Thought you might want to know that if you had boots down in Vietnam and are having some health issues (Like prostrate cancer) the VA is now recognizing these may be side effects of exposure to Agent Orange, and anyone who was actually in Vietnam may have been exposed. This came up because of problems my Brother is having--I was lucky enough to have just missed the war (lottery number 357--the only time I ever "won" a lottery!). Apparently there are benefits due you!
Thank you for posting this.
As always - Thank You to all who have served or are currently serving.
What is the VA's position on this? I was in the region, exposed many times... and we were always told that AO killed foliage, snakes, monkeys, but not humans.
Years later (and minus my thyroid), I suspect that the information I was given might have been just a bit incorrect.
Apparently the VA advised my brother of it! He doesn't like to talk about it, so I was surprised to get that much information from him. I would go talk to them, or maybe check it out on the internet--it IS known that AO does do bad stuff besides what it was supposed to do.
The VA has changed the rules on Agent Orange. If you were exposed anywhere in SE Asia you are covered. I was stated at Utapo AB in Thailand and I am covered because AO was used at the base.
My wife works for the Veterans affairs office here in Dickenson and that what she told me.
Thanks for posting, David. And Larry, it sounds like you have a very good source! Let's keep this information 'up top' so more vets will see it!
In 1969 I had lottery number # 3.
It seems the health issues the military takes responsibility for that are the result of exposure to Agent Orange are very subjective. It also seems, by design, the issues must be cancer related to be recognized by the Veterans Administration.
Since returning from Vietnam and after having been heavily exposed to Agent Orange during my time on the Demilitarized Zone I've dealt with benign tumors on my pituitary gland that caused me to go blind for a period of time and a benign tumor on my adrenal gland that continues to grow, albeit slow, and causes me to suffer from very low potassium levels and high blood pressure as well as some other issues.
I've dealt with excessive dermatitis for 30 years. The skin on my hands and arms display some serious eczema that refuses to heal.
My daughter has suffered since birth with a chromosomal defect that adversely affected her physical appearance and health. She suffers with deafness, growth issues, infertility, a single kidney and has had to have her thyroid removed. All as the result of something called Turner's Syndrome. She's required continuous medical attention since birth.
My oldest son has dealt with a severe learning disability. At 42 years old is not capable of looking after his own well being. His personal care has been monitored and he's been the constant responsibility of his mother since birth.
When I discuss these conditions with medical and administrative personal from the Veterans Administration I'm told none of these issues are the result of my exposure to Agent Orange. And yet, I'm told exposure to Agent Orange results in some serious medical issues that result in tumors, birth defects and dermatitis.
But it seems unless the medical issues include cancer cells there's no help coming from the Veterans Administration. And as time goes on, my children's health issues increase the amount of care they need in order to have some semblance of a normal life.
I'll admit, because of other unrelated health issues the Veterans Administration has taken on the responsibility for my medical care. But as my children grow older and after I'm gone where will my children turn for help? Will the Veterans Administration take care of them?
Sort of contradicting isn't it Mike.
My only interaction with the VA was with my BFF, the late Ralph Ricks, AKA RDR. I took him many times to the VA and received excellent care which was many times better than the big UCI med center here.
Best of luck and sorry to hear about your health issues.
One of the men who work for me Just got benefits for agent orange exposure. Along that same line if you were in the Gulf war (Desert Shield / Desert Storm) and you have gastrointestinal problems such as Chrons or IBS (identified as Gulf War Syndrome) you may also be entitled to benefits. Always check to be sure
well I did three tours there... and they took out my prostrate 6yrs ago..yes cancer... maybe i should talk to the V.A.
I feel like any who served in the military should be given a card good at any medical provider in the country at any time for any aliment to be covered fully and swiftly. NO one that has put their life on the line should have to wait in line for health care at a government operated lab for some type of experiments ,oops "care".
I contacted the VA in SLC several years ago because of my tour in Vam in 68/69 and the fact that I had prostate cancer. It is a very large bureaucracy and operates as one. There are hurdles, hoops and other impediments when dealing with them, but if you persevere the outcome is usually good. I have been VERY well treated by them and have no mean words or thoughts about them, in spite of what is said in the media. Go talk to them and donít throw in the towel because the initial results are not what you may have expected. It was probably a year or more from my first contact with them until things started coming together. Medical and military records have to collected and submitted, decisions have to be made by the doctors and medical boards, etc, etc.
My experience with the VA is similar to Rons. My needs were a little different, but they came through with flying colors.
A SUGGESTION: My county (Stanislaus County in California) and many if not most counties operate a department we call "Aging and Veterans Affairs". It may be a similar but different title in other locations. Its sole purpose is to assist with applications and issues. When I was considering filing an application with the VA they helped with the forms and "sponsored" my application. Yes, it took several months to receive a reply from the VA, but everything I asked for was approved first pass. If you are considering filing an application with the VA I strongly urge you to seek a little help. It's free and undoubtedly available in most states/counties.
I feel for you guys. I was over in Viet Nam three times, but I was in the Navy on a submarine. The only time we came up was to charge batteries. On my first tour, I actually stood lookout watches topside, but I doubt if the air from the jungle made it out to our operating area.
What years and what boat?
I heard a "rumor" that ships over there (I was one of them) are either being considered or are receiving awards for exposure.
Might be worth looking in to if this was you.
A friend of mine was on board a ship during the Viet Nam years and has recently received a % of disability from the Navy for AO related problems. VA is getting better but you have to join.
Weed out the good pictures of Nam and see if anyone can find a tree line sprayed with Agent Orange.
Not Agent Orange but pretty damned toxic.
O.K. Mike.... I know what that is.... and am so happy i never got that detail...LOL
Actually it was probably pretty good duty if in a base camp.
I didn't visit 'home' camp often, but when I did it was two 'brothers' who IIRC had the job full time and started the swap outs at 730 AM out of the back of a weapons carrier...at 12 they always had all of the 'yesterdays' on the hillside and time for their showers out of the way before lunch...they would go to lunch and when lunch was over one would go torch off the drums and then he was done for the day as the drums would just burn themselves out...he'd join the other guy and they ran a 'high limit card game' over by the ice house for the afternoon.
Depends on the perspective I guess. As a grunt doing a pit stop, my view was they seemed to have it pretty good.... I wonder what they say to their grand-kids now when asked 'what did you do in the war, Grandpop!'
If you go to the VA website you will find a list of boats and ships that are listed as having been exposed to the herbicides used. The list has been changed to include ships that were in the delta and blue water locations close inshore. Lots of info out there but you have to hunt for it and talk to your local VA rep. The gov. will not volunteer much unless you know what to ask. Also as Henry and Ron have said, the VA has come through for me too. KGB
Michael Garrison, your photo brought back a flood of memories. Thinking of the poor guys on the spit wagon that went around and stirred diesel fuel into the 55 gallon drum bottoms, and then set it on fire, stirred and tending the contents until all waste was incinerated... still smells, even in my memories.
My dad has health issues attributed to AO but the va just started saying it might be related to the AO, but he is a hard ass and says he doesn't need or expect their help from the VA. He was over there twice. We appreciate and pray for former and our future veterans health. Thanks
Tim, it's your Dads decision. The VA will listen and they will help. They're a big organization and there's a lot of us veterans out here and they don't immediately respond to our needs, but there's really been only a few clinics throughout the country where veterans didn't receive care when requested. They don't seem to have the "sense of urgency" they had 10 years ago.
When I applied for my disabilities for PTSD and severe liver disease as a result of hepatitis C it took two years to finally settle things. What I didn't realize at the time was the effect the PTSD was having on my life and that they were considering my employability. Apparently not being able to keep the dozen or so jobs I'd had over the previous 12 years made them think I didn't always play well with others. Rather than subject any more employers to my miserable attitude and explosive behavior they decided it best I simply retire. All I was asking for was some compensation to help me live through the 17 months of chemo-therapy I experienced in 2009/2010. I'm also doing fine financially because of their generosity.
The end result has been very good care through the VA. The dental care is top notch, the vision and eyeglass care is adequate. They met my needs with my hearing deficit and have treated me well for the tumors, skin issues and other health problems.
My concern is more for my children with specific birth defects that the VA refuses to recognize as a result of my exposure to Agent Orange. I guess my greatest question is why I have the tumors and skin problems and my children have the genetic birth defects when these issues aren't recognized as the result of the exposure. I've been told by two different County Service Officers and Two doctors there's no tie between the exposure and these health issues. And the VA isn't interested in pursuing causes.
As I said, I'm being well cared for but what about the long range effects of the birth defects on my children. And when I try to pursue it I find others are finding similar lack of interest by the VA for the same genetic issues.
They seem to be able to tell me where the health problems don't come from but aren't able to tell me what causes them. And they seem so closely similar to the health concerns brought on by exposure to AO.