Agent Orange expert keynotes Vietnam Veterans Day program

Legislation needed because exposure effects may last seven generations, veteran says

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

The war is over, but the fight goes on.

That stark message rang through at the Vietnam Veterans Day program held Sunday at the Forest Lake American Legion.

While veterans holidays are calls to remember sacrifices already made, Vietnam veterans and their families continue to battle an invisible foe: Agent Orange.

During the war, the herbicide/defoliant was sprayed across more than a tenth of Vietnam to clear thick vegetation and create a safer environment for American troops. However, after countless soldiers used infested water for drinking and bathing, it was determined to be a highly toxic dioxin compound.

The ultimate impact of Agent Orange exposure is still being realized, Vietnam veteran Maynard Kaderlick said at Sunday’s program.

Kaderlick in 2010 was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His son was born with a learning disability and a dislocated hip. His granddaughter is autistic. All of these conditions, Kaderlick believes, are due to his exposure to Agent Orange.

Kaderlick now travels the country as part of the Vietnam Veterans of America’s educational campaign, Faces of Agent Orange.

“My son, he’s learning disabled; I thought he was the only one that was born with a dislocated hip,” Kaderlick said. “I heard that three times in our town hall meeting in Bloomington and it keeps going on and on and on about immune disorders, blood disorders, cancer. It’s unbelievable what’s happening to our children and grandchildren.”

Kaderlick shared more grim news regarding Agent Orange with a crowd of approximately 200.

“Our experts think it’s going to be passed on for seven generations,” he said. “In Vietnam, it’s probably going to be forever there.”

With that in mind, Kaderlick is part of a VVA committee actively pushing legislation to benefit those affected by exposure generations down the line.

“Right now, we’re at the point of hopefully getting some legislation together,” Kaderlick said. “We know it’s going to be a tough hill to climb, but you know what? Vietnam veterans fought good fights, and we don’t give up that easy. We’re going to fight the fight until our dying day, especially on this issue. We have to take care of our kids and grandkids.”

For more information on the Faces of Agent Orange Campaign, visit www.vva.org/Committees/AgentOrange.

The sixth-annual Vietnam Veterans Day program also featured the Polaris Sea Cadets, musicians from Forest Lake High School, Neeta Squires of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and Forest Lake Councilmember Susan Young.

Molly Hakko read the winning entry in the annual Vietnam Veterans Memorial Scholarship essay contest, won by a Forest Lake High School student. This year’s theme involved Agent Orange, which contributed to the death of Hakko’s father, Kevin Dale, last year.

  • Paul Marinovich

    Keep up the GOOD work.Thank you.

  • http://www.guamagentorange.info/home MSGT LEROY FOSTER, USAF, RETIRED

    great article but one point is It’s more than seven generations. it’s never ending damaged DNA . special clinics need to be established to help all generations of children of veterans exposed to agent orange no matter where it was in our outside of vietnam. i personally handled, mixed and power sprayed millions of gallons of agent orange on Guam during and after the Vietnam War over a ten year period for the u.s. air force

    • Julie Crawford

      I seved as a Liquid Fuel Maintenance Specialist on Anderson AFB 1976-1977. I encountered Sgt Foster on many occasion while I was performing corrosion control duties throughout the Island. He was given minimal safety equipment and the spraying was never ending. Every place I worked from the pits to the pump houses was sprayed with the Herbicide. The Guamanians and Phillipino workers would reuse the drums as BBQs. I was very ill most of my tour there and for many years following my discharge from the Air Force. We had very little medical support at Anderson’s dispensary would be placed on quarters as the Naval hospital was crowded. I was told my rash was a rare Guamanian skin disease called Jaff Jaff and would disappear upon leaving the island. I believe it was exposure to the chemicals we were exposed to. I was diagnosed with a multitude of Auto Immune disorders puzzling the civilian docs stateside. My medical records had to be obtained for by congressman Tom Wolpe and they were blank? I hope with all my heart that those who served and that includes dependents are treated fairly and with the respect and dignity they deserve by the government that they served. Many of us were present when the toxic mix of Herbicide and Fuel was burned for training the Firefighter crews. There was never much concern for our safety or the environment. The 30 miles of pipeline was kept clear on both sides at least the width of a ton and a half truck. I saw Sgt Foster spraying often! Julie

  • laveljohnson

    Keep up the good work,but this need to find a ending other than death,the Money shouldn’t be a prob but it seems like they r waitin for more Vets to die.the Money @ least for our love ones to have.

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