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Coming to a Military Base Near You...
Bill Annett Salem-News.com
Tim King visiting Veterans at the VFW hall in Springfield, Missouri.
(DAYTONA BEACH, FL) - Editor's note. - A neighbor of mine - let's call him Tom - is a former Marine, a graduate of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Tom looks pretty good for his age (early Fifties), well-muscled, full head of curly brown hair, a ready smile. Even thirty years out, he carries himself like a Marine. One of The Few, The Proud. He has a "Semper Fi" decal on his truck's bumper.
Trouble is, Tom doesn't have a voice box; he's had a tracheotomy and wears a little coin-sized mic where his Adam's Apple should be. If he presses on it he can talk, sounding like he's submerged under water. n a cruel way, he is. Cancer is very likely metastasizing through Tom's system. The VA grudgingly pays for routine treatment of course, but Tom's ability to duke it out with a grateful government for real redress has its limitations. There are thousands of other Marines like Tom - and ex-Gi's and ex-sailors, who are beginning to connect the dots - which lead back to military and naval bases like Camp Lejeune, which have been very efficiently contaminated by toxic disposal programs for decades.
In October, Tom will meet up with Tim King.
It's not as if Tim King has a lot of time on his hands. For the past eight years, he and his wife Bonnie - both international award-wining reporters and photo-journalists - have been running a hard-hitting independent news agency in Oregon called Salem-News.Com. With an online publication that covers the real news of the world, unlike the managed, filtered variety served up by the closely held media giants, the Kings front 122 dedicated writers from Sri Lanka to London and from Kabul to Daytona Beach, Florida.
And speaking of the home town of The Daytona 500, the Birthplace of Speed and the Spring Break mecca for the continent's spoiled brats (which also happens to be the locus for this humble sheet), Tim will be visiting Central Florida next month. The occasion: the fall brouhaha playfully entitled Biketoberfest, a Chamber of Commerce mot that manages to describe the confluence of thousands of Harleys and other knock-offs, to wit bikes, bikers and biker chicks. But, while Tim will be arriving astride a Suzuki Bandit 1200, that's only a partial intro.
The fact is, dubbing his mission Operation Red Dragonfly, Tim will be riding like a latter day Paul Revere through all 48 contiguous States over the coming months, and Daytona Beach, our town, is just one of his dozens of stops. His goal is to meet with veterans' groups, survivors of Agent Orange, PTSD and other deadly toxins that have been crippling and killing service men and women and their families, for no other reason than that they attended toxic military, Marine and naval bases for decades. These well-known but unpublicized contaminated environments are increasingly being exposed by a few people like Tim King, an ex-Marine. The Government, the VA and all the related officialdom would much prefer that nobody talk about all this, which makes Tim's mission all that more difficult, possibly life-saving, and crucial for thousands of people.
Along with another former Marine, Robert O'Dowd, also an alumnus of the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, California, Tim has not only published dozens of feature stories exposing the dangers posed by the situation, but produced a book on the subject, entitled BETRAYAL: Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder and Government Cover-Up.
Tim King served as a Marine at El Toro Marine Base in California, and later discovered that his two sons had developed severe health issues from contaminated soil and groundwater. The boys have suffered for years, and almost died. Subsequently, King discovered that hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families have contracted cancer from the chemical laden water at bases such as El Toro and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. King is riding a motorcycle across the country solo, presenting a national series of talks on contaminated military bases and other health issues rampant among veterans. His tour will be coming to a city, a veterans' group, or a public town hall meeting near you.
Astride his own travel-weary motorcycle, Tim King will not be in Daytona Beach just for the fun and games. His appearance, as part of a Mission To Benefit Veterans, past, present and future, is deadly serious. Tim and his wife Bonnie, through their independent news agency Salem-News.com and a growing number of supporters nation-wide, are funding this initiative, Operation Red Dragonfly. Currently in Missouri, as this is written, King began in Oregon just a few weeks ago and has already rolled through Washington, Idaho, Utah, Kansas and Colorado.
In addition to his book and articles publicizing the health problems that beset a multitude of former servicemen and women, King is addressing other tough subjects, such as the rising incidence of veteran suicide and the lack of adequate care provided for them, despite the efforts of active veterans' groups, such as Disabled Veterans of America (DAV) and VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). With individual contacts, media interviews, group meetings and larger veterans' audiences, Tim will be reviewing and updating the latest news and developments in health care involving veterans and informing them about access to resources dealing with health threats and other contaminants. In a related capacity, he addresses the challenges facing the children of Vietnam Vets and other important topics.
With almost 25 years of experience on the west coast and worldwide as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor, Tim King is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. As a former Marine, Tim routinely follows stories concerning Marines and Marine Veterans. He has also reported on British Royal Marines. In Iraq, Tim was embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim has won awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies such as The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association. He'll be no stranger to Daytona and Bike Week: he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
In providing information specific to a wide range of problems facing Veterans and their families, he also stresses that many of the same problems face civilians in some cases, including those with no direct connection to the military. Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter and advocate have assumef many dimensions.
Tim and his wife Bonnie have rallied for a long list of cultures and nations - and continue to do so, with a strong and direct concentration on the genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his continuing reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore in July 2012, the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3,000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl, a traditional custom of Tamil Nadu.
In a personal capacity, Tim has written over 2,000 articles for Salem-News.com since the new format was launched in December, 2005.
Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, and its 124 writers in 24 countries. Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide.
Recently Tim King wrote:
Tim began visiting the El Toro site somewhat regularly after learning of the base's deadly consequences; he made contact with Marines he had served with who had developed different types of cancer. One had male breast cancer; that same Marine who was once his sergeant, and his wife have lost two children to cancer.
Dr. Leveque (himself a former G.I. who served with Patton's Third Army) explained in different ways the toxicity of TCE and PCE (perchloroethylene). These are both chlorine-based chemical degreasing agents, they cleaned well and yet rarely were treated in a manner consistent with human safety.
In 2008 Tim joined forces with Robert O'Dowd, another former El Toro Marine, and began writing dozens of articles about both El Toro, and Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, a base with deadly water that the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy have managed to keep hidden for many years. That all changed thanks to a retired Marine named Jerry Ensminger who lost a daughter to cancer connected directly to Camp Lejeune's water.
Then more El Toro Marines came forward and joined the effort King and O'dowd had begun; John Uldrich and Roger Butow began contributing ideas and articles and eventually the group reached the point where the truth began to emerge. Even two members of the Irvine, California City Council worked with Roger Butow and King in an effort to expose the real truth about El Toro, a toxic base that the developers planned to turn into a park and a housing community.
Tim's national tour is dependent on the support of people everywhere who recognize the need and are helping this donation-backed mission to reach Veterans in order to educate them about the toxic chemicals to which they have been exposed. Already, interviews and other contacts are resulting in footage from all over the nation for a documentary on PTSD that is now under production. PTSD is a subject well addressed during all of Tim King's presentations, and detailed information is distributed. Agent Orange is another subject dealt with, along with the dangers to the children of Vietnam Veterans and more general military base contamination.
Operation Red Dragonfly's co-ordinator for the Eastern States is Sheree Evans in Missouri. For more detailed information, or to suggest an event for Tim King in your area, she can be reached at: (417) 766-5640, or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations? Simple. Go to Salem-News.com, the website for this crusading independent news agency, or simply contact Tim@salem-news.com, and use the PayPal tab. By mail: P.O. Box 5238, Salem, Oregon 97304
Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.
At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.
He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.
Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.
You can write to Bill Annett at this address: email@example.com