Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown says he talked to VA Secretary McDonald about the issue personally.
“How do we make this up to them in the quickest, best possible way?” he said in an interview with WYSO.
In a Veterans Affairs committee meeting Thursday morning, McDonald for the first time publicly promised answers following a question from Senator Brown that referenced WYSO’s national reporting on the issue. The statement came after years of pressure from reservists, who say the VA had the information it needed years ago to reassess the status of C-123 vets.
After a recent report by the Institute of Medicine confirmed the possibility that C-123 reservists were exposed to Agent Orange in hazardous amounts, the VA updated its website encouraging vets to file claims. Still, veterans involved in advocacy have been pushing for the VA and the Air Force to be proactive about finding the people who could be affected, and offering them the same presumptive benefits given to those who were in Vietnam.
Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft (2015)