Vermont Guard celebrates new law aiding veterans exposed to burn pits

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 7:33 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont National Guard is celebrating a landmark new law that expands benefits to military members exposed to burn pits in war zones.

It’s an issue WCAX News first told you about.

Everything was burned in those pits, including human waste, medical waste, body parts, trash, tires and more. They were torched with jet fuel.

Soldiers breathed in the smoke that hung over the bases. Many Vermonters serving in areas with burn pits got sick and some died.

The leader of the Vermont Guard, Maj. Gen. Gregory Knight, praised the legislation that was recently signed by the president for what it does for his men and women and their families.

“I think it’s significant for all of our veterans. It expands eligibility, it expands timelines for applications for benefits. It streamlines the process... It’s a pretty significant investment,” Knight said.

The general also offered his thanks to June Heston and Pat Cram for their push to get the PACT Act passed. The Vermont women are the widows of two Guard soldiers who died from burn pit exposure. Heston and Cram attended the bill signing in Washington, D.C.

Watch the video to see our Darren Perron’s full conversation with the general.

The Guard will hold a special open house on Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. followed by a remembrance of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Everyone is invited.

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