Agent Orange took my father, and quite likely took my sisters. My story is frighteningly common. Part 4 in a series.

In the third part of this series, I chronicled the intergenerational genetic damage of a modern-day environmental disaster in Vietnam. In this final part, I explore how the health effects of Agent Orange played out so tragically in my own family, and what America owes to those who have survived.

Part 1: A Personal Investigation
Part 2: Generations of Loss
Part 3: How Dioxin Damages Generation After Generation
Part 4: What Remains

My sisters and I in the 1970s.

My father constantly talked about his Agent Orange exposure and battles to receive benefits from the VA. …

Agent Orange took my father, and quite likely took my sisters. My story is frighteningly common. Part 3 in a series.

In the second part of this series, I described the catastrophic health struggles of the children of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. In this part, I go down a scientific rabbit hole to uncover how this could have happened, and discovered one of the most expensively and diligently studied — and perhaps most willfully obfuscated — environmental disasters in modern history.

Part 1: A Personal Investigation
Part 2: Generations of Loss
Part 3: How Dioxin Damages Generation After Generation
Part 4: What Remains

A helicopter spraying Agent Orange near My Tho, Vietnam, 1969.

Most epidemiological studies about the effects on children of dioxin, the highly toxic substance found…

Agent Orange took my father, and quite likely took my sisters. My story is frighteningly common. Part 2 in a series.

In the first part of this series, I chronicled my father’s exposure to Agent Orange as an Army nurse in Vietnam, which would cost him his health. In this part, I focus on the catastrophic health struggles of the children of countless other veterans.

Part 1: A Personal Investigation
Part 2: Generations of Loss
Part 3: How Dioxin Damages Generation After Generation
Part 4: What Remains

Jungle sprayed with Agent Orange. Photo taken by Air Cavalry Sergeant Donald Schoenemann.

Many Vietnam vets and their children tell strikingly similar stories. Everything was fine with the kids conceived before Vietnam. But the children conceived afterward were plagued with unusual health conditions that previously did not…

Agent Orange took my father, and quite likely took my sisters. My story is frighteningly common. Part 1 of a series.

In the first part of this series, I chronicle my father’s exposure to Agent Orange as an Army nurse in Vietnam, which would cost him his health.

Part 1: A Personal Investigation
Part 2: Generations of Loss
Part 3: How Dioxin Damages Generation After Generation
Part 4: What Remains

A helicopter used to carry wounded soldiers, photographed by my father, an Army nurse in Vietnam.

Wars never end. Their toxic aftermath lingers, for generations.

Wars lay waste to the land, to the air, to the water. Hotspots in Southeast Asia are still heavily contaminated 50 years after the US government blanketed jungles, rice paddies, rivers, and villages with 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other…

Mickey Butts

Mickey Butts is a writer and editor in Berkeley, California. He has written for a range of national publications. Learn more at http://www.mickeybutts.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store