ORLANDO, Fla. – Decades after retired sea duty Marine Brian Moyer was stationed on Guam, the 63-year-old veteran is dealing with physical illnesses from what he and thousands of other Veterans believe are caused by unprotected exposure to Agent Orange.
Moyer, who moved from Detroit, Michigan to Mount Dora in 2012, is one of thousands of Veterans suffering from what they believe was unprotected exposure to Agent Orange.
“I’ve had some veterans say it’s a cover-up," Moyer said. “I’m inclined to agree with them."
Moyer is a member of Orlando-based Agent Orange Survivors of Guam, served on the now U.S. island territory in Micronesia, from 1971 to 1972 aboard the USS Proteus. He suffers from nerve and spinal issues and accelerated pigmentation on his legs and feet.
The veteran has devoted his life to get Florida lawmakers to support legislation that would provide compensation for the forgotten “Guam Survivors."
Veterans who say they were exposed to Agent Orange have reported being diagnosed with male breast cancer, kidney and colon cancer.
“We got men and woman who can’t work anymore because they were exposed," Moyer said. "All we want is justice, tell us the damn truth."
Retired Navy Cmdr. John Wells estimates thousands of U.S. veterans were exposed to the chemical agent while serving on the island in the Pacific.
“We don’t know the exact number since some are covered for Agent Orange in other ways," Wells said of compensation benefits some veterans received. “We estimate around 50,000.”
There is growing evidence that Agent Orange, which includes a carcinogen or cancer-causing agent called dioxin, was used on the island in the early 1960’s until at least 1980.
Sources familiar with the situation told News 6 the spraying on Guam had nothing to do with military strategy it was simply for “vegetation control.”
Wells, an attorney in Slidell, Louisiana, has represented military members and veterans across the country.
“I doubt the bill will go through this Congress," he said about the upcoming session. "But we want to hit the ground running with a new bill next Congressional session.”
Some medical experts report the genetic effects of Agent Orange may have impacts lasing up to seven generations.
Keri Kilpatrick Ackerson is the daughter of U.S. Navy veteran Lonnie Kilpatrick who served on Guam from 1971 to 1974.
Both Ackerson and her 9-year-old daughter have Chiari malformations, structural defects in the base of the skull.
Ackerson is convinced the children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange are like “ticking time bombs.”
“They’re born with these defects," she said. "They’re going to suffer their entire lives.”
Kilpatrick, died this past May, one month after the Veteran Administration sent him a letter that read in part: “We have received records you were exposed to Agent Orange while you served in Guam.”
The government approved benefits for a heart transplant after denying his requests twice before.
However, the government never approved medical compensation for kidney cancer, arguing there was no evidence of a connection between Agent Orange and the cancer.