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Supreme Court to hear burn pit case of ROA-supported Army Reserve Capt. Le Roy Torres

Corpus Christi billboard supporting Capt. Le Roy Torres cites ROA support

Struggle with government began after exposure to battlefield toxicity during Iraq deployment. Supreme Court decision could help thousands of affected vets.

In learning that . . . Captain Torres will get his day in court, ROA is especially thankful for the incredible courage and tenacity of Rosie Torres, Le Roy’s wife and Burn Pits 360 founder.”
— Retired Maj. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, ROA executive director

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES, December 16, 2021 / -- ROA hailed the decision Wednesday of the United States Supreme Court to hear the case of retired Army Reserve Capt. Le Roy Torres, disabled, ROA believes, by emissions from burn pits during his 2007-2008 tour of duty in Iraq. The Court will consider whether Torres wrongfully lost his job as a Texas state trooper in connection with his disability.

“Captain Torres volunteered to serve his country, deployed to war, came home sickened and disabled by his experiences and deserves the support of the nation,” said ROA’s executive director, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips.

Taking up advocacy for Torres, ROA wrote Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The case then went to the state’s supreme court, which refused to hear its native son’s argument.

“In learning that the Supreme Court granted what is called certiorari in the case of Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety, that Captain Torres will get his day in court, ROA is especially thankful for the incredible courage and tenacity of Rosie Torres, Le Roy’s wife. Rosie has led the fight for her husband and for all those sickened by battlefield toxicity,” said Phillips.

Rosie Torres, in a years-long fight, founded the group, which advocates for action by the Pentagon and by Congress to reduce the causes of battlefield toxicity and care for those disabled by its effects. According to its website:

“Burn Pits 360 was founded in honor of Army Captain Le Roy Torres, who served in the U.S. Army for 23 years (7 years – Active, 16 Years – Reserve). He deployed to Balad, Iraq from 2007-2008. Captain Torres also served the State of Texas as a State Trooper for 14 years. Torres suffers from complications from illnesses that began after he was exposed to toxic fumes during service in post-9/11 Iraq. Le Roy was subsequently diagnosed with Constrictive Bronchiolitis and Toxic Brain Injury. After experiencing delay, denial of benefits, and ineffective treatment from his physicians, Le Roy alongside his wife, Rosie, founded Burn Pits 360.”

The fight for her husband and all veterans afflicted by toxicity attracted the advocacy of celebrity Jon Stewart.

“I want to thank ROA, attorney Andrew Tutt from Arnold & Porter Law Firm, Brian Lawler of Pilot Law, Grunt Style, and also Jon Stewart, Jon Feal of the FealGood Foundation, Congressman Joaquin Castro, who represents San Antonio, and those members of Congress who signed onto his “dear colleague letter” in support of our case,” Torres said. ROA, Stewart, Feal and other veteran and military service organizations had recently joined with her and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for a press conference in support of the bipartisan bill introduced by Gillibrand, S.952, entitled “Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2021.”

Support for Torres by ROA was shown on a Texas billboard. Further, ROA submitted an amicus brief on the granting of certiorari, has interviewed her for its Reserve Review video blog, and now will file a new amicus brief on the merits.

Battlefield toxicity has affected U.S. service members since at least World War I, with its mustard gas attacks by enemy forces; more rec video blogent examples include the cancerous effects of asbestos on warship crews, Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, the “Gulf War Syndrome” of Operation Desert Storm, and burn pits. Troubling evidence is now surfacing that electronic emissions from aircraft avionics may be causing cancers among aircrews.

In every case, advocates note, the government these men and women bravely served with great fidelity refused to support them until great external pressure was brought to bear. ROA, regretful that it must be done with such outrageous regularity, is nonetheless proud to be among the advocates bringing that pressure to bear.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Reserve Organization of America
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