« Back to search results
Image 18 of 20
< Prev Next >


U.S. war veteran Larry Vetter conducts physical therapy with 18-year-old La Thanh Nghia, near Da Nang, Vietnam. Nghia and his 21-year-old brother Toan are third generation victims of dioxin exposure, the result of the U.S. military's use of Agent Orange and other herbicides during the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago. The two brothers were born healthy, but began to suffer from muscular dystrophy and other problems as they grew older. They are now confined at home, as their bodies and lives literally waste away. Vetter, who served as a Marine Corps infantry officer around Da Nang during the war, met the  the family during his first trip back to Vietnam in 2008 and returned in 2012 to make a finish a documentary film about Agent Orange and the legacy of the war. Vetter says that when he met the family he knew he had to do something, and has helped support them financially ever since. "They are part of my life now," he says. "And I'm part of theirs." The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 3 million people suffer illnesses from dioxin exposure, including at least 150,000 children born with severe birth defects since the end of the war. The U.S. government last year began paying for the removal of dioxin from the heavily contaminated Da Nang airport, which served as a major U.S. base, but U.S. officials still deny that dioxin is to blame for widespread public health problems in Vietnam, and the U.S. government has yet to provide any aid money specifically to help the country's Agent Orange victims. Jan. 5, 2013.