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"boots-on-the-ground" Vietnam In-country Dva Policy/requirement For Ao Claims

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Posted

Last spring, I was rejected/denied for the 4th time by the DVA for my AO claim (I have chloracne and DMII diabetes). In 1990, the Boise VAMC took tissue samples from me during an AO screening and their doctors did find dioxin/AO in my fat tissue. I was then placed on the DVA's official Agent Orange registry, but in the same 1990 notification letter...the DVA refused to acknowledge or treat my chloracne -- even though the skin sores/lesions started during my second tour in 1972-73. The Boise VAMC doctors labeled it as a form of folliculitis (<--- spelling?) and not caused by AO exposure.

I served at Nankon Phanom Air Base (NKP) in northeasternmost Thailand (across the Mekong River from Laos). As required on occasion per Task Force Alpha, I went on interdiction missions into Laos along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The HCM trail was frequently/heavily defoliated with AO, plus the perimeter of NKP was AO defoliated. I watched the C-123s spray and knew enlisted personnel on the flightline who loaded the AO onto those planes. At our commander's meetings, we "enlisted" were told it was pesticide that was being sprayed around the base perimeter for mosquito control. How stupid did our officers think we were? After those sprayings, the mosquitoes continued to thrive, while all the plantlife died.

Back to my most recent denial: for this claim attempt - I had the DAV as my representative/service officer. The resulting DVA denial letter informed me that a review of my service records showed that I had not put "boots-on-the-ground" in-country Vietnam, therefore I was not eligible for my AO DMII claim or any other AO-related claim. My state DAV service officer then told me that I could appeal, but I would be wasting my time and everyone elses since I had not been within the borders of Vietnam proper.

I did a Google search plus a search on this forum's search engine and really didn't get any definitive insight on this "boots-on-the-ground" in-country service policy requirement for AO comp claims.

For my NKP/TFA tour, I was awarded the VSM, RVCR, and the AFCM.

On the Yahoo AO "Spring-Into-Action" forum, one of the moderators told me that former DVA Secretary Principi was responsible to this "boots-on-the-ground" in-country Vietnam policy and it was done to eliminate AO-exposed veterans like myself who served in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand from qualifying for compensation claims....strictly a beancounting measure by Principi to reduce the number of compensated claims/awards. Is this true??

Any insight or feedback would be appreciated. -- Michael

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19 answers to this question

Posted

Michael- Welcome aboard here and thank you for your service-

Veterans have had success in AO claims without Vietnam "visitation" , as the regs state.

This case is one of them:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp98/files1/9800877.txt

The veteran served on Okinawa-

He had prostrate cancer on the AO list.

He successfully proved to the BVA that he had been exposed to AO on Okinawa and was awarded AO VA comp.

Do you have a copy of the dioxin tests results you mentioned?

I realised today- pulling up this claim- that Congressman Lane Evans

had written to Rumsfield years ago- as to whether or not AO was there- on Okinawa where Evans had served-with no answer I know of , yet this vet proved it was there.

This isn't going to be easy- but you said you have a dioxin test that shows it was in your system.

In the denials you got has VA acknowledged that and given any

explanation as to how they think it got there?

Do you have all of your SMRs?

If not I suggest you go to :

http://www.archives.gov/

then click on Military service records- you can fill out the SF 180 on line or print it off-

If you do it on line they will have a bar coded thing for you to print off ,sign, and mail to them to assofiate with your request.

I would ask for- if I were you- all Service medical records, and any service personnel records showing your destinations and arrivals-anything they have-

Your unit might well have a web site where you could possibly find someone who could verify the AO being used there-

This vet- AO from Thailand- almost lost his comp but got it back:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp04/files2/0418252.txt

There are some key issues in the claim that all vets should take note of-

the VA did not come up with any evidence to the contrary as to his actual exposure-

I mean the part about the Hayes :

"It is not disputed that the veteran served in Ubon, Thailand,

and worked on the Hayes Dispenser weapons system on B57

aircraft. It is not disputed that the Hayes Dispenser

weapons system and B57 aircraft were used in the Operation

Ranch Hand defoliation program. It is not disputed that the

defoliation program continued during the time period the

veteran worked on the Hayes Dispenser weapons system. It is

not disputed that the veteran developed a lympho histiocytic

type of malignant lymphoma shortly after his discharge from

active service.

On the other hand, it could not be verified that B-57G

aircraft were used to spray herbicides during 1970 and 1971,

and it could not be confirmed that Ranch Hand aircraft flew

missions out of Ubon, Thailand. "

The VA tried to CUE itself to sever his SC comp but they could not succeed.

There was too much 'more than likely' as to the Hayes aircraft and that they were likely contaminated with AO.

Another point- since you were found with dioxin in your system-

that would certainly support a good IMO-Independent Medical Opinion-

these are costly and it should come from an environmental medical specialist but it could be well worth the money-

I feel you should certainly appeal this decision, and make sure you send the VA copies of anything they dont have- as listed on the evidence page of the decision-

There has been much pressure on the VA about the Blue Water regs- regs which deny service connection to Navy vets who were-in my mind-certainly exposed to AO in many cases- in Vietnam's offshore waters

and have AO disabilities but did not step on Vietnam soil.

You are not alone in having AO disabilities that the VA does not want to recognise yet you can see from above claims- that persistence and evidence can pay off.

Berta

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Posted

On the Yahoo AO "Spring-Into-Action" forum, one of the moderators told me that former DVA Secretary Principi was responsible to this "boots-on-the-ground" in-country Vietnam policy and it was done to eliminate AO-exposed veterans like myself who served in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand from qualifying for compensation claims....strictly a beancounting measure by Principi to reduce the number of compensated claims/awards. Is this true??

No, actually it's not true. None of it. There is no such thing as a requirement for "boots-on-the-ground" in Vietnam to be eligible for consideration under AO presumption. It isn't written anywhere in statute, regulation or OGC Precedent Opinion. The defining document is VAOPGCPREC 27-97

This is an opinion by the VA's Office of General Council and it is binding on all VA employee's. The OGC is the Veteran's Administration's in house lawyers. In the 90's there was a lot of confusion as to the definition of "in the Republic of Vietnam" which is the delimiting phrase used in US Code governing AO Presumption. The Secretary of the DVA asked the OGC to examine the statutes, the Congressional Record and the Federal Register to determine what Congress intended when they wrote the legislation. The result was VAOPGCPREC 27-97. Now, OGC 27-97 isn't law or regulation but it is binding on all VA employee's until such time as a court of law says otherwise or Congress passes additional legislation to modify the statutes.

OGC 27-97 was the 27th opinion rendered in 1997, long before Principi became Secretary. Jesse Brown was Secretary from 93-97 when he was replaced by Togo West in 12/97. So you can see it had nothing to do with Anthony J. Principi and for what it's worth, there is no supporting evidence it was a "bean counter" driven change.

I haven't seen the decision on your claim and you haven't told us the wording under "Reasons and Bases" so I can only guess as to what happened. If you have been denied 4 times you need to change something. Resubmitting the same old evidence isn't working. Read what it says under Reasons and Bases and provide the evidence they want.

There are two types of claims:

Direct

Presumptive

A successful direct claim will include 3 elements:

1. A diagnosis of a compensable condition

2. Military service

3. And a connection or nexus between the previous two.

In your case you need to prove Agent Orange was used where you served in Thailand & that you were exposed to it. You also need to show a diagnosis for each condition claimed.

In order to be successful in a presumptive AO claim you must satisfy the first two elements above and prove you served in The Republic of Vietnam. If you can prove that, you will be presumed to have been exposed to AO and that it caused the conditions claimed provided they are one of the eleven accepted conditions.

Unless you can prove service in country, you are left with a direct claim. Service anywhere other than Vietnam or Korea on the DMZ doesn't qualify for AO presumption.

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Posted

Michael- Welcome aboard here and thank you for your service-

Veterans have had success in AO claims without Vietnam "visitation" , as the regs state.

This case is one of them:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp98/files1/9800877.txt

The veteran served on Okinawa-

He had prostrate cancer on the AO list.

**Muchas gracias for this case link and the other one (Thailand related) on your other note. I have checked them both out. Definitely interesting and most likely useful for my case.

He successfully proved to the BVA that he had been exposed to AO on Okinawa and was awarded AO VA comp.

Do you have a copy of the dioxin tests results you mentioned?

**No....just the letter from 1990 DVA letter stating that due to the findings from my Boise VAMC AO screening/diagnostic tests, I had been added to the official DVA AO Registry.

I realised today- pulling up this claim- that Congressman Lane Evans

had written to Rumsfield years ago- as to whether or not AO was there- on Okinawa where Evans had served-with no answer I know of , yet this vet proved it was there.

This isn't going to be easy- but you said you have a dioxin test that shows it was in your system.

In the denials you got has VA acknowledged that and given any

explanation as to how they think it got there?

Do you have all of your SMRs?

If not I suggest you go to :

http://www.archives.gov/

**SMR = Service Medical Records? If yes, then I don't have them. I'll follow your instructions and do & submit the SF 180.

then click on Military service records- you can fill out the SF 180 on line or print it off-

If you do it on line they will have a bar coded thing for you to print off ,sign, and mail to them to assofiate with your request.

I would ask for- if I were you- all Service medical records, and any service personnel records showing your destinations and arrivals-anything they have-

Your unit might well have a web site where you could possibly find someone who could verify the AO being used there-

**Someone else suggested this and I tried Google for my unit....nothing. Any other suggestions besides a Google search?

This vet- AO from Thailand- almost lost his comp but got it back:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp04/files2/0418252.txt

There are some key issues in the claim that all vets should take note of-

the VA did not come up with any evidence to the contrary as to his actual exposure-

I mean the part about the Hayes :

"It is not disputed that the veteran served in Ubon, Thailand,

and worked on the Hayes Dispenser weapons system on B57

aircraft. It is not disputed that the Hayes Dispenser

weapons system and B57 aircraft were used in the Operation

Ranch Hand defoliation program. It is not disputed that the

defoliation program continued during the time period the

veteran worked on the Hayes Dispenser weapons system. It is

not disputed that the veteran developed a lympho histiocytic

type of malignant lymphoma shortly after his discharge from

active service.

On the other hand, it could not be verified that B-57G

aircraft were used to spray herbicides during 1970 and 1971,

and it could not be confirmed that Ranch Hand aircraft flew

missions out of Ubon, Thailand. "

The VA tried to CUE itself to sever his SC comp but they could not succeed.

There was too much 'more than likely' as to the Hayes aircraft and that they were likely contaminated with AO.

Another point- since you were found with dioxin in your system-

that would certainly support a good IMO-Independent Medical Opinion-

these are costly and it should come from an environmental medical specialist but it could be well worth the money-

**My wife (M.D. in audiology and Ph.D in deaf education) thought this was a good suggestion and encouraged me to do it. I have double insurance (hers through the university and my Medicare) so maybe I can limit the cost some? Worth a try.

I feel you should certainly appeal this decision, and make sure you send the VA copies of anything they dont have- as listed on the evidence page of the decision-

** Again, exactly what my wife has been encouraging me to do. Not excuses, but this past year has been more insane, stressful, and time-demanding than any time previously in my life. In addition to my job and my wife's and my ongoing physical health issues, both of my parents have been and remain in critical health. My Dad has been in-and-out of hospital ICUs 3 times so far this year. My Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer last February. She had surgery, then radiation, and then 6 chemo treatments. It sadly didn't stop that damned cancer from metastasizing. She's now terminal and on hospice. Two weeks ago, I just returned back to New Mexico from a 3 week visit with them (Dad's in an Ohio continuing care nursing facility and Mom is in central Florida). That was my 3rd trip so far this year.

There has been much pressure on the VA about the Blue Water regs- regs which deny service connection to Navy vets who were-in my mind-certainly exposed to AO in many cases- in Vietnam's offshore waters

and have AO disabilities but did not step on Vietnam soil.

You are not alone in having AO disabilities that the VA does not want to recognise yet you can see from above claims- that persistence and evidence can pay off.

**I don't want to give up, but my plate has been and remains overly full. Reading that appeals decision about that other Nankon Phanom veteran who was finally approved for his AO-related claim....and that other veteran from Ubon Air Base just down river from NKP....how the hell does the DVA get away with dissing my virtually identical claim??? It makes no sense and reeks of illegalities and immoral/unethical treatment. Muchas gracias, Berta. Please also read my reply to TinCup Man for more specifics about my denial. -- Michael

Berta

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No, actually it's not true. None of it. There is no such thing as a requirement for "boots-on-the-ground" in Vietnam to be eligible for consideration under AO presumption. It isn't written anywhere in statute, regulation or OGC Precedent Opinion. The defining document is VAOPGCPREC 27-97

This is an opinion by the VA's Office of General Council and it is binding on all VA employee's. The OGC is the Veteran's Administration's in house lawyers. In the 90's there was a lot of confusion as to the definition of "in the Republic of Vietnam" which is the delimiting phrase used in US Code governing AO Presumption. The Secretary of the DVA asked the OGC to examine the statutes, the Congressional Record and the Federal Register to determine what Congress intended when they wrote the legislation. The result was VAOPGCPREC 27-97. Now, OGC 27-97 isn't law or regulation but it is binding on all VA employee's until such time as a court of law says otherwise or Congress passes additional legislation to modify the statutes.

**TinCupMan: from the DVA's 6/30/05 Notice of Disagreement (in iresponse to my filing that disagreement) and also so stated on the original 11/22/04 DVA decision (denial):

"We determined that the following condition was not related to your military service, so service connection couldn't be granted. Medical Description: Diabetes mellitus, type II associated with herbicide exposure is denied because you did not serve in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam Era."

Also: "You contend that although you had service in Thailand and Laos (not confirmed by military personnel records), you were exposed to Agent Orange as a result of aerial spraying at Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand. For informational purposes, the VA presumes that any veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962 and ending on May 7, 1975, was exposed to an herbicide agent during such service. In the Republic of Vietnam means that you must have been in-country on land. Your service records showed overseas service in Thailand only from September 1969 to September 1970. Your service records did not confirm any possible exposure to Agent Orange."

The "interesting" thing about the DVA's comment ("not confirmed by military personnel records") is along with this most recent claim - I had submitted my DD-214 that clearly displays both of my SEA tours -- my first tour (Don Muang Air Base, Thailand 9/69 - 9/70) and my second tour at Nakhon Phanom Air Base from 9/72 - 9/73. I also presented a copy of my AFCM that was awarded to me due to my radio operator and interdiction missions service while I was at Nakhon Phanom Air Base 9/72 - 9/73. I presented a copy of the DVA's 1990 letter notifying me that due to the results of my AO medical exam at the Boise VAMC, I had been added to the DVA's official AO Registry. I'm still on that registry (I confirmed recently) and since then, I have received and still receive mailings of the DVA's "Agent Orange Review.

But neither the 11/04 DVA denial nor the 6/05 Notice of Disagreement mentioned any of those records/documents....and both DVA missives state that I only served one tour (the 9/69 - 9/70 one) in Thailand....despite both of my tours clearly documented on my DD-214, etc..

Also from the 2nd quoted passage above, "In the Republic of Vietnam means that you must have been in-country on land," my state DAV service officer informed me that this was the DVA's way to explain how the the "boots-on-the-ground Vietnam in-country" policy had impacted me/my denial.

I hope that this addresses some of your questions, TinCupMan. I've been dissed by the DVA....yet again. -- Michael

OGC 27-97 was the 27th opinion rendered in 1997, long before Principi became Secretary. Jesse Brown was Secretary from 93-97 when he was replaced by Togo West in 12/97. So you can see it had nothing to do with Anthony J. Principi and for what it's worth, there is no supporting evidence it was a "bean counter" driven change.

I haven't seen the decision on your claim and you haven't told us the wording under "Reasons and Bases" so I can only guess as to what happened. If you have been denied 4 times you need to change something. Resubmitting the same old evidence isn't working. Read what it says under Reasons and Bases and provide the evidence they want.

There are two types of claims:

Direct

Presumptive

A successful direct claim will include 3 elements:

1. A diagnosis of a compensable condition

2. Military service

3. And a connection or nexus between the previous two.

In your case you need to prove Agent Orange was used where you served in Thailand & that you were exposed to it. You also need to show a diagnosis for each condition claimed.

In order to be successful in a presumptive AO claim you must satisfy the first two elements above and prove you served in The Republic of Vietnam. If you can prove that, you will be presumed to have been exposed to AO and that it caused the conditions claimed provided they are one of the eleven accepted conditions.

Unless you can prove service in country, you are left with a direct claim. Service anywhere other than Vietnam or Korea on the DMZ doesn't qualify for AO presumption.

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In those cases I posted - clearly the veterans had done a lot of leg work-

the Thailand vet's documentation was quite detailed.

Something you said in your post has bothered me-

In 1990 the VA was not doing tests on veterans for dioxin-

by 1997 - The Environmental Agency Services in conjunction with the VA Central Office determined no dioxin tests would be performed by VA :

"No special Agent Orange tests are offered since there is no test to show if a veteran's medical problem was caused by Agent Orange or other herbicides used in Vietnam. There are tests that show the level of dioxin in human fat and blood, but such tests are not done by VA because there is serious question about their value to veterans. In January 1992, VA signed a contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) under which, among other things, the NAS considered the feasibility and possible value of dioxin level blood tests for Vietnam veterans who apply for VA medical care or VA disability compensation. In its July 1993 report, the NAS concluded that individual TCDD levels in Vietnam veterans are usually not meaningful because of common background exposures to TCDD, poorly understood variations among individuals in TCDD metabolism, relatively large measurement errors, and exposure to herbicides that did not contain TCDD."

This is what the medical examiner said to me in 1994 when I asked for a dioxin test during autopsy of my deceased husband. His exposure had already been confirmed anyhow by the AO Settlement Fund.

You had to prove definitive exposure as well as the fact that AO was where you were.

I dont doubt your claim- dont get me wrong-

here is a Thailand vet who could prove he had a brief stopover in Vietnam before serving in Thailand:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files3/0515988.txt

He was granted Service connection for AO Diabetes mellitus.

If you could prove you did have a stop over in Nam or find detailed information as to how you were exposed to AO-this is what the VA needs.

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I hope that this addresses some of your questions, TinCupMan. I've been dissed by the DVA....yet again. -- Michael

It answered the questions I had but raised additional questions. From the VA response under "Reasons and Bases" it appears they believed you were making a presumptive claim under AO exposure for service in Vietnam. If that's an accurate assumption of your claim, you can expect to be unsuccessful. I don't know of nor have I heard of any veteran making such a claim be successful. I note the decision maker's comment: "In the Republic of Vietnam means that you must have been in-country on land," to be inaccurate. I guess that represents his understanding of OGC 27-97 but nowhere does it state anything about in-country or on land. I think he is wrong in that respect since OGC 27-97 uses various phrases such as "within the borders of the Republic of Vietnam" or "in the Republic of Vietnam" or "within the boundaries of the Republic" but doesn't require one to be on land. I know of numerous blue water awards for AO presumption where the veteran served on a deep water hull that operated on the rivers and/or certain enclosed bays. They convinced both RO's and the BVA that service on a river w/o having been on land was qualifying.

None of that helps you any as your service appears to have been exclusively outside the Republic of Vietnam. In that case you will need to prove you were exposed to AO in whatever venue you served. Some veterans have managed to prove exposure in Okinawa, Guam and a few continental sites but I don't know of one that did so for Laos or Thailand to date.

You complain the VA didn't mention your 2nd tour or your AFCM. I don't know there was a requirement to mention it and even if they considered them, I can't understand how either would have made a difference in the outcome. I guess I don't understand why that's relevant. Can you explain? ISTM, if one tour of service outside the Republic of Vietnam doesn't qualify for AO presumption why would 2 tours, and how is the AFCM relevant? Now, lots of folks seem to interpret a denial of their claim to be tantamount to the government saying they didn't participate in the Vietnam experience when all it says is they don't qualify for a presumptive claim based on AO exposure.

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It answered the questions I had but raised additional questions. From the VA response under "Reasons and Bases" it appears they believed you were making a presumptive claim under AO exposure for service in Vietnam. If that's an accurate assumption of your claim, you can expect to be unsuccessful. I don't know of nor have I heard of any veteran making such a claim be successful. I note the decision maker's comment: "In the Republic of Vietnam means that you must have been in-country on land," to be inaccurate. I guess that represents his understanding of OGC 27-97 but nowhere does it state anything about in-country or on land. I think he is wrong in that respect since OGC 27-97 uses various phrases such as "within the borders of the Republic of Vietnam" or "in the Republic of Vietnam" or "within the boundaries of the Republic" but doesn't require one to be on land.

**TinCanMan: Two things that relate to OGC 27-97. First, both the initial 11/05 denial notification from the DVA and then the DVA's subsequent reply to my written disagreement of the denial decision specifically referred to OGC 27-97 when explaining why my having never been within the borders of Vietnam was the key/legal component for my AO DMII claim denial.

Secondly, after I had carefully reviewed the contents of the 11/05 DVA notice of denial, I submitted my written disagreement to both the DVA and to the National Office of DAV. Virtually all the documents that I had provided to the state DAV SO were not amongst the items (documents/records) listed by the DVA as having been part of the review for my denial decision. Without going into lengthy details, I'll just say that during our meeting - the state DAV SO did his best to discourage me from filing the claim (specifically - paraphrasing: "since the DVA has denied the AO handlers from Korat Air Base, I didn't have a chance....that I would be wasting his time, my time, and the DVA's time by filing my AO claim.) The DAV SO also told me about the DVA's relatively new "boots-on-the-ground" Vietnam in-country requirement for AO claims and my Thailand/Laos service simply meant I would be denied. At the end of our meeting, the DAV SO reluctantly took copies my documents/records.

After I had received the DVA's 11/05 denial, the state DAV SO wouldn't return my numerous call back messages. Finally, his secretary told me bluntly that my denial was exactly as he (the SO) had told me during our only meeting and that any appeal would just be a further waste of the DAV's and DVA's time and resources.

So, my written disagreement to the DVA included a complaint about the "quality" of the state DAV SO's representation, thus my reason for sending a copy to the National DAV Office.

I then received a 3/2/05 letter from Edward R. Reese, Jr. - the National Service Director at the Disabled American Veterans National Service and Legislative Headquarters.

In that letter, DAV's Reese cites and includes passages from Title 38 of the CFR:

38 CFR 3.307(a)(6)(iii)

38 CFR 3.313

Plus two related VA Office of General Counsel (OGC) issued precedent opinions that further clarify the above two 38 CFR citations/passages:

VAOPGCPREC 7-93

VAOPGCPREC 27-97

All of these citations center around the qualifying criteria for being exposed to Agent Orange requiring having served/been physically present within the boundaries of Vietnam....and therefore - having served and been exposed to Agent Orange any where else within the Vietnam War's theater of operations -- such as in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand -- disqualifies any such service personnel from legally meeting the Agent Orange exposure qualifying criteria.

Two pertinent direct quotes from Reese's 3/2/05 DAV letter:

"Title 38 CFR 3.307 and 3.313, VAOPGCPREC 27-97 and VAOPGCPREC 7-93 all have a single common theme in addressing what entails service in Vietnam which ultimately triggers a presumption of Agent Orange exposure, i.e., requirement that a veteran actually have been present within the boundaries of Vietnam. Given your acknowledgment that you did not visit within the boundaries of Vietnam during the Vietnam era while you were stationed in Laos and Thailand, a presumption of Agent Orange exposure cannot legally be provided to you. Likewise, the presumption of service connection for disabilities associated with Agent Orange exposure cannot legally be provided to you."

"Mr. Lambright, DAV's Statement of Policy for Representation reads: "If the VA decides against you, we will, at your request, advise you about the appellate process and, based on the controlling laws and regulations, the probable outcome of your particular case." As controlling law and regulation specifically rule out the presumption of Agent Orange exposure and service connection that you seek, there is no legal basis to grant your claim and therefore DAV cannot put forth a legal and meritorious argument on your behalf."

So, TinCanMan, not only did the DAV concur with the DVA that my not having "been present within the boundaries of Vietnam" was legal grounds for my AO DMII claim being denied outright, but the DAV further added that they would no longer represent me if I decided to appeal ("there is no legal basis to grant your claim and therefore DAV cannot put forth a legal and meritorious agrument on your behalf").

I'm a lifetime member of DAV. That organization will never again merit any of my time or money. -- Michael

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In those cases I posted - clearly the veterans had done a lot of leg work-

the Thailand vet's documentation was quite detailed.

Something you said in your post has bothered me-

In 1990 the VA was not doing tests on veterans for dioxin-

by 1997 - The Environmental Agency Services in conjunction with the VA Central Office determined no dioxin tests would be performed by VA :

"No special Agent Orange tests are offered since there is no test to show if a veteran's medical problem was caused by Agent Orange or other herbicides used in Vietnam. There are tests that show the level of dioxin in human fat and blood, but such tests are not done by VA because there is serious question about their value to veterans. In January 1992, VA signed a contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) under which, among other things, the NAS considered the feasibility and possible value of dioxin level blood tests for Vietnam veterans who apply for VA medical care or VA disability compensation. In its July 1993 report, the NAS concluded that individual TCDD levels in Vietnam veterans are usually not meaningful because of common background exposures to TCDD, poorly understood variations among individuals in TCDD metabolism, relatively large measurement errors, and exposure to herbicides that did not contain TCDD."

**Berta....no BS. Not only did the Boise VAMC doctors take blood, skin, and fat tissue samples from me in 1990....when I tried again to file the AO chloracne claim in 1995, the Albuquerque VAMC's Chief of Dermatology (a Dr. Paul Dunn....I'll never forget his name) took skin tissue and biopsy samples of my chloracne scars/sores. Two weeks later he informed me that all I had was "folliculitis" which had nothing to do with AO/dioxin exposure. When I asked for a copy the lab results, he had a snit for my having the "audacity" to question his medical expertise and veracity. I never did get to see those lab results. I just gave up and walked away....again. Gracias....Michael

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Michael

It would appear that you have never learned to read Government language. Nowhere, in the information you posted, did I see where you were told that you could not get an award for AO exposure.

What I saw, was that as long as you file under a PRESUMPTION, you cannot get it. This means a lot of work to prove that AO was present at your location, and that you were there at the time that AO was used.

Since you are dealing with ROs and DAV officials, none of whom are necessarily adept at interpretation of the written word, it behooves you to do your own reserach into the cited rules, regulations and procedures cited, to get a thorough understanding of what they actually say.

Some of the 'fambly; have a very good understanding of the relevant literature, but not all. TinCanMan, almost always knows what he is talking about, as does Berta and Alex. Hopefully, I do too, although my memory is not what it was.

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Walter- you correctly stated exactly what is what on this issue-

we don't doubt you could have an AO illness-

but at the web site I gave you recently-

http://www.vspa.com/k9/agentorange3.htm

these are Thailand vets clearly stating the problem-and the BVA decision there shows exactly what Walter means-

http://www.va.gov/vetapp99/files2/9916522.txt AO Thailand -granted

Please note I had taken pertinent parts of this decision out of context- but these claims can be awarded-

In May 1996, the RO denied entitlement to service connection

for immunoblastic lymphoma. The RO noted that while the

veteran was clearly stationed in Thailand, he was never

stationed in Vietnam. The RO cited 38 C.F.R.

§ 3.307(a)(6)(iii) and determined that the veteran did not

meet the requirements of service in Vietnam.

The veteran filed a timely notice of disagreement (NOD) in

June 1996. He stated that while he acknowledged that he was

not stationed in Vietnam; he was stationed in Thailand, four

miles from the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He stated that he saw

Agent Orange being dropped from the helicopters above and

witnessed the vegetation die. He reported that he was

stationed at a gymnasium which was located next to the jungle

areas that were sprayed with Agent Orange.

In this case, the veteran clearly has had respiratory cancer,

which is one of those diseases incorporated in the special

presumptions with regard to disabilities as a result of

exposure to Agent Orange.

Thus, the only significant issue to be resolved is whether he

was in fact exposed to dioxins in service. The evidence in

this regard may not be independently verifiable or

overwhelming, but the aggregate data are entirely consistent

therewith. In that regard, the Board finds that the

veteran's explanations of his exposure quite credible and

historical map evidence verifies that Nakhon Phamon is on the

Thailand/Vietnam territorial border. He has provided a

comprehensive description of the activities through which he

was exposed to concentrated dioxins, while readily

acknowledging that he was never stationed within the Vietnam

border.

These asserted facts mesh well with those more readily

recognizable things for which there is no need for

verification. They also make good common sense when placed

next to the known problems such as the ongoing rain in the

Far East during that portion of the year which made the

requirement for non-soluble defoliants a reality in the first

place. All are entirely believable and consistent with the

other known information.

The service department has verified that the veteran was

indeed where he said he was, at a time when military build-up

from a support standpoint was considerable, and at a time

when warnings were not necessarily given, as he stated, since

the hazards were not fully understood. He can scarcely be

faulted for the non-verifiability of specific practices on

the Thailand border. His assertions in that regard are both

reasonable and justifiable and appear both sound and

factually accurate, all of which raises a certain premise

from which conclusions may be reasonably drawn. It is

exactly such situations in which the Court has mandated that

the Board make judgments with regard to ultimate and relative

credibility, which in this case, the Board finds in the

affirmative.

Consequently, based on the above, and giving the benefit of

the doubt, the Board finds that there is satisfactory

evidence that the veteran had active service sufficiently

proximate to if not in the Republic of Vietnam during the

Vietnam era to have sustained Agent Orange exposure and that

he is entitled to application of the presumptions relating to

such service with respect to exposure to Agent Orange under

38 C.F.R. §§ 3.307, 3.309.

The Board again notes that the veteran has a respiratory

cancer, one of the diseases for which presumptive service

connection is permitted based on exposure to Agent Orange.

38 C.F.R. §§ 3.307, 3.309.

Thus, having concluded that the veteran was exposed to

herbicides while assigned to Nakhon Phamon from 1969 to 1970,

not coincidentally concurrent with other entirely reasonable

circumstances enumerated by the veteran, the Board finds that

a doubt is thus raised which must be resolved in his favor,

and in so doing, that service connection must be granted for

immunoblastic lymphoma as being the result of Agent Orange

exposure under pertinent exceptions to the regulations. 38

U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 5107; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.303, 3.307, 3.309.

ORDER

Service connection for immunoblastic lymphoma as secondary to

Agent Orange exposure is granted.

-------------what you have to consider is- as Walter said- the theory of presumption doesn't work with these claims- proof of exposure to AO regardless of where- with resulting AO illness -is what gains service connection.

Also the above veteran was highly decorated:

"The veteran's VA DD form 214 reflects that the veteran

received the Good Conduct Medal; Good Conduct Medal with

Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Longevity Service Award Ribbon with

four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; National Defense Service

Medal; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon; Meritorious

Service Medal; NCO Professional Military Education Graduate

Ribbon; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam Service

Medal; AF Outstanding Unit Award with two Bronze Oak Leaf

Clusters; and the AF Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak

Leaf Cluster. The veteran served on foreign soil for three

years eight months and seventeen days"

But it did not matter as this is not a factor in claims of exposure to AO-

Also some of the veterans service records were missing and could not be obtained- however the BVA stated:

"Also of record are some other service documents, which

confirm assignment units, duties, locations, etc., identified

elsewhere in this decision. In this case, these are more

important to the disposition of the case."

These AO outside of Vietnam cases are no different than what most vets have to go through for any disability-

have a current diagnosis and then some documented evidence that it had a link to their service.

Service officers dont look for the evidence - the veterans have to-

This is why I believe the DAV seems negative to you-

If you get a complete copy of all of your military records there might well be the names of commanding officers or others who you could attempt to find to support any evidence of the spraying where you were in Thailand at that time-

Also- you need to access other Thailand vets-

It took me seconds to find this one at Military.com:

bjasi

Basic Training

Registered: Thu, 25 November 2004

Posts: 1

Agent Orange in Thailand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I know there's a lot of people questioning this and I'm not alone. I too, have been diagnosed with T2 Diabetes. I was @ Udorn RTAFB, Aug 70-Jul 71. Worked in 432 AMS. Any one else diagnosed with T2 while in Thailand or have knowlede of AO used in/stored at Udorn or other bases in Thailand? Of course, we had Air America at Udorn too! Who knows what they really did.

Any help/information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking all of you in advance,

Bruce Jasinski

Posts: 3938 | Registered: Tue 12 November 2002 "

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Michael:

You've gotten good advice regarding your claim from the DVA, DAV and the folks here on Hadit. The bottom line is you simply cannot win at a presumptive AO claim. This isn't working and you need to change your tactics if you want to succeed. It's just that simple.

The DAV isn't required to represent you, no service organization is. At this point it appears they feel they've done all they can. You tell us they've informed you of what you can't do but I don't see where you mention being informed of what you can do. That doesn't surprise me though as I don't see you've been any too receptive to the suggestions made here. Not all SO's are cut from the same cloth, some go the extra mile, some don't. At this point it's up to you to pursue your own claim. Learn the statutes and regulations and submit everything yourself. Keep copies of everything, then you'll be assured everything you wanted to submit gets there. There is no requirement to have a SO. You'll need to rescind the POA you signed for the DAV before you can represent yourself.

You'll need to discover evidence of AO usage where you served and need to show you were exposed there. Work with the TVVETS folks, this is what they do. The VA has a duty to assist the veteran in finding evidence to support his claim but they just send letters out to official sources asking for info. If they are ignored or told no info exists, they stop. They don't have to persist till hell freezes over. That's your job. At some point they will decide no more info exists and adjudicate your claim on what they have, usually to your detriment.

Now, as far as your chloracne goes, the VA C&P service has determined you have folliculitus and not chloracne. That is a valid medical opinion and it isn't likely to change. If you disagree with their findings, complaining about it isn't going to make a difference. You have no medical standing and your medical opinion is worthless in the eyes of the decision maker. Your option here is to accept their diagnosis or hire your own doctor to render an independent medical opinion (IMO). You will have to have your service medical records available for his review and he will have to include a statement to the effect of he has reviewed your records, examined you and found you have chloracne and more likely than not, it is due to exposure in Thailand.

Personally, I'd question the veracity of any physician willing to do that for several reasons. Firstly because every man, woman and child in the U.S. will test positive for dioxin exposure. It's all around us in the food we eat and the milk we drink. You've sprayed it on your yard and garden for the past 40 years and then rolled around in it playing with your dog and kids. Secondly, because my reading on chloracne indicates it manifests itself within 1 year of exposure (usually a couple of weeks) and self resolves within 2 years. The likelihood that your chloracne persisted for more than 35 years is very slim.

In the end, you are going to need to get very proactive with your claim. If you need advice on specifics, this is a good place to it.

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Good advise- and I realised that -if I recommended an IMO-I was wrong- it won't help you because you still need the documented linkage to your AO exposure in service.

It is a shame that you have been denied so many times yet failed to get proactive -but it isn't too late-

the internet can be a blessing in finding what you need.

I have a claim in with overwhelming evidence and yet I am still looking for more evidence-

In the time these claims take from filing to a decision there is so much a veteran can do to help the process along.

Seems to me the first thing they need to do is get not only all their med recs but a complete copy of their military records-and do all they can to anticipate the claim's weak points and work on them.

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Michael:

You've gotten good advice regarding your claim from the DVA, DAV and the folks here on Hadit. The bottom line is you simply cannot win at a presumptive AO claim. This isn't working and you need to change your tactics if you want to succeed. It's just that simple.

***Not trying to be rhetorical, but when the precedents are already in to DVA's system (such as the BVA case that Berta shared of a Nakhon Phanom Air Base veteran being awarded his AO claim for being exposed to AO solely at NKP...along with another BVA case of another veteran who served at Thailand's Ubon Air Base - just downriver from NKP - also being awarded AO claim by the BVA), why doesn't those precedents automatically apply to other veterans - like myself - who also did their Vietnam War tours at NKP, Ubon, and other Thailand, Laotian, and Cambodian locations? Why do we have to keep being denied, delayed, and repeatedly made to jump through hoops for years for what is already legally applicable (per the BVA decisions) to us?

As I had stated, my question wasn't rhetorical. Deny and delay as more and more of our fellow Vietnam War veterans die each day....that is and has long been the DVA's true agenda. Why should the DVA have to pay monthly compensation to veterans when by denying and delaying, the DVA will instead only have to pay a pitifully small burial benefit.

The DAV isn't required to represent you, no service organization is. At this point it appears they feel they've done all they can. You tell us they've informed you of what you can't do but I don't see where you mention being informed of what you can do. That doesn't surprise me though as I don't see you've been any too receptive to the suggestions made here.

***That's your opinion/assessment of me based on a few comments posted on this cyber forum?? You couldn't be more wrong....

Not all SO's are cut from the same cloth, some go the extra mile, some don't. At this point it's up to you to pursue your own claim. Learn the statutes and regulations and submit everything yourself. Keep copies of everything, then you'll be assured everything you wanted to submit gets there. There is no requirement to have a SO. You'll need to rescind the POA you signed for the DAV before you can represent yourself.

You'll need to discover evidence of AO usage where you served and need to show you were exposed there. Work with the TVVETS folks, this is what they do. The VA has a duty to assist the veteran in finding evidence to support his claim but they just send letters out to official sources asking for info. If they are ignored or told no info exists, they stop. They don't have to persist till hell freezes over. That's your job.

***As I stated above concerning those precedent BVA decisions on AO claims for Thailand/Vietnam War veterans....no, my job is to submit my AO claim to the DVA (which I have now 4 times). The DVA has access to my military records that prove I served in the same theater/locale as those veterans who received those AO claims via those BVA cases...so the DVA's job...along with the DAV SO....is to say, "here's another NKP AO veteran" and facilitate/expedite the award for the compensation/claim. Are you condoning the DVA's deny and delay policies?? It appears so, but I don't have your talent for cyber clairvoyance. Bottom line: in the real world, I don't know you....and you don't know me.

At some point they will decide no more info exists and adjudicate your claim on what they have, usually to your detriment.

Now, as far as your chloracne goes, the VA C&P service has determined you have folliculitus and not chloracne.

***BTW, I never had any skin problems/disorders prior to my NKP tour. No childhood/teenage acne, nada. The skin outbreaks manifested while I was still at NKP, but I attributed it to a combination of too much C-Rats (I literally lived on C-Rats there) and relentless heat & humidity. After I returned to the states, the skin outbreaks continued. Again, I just thought it was from my diet (too much junk/fast food), etc....and simply put up with it. The skin eruptions/outbreaks have continued basically unabated to this day. I have scarring virtually body-wide.

That is a valid medical opinion and it isn't likely to change. If you disagree with their findings, complaining about it isn't going to make a difference. You have no medical standing and your medical opinion is worthless in the eyes of the decision maker. Your option here is to accept their diagnosis or hire your own doctor to render an independent medical opinion (IMO). You will have to have your service medical records available for his review and he will have to include a statement to the effect of he has reviewed your records, examined you and found you have chloracne and more likely than not, it is due to exposure in Thailand.

***Via the recommendation of a VVA SO in 1996, I tried exactly this (the IMO) at the University Hospital in Albuquerque. After skin samples/biopsies were taken from me, those tissues were sent to the Albuquerque VAMC's dermatology department for analysis. I didn't know in advance that the University Hospital and the VAMC had such an working arrangement/relationship when it came AO diagnosis, but they did. Not to my surprise, the VAMC dermatology department ruled folliculitis again and non-AO related.

Personally, I'd question the veracity of any physician willing to do that for several reasons. Firstly because every man, woman and child in the U.S. will test positive for dioxin exposure. It's all around us in the food we eat and the milk we drink. You've sprayed it on your yard and garden for the past 40 years and then rolled around in it playing with your dog and kids. Secondly, because my reading on chloracne indicates it manifests itself within 1 year of exposure (usually a couple of weeks) and self resolves within 2 years. The likelihood that your chloracne persisted for more than 35 years is very slim.

***Um, as I stated above....my skin eruptions/outbreaks have continued basically unabated since they first started while I was still at NKP. In my opinion, it is possible that your reading sources on chloracne may be suspect/biased.

In the end, you are going to need to get very proactive with your claim. If you need advice on specifics, this is a good place to it.

***I have gotten some good advice and specific references/sources from participants on this forum, especially Berta. Also in my opinion, the DVA and some of the organizational SOs need to get proactive and just do their damned job with veterans. They're not, therefore they have transferred the onus onto veterans like myself. This is nothing more than agency-wide denial of the DVA's shirking of responsibility, all the while deflecting the responsibility completely onto the veterans for the DVA's malfeasance/imcompetence.

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Michael:

You've gotten good advice regarding your claim from the DVA, DAV and the folks here on Hadit. The bottom line is you simply cannot win at a presumptive AO claim. This isn't working and you need to change your tactics if you want to succeed. It's just that simple.

***Not trying to be rhetorical, but when the precedents are already in to DVA's system (such as the BVA case that Berta shared of a Nakhon Phanom Air Base veteran being awarded his AO claim for being exposed to AO solely at NKP...along with another BVA case of another veteran who served at Thailand's Ubon Air Base - just downriver from NKP - also being awarded AO claim by the BVA), why doesn't those precedents automatically apply to other veterans - like myself - who also did their Vietnam War tours at NKP, Ubon, and other Thailand, Laotian, and Cambodian locations? Why do we have to keep being denied, delayed, and repeatedly made to jump through hoops for years for what is already legally applicable (per the BVA decisions) to us?

As I had stated, my question wasn't rhetorical. Deny and delay as more and more of our fellow Vietnam War veterans die each day....that is and has long been the DVA's true agenda. Why should the DVA have to pay monthly compensation to veterans when by denying and delaying, the DVA will instead only have to pay a pitifully small burial benefit.

The DAV isn't required to represent you, no service organization is. At this point it appears they feel they've done all they can. You tell us they've informed you of what you can't do but I don't see where you mention being informed of what you can do. That doesn't surprise me though as I don't see you've been any too receptive to the suggestions made here.

***That's your opinion/assessment of me based on a few comments posted on this cyber forum?? You couldn't be more wrong....

Not all SO's are cut from the same cloth, some go the extra mile, some don't. At this point it's up to you to pursue your own claim. Learn the statutes and regulations and submit everything yourself. Keep copies of everything, then you'll be assured everything you wanted to submit gets there. There is no requirement to have a SO. You'll need to rescind the POA you signed for the DAV before you can represent yourself.

You'll need to discover evidence of AO usage where you served and need to show you were exposed there. Work with the TVVETS folks, this is what they do. The VA has a duty to assist the veteran in finding evidence to support his claim but they just send letters out to official sources asking for info. If they are ignored or told no info exists, they stop. They don't have to persist till hell freezes over. That's your job.

***As I stated above concerning those precedent BVA decisions on AO claims for Thailand/Vietnam War veterans....no, my job is to submit my AO claim to the DVA (which I have now 4 times). The DVA has access to my military records that prove I served in the same theater/locale as those veterans who received those AO claims via those BVA cases...so the DVA's job...along with the DAV SO....is to say, "here's another NKP AO veteran" and facilitate/expedite the award for the compensation/claim. Are you condoning the DVA's deny and delay policies?? It appears so, but I don't have your talent for cyber clairvoyance. Bottom line: in the real world, I don't know you....and you don't know me.

At some point they will decide no more info exists and adjudicate your claim on what they have, usually to your detriment.

Now, as far as your chloracne goes, the VA C&P service has determined you have folliculitus and not chloracne.

***BTW, I never had any skin problems/disorders prior to my NKP tour. No childhood/teenage acne, nada. The skin outbreaks manifested while I was still at NKP, but I attributed it to a combination of too much C-Rats (I literally lived on C-Rats there) and relentless heat & humidity. After I returned to the states, the skin outbreaks continued. Again, I just thought it was from my diet (too much junk/fast food), etc....and simply put up with it. The skin eruptions/outbreaks have continued basically unabated to this day. I have scarring virtually body-wide.

That is a valid medical opinion and it isn't likely to change. If you disagree with their findings, complaining about it isn't going to make a difference. You have no medical standing and your medical opinion is worthless in the eyes of the decision maker. Your option here is to accept their diagnosis or hire your own doctor to render an independent medical opinion (IMO). You will have to have your service medical records available for his review and he will have to include a statement to the effect of he has reviewed your records, examined you and found you have chloracne and more likely than not, it is due to exposure in Thailand.

***Via the recommendation of a VVA SO in 1996, I tried exactly this (the IMO) at the University Hospital in Albuquerque. After skin samples/biopsies were taken from me, those tissues were sent to the Albuquerque VAMC's dermatology department for analysis. I didn't know in advance that the University Hospital and the VAMC had such an working arrangement/relationship when it came AO diagnosis, but they did. Not to my surprise, the VAMC dermatology department ruled folliculitis again and non-AO related.

Personally, I'd question the veracity of any physician willing to do that for several reasons. Firstly because every man, woman and child in the U.S. will test positive for dioxin exposure. It's all around us in the food we eat and the milk we drink. You've sprayed it on your yard and garden for the past 40 years and then rolled around in it playing with your dog and kids. Secondly, because my reading on chloracne indicates it manifests itself within 1 year of exposure (usually a couple of weeks) and self resolves within 2 years. The likelihood that your chloracne persisted for more than 35 years is very slim.

***Um, as I stated above....my skin eruptions/outbreaks have continued basically unabated since they first started while I was still at NKP. In my opinion, it is possible that your reading sources on chloracne may be suspect/biased.

In the end, you are going to need to get very proactive with your claim. If you need advice on specifics, this is a good place to it.

***I have gotten some good advice and specific references/sources from participants on this forum, especially Berta. Also in my opinion, the DVA and some of the organizational SOs need to get proactive and just do their damned job with veterans. They're not, therefore they have transferred the onus onto veterans like myself. This is nothing more than agency-wide denial of the DVA's shirking of responsibility, all the while deflecting the responsibility completely onto the veterans for the DVA's malfeasance/imcompetence.

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Good advise- and I realised that -if I recommended an IMO-I was wrong- it won't help you because you still need the documented linkage to your AO exposure in service.

It is a shame that you have been denied so many times yet failed to get proactive -but it isn't too late-

the internet can be a blessing in finding what you need.

I have a claim in with overwhelming evidence and yet I am still looking for more evidence-

In the time these claims take from filing to a decision there is so much a veteran can do to help the process along.

Seems to me the first thing they need to do is get not only all their med recs but a complete copy of their military records-and do all they can to anticipate the claim's weak points and work on them.

Very sound advice Berta.

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Personally, I'd question the veracity of any physician willing to do that for several reasons. Firstly because every man, woman and child in the U.S. will test positive for dioxin exposure. It's all around us in the food we eat and the milk we drink. You've sprayed it on your yard and garden for the past 40 years and then rolled around in it playing with your dog and kids. Secondly, because my reading on chloracne indicates it manifests itself within 1 year of exposure (usually a couple of weeks) and self resolves within 2 years. The likelihood that your chloracne persisted for more than 35 years is very slim.

In the end, you are going to need to get very proactive with your claim. If you need advice on specifics, this is a good place to it.

TinCanMan

I thought that you might be pretty sharp and you seemed to be giving some pretty good advice on the difference between direct and presumptive exposure, until you mentioned the Chloracne. The disease of chloracne does usually manafest within 1 year of the last exposure, but it can last for many years and even a lifetime. I don't know where you have been reading but try reading VA's publication,"AGENT ORANGE BRIEF D-2", or anything the EPA has to say on the subject. If chloracne is claimed as a result of direct exposure there is no requirement to even show that it manafest within one year after last exposure. In no circumstance do you ever have to show that it has resolved itself in any number of years. If you have read anything to the contrary please post the link.

My own verified case of chloracne is 40 years old at this point and still very much active today. Look it up for yourself. It has been diagnosed by more than ten doctors, mostly VA doctors.

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Michael I sent you an e-mail that wiil be of Great help to you.

Randall, Louisville, kentucky.

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Walter- you correctly stated exactly what is what on this issue-

we don't doubt you could have an AO illness-

but at the web site I gave you recently-

http://www.vspa.com/k9/agentorange3.htm

these are Thailand vets clearly stating the problem-and the BVA decision there shows exactly what Walter means-

http://www.va.gov/vetapp99/files2/9916522.txt AO Thailand -granted

Please note I had taken pertinent parts of this decision out of context- but these claims can be awarded-

In May 1996, the RO denied entitlement to service connection

for immunoblastic lymphoma. The RO noted that while the

veteran was clearly stationed in Thailand, he was never

stationed in Vietnam. The RO cited 38 C.F.R.

§ 3.307(a)(6)(iii) and determined that the veteran did not

meet the requirements of service in Vietnam.

The veteran filed a timely notice of disagreement (NOD) in

June 1996. He stated that while he acknowledged that he was

not stationed in Vietnam; he was stationed in Thailand, four

miles from the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He stated that he saw

Agent Orange being dropped from the helicopters above and

witnessed the vegetation die. He reported that he was

stationed at a gymnasium which was located next to the jungle

areas that were sprayed with Agent Orange.

In this case, the veteran clearly has had respiratory cancer,

which is one of those diseases incorporated in the special

presumptions with regard to disabilities as a result of

exposure to Agent Orange.

Thus, the only significant issue to be resolved is whether he

was in fact exposed to dioxins in service. The evidence in

this regard may not be independently verifiable or

overwhelming, but the aggregate data are entirely consistent

therewith. In that regard, the Board finds that the

veteran's explanations of his exposure quite credible and

historical map evidence verifies that Nakhon Phamon is on the

Thailand/Vietnam territorial border. He has provided a

comprehensive description of the activities through which he

was exposed to concentrated dioxins, while readily

acknowledging that he was never stationed within the Vietnam

border.

These asserted facts mesh well with those more readily

recognizable things for which there is no need for

verification. They also make good common sense when placed

next to the known problems such as the ongoing rain in the

Far East during that portion of the year which made the

requirement for non-soluble defoliants a reality in the first

place. All are entirely believable and consistent with the

other known information.

The service department has verified that the veteran was

indeed where he said he was, at a time when military build-up

from a support standpoint was considerable, and at a time

when warnings were not necessarily given, as he stated, since

the hazards were not fully understood. He can scarcely be

faulted for the non-verifiability of specific practices on

the Thailand border. His assertions in that regard are both

reasonable and justifiable and appear both sound and

factually accurate, all of which raises a certain premise

from which conclusions may be reasonably drawn. It is

exactly such situations in which the Court has mandated that

the Board make judgments with regard to ultimate and relative

credibility, which in this case, the Board finds in the

affirmative.

Consequently, based on the above, and giving the benefit of

the doubt, the Board finds that there is satisfactory

evidence that the veteran had active service sufficiently

proximate to if not in the Republic of Vietnam during the

Vietnam era to have sustained Agent Orange exposure and that

he is entitled to application of the presumptions relating to

such service with respect to exposure to Agent Orange under

38 C.F.R. §§ 3.307, 3.309.

The Board again notes that the veteran has a respiratory

cancer, one of the diseases for which presumptive service

connection is permitted based on exposure to Agent Orange.

38 C.F.R. §§ 3.307, 3.309.

Thus, having concluded that the veteran was exposed to

herbicides while assigned to Nakhon Phamon from 1969 to 1970,

not coincidentally concurrent with other entirely reasonable

circumstances enumerated by the veteran, the Board finds that

a doubt is thus raised which must be resolved in his favor,

and in so doing, that service connection must be granted for

immunoblastic lymphoma as being the result of Agent Orange

exposure under pertinent exceptions to the regulations. 38

U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 5107; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.303, 3.307, 3.309.

ORDER

Service connection for immunoblastic lymphoma as secondary to

Agent Orange exposure is granted.

-------------what you have to consider is- as Walter said- the theory of presumption doesn't work with these claims- proof of exposure to AO regardless of where- with resulting AO illness -is what gains service connection.

Also the above veteran was highly decorated:

"The veteran's VA DD form 214 reflects that the veteran

received the Good Conduct Medal; Good Conduct Medal with

Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Longevity Service Award Ribbon with

four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; National Defense Service

Medal; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon; Meritorious

Service Medal; NCO Professional Military Education Graduate

Ribbon; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Vietnam Service

Medal; AF Outstanding Unit Award with two Bronze Oak Leaf

Clusters; and the AF Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak

Leaf Cluster. The veteran served on foreign soil for three

years eight months and seventeen days"

But it did not matter as this is not a factor in claims of exposure to AO-

Also some of the veterans service records were missing and could not be obtained- however the BVA stated:

"Also of record are some other service documents, which

confirm assignment units, duties, locations, etc., identified

elsewhere in this decision. In this case, these are more

important to the disposition of the case."

These AO outside of Vietnam cases are no different than what most vets have to go through for any disability-

have a current diagnosis and then some documented evidence that it had a link to their service.

Service officers dont look for the evidence - the veterans have to-

This is why I believe the DAV seems negative to you-

If you get a complete copy of all of your military records there might well be the names of commanding officers or others who you could attempt to find to support any evidence of the spraying where you were in Thailand at that time-

Also- you need to access other Thailand vets-

It took me seconds to find this one at Military.com:

bjasi

Basic Training

Registered: Thu, 25 November 2004

Posts: 1

Agent Orange in Thailand

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I know there's a lot of people questioning this and I'm not alone. I too, have been diagnosed with T2 Diabetes. I was @ Udorn RTAFB, Aug 70-Jul 71. Worked in 432 AMS. Any one else diagnosed with T2 while in Thailand or have knowlede of AO used in/stored at Udorn or other bases in Thailand? Of course, we had Air America at Udorn too! Who knows what they really did.

Any help/information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking all of you in advance,

Bruce Jasinski

Posts: 3938 | Registered: Tue 12 November 2002 "

I too was in the 432 AMS in Udorn Thailand 70-71. I have diabetes and prostrate cancer. Has anyone found proff of AO at Udorn.

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