As a navigator in the United States Air Force, I flew in 85 combat missions as part of the Air Commandos (Special Operations) during the Vietnam War. Before my fellow troops and I took off to fight for our country, during our time in combat, and especially when we returned home, we heard the anti-war voices condemning our service to the country we loved.
Later, far too many of those I fought alongside with became violently sick. Their exposure to Agent Orange caused them to suffer from debilitating illnesses such as lung cancer, prostate cancer, kidney disease, neuropathy, diabetes and myeloma.
Veterans who fought on the ground in Vietnam can qualify to have treatment covered by the VA for the illnesses they develop from exposure to Agent Orange; however, there are many suffering that served on board ships stationed around Vietnam. Studies show these veterans came in contact with water tainted by Agent Orange through shipboard water filter systems.
The fact that these heroes do not qualify for coverage is a travesty. Earlier this week, a bill to right this wrong passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
But Jacky Rosen, a first-term congresswoman that is running for the U.S. Senate, was not in attendance for the vote. Instead, she chose to campaign and do media rounds at the southern border in Texas.
Seriously — she chose photo ops for her campaign instead of being a voice for Nevada’s Vietnam War veterans.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Rosen has chosen her political ambitions over Vietnam War heroes. She also raised funds with none other than Jane Fonda — or Hanoi Jane as my fellow veterans and I know her — earlier this year.
While far too many Americans villainized those who fought for our country, Fonda took it a step further. Simply put, she was a traitor.
During the height of the war, Fonda traveled to North Vietnam to meet with our enemy. She posed for photos with weapons used to shoot down American planes. She recorded propaganda the North
Vietnamese used to shame American troops. And what I believe was Fonda’s most disgusting act, she called our prisoners of war “hypocrites and liars” and their torture “understandable.”
If you bring up Hanoi Jane to those who proudly defended our flag in the Vietnam War, you will see an understandable anger. She made the issues veterans had coming home after the war even worse.
And that is why it is despicable that Jacky Rosen would willingly choose to campaign with her, and it shows why her decision this week to attend a photo op, instead being a voice for the sick Vietnam War heroes, sends the message that she clearly doesn’t care about veterans. It’s inexcusable and unacceptable behavior from someone who was elected to fight for us.
To us veterans, Jacky Rosen has proven she is not qualified for the job she wants while she ignores the one she has now. She has shown that her personal ambitions will always come first.
Captain Michael Kadenacy left the U.S. Air Force to attend law school. He is currently the Washoe County Republican Party chairman.