It has been only five years, but it seems more like ten, fighting the Department of Veterans Affairs for service connected compensation.
Back in 2007 I had just seen the "Incredible Hulk" movie and sympathized with the fictional character. He was a mutation and so was I.
I wrote: "I'm in my third year trying to get at least a 10 percent disability from VA. I have little hope of receiving it, although I'm due it. Unless more genetic diseases are considered presumptive for Agent Orange exposure or exposure to Ionizing Radiation I will never receive justice from the VA.
"If genetic research continues and especially if it increases, I may one day get the VA disability that I've been fighting for.
"Mutations can be caused by the environment - chemicals such as Agent Orange or ionizing radiation. I was exposed to both while I was in the Army.
"In the past few years scientists and doctors have made strides on the human genome, but our government has provided only limited funding. The answers on my particular genetic diseases will be available in time, but not likely during MY time."
I had spent many hours with the internet, reading medical and scientific articles, confirming my belief that severe environmental exposures in the Army had destroyed my genetic make-up, as certain as if I had been shot with a bullet.
In 2010, science has advanced, firmer hands are steering the VA, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnam Veterans are waiting for their due. The only object in the way of justice is the U. S. Congress, led by one Senator, Jim Webb, himself a Vietnam Veteran.
Although the VA had worked it out a year ago, it was March 2010 before I heard the news of the new conclusions about Agent Orange. In July, Senator Webb announced his opposition. You've been reading the linked articles on this blog. You've seen the "Gravy Train" article, the first I've received questioning the genetic science, decrying the expense, and even questioned the patriotism of the Vietnam Veteran willing to accept compensation.
Overnight, a deluge of articles opposing the Veterans compensation hit my email box. It was strategically timed. Nothing new has been added. The media has had the information ever since July to digest every fact.
Fort Sumter has been attacked and the war is on.
William A. Ricks
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