October 19, 2018
Column

Agent Purple deadlier than Agent Orange

On June 22, I found out some disturbing news about a chemical toxin called Agent Purple used in Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Readers are probably asking why this should affect us. This is serious because for more than 30 years the Maine Army National Guard has been using this base for their training.

Agent Purple is three times as deadly as Agent Orange. The Canadian government has only admitted to spraying this toxic chemical up to 1966 and 1967. The Canadian government also allowed the U.S. government to test Agent Purple and Agent Orange during that time. Agent Purple was laced with dioxin with three times the cancer-causing material found in Agent Orange that can kill you.

The Canadian military used this chemical spray to clear vegetation to prevent fires during artillery training and to clear the view for soldiers.

It was also found out this chemical was also used in 1956. The American government tried to cover up the use of Agent Orange when it was found out to be deadly in the Vietnam War.

I am sure the Canadian government is doing the same. Agent Purple was sprayed over thousands of acres in CFB Gagetown, going into the water supply and on the ground where the Maine Army National Guard has been training. Civilians and former Canadian personnel are filing claims for compensation for this disaster.

Agent Purple and Agent Orange cause cancer, diabetes and other illnesses which are deadly. We don’t know the full extent of how this has affected Americans who served in the Maine Army National Guard as of yet since this is top breaking news.

I have contacted Brig. Gen. John W. Libby, commander of the Maine Army National Guard, as service officer for the American Legion Post No. 133 in Fort Kent representing the veterans. He has told me that he has known about this for a week and is looking into the matter. He informed me to contact the congressional delegation, which I have already done.

I have contacted the different service organizations in Togus about this news. I myself, a former National Guard member, am very disturbed that my government has put me in danger because of Agent Purple and Agent Orange. Gen. Libby told me this was a national problem and not a state problem.

While serving two weeks of National Guard training, a Guardsman is considered on active duty.

I am requesting a full investigation and a factual account of all the specifics of what happened on the base where the Maine Army National Guard receives training every year. All former Maine Army National Guard soldiers should be very concerned about this new development.

In the Canadian article on Agent Purple, it does not mention anywhere that the Maine Army National Guard attends training at their facility which leads me to believe that it is a coverup.

If anyone who served in the Maine Army National Guard feels they might have been exposed to these chemicals or are experiencing medical problems such as cancer and diabetes they should contact a service organization such as the American Legion, Maine Bureau of Veterans Services and the Disabled American Veterans in Togus. They can be reached at 877-421-8263; press “0” for the operator and ask for the service organization of your choice.

I would encourage you to contact our U.S. senators and congressmen demanding a full investigation of this disaster.

I do not know if anyone has been exposed to these chemicals. I am very upset that the U.S. government would allow Maine Guardsmen to train on a military base that has been sprayed with tons of toxic, cancerous chemicals without our knowing about it.

To this day, the Maine Army National Guard is still using this military base in New Brunswick for training. If I were serving in the Maine Army National Guard at this time and knowing I could possibly come in contact with Agent Purple, I would refuse to go until a full investigation has been done.

Richard Pelletier, of Madawaska, a service officer with the American Legion, trained at Gagetown in the late 1970s.


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