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Agent Orange compensation expanded

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"Agent Orange is a chemical that they drop from the air to kill the vegetation," explained Guam Veterans Affairs Office director Martin Manglona. "Because the jungle's so thick that when I was out in the field, sometimes they drop the bomb and the bomb did not land on the ground."

Manglona said that when he served as an enlisted soldier during the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was the chemical used to clear vegetation so that bombs would detonate on enemy territory. "I encountered Agent Orange, I had cancer in 2010," he said. "There in my prostate and then it came back 2012, then I had 55 days of radiation."

He now has to have checkups every three months. Despite his health issues, Manglona says he was sent to Vietnam to defend our freedoms, and as a soldier, he was simply doing his duty. "I know a lot of veterans that has the same experience as me," he added.

According to Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, compensation to soldiers affected by Agent Orange is provided by the US Veterans Administration, and is now expanded to include Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical, and ground maintenance crew members. Veterans may be eligible if they served between 1969 and 1986, and regularly and repeatedly operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft.

Bordallo encourages all those eligible to apply for compensation; something Manglona says won't only benefit individuals, but Guam's economy as well. "The veterans in Guam, just on compensation, would bring in $37 million last year. Every year this increases so a lot of veterans that put in their application for compensation, will make a dent here in the economy, that's a lot of money every year that we bring in," she said.

For more information on Agent Orange compensation you can call the VA's special C-123 hotline at 1-800-749-8387 or the Guam Veteran Affairs Office at 475-8388.

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