He also called for better support for military personnel who have health problems after being exposed to fire pits.
Biden stated, "You're one of the best,"
The president views the matter as very personal. Biden mentioned the possibility that Beau's death could have been caused by being in close proximity to the chemicals in the pits from which military waste was burned in Iraq last week in his State of the Union address .
Biden stated in the speech that "we don't know for certain if a burned pit was the cause of his cancer or the diseases so many of our soldiers." "But I'm determined to find out everything we possibly can."
Biden traveled to Texas with Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, where they visited the Fort Worth VA clinic. Biden met veterans there, including one who was stationed close to a pit. He later received six weeks of chemotherapy and treatment. Biden met John, a veteran who was sitting in a wheelchair. He asked him "How are you?"
Biden said, "Good to meet you man, let's say hi," and walked over to shake his hands.
The president was joined at the Tarrant County Resources Connection by approximately 150 people including community leaders, Republican Rep. Jake Ellzey, and Democratic Rep. Colin Allred.
Ellzey stated that there is a price for every conflict in which we are involved, and added that the country has an obligation to provide support for the families of those who have been killed in action.
Biden urged veterans to seek help when they needed it. He noted that 17 veterans commit suicide each day, more than those who are in combat.
He said that veterans who have suffered because of their service shouldn't be asked for anything. It should be, "I have a problem" and we should ask, "How can I help?"
We are asking you to share your needs. Please tell us about your needs. Don't feel ashamed. We owe it to you."
Biden suggested that veterans who have been exposed to toxic substances, toxins, and other hazards should have access to more health care. This includes burn pits and plots of land where military personnel destroyed tires, medical waste, and other materials. Biden stated that the U.S. government made serious mistakes during Vietnam War when troops returned home with mental health issues and physical symptoms that were difficult to connect to Agent Orange.
He won't make the same mistakes as those who returned from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said that the troops returned home with the "fittest" among them, but too many were suffering from undiagnosed breathing problems and other issues.
Biden stated that "we don't know enough about the link between burn pits and the diseases veterans suffered," adding that he was determined to find out more and increase funding for research into the relationship.
He said that while "we're following science", he encouraged vets to register for the VA burn pit registry and to be aware of the benefits they have.
Elizabeth Beck, Fort Worth City Councilmember, was deployed to Taji, Iraq as a sergeant. She said that she coughed daily, exchanging black matter and believed it came from the burning pit that smolders every day. Because she couldn't bear all the red tape, it took her 17 years for her to apply for assistance.
She said that her fellow veterans don't have the right to demand anything they don't get. "We don't ask for anything we shouldn't have. "We are asking for the right not to have to fight again."
Biden, a Democrat also asked Congress to send him a bill protecting veterans exposed to burn pits. He promised to sign it immediately. Last week, the House passed a bill which would provide VA healthcare to millions of Iraqi and Afghan veterans who meet this criteria.
Beau Biden was the son of a Major in a Delaware Army National Guard Unit that went to Iraq in 2008. The two-term Delaware attorney General was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013. died at 46 two years later.
It can be difficult to connect toxic exposure to a person's medical condition. The levels of toxic materials are often far below those needed to cause poisoning. However, scientists and doctors agree that military personnel are at risk from contaminants after exposure.