(WFLA) – Following a series of Target 8 reports, Florida Congressman Dennis Ross, (R) of Lakeland, plans to introduce a bill next week that provides veterans who served in Guam access to the same Agent Orange presumptive benefits as those who served in Vietnam.
“We will extend to those in Guam, that if there was Agent Orange, there is a presumption that the conditions they now have that are related to that exposure will be covered under the Veterans Administration,” said Congressman Ross.
Ross’ proposed legislation follows a series of reports in which a Lakeland veteran admitted spraying Agent Orange at Andersen Air Force base in Guam, exposing thousands of military personnel as well as their families to the toxic herbicide.
Brian Moyer was a Marine assigned to the U.S. naval station on Guam in 1974. His job was to guard nuclear weapons and a nuclear submarine. He also attended firefighting school at Andersen Air Force base.
“I found out that this is possibly one of the most contaminated spots on the planet,” he said.
Last week, Target 8 revealed that Sgt. Leroy Foster claimed to have sprayed hundreds of thousands of gallons of Agent Orange during a ten year period at Andersen.
Foster has 5 cancers. His granddaughter was born with 24 fingers and toes.
The herbicide causes several cancers, diseases and nerve disorders.
“I’m lying in bed and all of a sudden, two o’clock in the morning my arms go numb,” explained Moyer.
He said he is waiting for test results for some medical issues he is experiencing.
Former Moyer, heard of Agent Orange in 1974, but had no clue about how deadly it is.
“They knew, they knew,” he said.
The government did know. A 1967 report obtained by Target 8, by the Rand corporation, was given prepared for the assistant Secretary of Defense.
About Agent Orange it states; “One ingredient, 2,4-d is rated as very toxic.” The report added people exposed to it could expect to become ill and it could kill infants.
The military denies using Agent Orange on Guam. Veterans and their families are denied expanded V.A. benefits that those who served in Vietnam receive.
Congressman Ross plans to meet with the Air Force next week for a briefing about Agent Orange use on Guam.
How does he know he will get the truth?
“Well we’ve got some evidence here. We know for a fact the Dow Chemical company says they had Agent Orange in Guam during this period of time,” Ross added.
Also, a V.A. Administrative judge, in 2005, granted benefits to a veteran who served on Guam, due to Agent Orange exposure.
Since Target 8’s first reports, Congresswoman Madeleine Borallo of Guam has also asked to meet with the Air Force.
The Guam legislature is forming a task force to investigate Agent Orange use on the island and its effects on islanders, U.S. military personnel and their families.
Brian Moyer thinks, sick and dying veterans is enough evidence.
‘Where the hell is our damn compassionate government?” he asked.
Some opponents argue expanding V.A. Agent Orange benefits will be too expensive.
Ross explained the Guam bill he is proposing, as well as a bill providing presumption benefits to blue water navy veterans who served in Vietnam waters, are steps toward providing benefits for all exposed, no matter where they were stationed.
“Look at the billions of dollars we’ve wasted in rebuilding Afghanistan and other areas where we’ve gone in,” said Ross.
“This is something that we shouldn’t even question, it’s something that we can easily pay for, even if we have to take it out of the Pentagon’s budget.”
If you have a problem you think needs to be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808.