A Lakeland veteran whose story about spraying Agent Orange on Guam got international attention is dead.
Retired Master Sgt. Leroy Foster died at the age of 69.
From his wheelchair in Lakeland, people on the other side of the planet heard Leroy Foster loud and clear.
“I was spraying the most deadliest substance on earth and I am responsible for it,” Foster said in a January 2017 interview.
According to Master Sgt. Foster, he sprayed hundreds of thousands of gallons of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange all around Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the 60s and 70s.
“They told me that I could brush my teeth in it, wouldn’t hurt anybody,” Leroy explained.
Agent Orange is linked to multiple diseases, including cancers.
“Our veterans and their families have suffered so dearly and the people of Guam have suffered incredibly,” he said.
The government denies using the weed killer on Guam.
“Don’t lie to our veterans and their families,” Master Sgt. Foster stated in an earlier interview. “They don’t deserve it.”
8 On Your Side’s Steve Andrews met Leroy Foster in January 2017.
“I’ve got 33 diseases. I had 28 until all the cancers started popping up,” he recalled.
His illnesses, he said, were Agent Orange related.
So were the 24 fingers and toes that his granddaughter was born with, he claimed.
Leroy Foster’s story that aired on News Channel 8 sparked a federal investigation about Agent Orange use on Guam that is ongoing.
They prompted Congressman Dennis Ross to file what’s known as the Foster Act, a bill which would provide Agent Orange benefits to veterans who served on Guam and suffered illnesses tied to exposure to the herbicide.
“The recent passing of MSgt. Leroy Foster is a sad reminder of the urgency for Congress to pass my legislation, H.R. 809, the Foster Act. A tireless advocate for our veterans afflicted with Agent Orange related diseases, MSgt. Foster’s dedication to, and passion for, helping the veterans our federal government has left behind will be greatly missed,” said Ross.
In a Facebook post, Brian Moyer of Agent Orange Survivors of Guam stated, “A fellow Guam Veteran who was my mentor about Agent Orange on Guam has passed away from Agent Orange related cancers and other health issues yesterday. M/Sgt Leroy Foster has gone home and the torch has been passed with our fight against the government. As long as I breath I will fight the government about this injustice against Guam and her veterans.”
According to Leroy Foster, he died on an operating table years ago, but was allowed to live to relay his message and fight the fight for fellow veterans.
“I came into this world with nothing and I’m going to leave with nothing but I’m going to leave this world with honor,” Foster said in an earlier interview.
If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.