“It looks to us as if we have finally prevailed in this battle. The VA is making noises about how do we reach out and contact these men and women so that, I think, is going to be the next hurdle,” retired Air Force Col. Archer Battista, 68, said this week. “It’s a very big hurdle because a victory that people don’t know about isn’t any good.”
Battista was referring to a report released earlier this month by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies which suggests it is “plausible” that domestic crews who worked on planes contaminated by Agent Orange may suffer illnesses as a result.
Battista sees this as promising news for the 1,500 to 2,100 U.S. Air Force Reserve crews who between 1972 and 1982 worked on C-123 aircraft that had been used to spray Agent Orange during Operation Ranch Hand in the Vietnam War.