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Jun 5 10 10:08 AM
Jun 5 10 12:13 PM
Jun 5 10 12:59 PM
Jun 5 10 1:04 PM
The following is a letter from the Acting Secretary to Sen. Daniel K. Akaka in a response to his inquiry.
VA Tells Congress there is no AO in Thailand
The following is an OCR conversion of the original PDF image file:
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR BENEFITSWASHINGTON D C 20420
October 6, 2008
The Honorable Daniel K. AkakaChairmanCommittee on Veterans’ AffairsUnited States SenateWashington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Thank you for your correspondence concerning our nation’s veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam era. You asked about the relationship between their sen/ice and the use of herbicides on military bases in Thailand and whether the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should acknowledge that these veterans were exposed to herbicides. You also provided copies of various official military documents that describe the use of herbicides in Southeast Asia, including limited use in Thailand.
VA regulations provide for the presumptive service connection of certain diseases based on herbicide exposure. Such exposure is presumed for any veteran who served on the ground or the inland waterways of the Republic of Vietnam between January 6, 1962 and May 7, 1975. Herbicide exposure is also acknowledged on a direct basis for veterans who served in specific military units stationed on the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) between April 1968 and July 1969.
In Vietnam, the extensive aerial spraying of herbicides conducted by the US - Air Force during Operation Ranch Hand resulted in a situation where any veteran stationed in the country could have been exposed. VA has extended the , presumption of exposure to ali in-country Vietnam veterans because of this widespread and well-documented herbicide spraying. In Korea, the use of herbicides on the DMZ during the 1968 to 1969 time frame has been established by Department of Defense documents, and the specific infantry and artillery units stationed at or near the DMZ during that time frame are known. As a result, herbicide exposure is acknowledged on a direct basis for veterans assigned to one of these units. The evidence establishing significant herbicide use in both Vietnam and along the Korean DMZ is clear and convincing and has led to the recognition of exposure for those that ser\/ed there. Sen/ice in Thailand, however, is a different matter.
Page 2.The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka
The available evidence, including the documents submitted with your correspondence, does not show widespread herbicide use or direct exposure among specific units. The military documents that refer to herbicide use on air bases in Thailand generally focus on limited use to control perimeter vegetation for security purposes. There are no statements of extensive use and there are numerous statements referring to the difficulty in obtaining herbicides and the local Thai government’s prohibitions against herbicide use. One Department of the Air Force document states that “use of these agents was limited by such factors as the ROE [rules of engagement] and supply problems.” lt further states that the “lengthy process [to acquire herbicides], and the inability to go beyond the fences, significantly limited the use of these agents at many bases.”
Another military document, referring to herbicide use at the Nakhon Phanom base, states that “use of herbicides kept the growth under control in the fenced areas.” These documents indicate limited herbicide use, primarily in a fenced perimeter, rather than an extensive use that would have significantly impacted base personnel.
The most thoroughly documented use of herbicides in Thailand occurred in the southern jungle area of Pran Buri during 1964 and 1965, where testing of various agents occurred in a one by three mile plot of land that was far removed from any US military installation. This testing did not involve aerial spraying in the vicinity of US military personnel.
The limited nature of herbicide use in Thailand is reinforced in a letter sent from the Department ofthe Air Force to the Honorable Lane Evans, dated June 30, 2005, which responded to an inquiry about any association between the Operation Ranch Hand spraying of herbicides in Vietnam and the US installations in Thailand. The letter makes it clear that the Operation Ranch Hand C-123 aircraft were all stationed in Vietnam, not Thailand, and only on rare occasions were there brief stops in Thailand during spraying missions targeting Laos. The letter further states that there is no record of herbicide storage in Thailand, but that, when available, herbicides could be used iocaiiy by base commanders for defoliation using hand held or vehicle-mounted dispensers. This official information does not indicate extensive, or any specific, use of herbicides in Thailand.
Based on the available military documents, including those described above, VA has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to acknowledge herbicide exposure for any individual veteran or any specific military unit based solely on service in the country of Thailand during the Vietnam era. However, this does not preclude potential service connection on a direct basis if VA is able to obtain evidence of actual herbicide exposure in individual cases.
Page 3The Honorable Daniel K Akaka
When regional offices receive a claim based on herbicide exposure from veterans who served in Thailand, it is forwarded to the VA “Agent Orange Mailbox” for evaluation of available evidence. lf evidence for exposure cannot be found, it is then sent to the Army and Joint Services Records Research Center for further research on potential exposure. Exposure will be acknowledged when possible, and the benefit of doubt will be given to all veterans
Jun 5 10 1:13 PM
My comments do not reflect my views on AO pro or con.This is a can of worms in my opinion. The person or group who wrote thishad never set foot on small army base carved out of the jungle in NorthernThailand. My prediction is that eventually this will include boots on the ground for Thailand. For example class 6 stores, swimming pools,footballfields and baseball diamonds. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Along with air bases, there were some small Army installations established in Thailand during this period, which may also have used perimeter herbicides in the same manner as the air bases. Therefore, if a US Army Veteran claims a disability based on herbicide exposure and the Veteran was a member of a military police (MP) unit or was assigned an MP MOS and states that his duty placed him at or near the base perimeter, then herbicide exposure on a facts found or direct basis should be acknowledged for this Veteran. The difference in approach for US Army Veterans is based on the fact that some MPs had criminal investigation duties rather than base security duties. Therefore, the Veterans lay statement is required to establish security duty on the base perimeter"-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GG67-68 Vietnam70-71-Udorn Thailand -7TH RR FSUS Army
The first EM club at the 7th.
These next two pictures are the third site we were at in Udorn, next to the village of Nong Soong. The first site was the 207th Signal parking lot. The second was the concrete pad about 150 yards east of this picture. We operated at the pad site for six months or so, while still using the barracks at the signal corp compound. A big bus hauled us back and forth. Then in early march of 1966 we moved into this site. This was also about the time that some of the original team left, including me. Based on some pictures that I've seen on the web site, the Field Station was built just east of here, about where the second operating site was. The first picture shows "main street." In the background you can see the big roof that they built to put the M-292 vans under. Believe me, it made them much more bearable to be in. In front of that you can see the M-292 van that the CO used for his office. Across the street is the little Volkswagen bus that we used as a shuttle to get into town, go to the Air base, and any other errand that might come up. Sort of the unit taxi. The little red car is a Sunbeam Alpine that was owned by the maintenance foreman. It had a bad electrical system, and would never start, so we would have to push it for him. Fortunately the car was pretty light, and it wasn't a problem.
Jun 5 10 2:08 PM
Jun 9 10 10:47 AM
Jun 9 10 11:23 AM
A Veteran DID get approved for Agent Orange exposure in Thailand:
Jun 9 10 11:40 AM
Jun 9 10 12:09 PM
Jun 9 10 1:05 PM
Of course the ARVN warehouse folks were well known for their firm stance and pre-emptive strikes against black market diversion of any and all US supplied goods.
Jun 9 10 8:20 PM
I don't think the ARVN ever warehoused Agent Orange.
Jun 10 10 3:06 PM
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Jun 11 10 7:26 AM
Oct 22 10 12:42 PM
New to this site. In July I filed a AO claim for IHD, Diabetes type II, Hypertension, Tinnitus, and hearing loss. My tour of duty was at NKP, 56th SPS. The whole tour was on the perimeter. I had a triple by-pass and aortic valve replacement in 1997. 5 stent placements in 2004. The stents did not help. I have a tortuous coronary artery that due to it having an abrupt change in direction, cannot be stented. The 5 stents were above this artery in hopes of helping the blood folow. It did not help. I continue to have significant chest pains with minimal activity. I am not SC but do use a local VA and they file my insurance. I have paid the VA thousands of dollars in co-pays and what insurance did not pay. I have been paying them 100.00 per month for the last 3-4 years. My balance was up to 1200.00 last year. The VA seized my state tax returns (850.00) last year and are poised to do so again this year. I am not asking any specific questions, just waiting on the CRA to expire so I can get some kind of answer. Will the VA pay me back my past taxes they seized if I turn out to be SC?
Oct 22 10 6:14 PM
He had documentation on his performance reports showing he worked on the system that dispensed Agent Orange from Bombers.
Oct 22 10 6:31 PM
Mar 22 13 2:47 PM
Mar 22 13 5:03 PM
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