t f y
^

Agent Orange Use on Thailand Bases Supports Veterans Disability Claims

The Debate Over Agent Orange in Thailand

A specific group of Vietnam-era veterans with illnesses caused by Agent Orange exposure have struggled for years to prove it to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These veterans, who served on military bases in Thailand spanning 14 years from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975, have had their disability claims routinely denied for illnesses identified as presumptive for veterans who served in Vietnam.

Why? Because the VA deemed that these veterans were not actually part of the Vietnam War. They did not set foot on Vietnam soil. Therefore, veterans who served in Thailand at that time were not exposed to Agent Orange.

Use of Agent Orange Confirmed on Vietnam-Era Thailand Military Bases

But now the barrier to VA disability compensation for these veterans has seemingly lifted. Evidence suppressed since 1973 agrees with what they have been saying all along. The declassified Department of Defense (DoD) “Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report: Base Defense in Thailand 1968-1972”reveals top-secret security operations in Thailand and confirms that Agent Orange was used extensively to defoliate the perimeters surrounding the Royal Thai Air Force Bases of U- Tapaco, Ubon, Nakhon, Phanom, Udom, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang.  The DoD report has led to a rule-changer for processing disability claims for Vietnam-era veterans who served in Thailand.

New VA Guidelines for Agent Orange Claims

In fact, just over a year ago, in May, 2010, the VA added guidelines to the Agent Orange Act (CFR Title 38 Section 1116) that extends compensation to veterans who supported the Vietnam conflict outside of Vietnam, such as Blue Water Vietnam Veterans. The guidelines are also to be used for processing claims for veterans of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, military police (MP) and Army personnel who provided perimeter security in Thailand.

According to the guidelines, a statement of involvement in perimeter security duty in Thailand with “credible evidence supporting this statement” is required to establish Agent Orange exposure.  This means that VA regional officers cannot dismiss an Agent Orange claim because the veteran did not set foot in Vietnam. Instead, they are required to evaluate all aspects of the case to fairly determine if the veteran’s duties, based on “facts found” or on a “direct basis,” led to Agent Orange exposure and illness. If the evidence supports the claim, this would allow for presumptive service connection and disability benefits for the veteran.

Pathway to VA Disability Benefits Still Tough

However, veterans who served in Thailand are finding that it is still hard to break through the “service in-country” stigma at some VA regional offices. And, despite the VA rule changes, the pathway to benefits is not easy.  The VA is tough on evaluating proof, even for veterans suffering from presumptive illnesses such as Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Ischemic heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease.  

Alpha advocates believe that these Vietnam-era veterans, many of whom have struggled with the VA for over 30 years, have waited long enough for benefits due them and their families. They should not give up the fight, and are urged to contact a VA-accredited Alpha advocate to help them prove their claim to the VA.

Note: All representation coordinated by Alpha is provided by our employees, the Advocates, who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). No private organization that trains and employs accredited agents has been legally recognized by the VA for the purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims. This work must be done by the Advocates themselves and not organizations.

Share

56 comments to “Agent Orange Use on Thailand Bases Supports Veterans Disability Claims”

 
  • Alpha, April 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Russell,

    Alpha may be able to assist you. I would recommend speaking to one of our Eligibility Consultants. They will ask you a few questions about your time in the services and determine your eligibility for VA Benefits. I hope you will give us a call at (877) 611-7724.

    They will ask you a few questions about your time in the services and determine your eligibility for additional VA Benefits. I hope you will give them a call at (877) 611-7724.

  • JOSE L. TREVINO SR., June 2, 2014 at 12:42 am

    I was stationed at Yokota AB, Japan in 196. Managed a classified project called “Project Limelight 36B. Remained at Yokota AB, Japan
    until the project was completed and I was then transferred to Takhli
    Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand. However, I performed temporary duty
    at DaDang Air Base, Vietnam enroute to Takhli, Thailand. VA ran an
    inquiry from the Joint Army Research Center in Virigina and they reported that they could not find a proof of my boots on the ground
    at DaDang. I wrote a personal letter to the Army Research Center and they confirmed that they had no record as they do not track
    events by specific names. They mainly track special events which
    related to specific individuals. They advise me, however, to contact
    the Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Center–I did and
    the center provided me copies of my leave and earning statements
    clearly marked “COMBAT ZONE” and they showed my PCS transferred from APO San Francisco 96373 to Takhli AB, Texas with boots on the
    ground at DaDang Air Base, Vietnam, APO San Francisco 96356. While at Takhli AB, Thailand, I performed duty near flight operations
    where some areas had been sprayed with Agent Orange. I lived in
    the billeting areas near the perimeter…”Ambient Air Pollution” according to a VA Contracted Out Study. In my judgment, statements from Department of Defense Finance and Accounting
    Center should suffice. I have assembled
    all the necessary paperwork except updated medical inputs from
    my cardiologist for Ischmeic Heart Disease and Diabete Type II medical professionals. Your thoughts please!

    Jose Trevino Sr.
    (210) 659-2103
    josetrevino19@yahoo.com

  • Alpha, June 4, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Jose,

    One of our Alpha Advocates will be in touch with you shortly. Good luck.

  • FREDERICK WASHINGTON, June 19, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I AM IN THE PROCESS OF APPEALING MY CLAIM FOR AGENT ORANGE / DIOXIN EXPOSURE WHILE STATIONED AT U-TAPOA AFB IN THAILAND.

    MY JOB WAS DRIVING A BUS TO PICK UP B52 AND KC 135 CREWS FROM THE FLIGHTLINE DAILY AFTER THEY CAME IN FROM BOMBING MISSIONS OVER VIETNAM.

    WE WOULD PARK NEAR THE PERIMITER FENCE LINES AS WE WAITED FOR THEM TO TAXI IN. I WAS AT U-TAPOA FROM OCTOBER 1972- APRIL 1974 . I HAVE HAD 12 RARE BENIGN TUMORS REMOVED IN THE LAST 7 YEARS WHICH VA DOCTORS SAID WAS NF1 { NEUROFIBROMATOSIS } YET I WAS NEVER TESTED FOR IT NOR WAS THE TUMORS THAT WAS REMOVED. VA SAID NFI IS PASSED DOWN FROM YOUR PARENTS AND NOT CAUSED BY DIOXIN EXPOSURE

    . I HAD SIX OF THE TUMORS REMOVED BY VA DOCTORS AND SIX REMOVED BY DOCTORS AT MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER.

    . MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER HAD MY MOST RESENT TUMORS THEY REMOVED TESTED IN ATLANTA GEORGIA WHICH CAME BACK NEGATIVE FOR NFI OR NF2 .THEY ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE THE TYPE OF TUMORS WHICH KEEPS RETURNING.

    HAS IT BEEN DETERMINED OR HAS THE VA ADMITTED THAT AGENT ORANGE WAS STORED IN THE BOMB DUMPS ON ANDERSEN AFB IN GUAM DURING THE VIETNAM CONFLICT.

    I WAS STATIONED AT ANDERSEN AFB AND WORKED IN MUNITION MAINTANANCE HAULING B52 BOMBS FROM THE BOMB DUMP TO THE FLIGHT LINE. I DRANK THE WATER ON THE BASE AND REMOVED BOMBS FROM THE BOMB DUMP THAT WAS SPRAYED WITH AGENT ORANGE TO EXPOSE THE BOMBS THAT WAS COVERED BY HEAVY FOILAGE SINCE WW 11. THEY DID NOT USE WEED EATERS OR LAWN MOWERS AS THEY WOULD SPRAY THE WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS A VERY POTENT WEED KILLER OVER NIGHT.

    WHEN WE RETURNED TO WORK THE HIDDEN BOMBS WOULD BE IN PLAIN VIEW FOR US TO HAUL THEM OFF AFTER THEY WERE LOADED ON 40 FOOT TRAILERS.
    SOME WERE STILL DAMP FROM THE MIRACLE SPRAY THAT WORKED OVER NIGHT.

    PLEASE CONTACT ME AS I HAVE A PLETHORA OF INFORMATION TO SHARE.

    FREDERICK WASHINGTON

  • Ray Reed, July 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I came to camp friendship at korat in September 1963.I was assigned the job as honcho over Thai laborers building a fence along the storage buildings and jungle. We used a herbicide to clear and maintain the fence.My nco and a truck driver worked out there for over a month.I have become disabled with lung cancer and bladder cancer .I hope to get disability benifits.

  • Alpha, July 21, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Ray,

    Please contact one of our experienced agents by calling 877-611-1724. In order to determine your eligibility they will have to ask you some additional questions.

    Thanks,

Reply