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From: Francis Hamit
Date: 04 Jul 2002
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
I've never thought about going to the VA for my PTSD. I was on various forms of diazapam (valium, etc) for three years in the 1980's under the care of a civilian doctor in the Chicago area. This was before I got on the Agent Orange registry. As indicated elsehwere on the symptoms of AO exporusre is memory loss. I'm not a bit surprised you can't remember dates with any precision. As for being under fire, what is the standard. When I was there we got mortared every other night it seemed, but actual attacks were rare and the only time they got on base when I was there was 1/13/69. I did not go to the VA for these problems when they developed for two reasons 1) When I was living in Iowa City I had a couple of neighbors, both of whom were psycologists working on some sort of program about this at the Iowa City VA. They both resigned because they didn't like the way these problems were being handled. 2). The real problem for me and everyone else in ASA who served in Vietnam is that we all had Top Secret Cllearances and various levels of access to TS SigInt material and are not allowed to talk about these problems with anyone who is not cleared for this material...even 30 years after. (It involves "souces and methods" always the holy grail of any intel outfit). The VA I go to now, none of the people doing the counseling have any kind of security clearance and many of them are foreign nationals. So, I had to work my way out of it. The doctor was just a doctor. he didn't ask questions; just gave me pills to keep me calmed down. It worked for me, but I don't say it would work for other people. ASA people are supposed to be smarter than others and most of us were already dealing with various kinds of stress-related problems, just from that. You don't see many people from the 156th on here. I suspect we all have memory problems and also are cautious about talking about the work. It occurs to me that the Dept of the Army had daily reports from every unit (I was a clerk, so I know) and that these reports can be obtained either by asking or through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Army also has a pretty big history department, which should be able to track not just units, but those who served in them and when. Good luck with it. Expect it to take time, but be a persistant pest and you'll get what you need.