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As federal report recommends major changes at West Virginia’s VA medical centers, veterans wonder what future holds

By Courtney Hessler, The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Charlie Smoot was a young man when he voluntarily signed up for the military to fight in the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

As a helicopter crew chief, he vividly remembers spraying an herbicide that back-dusted into the helicopter, which he said he would wipe off on his pants. Agent Orange’s true impact on people — including an estimated 3 million in the military — wasn’t known until years later. For Smoot, it was 30 years to the day that he was told he had Agent Orange exposure.

While the medical impacts from the chemical have been harsh, Smoot has always been able to rely on health care provided by the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center in Huntington.

The future of what medical care will look like for Smoot and thousands of other area veterans is in limbo, however, after a new report released last month by federal leadership recommended cutbacks and changes at VA facilities across the state…

To read more: https://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/as-federal-report-recommends-major-changes-at-state-s-va-medical-centers-veterans-wonder-what/article_d6e22772-4dbe-5171-9a9d-a47f8837f1a3.html

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