Vet: "I was in Vietnam." VA: "Prove it."
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -
An aging veteran can't get some of his health costs paid for because he's having a hard time proving he was exposed to Agent Orange.
A hearing was supposed to help clear things up on Friday.
But 73 year-old James Edwards says his hearing was cancelled.
The Malvern Air Force veteran has already been waiting six years for the VA to hear his appeal...and his proof that he was in Vietnam.
If Edwards can prove that his health problems are service connected, it would do wonders for his finances.
"I've been paying the VA...they've been taking care of me,” says Edwards. “But...I have been paying them co-pays for 40 years now. I pay $59.00 for an office visit. I pay $9.00 for a medical prescription...which I have six of them."
Edwards believes he was exposed to Agent Orange while serving as a Crew Chief aboard C-133’s delivering supplies to Vietnam in the mid-60’s.
The problem is flight manifests and maintenance records were long ago destroyed.
If payroll or tax records exist Edwards hasn't been able to find them..
And his trips were quick so he has no photographs of himself in southeast Asia or postmarked letters sent back home.
But...he does have witnesses.
And he recently travelled to Nebraska to get one of them on record.
"My names is Leland M. Vallier, retired Chief Master Sgt. United States Air Force. I was stationed at Travis at the time James Edwards was a flying crew chief. I wrote his performance report and he did go out on that air craft west many, many times and many times into Vietnam."
"In addition to death and taxes there is one other absolute in life and that is...if you are a flying crew chief on a C-133 at Travis in the mid-60's you're going to Vietnam," asserts Edwards.
As for when Edwards will get another chance to argue his appeal, he says it could take anywhere from six months to two years.
Air date: April 20th, 2018