Tens of thousands of veterans and service members stationed at military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan say exposure to trash fires or “burn pits” has left them with breathing problems and other chronic illnesses, including cancer. They are fighting for health benefits, but say the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is turning its back on them. Veterans say everything went into the burn pits — plastic water bottles, spent munitions, tires, human and medical waste. They say the heaping piles of trash were often then doused with jet fuel and lit on fire. The pits burned 24 hours a day in or next to their military bases. June Heston, of Richmond, Vermont, lost her husband Mike Heston last year. “How can that even happen? I was mad. So mad,” she said. Brig. Gen. Mike Heston was in the Vermont National Guard and volunteered for three tours of duty in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. “He was a soldier’s soldier,” June Heston said. “It meant everything.” Widow Speaks on Husband’s Burn Pit Exposure June Heston, of Richmond, Vermont, lost her husband Brig. Gen. Mike Heston last year to stage four pancreatic cancer. The Hestons believe Mike’s exposure to burn pits during his time… Read full this story
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