US Veterans served in Panama until the US federal lands were turned back over to Panama in 1999. Even those who served in the 1990s suffer the effects of toxins deposited there forty years earlier.
Rafael Carillo Ruiz
Panama veterans are suffering from VA-registered diseases but are not heard, because the DOD refuses to accept toxic compounds were ever present in the Canal Zone.
Countless claims have been rejected by the VA.
Albert O. Castro, Jr.
"I filed a toxic herbicide claim used in Panama CZ over 10yrs ago. My claim has been [remanded] for 2yrs and they are still investigating."
"I'm currently in the process of a disability claim for toxic herbicide use [at Galeta Island] in Panama. I filed it back in February last year and have just completed the final C&P exams.... waiting on final decision which I suspect will be denied. I'm preparing for an appeal."
"For 52 yrs. I have remained strong Thank you, God bless you, l never lost faith, as l weep thanks to all from my self, my brothers, [and the ones] left behind."
We lived at ft Davis 1974-1977. When I asked what the heck the people were spraying around our quarters because it stunk to high heaven, I was told “don’t worry, lady, it kills bugs, not humans. We now know the environmental damage it has done to the environment and to humans.... I applied for my husband December of 2015. I gave the VA the shipment records, Aberdeen testing finding these chemicals and about 300 other pages of evidence.... [His] case is back at the appeals board for the third time and just remanded again to the regional level.
I served in Panama 1990 to 1993. Assigned to 5/87th Infantry. We were always training in the jungle. 99% of the time if we needed water it was taken out of what ever near by stream was available. Then we would add iodine tablets. Sometimes the iodine tablets were bad. One day jogging from work to home, I had a cassette player in my ears so I was not able to hear. Behind me drove one of the spray vehicles on base before I knew it, I was completely sprayed. A couple weeks later my area under my lower jaw line was hard to the touch. I have been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism and Hypertension plus I have been going to neurology for a muscle issue.
I was at Galeta Island, headquartered out of Fort Davis, and lived on Fort Espinar (Gulick) in the early 1990s. One could smell the chemical spray at any one of those locations on a given day -- especially out at the operations site and around my quarters, both of which bordered dense foliage. Today, I have several health conditions listed in the bill; I am losing feeling in the feet that walked those posts thirty years ago. I am still very proud of my service, and that has its own reward; but we need Congress and the VA to show the value in our sacrifices.
I was stationed at Kobbe close to Howard [1981 -83], and saw those drums every single day. Helicopters flew to the jungle and sprayed it all on top of us. I spent 22 months in the jungle all the way to El Salvador. I know I have [health] conditions. I am 67.
I was one of the last draftees and served in the Army on Quarry Heights as a Military Police Officer. SOMETHING was transported onto our base in large and small spray tanks that was used to control the vegetation... EVERYTHING died. Among the few military friends I was able to keep track of over the years, ALL are deceased or, like me, have medical conditions that are on the "Presumed" list. Had any of us served in Vietnam, we would have already qualified for the care and benefits we deserve.
I served at Ft Clayton from 1969 to 1971. I the jungle area I witnessed hillsides with no vegetation and in the borders of Ft Clayton, spraying was day and night for vegetation and insect control. At this time, our army barracks had no windows, just screens. What was sprayed outside, permeated inside. I now suffer from three of the diseases that are on [the VA] toxic exposure list.
I served in panama from Mar. 1967 through Mar. 1969 and have just been denied VA benefits because of the pact act not including Panama. I can't believe how we have been lied to for over 50 years.
Hopefully congress will act on addressing the lack of coverage for Panama veterans exposure to agent orange. I served from December 76 to January 78, 3/5 Infantry Fort Kobbe. I contracted b cell non Hodgkins lymphoma in June 2015, along with thyroid issues. So these issues do need to be addressed.
Ft Kobbe 78-79-80, A3/5,Airborne, got bladder cancer, high blood pressure, had have left lung removed, bunch medical and breathing problems, we need Y’all’s help, pass the bill
I traveled through the Panama Canal in 1973 while on UNITAS XIV cruise. I helped load rusted barrels with an orange strip onboard another ship that was going to South America. Most all of the barrels were leaking from pretty much everywhere. I was diagnosed with early onset diabetes in [my] 30's. I have high cholesterol and have had several basal cell carcinomas removed.
Sprayed and Betrayed. Ft. Kobbe 76-77. Herbicides containing dioxin were commonly used for vegetation control. These herbicides are proven to cause many medical issues. I am currently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, hypertension.... all on [the VA's] list. I also have several issues linked to exposure I am currently waiting to have both hips replaced due to avascular necrosis....linked to exposure. I also have 3 leaking heart valves, also linked to exposure. Panama Canal Zone should have been a part of the PACT Act but instead we were "SPRAYED and BETRAYED!"
I was stationed at Fort Kobbe, Fort Clayton, Albrook, and Corozal from 1989 until 1991. I would see the vehicles every day spraying chemicals driving around all of the military bases. Whenever the vehicles would pass there was a cloud of spray that would linger in the air for hours and [made it] very difficult to breathe. I have had difficulty breathing ever since my exposure to the chemical agents.
I have a malignant tumor in my eye and I was deployed to Panama in 1989. The VA says no toxic exposure for me from my time in Panama.
[I have] hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and [am] a prostate cancer survivor. Fort Amador & Rodman Naval Station 1981 - 1984.
Please pass this important legislation! I served from June 89-June91. Thank you. 🇺🇸
I'm a Panama vet: 75-81. I have had Stage 3 prostate cancer at age 49, (a year before screening becomes recommended), which resulted in a permanent & total disability determination by the VA, Stage 3 throat cancer, plus, several skin cancers including areas with little to no sun exposure.
Ft. Davis, 1981-83 Charlie Company. Was always proud of my three years of service but, don't give it much thought until... I found this site. I have never filed a claim with the VA. I am 61 years old now. In the past five years I have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. These cancers are all caused by exposure to something. I have been blaming myself... this site tells me something different. I do remember all the spraying from trucks around the base. The smell was awful.... Vets need help taking care of these issues. Pass the bill.
I served at Galeta Island (Coco Solo) from 1970 to 1973, have experienced prostate cancer, heart problems, diabetes and all sorts of other health issues. Looking at the list of deaths that have taken place, HR2447 should be passed ASAP. Thank you and God bless.
MOS Environmental Health Specialist at [the] Fort Sherman building that stored defoliants and pesticides for 16 months.
I am an Army Veteran that served at Ft Clayton CZ from 1964 to 1966 and is suffering herbicide spraying of toxin agent. I have [Parkinson's], hypertension, ischemic heart disease and a degenerated spinal disk.
Stationed at Rodman Naval Station 1988-1992 and 1996-1998. Lived on Amador the first time and saw PWC spraying herbicides along the fence line and also the mosquito fighters would come through housing often. Used to do FTX’s on the Chagres and in Lake Gatun. I have Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol, and Hypertension.
Wm. Gary Baxley
I served in Panama 75-77 with the 210th AVN BN on Albrook AFB. The flight line was sprayed frequently for vegetation control and we ran that area for PT. We walked guard duty on the flight line and you could smell whatever they had sprayed. I have developed several "presumptive" health issues. Our housing area had no windows, only screens and they sprayed the back edge of the yards to control jungle encroachment on a regular basis. Once sprayed, everything was brown and dead within a short time, even during the rainy season. Our son was born at Gorgas Hosp, and within a matter of hours of being home he developed severe respiratory issues. Once in the hosp (which was air conditioned) his symptoms improved somewhat. He was sent to Walter Reed for evaluation at 2 months old and all symptoms cleared within 24 hrs of arriving there. They could find nothing to diagnose. Within 24 hours of return to Panama, he was back in the hospital. After 5 months of persistent pneumonia we were medically PCS'd to the states. My husband was in Vietnam, and he stated many times that the spray worked EXACTLY like agent orange used in Vietnam.
First of all, I loved my job working on and crewing as a Flight Engineer. From December 1989 to 1996, I saw a lot of freight moved by my Chinook helicopter.... Little did I know that the 6 years I spent around toxic chemicals in my job was not just dangerous. We did every mission possible in Panama, plus Colombia, Honduras, more. We would land my Chinook in Gatun Lake, flood the cabin area and bring the zodiac boats back inside along with special ops. And on my downtime, go fishing in the same lake. We never gave much thought to eating the fish. [We] brought 55 gallon drums to Bogota to spray on poppy plants... The farmers could make more growing them than coffee. Green [barrels] with yellow letters. [The Colombians] rolled each barrel into their helicopters with the spray arms and took off to spray. This was 1992 or 1993. Now back to Howard AFB where I worked and the many different bases I lived at, the same spraying going on. They would spray the playgrounds, border fencing, barracks, around housing, who knows where else. I spent a lot of time on the flight line at Howard and drank the water. It took until 1993 to tell us we had bad water. I think it was contaminated with all the chemicals that ran off the flight line. Off and on I would see 55 gallon drums in our external sling loads... the drums were sometimes sticky. I had a lot of exposure to a lot of chemicals while doing my job. I developed asthma, sleeping disorders that require a bi-pap, neuropathy in both legs, migraine headaches... diabetes type 2 and I shake all the time. Thank you for reading my story.
Calling all Panama Canal Zone Veterans. If you know someone who is a Panama Canal Zone Veteran, please tell them about this website so they can leave their testimonial. The more we Speak out in NUMBERS and The Louder We Can Be !! This House Bill 2447 Panama Canal Zone Veterans Act of 2023, CAN AND WILL BE HEARD !! We ARE SO CLOSE !! I know everyone grows weary, but we cannot become complacent or quiet ! Lets shake off the ASHES and SOUND OFF !!! Please...Post your Testimonials you AWESOME Brothers and Sisters of the PANAMA CANAL ZONE VETERANS ERA ! GOD BLESS YOU ALL. I was stationed at Fort Davis, Panama Canal Zone, with 193rd 4th of the 10th Infantry Brigade, A Company, Fort Davis, Panama Canal Zone from Jan. 1978 - Feb 1980. I had my first of many exposures to dangerous herbicides [within my] first 20 days in Country at Fort Sherman, Panama Canal Zone. I have been sick ever since with prostate, bladder and endocrine tumors... My immune system is compromised [after removal of a baseball-sized tumor and my right adrenal gland]... All my claims have been denied for years. Now I am 65 years old and struggling still to get the VA to help me.... Please support this bill and help all the Panama Canal Zone Veterans who are still suffering to this day.... Many of my friends who I served with in the Panama Canal Zone are sick or have died.
I was stationed on Ft Kobbe from 1983 to 1986, assigned to the 536th Engineer Battalion. We were tasked with building a new motor pool in the jungle on post, which had a lot of high elephant grass. The post engineers would spray the whole motor pool ad then we would have to walk through it to work on our 5-ton dump trucks. I used to joke that we were walking through agent orange because once sprayed the foliage would quickly be eradicated and completely gone. I had no idea my joking was hitting the mark. I have type 2 diabetes and hyperthyroidism as a result. Please pass this bill. We served our country and deserve to be treated for these ailments as were our Vietnam Veteran Brothers. Please help us.
Was in Coco Solo from 1969-72. Wife passed away in 2010 from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. Doctors couldn't figure out where she got [it]. Now I know.
Bryan E. Lomax
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