Nearly three dozen rugged C-123 transport planes formed the backbone of the U.S. military’s campaign to spray Agent Orange over jungles hiding enemy soldiers during the Vietnam War. And many of the troops who served in the conflict have been compensated for diseases associated with their exposure to the toxic defoliant.
But after the war, some of the planes were used on cargo missions in the United States. Now a bitter fight has sprung up over whether those in the military who worked, ate and slept in the planes after the war should also be compensated. Two U.S. senators are now questioning the Department of Veterans Affairs’ assertions that any postwar contamination on the planes was not high enough to be linked to disease.