Veteran’s widow wins Agent Orange benefits after years of fighting the VA

FOX Files
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ST. LOUIS – A Vietnam veteran’s widow says she’s finally gotten the VA to admit her husband was exposed to Agent Orange.

She spoke with Fox 2 four years after first reporting her struggles to honor her husband’s dying wish.

“Don’t give up because that’s what they want,” said Netia Krieter.

After years of fighting for her husband John Krieter, Netia says the Department of Veterans Affairs has finally recognized that Agent Orange killed John.

“John would say, ‘Good job, Netia, because you promised me that you wouldn’t give up and you never gave up.’ I’m not going to tell you it was easy because there were times I’d get those (denial) letters and I just wanted it to be done,” she said.

Fox 2 first interviewed Netia Krieter in 2016 after she saw our Fox Files investigations into the VA denying Agent Orange exposures during the Vietnam War.

She never forgot what Bill Casto told us in 2016: “Deny, deny, deny until you die is what we say.”

Casto fought the VA for seven years before the government acknowledge he was exposed.

“You did a piece on a man that had been denied and denied and denied for disability. My husband was the same way,” Netia said. “It was like they were telling me his life didn’t matter and his service didn’t matter and it sometimes was like losing him all over again.”

John Krieter died in 2014, weeks after he walked his daughter down the aisle to get married. Netia Krieter says he promised to live long enough to have that moment with his daughter and that he asked Netia to promise she would never stop fighting for his disability benefits. 

“More than anything else, they had to take responsibility for him and what he went through,” she said. “And he went through a lot. He was sick. He lost all quality of life. And to have to watch somebody go through that, you can’t even put it into words how hard that is.”

Netia Krieter received a settlement from the VA and will get a monthly check for being an injured spouse.

Fox 2 also talked to Bill Casto again. He said he’s doing well and he feels good; he’s helping other veterans get VA benefits for Agent Orange exposure.

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