13405 Colfax Drive
Fort Washington, Maryland 20744-5438
June 8, 2010
Bradley G. Mayes
Compensation & Pension Service
Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Benefits Administration
Washington, DC 20420
Dear Mr. Mayes,
I am the current president of the Airborne Battlefield Command & Control Center (ABCCC) Association.
The ABCCC was an EC-130E airborne command post that conducted the secret war on the ground and in the air over Laos during the Vietnam War.
Our squadron, the 7th Airborne Command & Control Squadron (7 ACCS), was stationed first in Vietnam and then in Thailand during the entire course of the Vietnam War.
During our stay in Thailand, 7th ACCS ground support personnel and aircrew personnel were first stationed at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB) and then at Korat RTAFB.
I am in receipt of your May 6, 2009 09-20 Fast Letter and the Veterans Administration’s May 2010 Compensation & Pension Service Bulletin. I do not agree with the conclusions of both of these documents.
Also, the terminology “military occupational specialty or MOS” used both in the Fast letter and the May 2010 Compensation & Pension Service Bulletin is strictly US Army terminology. The United States Air Force uses the term “Air Force Specialty Code or AFSC.”
It is evident that whoever did the research for both these documents was not very thorough.
Furthermore, both documents do not address all the USAF aircraft that flew missions over Laos during the Vietnam War. What about the Ranch Hand aircraft that sprayed Agent Orange time and time again over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos?
How many USAF aircrew and ground personnel and US Army special forces ground personnel were exposed to Agent Orange because they were either stationed in Laos or flew low-flying missions over Laos? Since the war in Laos was considered Top Secret, no studies were ever conducted concerning the adverse affects of Agent Orange on US personnel on the ground in Laos or in the air over Laos.
As the president of the ABCCC Association, I am acutely aware of the many cases of ABCCC veterans who developed various forms of cancer and Type II Diabetes. I blame all these cases of cancer and Type II Diabetes on exposure to Agent Orange during the secret war in Laos and over Laos. What really concerns me is that 35 years after the end of our secret war in Laos, the US Government is still ignoring all our veterans who participated in the Laotian War.
I asked that the Agent Orange study be revisited and that all adverse affects of the Agent Orange used in Laos and over Laos be studied. This will not be an easy task because in many quarters of our government, the war in Laos did not exist and all documentation concerning this war has conveniently disappeared.
Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
CMSgt Kenneth D. Witkin, USAF (Ret.)
ABCCC Association President
CC: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid