Congressman Jim Marshall cheered at American Legion Convention for
continued fight to end 'disability tax' on benefits.
More Legion Convention
News: (click on story headline) Veteran-Friendly
Firms Saluted by American Legion...
Legion honors Maryland policeman...
Agent Orange Researchers Receive
Legion's Top Honor
E-Mail us at
America's Seniors TodaysSeniorsNetwork.com
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 27, 2003 --
Epidemiologists Dr. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Dr. Steven Stellman today
were awarded The American Legion Distinguished Service Medal during a
General Session of the organization's 85th National Convention at
America's Center here. The award is in recognition of the Stellmans'
extraordinary body of research that may expedite delivery of disability
compensation and free-of-charge medical care to countless Vietnam
veterans suffering from exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange.
"Many ailing Vietnam veterans
have a hard time proving to the Department of Veterans Affairs that
their illnesses are related to Agent Orange exposure, and the Stellmans'
research helps to ease the burden of proof," American Legion
National Commander Ronald F. Conley said.
The government did not carry out a
large-scale study of Vietnam veterans' health and herbicide exposures
when the Legion first called for it in 1979. So the nation's largest
veterans organization collaborated with the Stellmans on the
groundbreaking American Legion-Columbia University Study in the 1980s,
which showed the impact of the Vietnam War on the health of the veterans
who fought it. After the Centers for Disease Control in 1989 refused to
carry out an epidemiological study, that it then deemed unfeasible, The
American Legion sued Uncle Sam to force the government to conduct a
Finally, a breakthrough. A team of
researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health,
led by Dr. Jeanne Stellman, assembled numerous records of the locations
and quantities of Agent Orange and other herbicides that were sprayed in
Vietnam. Troop movements, soil samples and releases of herbicide by
means other than spraying, such as leaks, also are factors. The result
is a computerized "geographic information system" that
estimates veterans' opportunity for herbicide exposure, documents more
than 2 million gallons of unaccounted-for spraying, and makes possible
thorough studies of Vietnam veterans' health.
Previous recipients of the award
include Bob Hope, Babe Ruth, Fisher House founder Zachary Fisher,
Montgomery GI Bill author Rep. Sonny Montgomery of Alabama, and the crew
of the B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima that
led to a triumphant end to the Second World War.
Founded in 1919 in Paris by World War
I veterans, the 2.8-million member American Legion is the nation's
largest veterans organization.