Ask a Service Officer: Agent Orange exposure

Q. How do I know if I have a claim for Agent Orange? 

A. Many Vietnam War veterans are concerned that they have been exposed to Agent Orange, the chemical herbicide used to destroy jungle foliage in order to expose enemy troops. Public Law 107-103 provides a presumption of exposure to herbicides for all veterans who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam era. You do not have to prove you were sprayed or in an area that was sprayed if you served in Vietnam from Jan. 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975. However, before you begin to file a claim, you must have proof of service in Vietnam during the war time and medical documentation of the condition(s) officially recognized by VA.

The following is a list of diseases that VA recognizes as related to Agent Orange exposure:

  • Peripheral neuropathy (acute and subacute)
  • AL amyloidosis
  • Chloracne
  • Chronic B-cell leukemia
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers (e.g., lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus)
  • Soft tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Learn more about the diseases: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp

Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for an Agent Orange registry health exam, health care benefits and disability compensation. Contact your local American Legion accredited service officer to discuss possible benefits and file a claim: www.legion.org/serviceofficers

 

 

 

 

Lenny Breyen

April 15, 2014 - 9:36am

I served in the Air Force from '65-'69.Was stationed in Libya in '67 for 18 months.Was chaplain's assistant.Every weekend,the chaplain and I would hitch a ride on a cargo plane going to VN, to provide church services.I now have Chronic Lymphocitic Leukemia(CLL).I've been told by doctors I've had it for about 40 years, which puts me in my service years. CLL is linked to Agent Orange. Problem is, I can not prove that I was in VN because hitching a ride on a cargo plane, did not require any log to do so. Even if I could find someone that could vouch that they knew this was a usual practice, the government would never accept a vouch letter as proof.

Thomas Gordon

March 10, 2014 - 3:36pm

I served in Viet Nam in 68and 69. In the Danang area, with the Marines. After I got out, I was given a 10% disability for a skin disease caused by Agent Orange. Not long after I developed Graves disease and was told to resubmit as it could be AO related, but was denied. The disease went to my eyes and I was told to resubmit again. I was denied again. I started getting all the info I could on AO and found several studies that proved the link with Graves Disease and AO. I resubmitted again and included the findings. and again was denied with the Minnasota VA saying I didn't have the disease when I was in country so there is no evidence. I give up!

Robert Humphrey

March 5, 2014 - 10:42am

I was station at Ft.Sherman,Panama in the year of 1973 the Month of September. I was taking Jungle Training to be deployed in Viet Nam.I got Jungle Rot in both feet & cancer from agents Orange exposure while I was there.The goverment do not reconize any claims.Help!

Wendell H.

March 1, 2014 - 11:06pm

I was exposed to AO as a heavy-lift helicopter pilot flying in and out of AO treated areas up and down the HCM Trail. I had prostate cancer in 1999. I have filed four claims over twenty years for disability due to AO. VA told me they could not find my records; I sent them a copy of every order from my tour. Then I found the DAV! Don't bother with any of the other groups including the AM.Legion. The DAV knows this process cold. I received a partial disability last year due to the VA examining officer's incompetence; now I am on appeal with the DAV as my advocate. Get the DAV to tell you what the criteria for the levels of disability are before you file the claim. When you recover from the cancer/effects; the disability stops!! Yes you heard this right; it ends. Good luck

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:49pm

AO was sprayed all over. it's only presumptive if you served in Vietnam but if your served elsewhere there's a good chance they sprayed it there. All over the US, Germany, parts of Canada. write to the DOD under the FIOA and your branch of service and simply ask was Agent Orange used while I was stationed there. The gov't will not provide this info unless you ask.

Edward Garrison

February 28, 2014 - 12:39pm

During the USAF SAC Arclight Mission, in 1967, many USAF active duty personnel were sent to Guam, where B52 bombers were flown from on bombing runs over SE Asia. Huge loads of bombs were stored in the jungle around the base. The jungle was routinely drenched and dripping with Agent Orange. The stored bombs were also drenched with Agent Orange. Bomb loading personnel walked and drove bomb loading equipment though foliage dripping with Agent Orange. Flight line personnel routinely handled Agent Orange contaminated bombs, without wearing protective gear. B52 pilots and crew routinely flew bombing runs with loads of Agent Orange soaked bombs in the belly of their planes. I have spoken with USAF vets who were assigned to Guam, during Arclight and whose children suffer secondary effects of Agent Orange poisoning, and whose grandchildren suffer tertiary effects. The VA resists medical and financial compensation for vets and their families affected by the use of Agent Orange in Guam because they were not actually on the ground in Vietnam, even though USAF combat medals, Republic of Vietnam and other medals were given to participants stationed on Guam. This is an injustice and should be corrected. The Agent Orange poisoning og the people of Guam is another tale in need of telling. Edward J. Garrison USAF 1964 to 1968

Fredrick L. Ward , MSgt, USAF Ret

February 28, 2014 - 8:00pm

I don't think you know what you are talking about. We never had bombs in VN that were sprayed with Agent Orange that were taken back to Guam !! B-52 raids on Cambodia were designated as ARC LIGHT missions and under the control of Sky-Spot radar sites. Believe me, I was there. First time in VN, 1962 again 1963 again 1964 again 1968 again 1974. I have seen it all. Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos. You name the place I probably have been there. My hooch was outside Bien Hoa in 68. Ranch-Hand C-123's flew the Agent Orange missions out of Bien Hoa. They flew straight across our compound. At least once a month they sprayed around our compound (Train Compound-Chopper call-Red Carpet) because we were on the river and had all the personal who were in control of every bomb that dropped in 3 Corps located there. Get rid of us and it helped them. We never let that happen. We were attacked all the time and the morning I was due to leave, they opened up with 2.75 rockets and mortars. I was on my way to the latrine to shower and jumped into a ditch to take cover. (fortunately I was not in Thailand and would have to jump into a binjo ditch) If you don't know what this is you have never been to the Far East!!

Fredrick L. Ward , MSgt, USAF Ret

February 28, 2014 - 8:20pm

I knew the Arc-Light missions were coming out of Guam and Diego in the Indian Ocean. However The repots of Agent Orange being sprayed on the bombs prior to upload in Guam and Diego was not known in-country. The same as Agent Orange being sprayed on Eglin AFB in the 60's and 70's. We did not know.

Ed M.

February 28, 2014 - 11:12am

I attempted to get an appointment with the VA for the 1st time in the 44 years I have been home from Nam. Believe I have an AO related problem and PTSD. Got the appointment, took 12 weeks. Two weeks before appointment got called and the appointment was changed to two month down the road. There are major probnlems with the VA, management needs to be revamped and some fired. 35 year member of the Legion, Paid Up For Life.

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:51pm

the VA is cutting back, not your fault roll with the punches. in order to collect on AO you must have a listed disease otherwise the VA will deny you. PTSD is good though.

Fred Ward

February 28, 2014 - 8:03pm

Mike, were you station in VN, IIICorp DASC center. in 68-69?

Robert Lathe

February 28, 2014 - 12:52am

I was in the Air Force from '63 to '69. Went to Tech School in Denver, CO (Lowry AFB)from late '63 until Aug. '64. The last two weeks of school was at a field site at Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver where we were exposed to Agent Orange. Was denied as I was not "boots on the ground" in Nam. Doesn't change the fact that I was exposed to that nasty defoliant.

Fredrick L. Ward , MSgt, USAF Ret

February 28, 2014 - 8:06pm

Robert, I too was exposed to Agent Orange at Eglin AFB in 68. They sprayed the entire area to see what effect it would have on the folks on the ground. Never did they tell the people what they were doing.

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:52pm

try again, if you have written proof the VA will grant you

bill pomeroy

March 2, 2014 - 12:10pm

The entire C&P process is a circus. I have many stories I could tell, but I'll keep this as short as possible. I filed for C&P benefits in ~ 1980 for exposure to these defoliants. In 2012 or so, I received a monetary settlement from what had become the Nehmer case. It only took 30+ years to reach a woefully underfunded payout due to Agt O exposure. I also expected ongoing compensation as well, since at least 3 of my conditions were granted as service connected - but all were rated at 0%. Do u know of any reason for the VA to ignore that claim as well as so many others??

bill pomeroy

March 2, 2014 - 12:07pm

The entire C&P process is a circus. I have many stories I could tell, but I'll keep this as short as possible. I filed for C&P benefits in ~ 1980 for exposure to these defoliants. In 2012 or so, I received a monetary settlement from what had become the Nehmer case. It only took 30+ years to reach a woefully underfunded payout due to Agt O exposure. I also expected ongoing comp as well, since at least 3 of my conditions were granted service connected - but all at 0%. Do u know of any reason for the VA to ignote that claim as well as so many others??

Fredrick L. Ward , MSgt, USAF Ret

February 28, 2014 - 8:22pm

Again, I ask Mike Butler, were you in VN?

Mary Farr

February 28, 2014 - 12:04pm

My son was exposed at Eglin AFB. Verified. Keep at it.

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:53pm

Englin sprayed AO all over the Everglades for 7 years.

Terry Michaels

February 27, 2014 - 10:08pm

I was at the Finance Service Center. In Okinawa, we did money runs to Viet Nam and all over the Far East.We flew in planes and choppers. I have a lot of symptoms , but was turned down they say I was not there. We changed MPC, in Korea, the 214 th brought their choppers from Nam. I went to different sights to address Finance problems on these choppers. Different posts during 1973 to 1975. The problem I see is that if they approve al that were affected, they would go broke so they will just let some die. We are just numbers!

H. Taylor

February 27, 2014 - 7:57pm

Good luck on getting American Legion to help with anything , I ask them to help me fill out some paper work for V.A. they told me to go to the local county Vet office.

J Bowers

March 6, 2014 - 4:21pm

Go to your D.A.V -Rep they will help you.

GR

February 27, 2014 - 6:49pm

Many former Civilian workers at CC Army Depot at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, TX that had direct contact with the helicopters coming back for repairs from Viet Nam were contaminated also. It has been years of attempting to claim compensation from DOL. Many are dying and have died of similar diseases but all their claims have been denied.

Robert Xavier Betancourt Junior

February 27, 2014 - 7:30pm

Same thing at Dugway Proving Grounds Utah 1963-1964 where I made the film by being volunteered. The Defense Department said it does not exist. So why are areas of Dugway contaminated?

GSA

February 27, 2014 - 6:27pm

I served in transport areas for AO and loading. I now have Lymphoma, Type II diabetes and Neuropathy. I filed a claim and was denied it being service related. Again like above I didn't touch the ground in Vietnam but had exposure none the less. My oncologist and a team of Doctor's have all written statements about it being a direct result but so far to no avail.

Mary Howard

February 27, 2014 - 5:40pm

This is so discouraging. Thank you for your service. My husband also served in Vietnam. He has several serious illness. We are in the paperwork process.

Anonymous

February 27, 2014 - 5:20pm

YES ; I WENT TO VIET=NAM (7) TIMES FROM 1967 1968,19691970,AND 1971. I WAS ONBOARD THE U.S.S. TRUXTUN DLG(N) 35 1967,1968,1968. WE DID PLANE GUARD ON THE CARRIERS. THEN ALSO STOPPED ALL JUNKS COMING INTO THE GULF. WE REMOVED THEN AND TRANSFERED THEM TO THE PHILLIPINES FOR TRANSFER BACK TO CONUS. THEN WAS ON BOARD THE U.S.S. CHICAGO CG-11 UNTIL 12/1971. THEN I WAS SENT INTO (DA=NANG) ("OVER=NIGHT") FOR TRANSFER BACK TO CONUS. BOTH TIMES I FEEL I WAS EXPOSED TO AGENT. ("REASONABLE DOUBT") IS THEIR VERSION OF BEING EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE. THEY STILL SAY AFTER OVER 20 TEARS. THEY SAY I DO NOT QUALIFY.? I HAVE HAD DIABETES ll SINCE 1981. THEN PROSTATE CANCER. WHICH I UNDER WENT MICROWAVE TREATMENT'S ON MY BLADDER. THEN THE CANCER WAS STILL THERE. SO THEN I UNDER-WENT 43 RADIATION TREATMENT'S. THE CANCER IS FINALLY GONE.? THEY STILL SAY I AM NOT QUALIFIED.? WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO DO.? THIS IS (BEYOND) ("REASONIBLE") RETIRED U.S.N. 1958 = 1979. MMCS.

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:54pm

try again, tell them you was to see a judge

Mary Farr

February 28, 2014 - 12:09pm

Contact your Congressman; Jeff Miller is on the Veterans Committee; they are also investigating the VA Hospitals. Do not give up. My Son was exposed at Eglin AFB FL when Monsanto was testing. Keep digging on the internet; I found lots of reports.

Maynard Zinn

February 27, 2014 - 4:25pm

My peripheral neuropathy started in 2000, and they denied my claim because the disease didn't begin within one year of exposure and wasn't resolved within 2 years. This disease isn't resolved within 2 years. I have had this for 14 years and it is progressing up both legs so that I will probably be in a wheelchair before long.

bill pomeroy

March 2, 2014 - 12:29pm

I sympathize with u, as I have had same experience in multiple claims: 1) u had to show the evidence within a year of service - I was exposed to Hep C, which led to cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy, among others. I filed that claim and received a similar response - but the medical community didn't even "discover" this type of hepatitis until 1980 or 1990. Either way, the exposures occurred in 1972, so how can one satisfy that stupid rule? Same thing for hearing loss, tinnitus, 40 years of documented dermatology problems - most all of which resulted from laying face down with 2 pieces of shell fragments in my back that were left uncleaned and openly exposed at the 95th EVAC field hospital for 6-8 hours before it came to my turn. Good luck.

Michael Butler DAV Service Officer

February 28, 2014 - 2:55pm

the VA doesn't grant only for peripheral neuropathy also have to have diabetes II with it and you'll get 40%. if no diabetes they will not grant

Wayne Macejak - DSO-IL

February 27, 2014 - 4:31pm

The VA recognizes peripheral neuropathy that begins within a year of exposure to Agent Orange as a primary condition. If you have type 2 diabetes and the neuropathy began after your diabetes, the neuropathy may be related/caused by your diabetes. In that case you could put in a claim for the neuropathy as secondary to the diabetes. You would need a medical opinion to support your claim for secondary service connection.

Harold C. Brown, Jr.

January 9, 2014 - 4:06pm

Submitted paperwork to VA reflecting service in Vietnam, Okinawa and Korea. Each of these areas had AO and I suffered prostate cancer after the fact in 2007 having been in those area between 62 and 75. I also suffered COPD and was using the CPAP machine for over a year. Each was given zero [0] benefit from VA this past year. Complied with what VA wanted submitted; only to be denied everything. Why? What am I supposed to do? I'm asking for assistance from someone who can help me specifically. I may be contacted at: 210-391-6290 if a Service officer will call me. I am a American Legion member of Post #184, Grand Prairie, TX.

bill pomeroy

March 2, 2014 - 12:44pm

I had similar problems in that area, and after 2 denials on claims that I felt were obviously legitimate and fully supported with the evidence submitted. At that point, I was at the end of my rope, so I decided to hire some VA-oriented attys to appeal the case for me and be sure it is filed properly. You are supposed to receive medical files they used in their rating denials, but it was full of errors. I hired the Allsup Group in Illinois; as with social security, their fees are capped at a very reasonable amount. My medical records that were supposed to be provided within 90 days still haven't arrived after 270+ days, and I was told it now takes over 540 days to get those records to my atty. Atty will tell u your chances of winning an appeal so they only accept cases where they will get paid. I just googled VA claims atty, so give it try and good luck.

Bill F.

February 27, 2014 - 11:04pm

The Department of Texas has some pretty good Paid Service Officers including one nearby in Waco. I suggues that you contact he through the Department office in Austin. Good luck. Post 453 Dallas TX

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