the 25th infantry division. Agent orange was sprayed in our area of operations which was the Cu Chi and tay ninh district. When the spray was applied, the intent was to save american lives from deadly ambushs that too often took american lives in large numbers by the viet cong.
    Many years later we all now know the effects of Agent Orange had on many people who served in a war we did not want no part of. The U.S. goverment should once and for all try get things right with the people of the Vietnam generation.

  16. Wm. Mladenka
    Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    i was a vietnam vet and so was my brother-in-law. last friday my brother-in-law overdosed and passed away. he was 60. RIP richard, another lost soul and casualty of the war.

  17. John Rosanova
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I served with the 507th Trans Group 70-71. I’ve finally accepted the fact that we were sent off to die for a lie. And when we came back we were greeted by a hateful nation rather than a grateful nation. Nothing anyone can ever say or do will change that. It’s a damn shame, but even though my country screwed me, I still love her.

  18. Julie Chasse
    Posted August 17, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    My father was sprayed with AO multiple times during his 4 tours. I was born with a dislocated hip and had to have both my hips replaced due to unexplainable deterioration at the age of 38.I also suffered from unexplained dailey hives for TEN years….AO posterchild I would say. But what to do about it?
    More importantly, my dad suffered from addiction when he returned home from Nam and could never beat it. After his 11th attempt, he finally got the peace he was searching for.On December 31, 1996 he took his own life. May he never have to try and bury the Demons of that useless war again. I miss him every day..

  19. alvin e thomas
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I am a 1964-1965 US Navy Vietnam Veteran. I served aboard the USS Fred T. Berry DD 858. I have suffered 4-5 Ischemic Strokes and 1 Ischemic Heart Attack. The Va is a disgrace to this nation. Navy and Air Force are denied claims, because they did’nt have “boots on the ground”. I have been fighting them since my first claim in 1997. I am not the only one off my ship with serious health problems. Support congressman Filner out of California. The US Government should be ashamed of itself and the treatment of its Veterans.

  20. Warren Carrington
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Vietnam Vet 1968 Blue Water Navy. Served onboard Carrier USS America CVA 66.
    Read on another site that during 1968 we were doing experimental limited defoliation missions. Possibly VF 33 not sure. I’m 63 and have had the heart disease for almost 10 yrs. yet because no boots on the ground or upriver then no claim. Can’t prove the experimental mission happened but the Gov’t must have record. We get the medals then are told we’re not the Viet Vet basically. So tell the shipmates on the Forrestall that didn’t come home that they weren’t really in a war/combat zone. Really sad how we’re treated.

  21. alvin thomas
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I want to see the Navy,Air Force and all who are denied Agent Orange claims walk on Washington, surround the capitol, hold hands and sang God Bless America!

  22. Doug Evans
    Posted March 12, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I was in Nam for a year with an infantry platoon with the 3rd of the 17th mostly in the Tay Ninh and Di An area and for a short while in the delta.
    Did Recon, and it seems to me that we really are the forgotten warriors, who came home in shame, due to the way the society treated us (yes, I was treated very poorly as where other guys I know. Lots of the guys got into drugs for alcohol and went nuts, for me and others it took years, because we shuffled off the bad dreams and thoughts and went on pretending that all was ok. One doc said that I had a problem, leaks in my brain of things that happened. I explained that I have not been ONE DAY without thoughts of Nam in the last 40 odd years.
    All I can say is our government is still dicking us around, the va , and the rest of the shit. The terminology of Viet Nam Era Veteran was a way to mitigate the general populations guilt for haveing fought the war in vietnam, and made it much easier for the folks at the va in dealing with us. It was Era Vets, and I personally find that concept disgusting, I’m a vet, not one of the guys that lived in saigon on the economy with a little gook whore, but was in the field all the time.
    So be it.
    good luck to all the vets, and may you live long…..

  23. Gary Adsitt
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I was brown water Navy I was killed in 1967 by agent orange, it’s just taking me a while to have a funeral.
    I went back in 68 in the blue water Navy. At a unit reunion in 2000 there was 10 of us got to talking and out of 10, 7 of us had type 2 diabetes and none of us had any risk factors.
    So far it has cost me one leg and two kidneys, I’m on dialysis three days a week for 3 3/4 hours each day.
    I’d like to know how many people agent orange has killed since that war that we did not loose. When the peace talks were finalized we were the winners. We were well into our agreed to removal of troops when the North reneged and attacked Saigon as we were taking the last troops out that doesn’t mean we lost that war…
    Like the bumper sticker says
    ” we were winning when I left “

  24. Posted May 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    With veterans dying from brain cancer at a higher rate than the civilian population it is the goal of http://www.vietnamveteranwives.org to expand the Agent Orange registry to include glioblastoma. http://www.vietnamveteranwives.org will present their case before The National Institute of Medicine in Albuquerque NM 16 Dec. 2010. Contact Eileen Whitacre Perkins at tjperkins@q.com. for more information.
    Eileen Whitacre Perkins
    Las Cruces, NM
    Agent Orange Liaison
    http://www.vietnamvetranswives.org

  25. Jertome (Jerry) Gabor
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I love this country but even still today after serving 4 tours in Vietnam, getting wounded, diagnosed with agent orange, type II diabetes, heart problems, etc., our glorious government has never even said THANK YOU to all the veterans who served in Vietnam to include Korea. Its an Army that is waiting to die! I was assigned to D Troop, 1st Bn, 12th Inf (Recon), 1st Cav near the A-Valley. Sometimes I wonder how I survived. It took years for the VA to respond to my claims after 4 or 5 submissions of documents. I feel sorry for all these kids today coming back from Iraq & Afganistan because the VA drags there feet. In 6 months, 156 soldiers, marines, airmen, etc., that served in Iraq & Afganistan committed suicide & that number is going to rise. My good friend at 46 years old committed suicide. I’ve thought of suicide many times & tried twice. What kept me going were my grand children. I wonder how many of your friends have committed suicide. He was a door gunner in Vietnam. All I can say is Hang in There & God Bless all of you!

  26. C.V. Compton Shaw
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I served with the U.S. Army; 4th I.D.,2/8th Inf.; RVN 1969-1970. I served as a squad leader in the infantry in Vietnam. I am currently reading Winston Churchill’s books entitled: “The History of the English Speaking Peoples”. From the same I discerned that a civilian population and a government can behave in an very treacherous, discriminatory, and oppressive manner out of shear malice, for unjust political reasons, and/or for profit. He describes that on one occasion returning war veterans from Europe, both officers and men, were “thrown out into the streets or made into highwaymen” and “hunted down and destroyed.” Vietnam veterans should realize that their unjust and oppressive treatment has similarly occurred to veterans of other nations in the past. The lesson to be learned is that when a government and a citizenry demands that you sacrifice your future and possibly your life for them through military service, don’t trust them to compensate you for your sacrifice. Expect them to, instead, sacrifice you, again, for their selfish economic, political, and social needs.

  27. Craig Ziegler
    Posted February 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I served in III corp 1968 to 1970. I filed for Agent Orange Disability for heart disease. I have heart attacks, abdominal aortic aneurysm, rupture arteries in my colon. Tap danced by the VA, waited 14 months for %30 disability

  28. john gleason
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    servied in vietnam phuloi taynin chuchi area, was soaked with agent orenge one night by 3 c130. being the dumb 19 yr old i was , i thought my goverment was spraying for mosquitois.istill dont know how the rich ceos of dow chemical can sleep at night. i have blood disorder and rashies all over my body, iam justing waiting to get a illness that going to end my life.i love my country but hate any body in goverment,how can u vote for someone who pays only 15% tax rate.if ever this country needs a upriseing its now. god bless,we were the unwilling led by the unquified to do the unnessery for the ungrateful.

  29. Robert LaBrode
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I was a Brown Water sailor Riv Div 531 68/69. I have PTSD, IBS, Hearing Loss. It took me 10 years to get 70 percent divisibility. Have been waiting now 3 months to hear from cap and pension they told me briefly takes time then hung up. In the mean time I have been told about having Multi Myeloma a blood and Bone Marrow cancer non curable. From Agent Orange. I hope I live long enough to enjoy it.
    I love my country but not the VA.
    Welcome Home to All My Brothers

  30. Kathy Marshall
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I had two uncles. Buried one today and the youngest of the two 18 months ago. Both served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam – both exposed to Agent Orange. Both died before at the age of 67. Both tumors in the lungs, colon and liver. Cancer. WHY? I want to know how many Vietnam Vets have died before the age of 70. This is NOT a right. Please share your stories. I need answers. Thank you

  31. Posted March 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Pretty section of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing on your augment or even I success you get right of entry to constantly quickly.

  32. John
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Hello brothers–Welcome Home! I served with the 2/47 9 Inf. Div. I served from Dec. ’67–Dec. ’68. I tried to commit suicide twice.
    I lost almost half of my hearing, had major surgery on one kidney. I am reclusive, have no interest in society and, in fact, loathe it.
    With the help of an intrepid service officer (D.A.V.) I finally got 100″ but not before years of frustration and dealing with assholes.

  33. Lana
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    My husband is a Vietnam Veteran . Please don’t consider suicide…Burzynski in Houston has remarkable cure for Cancers of all kinds. Go to foundation Hospitals
    like the cleveland clinic. We took my husband’s roommate buddy from Mansfield to Fairview General Clinic. The V.A. said he was not sick enough to stay some local hospital in Mansfield called Medtron. Worst case of malpractise I have ever seen. He was antibiotics intervenously for a week and kidney dialysis. He had an infected gallbladder and has to have it removed plus he had all kinds of heart and lung problems. YOU ARE ALLOWED BY LAW TO GO ANY HOSPITAL IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND GET CARE AND THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR IT! ALSO THERE ATTORNEYS IN MICHIGAN AND EVERY STATE TO FIGHT AND WIN YOUR BENEFITS!
    THEY HAVE TO BE NOVA APPROVED! CREATE THE BROTHER AND SISTERHOOD VIETNAM COALITION! fIGHT LIKE THE NAACP DOES!THEY DON’T GIVE UP, GET GRANTS LIKE THESE NINNYS DO!

  34. Lana
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    YOU CAN ALSO SUE THE V.A. FOR SUBSTANDARD CARE!

  35. Lana
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER MEDIA SO YOU COULD NOT COME HOME AND TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT ALL OF THE OIL WELLS YOU PROTECTED, AND THAT KISSINGER WENT INTO VIETNAM AND LOADED UP ALL THE VIETNAM GOLD FOR HIMSELF!

  36. Lana
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    THE NEW WORLD ORDER THINKS THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE AND WANT TO REDUCE THE POPULATION. sOLDIERS TO THEM ARE NO MORE THAN CANNON FODDER!COLLOIDIAL SILVER, TUMERIC AND HEART HEALTHY FROM http://WWW.INFOWARS.COM ARE NATURAL CURES THAT REALLY DO WORK. wATCH YOU TUBE VIDEOS TO SEE HOW TO MAKE IT. iT IS VERY EXPENSIVE…DO SOME RESEARCH ON IT. THE BLUE BLOODS HAVE BEEN USING THIS FOR CENTURIES. RAW MUSHROOMS ALSO HAVE NATURALLY OCCURRING SILVER. mINERALS AND DIET CONTROL AND GIVING UP DEPRESSING THINGS LIKE DRINKING TO HELP!

  37. Russell
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I find it interesting that probably 69% of the population voted for a ding bat who has no proof of that he even had a draft card in his name, no birth certificate and hates the military. I was in country 65-66, still have the dreams and scare the crap out of my sweet bride. She doesn’t understand but never touches me when I dream. My lungs are shot along with my hearing and skeletal(sp) thing. I think I may be broken in more places that I never knew I had. God Bless you all. Nuf Said

  38. Posted March 29, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I did 3 tours in Vietnam,flew UH-1C model Gunships. We covered UH-1D spraying agent Orange, we had to have the windshield wipers on in order to see. I had to wipe the face shied of my helmet with my hands. I have Peripheral Neuropathy in both Left and right lower exstremitys, Left and right upper exstremitys. I do not have Diabetes also have several interal Cyst’s and Vitiago. I never thought of Suicide, stopped drinking 2 yrs after coming home in 1970. Thirty Four years latter went into a Major break down. I took a VA PTSD Heart Monitoring Study, I had a heart monitor, wife had one. For 4 days they called at all hours to ask you questions, last day they did a 1 hour ask and tell. That put me over the top, so now to control the PTSD. Drug him so there is no emotions,[VEGTABLE ]. Five years before I got out of it, I went to someone on the outside of the VA. There are good Dr’s at VA but also bad, what is happening to our Afghanistan-Iraq Vets. Their Suicide rate has gone from 2003 of 80, 2011 to 184. That is just now, how many will die of Suicide latter, 1-2-5 or more may die. Big Al

  39. russell dale gayneaux
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I served in 68 with 25th short trip I was hit in the right hip came home permenant disability now at 64 my right leg is 80% useful and the va is playing the dumb game.What more do they need to make a claim adjustment,But I was lucky I did make it back only to find that I was now an outcast that to this day has a mental toll at 64 still fighting for benefits GOD BLESS MY FELLOW VETS.

  40. MARK
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I had the opportunity of serving with
    F Troup/8th Air Cav in RVN from 70-71. I was in Quang Tri province for 1 year.
    In 2009 I was diagnosed with choroidal melenoma–that is a very rare cancer of the eye. I have been on the Agent Orange watch list since it started. I get annual physicals from the VA and the FAA because I am a pilot. Everything was fine until 2009 when I went to get a routine eye exam–then the do-do hit the fan. I am now blind in one eye and can no longer pass a FAA flight physical–my career has ended. I submitted a claim with the VA and have been waiting waiting and waiting.
    I did an FOIA requesting the number of Veterans that have been diagnosed with this melanoma and the results were astounding. Turns out Vets treated annually for this cancer are about 20X the civilian numbers. Normal coincident of this cancer are reported 5-6 cases per million nationwide, or about 1600-1800 civilians annually but Veterans contract this cancer at the rate of 20
    times national average. There were 22 million veterans in the US in 2010 vs 310M national per 2010 census. Run the numbers–there were more Veterans treated than civilians in the US for choridal melanoma. VA drags their feet on my claim and every other claim–last
    5 years over 10,000 vets have been diagnosed but no one that I have found
    has received any compensation for this life sentence. Cut and paste link to article below.

    http://www.revoptom.com/content/c/31924/

  41. Steve Berry
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I did two tours of ‘Nam before finally getting out shortly before the Tet Offensive of ’68..The war and Charlie was tough but nothing compared to the war that awaited us from the Veterans Administration who are in my opinion the ones responsible for so many of my fellow Viet Vet’s mortality rate…I never expected a parade when I returned ..but to be met by the contempt and the psychological warfare from the V.A. was something people need to know the truth about..I finally found some people who helped me get my benefits..It only took 18 years of my heart and soul to get what was supposed to be a thank you for services rendered..not even close, folks.

  42. Posted April 14, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    PTSD is caused by physical neurological damage to include but not limited to an average 20% loss of the hippocampus, and damage to the amygdala, prefrontal lobes, plus endocrine damage.
    It is present in all exposed to stress of war, and other traumatic events. Our ancestral behavioral genetic encoding has not adapted to modern warfare. This primitive behavioral encoding is also responsible for starting the wars. Hate, ignorance, megalomania have always been manipulators of social groups by their leaders.

  43. Gail Marlin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    My husband was send to Vietnam straight out of college. Best of my recollection, he was mostly west of Khe Sahn near the border of Laos for a horrific year. Unfortunately, after 40 years, he committed suicide this past October. He had fought with the demons of Vietnam for all this time but was too proud to get help. There was PTSD, extreme sleep issues, bitterness, nightmares, but still proud. I thought since we had made it this long, we would finish out our life together. So few people understand suicide, let alone that it had anything to do with a conflict so long ago. I guess at some point, the brain/heart gets tired of fighting it. Don’t get me wrong, I hope that we as a society do everything we can to keep modern-day vets from experiencing the same trauma as Vietnam Vets, but it seems like every one is a hero these days and I have a hard time rationalizing the difference. Sorry to ramble — just having a hard time understanding it all. My husband was a successful business man and didn’t talk about it much. It was such a shock to everyone as to why a person like him could take his own life. I guess the Marines tought him how.

  44. r nertny
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    In spite of all the talk and action, agent orange symptoms are still limited to the few,after 11 years I was told by the VA my benefit wold be cut and I owed thousands in repayments due to a technicality mistake on their part,,after months of stress and pain I was told “I could keep what benefit I had”,,I understand most doctors and hospitals will not accept tricare health for the new veterans and military so loved these days,,it never changes

  45. Karen Keyseear Windham
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    My father was in the Air Force 26 yrs. He went to DaNang, Vietnam in 1968. He committed suicide in August 1999 at 70 years of age. He definitely suffered with PTSD. He is another one to add to all the other senseless deaths that occurred as a result of war!

  46. wayne murray
    Posted September 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    My first suicide was in 1973 many more since than the va openly mocked me, while in anti suicide lockups i witnessed
    a cruel nursing staff and knowing i wasted my life i wanted the va to see the blood flow from my body, sorry va i’m still alive, screw you. but i’m still in love with a country that will attemp to help the people next door.

  47. alvin e thomas
    Posted November 3, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I have known 12 Vietnam Veterans in my chapter who have died from everything from Suicide to Cancer. This rate is higher than the Old town I live in. We are losing at least 2 chapter members a year, and this is high! I have had 4-5 Iscemic strokes and 1 heart attack. Service connected at VA hospital, but not by the Wisconsin VA.

  48. mark
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I can believe the suicide numbers–I know a more than few of my RVN buddies who did that. I have a different problem with a cancer that is not included on the “Agent Orange” approved list. Choroidal Melanoma which is diagnosed in Veterans at 15-20% higher rates than non-vets– and the VA supplied me this info through an FOIA request. I lost an eye due to this. I’ve spoken with numerous Veteran assistance organizations and filed a “compensation claim” which was denied. I was a pilot for 38+ years and now am not–not many 1 eyed pilots can get a 1st class medical. I’m looking for Vet’s that have this very rare melanoma and most of them are RVN Vets.
    National average is 4-5 per million or around 1500-2000 cases annually. Vets are treated at VA facilities at the rate averaging 2000/yr. Choroidal melanoma needs to be added to the Agent Orange registry.

  49. l w noteboom
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    reading thtu your coments i am schocked @ the treatment some of my fellow vets have recieved. i served 14 mos. from 66 thru july 67@ at an arty. battery about ten miles west of ton son knut. i recieved word from my local va that i had lung cancer about 7 yrs. ago. after surgey by the va in denver i went back to va for checkup at this time my va doctor told me that i could request disabilty from the va.i did so and they at once started getting disbility checks.to sum this up i would like to say i have had the best of care by the va admin.

  50. alvin thomas
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I am a 1966 Vietnam Veteran who suffered 4-5 Ischemic Strokes and 1 Ischemic Heart Attack, per the Minneapolis Va Hospital. I am treated now for high blood, sleep apnea, low vitamins potassium and D, and high cholesterol. Claims into Milwaukee all denied, escalated to VA Board. 60% short and 40% long term memory lost.

  51. Walter Kayden
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I served in Vietnam from Jan. 8 1968 to April 8 1969. We lost 2,000 troops a month, anyone can email me at wkvet1968@live.com. I am currently reading JFK, our war in Vietnam started on Sept. 23 1945 and lasted 30 years. It appears John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy were killed because they wanted the war to end by 1965

  52. helen
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    my husband was a special forces member who served 2 tours in Vietnam, behind the lines, he was a Canadian, raised in Louisianna, all of his brothers were also conscripted….my husband was wounded, twice, artificial hip, purple heart…his sergeant subsequently committed suicide…my husband committed suicide two years later in 2002…almost 50 years later, where were the specicialists to help them integrate back home

  53. Lanny
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I cry and I don,t see it comming.I could be driving down a dirt rd. or setting in my front room,I just start crying. 4th div. central highlands boots on ground 365&1/2 days. I feel like a coward for the way I feel. On meds but that doesn,t let you forget. VA HAS MY APPEAL CASE FOR OVER TWO YEARS,I DON’T GET IT. HELP ME GET ANSWERS. tHE LAST TIME THEY CAME WHEN I CALLED THE CRISIS LINE AND THE FIRST THING THEY,local police, WANTED TO KNOW WAS IF I WAS DRINKING.I HAD BEEN CRYING FOR 2 HRS

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  56. Eric Grant Smith
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    My father Danny Smith died at age 36 from a brain tumor. I recall the years later after I had grown up that it was the size of a lemon. I am the youngest of one other brother who is 5 years older than me. I have a pretty significant mental illness myself and my brother for the most part is okay. Is it possible that birth defects are not the only limitations to what agent orange could do to offspring? I hope you understand my question. Maybe I’m looking for answers where there are none but I just thought I would ask. I have actually completed the school of taxidermy an I have had a lot of jobs but I don’t hold them down for long. I hope to work for myself someday soon. I suppose I’m getting off track here I just want people to know I am not a total failure at everything. I really don’t expect anyone else to have any real concrete answers but I love other people’s input. If you or someone out there have some of these same thoughts about how agent orange may have affected you or someone you love please feel free to share your opinions or stories I would love to hear them.

  57. Margee'
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    I am a widow of a Nam Vet. We were married 40+ years and he dealt with PTSD all of those years. Then in 2010 he was diagnosed with GBM-4 Brain Cancer, as the tumor progressed, he began to relive being in Nam.
    His time in the Army as a tanker took him to Nam in 70/71. He was blown off a tank that was hit, then went inside it to save a fellow soldier.
    Too many Nam Vets are dying from GBM-4 Brain Cancer. I’ve been collecting names and the list grows all of the time. The VA won’t admit that being in Nam caused all of our soldiers to be dying now.
    He was 17 when he joined the Army and died at 59. Taken from us too soon!

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    i served with 2/60 3rd bdge 9th i d,i served in long an province ,the reeds plain of reeds rung sat special ,66-67 i was after 35 years plus months hd never been to a va hospital or jhad the need to ,go to sick bay ,but i was rated in1992 for 30 percent, and worked 9 years 2 months my hands and legs were getting real weak and i was losing my health in 2000 feb i was termninated i lost my job and health bennies from ntn n a and i was losing my ability to walk and felt terrible , i had no way to buy a new car and the 88 cutlass cratered on me only thing keep me alive was my 30 percent rating.finaly oct 3rd iwas taken being dragged in into the er at dallas va and stayed oct 3rd to dec 24 iwas in a coma and came to one day i n a squad bay with seven other guys . iws not able to walk finnaly was moved to the nursing home .and was given up for dead i guess anf iwoke up one day started doing bed exercises and final a wheel chair arrived istarted therapy iwas told i had pehripheral nueropathy , b12 defiecieny m al ntrition two back injuries and degenerative disease and prostrate problems ,all the smptoms of ao and put in for agent orange rating two grants hand controls for vehicle and home adaptation got niether i took i to court veterans claims court count of veterans appeals fed curcuit wdc nothing didnt send it in120 days alloted and ask for two fees 0f 250 plus 450 last july and to be told i wasnt rate able cause of 120 day period to appeal so i gave up after waiting since 2003 10 years tell me its not disgusting .

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10 Trackbacks

  1. [...] America has a very complicated relationship with its soldiers and the military.  The failure to win the war in Vietnam ushered in a new era of how we relate to our boys (and girls) in combat.  As Harvard Sitikoff said, by the time the troops returned from Vietnam, the American people no longer wanted to be reminded of our longest and costliest war, the only one we had ever lost.  Instead of being thanked, the soldiers themselves were shunned or branded murderers and psychos.  Virtually nothing was done to help them reintegrate into society.  It has been claimed that more men committed suicide after the war than died in it. [...]

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