What did VA Cover Up in Thailand Agent Orange Data Release?

CAUGHT ‘EM – VA.gov linked to a declassified DoD report on use of Agent Orange in Thailand. Upon closer examination, we learned that 25% of the report was deleted. Luckily, we just found those pages and explain what it may mean here.

The original turned up on a DoD website after a lot of digging, and I think I have a theory as to why they did it. This MMQB covers what I found and why it could impact your disability claim.

Hi and welcome to another edition of the Monday Morning Quarterback for Veterans. I am your host, Benjamin Krause.

This week, I am writing about my research into the USAF’s use of herbicides in Thailand and what it could mean for veterans fighting with VA to prove exposure.

From what I can tell, there may be a coverup regarding the documentation VA has provided to veterans. The information was supposedly given to help prove disability claims. Meanwhile, the documentation is incomplete and leads any casual reader away from potentially better resources to prove their claim.

Here is what I’ll cover today:

  • Fed admits to Agent Orange use in Thailand
  • VA’s Thailand fails the smell test
  • Index of missing files
  • Where to find records about Agent Orange usage
  • What it could mean for your disability claim

Before I jump into it, let me first say, “I’m sorry,” to all of the Vietnam War veterans out there. My uncle is one. Many of us have loved ones who served in this war. My research over this past week pains my heart when you realize what we did to our troops during that time.

When you read through the Rules of Engagement pages that were omitted from the report mentioned above, it is apparent that what we forced our servicemembers to endure during the Vietnam War was appalling.

What we have done since then in covering up our misdeeds since that war is even worse. It is a fraud against the American people and America’s heroes.

How long will we be kept from the truth by the likes of dead or old politicians like Nixon, Kissinger, and McNamara?

 

Fed admits use of Agent Orange type herbicides in Thailand

Yes, I know many of you are probably saying “old news.” I covered this last week but did not realize at that time how screwed up the situation was.

What kind of entity looking out for the best interests of veterans would leave out vital information a veteran could use in their claim? That, my friends, is a rhetorical question.

The entity is not actually helping in the way it is supposed to.

First of all, VA had this to say about the CHECO report that was released which is linked from an Air Force website. Click on the link above or go to VA’s website to download the PDF CHECO report reference below:

Vietnam-era Veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 may have been exposed to herbicides and may qualify for VA benefits.

The following Veterans may have been exposed to herbicides:

– U.S. Air Force Veterans who served on Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) bases at U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang, near the air base perimeter anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
– U.S. Army Veterans who provided perimeter security on RTAF bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975.
– U.S. Army Veterans who were stationed on some small Army installations in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975. However, the Army Veteran must have been a member of a military police (MP) unit or was assigned an MP military occupational specialty whose duty placed him/her at or near the base perimeter.

Source: Thailand Military Bases and Agent Orange Exposure: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/thailand.asp

The links above can lead you to the resources wherein DoD admitted to Agent Orange type usage both in Vietnam and elsewhere in the word, including the United States (check Exposure to Agent Orange by Location).

Now, most of you are probably saying, “Who gives a damn?” That’s what I thought too once I realized the documents were declassified years ago. Old news.

But this is where the story begins.

 

VA’s Thailand release fails the smell test

Follow my research logic.

Check out VA.gov on the usage of Agent Orange in Thailand. Click on the linked text above to download their incomplete CHECO report.

On VA’s website, it links to a very curious version of the quoted CHECO report (download CHECO Report here) which is hosted on an Air Force website. Take a quick look at page 15, 26, 32 and a few others.

You will notice that those pages are missing. In fact, the report VA links to has many errors and problems.

In total, 21 pages were missing from a report that is only 78 pages long. Basically, more than 25% of the total report is missing from the link VA.gov used. That raised my eyebrow.

But why would they do that since the report is declassified?

Here is a link to all the pages missing from VA’s linked report that I collected from the full version of that same CHECO report from DTIC.mil after digging for hours; we’ll call it the Missing CHECO Files. These are just the missing pages.

Here is a link to the full document on DTIC if you want to do a full comparison of all three PDF’s.

VA’s linked report is not searchable

First of all, the report VA linked to is a PDF that was not OCR’d for text recognition. This is strange especially in light of the fact that the other version I found on DTIC.mill was of the same document and was in fact OCR’d.

Failure to OCR a document makes it impossible for internet search engines like Google to search the document and register it for veterans and others possible searching for help with their disability claim.

Data on herbicide use is buried in report

It further makes it impossible for any researcher to quick search for topic specific terms such as “herbicide” or “vegetation control.” Instead, you would need to read the entire 120-page document to learn about a scenario that is only noted toward the end of the document – i.e. the spraying of herbicides within the perimeters of the bases in question.

For example, pages 58-75 talk about herbicide usage. Most people would have given up the search after thumbing through the pages after 30 minutes.

Take a closer look at the pages you just downloaded that were omitted from the CHECO copy VA linked to. I spent some time over the weekend comparing the documents.

Rules of Engagement and troop location omitted

While doing that, it became clear that the document VA linked to had pages that were omitted. The likely reason was to cover up problems base command was having with Rules of Engagement (ROE). They also omitted troop sizes at certain base locations.

The most important thing to realize is that ROE required approval from the US Embassy prior to using Agent Orange once it was largely prohibited due to fears that spraying it would be classified as a War Crime.

This could mean that there are additional files that may indicate use of Agent Orange in Thailand was more widespread than what VA and DoD are willing to admit.

I touch more on that below the actual page index here.

 

Index of missing pages

Page

  • v – List of Air Base Distribution List
  • 15 – Commentary on attacks against US Forces in Thailand around Ubon RTAFB by the North Vietnamese Army’s sapper units.
  • 25-27 – Letter from general about poor support from Thai forces in deterring NVA sapper units. AF forces were totally dependent on host government for external defenses. AF attempts to pay off local civilians to help were limited by US Embassy policy. AF unaccustomed to total base defense prior to attacks in 1965-66. AF developed combat SP force, but disbanded it in 71 due to lack of funding.
  • 31-34 – Limitations on base defense due to policy issues from US Embassy. Discussion of how political constraints known as “Rules of Engagement” made base defense difficult. US forces could not use weapons outside of base parameters for political reasons. Insurgency problems led to change of rules
  • 39 – Information on Korat RTAFB having poor defenses
  • 42 – Nakhon Phanom RTAFB had poor flight line security and circulation control of base visitors. (97) Takhli RATFB had a wing of F-4s and squadron of KC-135s. 340 SP’s were there on TDY with 22 sentry dogs. There was a 1000-man infantry unit in training there for base perimeter security.
  • 46-51 – Takhli RATFB USAF teams defended MMS area and POL dump. SPECS Units were poorly prepared to defend base perimeters. Ubon RTAFB – Close to Laotian boarder. 363 SPs and 507 TSGs assigned to 8th SPS. 35 SPs from Clark AFB on TDY. AC-130’s were 200 meters from fence. Augmentees failed to defend base well. Udorn RTAFB – 297 USAF SPs and 427 TSG’s, 25 SP’s TDY from Clark
  • 54 – U-Tapao RTNAF: largest USAF facility, 450 SPs, 46 from Clark AFB; 537 TSG’s; 49 sentry/patrol dogs
  • 63 – ROE prohibition of “claymore” mines but Embassy allowed use of “pop-up” mines at all bases except Korat and Don Muang Airfield. ROE prohibited use of any USAF firepower or aircraft in any suppression role.
  • 67-68 – Security personnel required to construct defensive structures. Soil sterilization and herbicide use approved in 1969 required permission from Embassy – could only be used within perimeters. Korat RTAFB – vegetation problems at runway  and around perimeter. Embassy permission in June to use herbicides (vegetation control – “that program” in June)

 

Where to find new Agent Orange files

Many times, VA denies Agent Orange usage because it cannot confirm spraying in certain locations. However, if the US Air Force in Thailand was required to gain Embassy approval, there may be more documents that prove wider usage than previously admitted.

According to another USAF CHECO report, “Finally, the excessive time required to obtain clearance for herbicide operation remained. All defoliation projects required US Embassy and RVNAF Joint General Staff approval. The time delay was sometimes as much as two and one-half months.” (Project CHECO Report: The Air War in Vietnam, 1968-1969, pg 72)

Since VA has a duty to assist in obtaining copies of files that it reasonably could expect would help prove a veteran’s claim, it may need to help all veterans obtain more information than it currently is doing.

Specifically, a prudent veteran may request that VA seek all documents from the US Embassies in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos that would concern use of herbicides like Agent Orange during the war.

Other reports worth mentioning

Here are some additional reports to check out from the DTIC.mil site below, too:

  • 113. CHECO Rprt, Hq PACAF, DOTEC, “Herbicide Operations in Southeast Asia, Jul 61-Jun 67,” 11 Oct 67.
  • 114. Rprt, 7AF, “Combined Campaign Quarterly Report (FY 1/70),” Tab J, Herbicide. (Hereafter cited: Combined Campaign Qtrly Rprt.)
  • 121. Msg, COMUSMACV to 7AF, subj: Herbicide Project 2/2D/5/68, 181635Z Jun 68. CHECO MICROFILM 210, frame 81.
Data points for research

Here are some additional data resources anyone with concerns about Agent Orange should look through beyond materials VA provides:

State Department Gold Mine

While digging through the State Department files available online, I found many interesting documents.

There is some value there because they outline the sequence of events that led to US stopping its use of herbicides in Vietnam and Asia.

I downloaded many of the documents I found interesting, and linked to them below:

Interdepartmental Political-Military Group – US Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents, October 15, 1969: Sweden proposed outlawing use of chemical and biological agents through the Geneva Protocol. US forced to evaluate canceling its program using Agent Orange type herbicides. Report states position of US allies.

Interdepartmental Political-Military Group – Annual Review of US Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Programs, November 10, 1969: Outlines specific costs and debate on usage of herbicides. Very detailed debate.

CIA – National Security Decision Memorandum, November 17, 1969: State Department to write opinion letter outlining that US does not believe use of Chemical Herbicides violates Protocol. This report is referencing the Geneva Protocol from Sweden.

State Department – Memo from Kissinger to Secretary on Geneva Protocol Options and Herbicide Usage, February 18, 1970: Memo discussed three primary options on how to handle the herbicide issue. Defense sought to stop public announcement for fear that it would reveal Rules of Engagement.

Interdepartmental Political-Military Group – Annual Review of US Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Programs, November 1, 1970: Outlines cost of Agent Orange program in Vietnam and whether or not US should continue its herbicide program there. (pg 59)

State Department – Letter to Melvin Laird from William Rogers, February 2, 1971: Letter was to encourage President to phase out use of chemical herbicides early. Position was supported by Ambassador Bunker and General Abrams.

NSC Under Secretaries Committee – Annual Review of US Chemical Warfare and Biological Research Program, February 4, 1971: “That DOD make every effort to obtain a formal agreement by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that it will undertake the herbicide study requested by Public Law 91-441 and that a public announcement be made before commencement of hearings on the Geneva Protocol.”

State Department – Letter to President, February 11, 1971: Letter strongly suggests to President that US should discontinue use of chemical herbicides due to the Geneva Protocol of 1925.

State Department – Action Memo Review of US Position, August 15, 1972: Report from Ronald Spiers about US policy on chemical weapons.

Operation Ranch Hand experiment in Thailand?

Regarding Thailand, the Operation Ranch Hand Report covers why the US started spraying in that country. Secretary Robert McNamara received his first “clear” presentation on our defoliation program from General Delmore around 1964.

McNamara stated that a country like Thailand might be a better location to conduct final experimentation on the US defoliation program (using Agent Orange type herbicides). The presentation by General Delmore did not mention the full cost of spraying herbicides (it was 35% higher than Delmore estimated).

Use of herbicides at the beginning of the Vietnam War was focused on controlling Viet Cong crop and farming production. US had been conducting experiments since at least the 1950’s on anticrop research at Fort Detrick.

The report also stated, “Destruction of Viet Cong food crops in the field could be one of the most effective means of defeating the enemy. The Viet Congs [sic] currently are living on food crops grown in the areas that they control. If these crops are destroyed, the Viet Congs [sic] would be required to obtain food from other sources or starve.”

Of interest about this position is that US politics prohibited usage of Agent Orange type chemicals as the war progressed. From 1969-1972, US policy heads like Kissinger debated how US should cease its defoliation programs.

 

Thailand – US Embassy information

Here is a short list of the Ambassadors who were supposedly stationed at the US Embassy in Thailand during the years that our herbicide program would have been in effect.

Correspondence with these individuals could reveal information that is useful regarding approval of herbicide use in areas that were not revealed in the CHECO report VA linked to.

Source: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/relation/175usth/timeline-of-u/american-ambassadors-to-thailand.html

Leonard Unger: Unger Biography

Thailand: 67-70. State of Residency: Maryland Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Appointment: August 11, 1967 Presentation of Credentials: October 4, 1967 Termination of Mission: Left post November 19, 1973.

Unger lived from 1917 to 2010 and was a diplomat and United States Ambassador to Laos (1962–64), Thailand (1967), and was the last US ambassador to the Republic of China (1974–79).

Graham A. Martin: Martin Biography

Thailand: 63-67. State of Residency: Florida Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Appointment: September 10, 1963 Presentation of Credentials: November 7, 1963 Termination of Mission: Left post September 9, 1967.

Martin lived from 1912–1990, and succeeded Ellsworth Bunker as United States Ambassador to South Vietnam in 1973. He would be the last person to hold that position. Martin previously served as ambassador to Thailand and as U.S. representative to SEATO.

Kenneth Todd Young

State of Residency: New York Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Appointment: March 29, 1961 Presentation of Credentials: June 22, 1961 Termination of Mission: Left post August 19, 1963.

(1916-1972) After leaving post, Young wrote the book, Negotiating with Chinese Communists: The United States Experience, 1953-1967.

 

What this means for Agent Orange disability claims

If you are still reading, these resources probably interest you and have an impact on your disability claim or someone else’s you know.

What this information could mean is that there may be many more documents in existence that could impact your benefits claim. They are possibly within the files from the Thailand US Embassy.

As previously stated, all programs where Agent Orange was used needed high-level approval. In Thailand, the approval needed to come from the US Embassy there.

Veterans interested could request a FOIA from the State Department on any communications between their respective base and the US Embassy wherein the following were mentioned:

  • vegetation control
  • herbicide program
  • perimeter vegetation program

As for places like Fort Detrick, a government contractor was just hired to remediate the property there last month.

Veterans who may have been exposed during that time may want to access those files through a FOIA to learn more about their own exposure.

Going back to the point of this MMQB, VA.gov linked to an Air Force document that was missing 25% from the main body of the report.

I find that to be suspicious and can only conclude that the omitted pages reveal something. I will leave it up to you to find out what.

Please comment below if you find anything useful.

82 COMMENTS

  1. I know you had to work hard to put all of this together. Just wanted to thank you for keeping an eye out for us vets. Your efforts are appreciated.

  2. My sentimets as well. My best friend who served in the AF and was in Thailand at one of these bases during 1972. Does that mean he can file service connected for agent orange? He has type 2 diabetes as well.

    Frank

    • Frank, have your AF friend obtain copies of Army Field Manual 3-3, VA C&P Bulletin dated May 2010, and Air Force CHECO Report titled “Base Defense in Thailand, (the subject of this article) The CHECO Report states that all military installations in Southeast Asia used herbicides to control vegetation on their perimeter. The C&P Bulletin directs VA evaluators to grant herbicide exposure and benefits to all former military who can prove duty near the perimeter. AFM3-3 defines the term “near” as regards the manual spraying of herbicides as being 500 meters. That’s longer than 5 football fields laid end to end, more than half a kilometer. Most installations in Thailand had an area of overlap in their central area that was 500 meters from the perimeter. Have your friend obtain his APRs from his time in SEA; they’re available from the National Archives. Have him google military records national archives to get the webpage to send off for them. One more thing is needed, aerial maps of the installation where he was stationed. They’re available on the internet as well. Wish him good luck from me; tell him not to give up, expect 2 or even 3 denials before he is approved, maybe more.

      • Daniel, I just read your comments to Frank. My husband, TSGT Ron Williams, was in the Air Force and at NKP during 1972. He worked on the flight line and we are now having problems obtaining all of his records to prove he was there. He has had 2 heart attacks, prostrate surgery, continuous sinus problems and now has Parkinson’s. I really appreciate the information you have provided. I will check these documents and see if I can use the information to help him obtain his VA benefits.

  3. I have clear and unmistakable evidence from the VAs records that they have clearly and intentionally violated VCAA-2000 in my disability claim which resultrd in a denial. I have since proven serviced connected. I also have the name of the indivual who intentinally removed and with-held medical records. Is it possible to file a law suite against the VA and VA employee for this type of conduct?

  4. Thanks Benjamin for all you do, I have been receiving your messages for sometime and I went to my revaluation appointment prepared. I was able to raise my disability from 60% to 70%. I will finish my MSW this August, maybe I am able to help you advocate for the Veterans?

  5. Thank you for all of the information. I still get the emails in my husbands name. Marvin passed away from Mantle Cell Lymphoma from agent orange. He was on the DMZ zone in Korea. We couldn’t even file until the recognized Korea. At that time we filed for his disability. He was turned down. We hired a lawyer. That was over 4 1/2 years ago. We received notice on Monday 19th of August 2013 That Washington said his cancer was from agent orange and was service related. Marvin passed away on Saturday the 24th. I had to re file the claim due to him not receiving any money before he passed. I am now receiving a monthly benefit. Which is listed as a Pension and not DIC. Haven’t gotten any back pay or benefits. They said the case would have to be reviewed again for that. The amount I’m drawing isn’t the correct amount either. My lawyer says he can’t due anything until the final review is complete. They said it could take another 4 months. He was holding on because when he passed I lost his Social Security. He thought that by him getting that it would help me….I’m on hold again. The hand book say’s they could back up to the time of service, 8 years ago, or the time of filing. Who gets to make that decision. He battled the cancer for 8 1/2 years and when found he was in stage 4. They had to almost kill him to slow the cancer down. He went through a Stem Cell transplant and if I hadn’t been working with benefits we would have probably lost everything. He doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

    Thanks for listening,
    Jane (Marvin’s Wife of 41 years)

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I am battling VA also. My husband has polycythemia a form of bone marrow cancer. Va does not list on agent orange so denies also has type 1 diabetes for over 40 yrs. ThIs is all a disgrace.

  6. MMQB; I certainly appreciate your efforts, as I am in limbo on a claim and also an appeal. Thanks for your help.

  7. You have done a wonderful job putting this information together. I’m a researcher and I was just trying to figure out how to uncover Embassy cables, although I’m sure that any having to do with defoliation for perimeter security purposes have been “lost”. Please keep up the great work!

  8. personnel from rocky mountain arsenal,dungway proving grounds(later deseret test center),ft detrick md.,management and scientist were all at each installation,along with the 267th who had OJT at rocky mountain arsenal prior to deployment to site 2 chibana army depot for continuance of project 112/shad. T.H. Barksdale had 3 different fields on Okinawa at(shuri,nago,ishikawa) that were sprayed by drone during a period from may 1961 to sept 1962. Barksdale was a research individual out of ft detrick chemical and biological laboratories. These records are on file along with others (tiwan,florida etc.). DoD,CIA,and SOD are all aware of there involvement project 112/shad,operation ranch hand,MK/Naomi,and clean up operation red hat.

  9. im a viet-nam with viet-nam campaign medal have spent 7yrs trying to get full benefits for diabetes2,heart-des.agt orange exposure neropathy, p.t.s.d. and a host of other illness. when will our elected officials take responsibility for myself andthousands of vets who served

    • Joseph, get a Veterans Service Officer from one of the veterans service organizations; the VVA, DAV, VFW, or American Legion. VA and State and County VSOs generally don’t have any skin in the game and tend to do a half-assed job. Don’t give up. You served in Vietnam; that makes you presumptively exposed for any of those diseases. When your benefits are approved, they’ll be paid back to your first claim date.

  10. My father-in-law served in Vietnam and Thailand during the Agent Orange exposure periods. However, because his record does not accurately reflect he was in the contaminated zones, they are refusing his claim without proof corroborated from his other airmen. He recently went through a 2 year battle with multiple myeloma that cost him and his family nearly everything – and is getting shorted by the VA for help w/ obtaining the desired proof they require to help him. Does anyone here have any recommendations for how to get some of this information he may need. He seems to have hit a wall.

    • Obtain your FIL’s Airman Performance Reports, aka APRs, for the period he was in SEA. The Job Description block will describe his duties and where he performed them. This is an official document and should be accepted as proof positive of his locations, duties, and times involved.

  11. I began filing my OWN claim for benefits in 1982 and I was turned down in a matter of weeks. Like most Vietnam Veterans I was given the excuse that “I” had not used the CORRECT FORM! I filed a N.O.D. and was again turned down. I filed an APPEAL FORM NINE in Washington D.C. and was once again turned down, The D.C. Office stated that “My Case Was Closed.” Like most Vietnam Vets I took the V.A. at their word. I re-opened my case in 1995, went through the same thing (even though I had “New Required Evidence”) and again was turned down! I even had a Dr. with the stones to say: “That it was as least likely as not” that I had Chronic & Severe P.T.S.D., Developed Chronic Diabetes Type Two, Chronic Coronary Heart Disease, “LOW Q-WAVE Heart Attacks that are now renamed “Transient Ischemic Attacks”, Gingavitis (Trench Mouth which causes bleeding of and around the gums and receding gum lines which will eventually cause “Tooth/Teeth Loss), Lower Tract Intestinal Disease, and Liver Damage…along with to many other things to mention here in this FORUM. I began to receive my Claim for Benefits in trickles and dribs and drabs at 52. BUT I DID RECEIVE THEM!!! I bought the National Veterans Legal Services Books: “The Veterans Benefits Manual” and “The Federal Veterans Laws, Rules and Regulations” at ” Barton F. Stichman, Ronald B. Abrams David F. Addlestone. You can purchase these books “ON LINE” at http://www.LexisNexis.com/veterans or call 1-800-533-1637 or Fax to 800/828-8341. Sincerely, Michael Dwayne Stewart Cpl. U.S.M.C. / F.T.G.-3 U.S.N. Submarine Service

    • Here are some terms that you should know when filing a Claim for ANYTHING!
      1.) Agent Orange Claims have ALREADY BEEN PAID OUT.

      2.) Get a FREE COPY at your LOCAL V.A. of the HAND BOOK guide. They usually come out for the NEW YEAR around April.

      3.) LOOK at the back of ‘Appeal Form Nine’ and you will find WHY most LAWYERS or LEGAL AIDES WILL NOT TAKE ON YOUR V.A.CLAIM FOR BENEFITS! “No Attorney or Legal Aide MAY take a penny more that 10% or $2,000.00 which ever is the Lesser of the TWO”!! This is WHY Lawyers and Legal Aides WILL NOT TAKE ON YOUR “Claim for BENEFITS!! YOU HOWEVER MAY FILE YOUR OWN on Your Claim for Benefits! While they, the Lawyers and Legal Aides MUST “PRE FILE with the Office in Washington D.C. that they, the Lawyers or Legal Aides are going to File A Claim on your behalf. Then the Lawyer Legal Aide MUST sigh and file an Agreement Form that they “THEY WILL ACCEPT 10% of ALL monies they receive OR $2,000.00 .. “WHICH EVER IS THE LESSER AMOUNT”!

      4.) Check out your local library of your V.A. Library & preorder your FORMS. They list ALL FORMS you will need to file a CLAIM for BENEFITS.

      5.) GET/Find a copy of the book: “THE D.S.M. IV” (Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel Edition IV) as they list “ALL the %’s of ALL THE THINGS THAT A VIET NAM VETERAN (OR ANY OTHER VETERAN) MAY FILE FOR and how much the veteran will receive at each % Level, and HOW TO INCREASE THAT/THOSE LEVELS!!”! They ALSO LIST THE AGENT ORANGE PRESUMPTIVE LIST ON MEDICAL THINGS THAT ARE COVERED BY THE V.A.!

      6.) The V.A.”MUST send you once each year where you “Claim for BENEFITS is at in the V.A. System AND how far along they have gotten with it! This FORM is called: A “STATEMENT of CASE.” (S.O.C.)

      7.) You can file a claim and the V.A. will ask/send you a multi page list for YOU to fill out. ie. When, Where, How and WHO your Dr.(s) were, YOU can turn it RIGHT BACK ON THEM BY ENVOKING THE “VETERAN INITIAL/INTERNAL CLAIMS ASSISTANCE ACT” (V.I.C.A.A.).that requires THEM to look up these things they are asking you to look up on your own!!!

      8.) Always, always, always, Tell the V.A. that you “WILL LET YOUR RECORDS STAND ON THEIR “OWN MERIT and Always, always, always, REFUSE TO TAKE A “VIDEO” ACCOUNT OF THE REASON THAT YOU HAV FILED YOUR ‘OWN CLAIM FOR BENEFITS. WHY? Suppose you have a person sitting at the other side of the screen that reminds them that their Spouse ‘cut them off the night before”, you remind them of a VERY BAD DATE they went on, You Remind them of the person that ‘cut them off in traffic and caused them to spill their entire cup of $6,00 Star Bucks CREAM TOPPED LATTE into their lap earlier in the day, or that you are dressed BETTER or WORSE than they are and they RESENT IT and WORSE STILL .. “YOU REMIND THEM OF THEIR EX-SPOUSE”!

      9.) If you DO decide to file your own Claim then you should be DARNED SURE to REQUEST THAT YOU “DO NOT WISH TO GO THROUGH THE ‘NORMAL V.A. PROCEEDURE BUT THAT YOU WANT INSTEAD TO HAVE YOUR CLAIM PASSED UP TO A DECISION REVIEW OFFICER’! THIS IS EXTREEMLY IMPORTANT MY VET BROTHERS AND SISTERS! IF YOU LET THE V.A. use the V.A.s USUAL PROCEEDURE .. you will be waiting for up to 5 years for it to pass up the normal channels .. JUST TO GET TO A DECISION REVIEW OFFICER! Why not cut tie time by at least 3 years or more?? You MAY just get an answer with in a month or two! 🙂

      10.) NEVER FORGET THE V.A. MISSOIN IS TO HIRE UNQUALIFIED PEOPLE THAT CANNOT TELL/READ THE SYMBOLS ON A COMPUTER AND WILL THEREFORE PUT YOU ON HOLD UNTIL EITHER THEY GET TIRED OF HEARING THEIR PHONE RINE WHILE THEY HAVE YOU ON HOLD OR THEY WILL HANG UP ON YOU! AS A RULE AND IF YOU DO GET A SEMI LITERATE ON THE PHONE THEY WILL DELAY YOU, DENY YOU AND WAIT FOR THE VETERAN, “YOU”, TO DIE!!!.

      11.) JOIN THE “ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART”!!!! (No, you do NOT have to have a Purple Heart to Join their Organization) WHY? Because they have offices right in the V.A. Claim Center and it’s a matter of them walking down the Hall or taking the Elevator up to the next floor and DIRECTLY SPEAKING WITH THE “DECISION REVIEW OFFICER”, ABOUT YOU AND YOUR CASE AND THEN THE “ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART” .. “WILL”SEND YOU AN ANSWER WITHIN THE NEXT WORKING WEEK AS TO WHERE YOUR CLAIM IS AT!!! This is a whole lot better than waiting Months to get an answer.

      12.) You CAN COLLECT up to ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY PER CENT (160) ON A SERVICE CONNECTED CLAIM and SIXTY PER CENT (60 %) ON A NON-SERVICE CONNECTED CLAIM. ( if YOU BREAK YOUR ARM YEARS AFTER YOU HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF SERVICE THE V.A. STILL MUST TREAT YOU! ( I would like to add an aside. when you receive your Service Connected Disability of at least 70% plus unemployability, or 100%, or a Combination of 100% plus a “COMBINED TOTAL OF 60& or more” .. you are Eligible for $10,000.00 Free Whole Life Insurance and can purchase up to another $20,000.00 if you pay for it! BEWARE!!! YOU ONLY HAVE TWO (2) YEARS TO GET THIS INSURANCE!!!! You Can Collect Dependent Income Compensation even if your VETERAN has passed. You CAN get your spouse and children a “MILITARY I.D. Card ,, but it is renewable every Four (4) years! Your Spouses D.I.C. (Dependent Income Compensation drops out at the Veterans Death and then becomes a “WIDOWS PENSION.”) SHE MAY ALSO DRAW THE “HIGHER SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT.” Either Yours or Hers!!

      • I wish to add to my POST of today. You may file for your Social Security Disability Benefits when you receive your letter that your claim for benefits has been approved .. or if you have become disabled after leaving Service and are disabled now. Both Social Security Disability Benefits and Service Connected Benefits and Non-Service Connected Benefits are paid out one (1) one month in ADVAVCE! If you have sought the advice of a Lawyer or Legal Aide person and have paid them money or are planning on paying them after they receive YOUR money please be sure and ask them to SEE THE Washington D.C. Agreement that that had to sign. If they CANNOT produce this document then ask them to cut you a check for what they charged you OVER 10% or $2,000.00 whichever is LESS and if they cannot produce it then ask them to “Immediately Cut You A Check for the Difference! Be sure and take a copy of an “APPEAL FORM 9” and have it on your person!! Yeah, They will sputter and cough and quite possibly Curse you out but stand your ground and tell then you will report them to the Washington D.C. Office AND the STATE BAR ASSOCIATION IN EVERY STATE THEY ARE LICENSED IN! DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR CHECK!!!

        A NOTE to Mr. Robert Duke. Dear Mr. Robert Duke, I applaud you for helping the deceased veterans widow. ‘If’ the late friend of yours had a Claim For Benefits already filed then the V.A. HAS TO PAY HIS CLAIM, AT THE CURRENT RATE OF PAY, THAT HE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED, until the date of his death!! The V.A. CANNOT DROP A VETERANS CLAIM IF IT HAS ALREADY BEEN FILED JUST BECAUSE HE DIES IN THE INTERUM! IF HIS WIDOW RECEIVES HIS BACKPAY AFTER JAN., 01, 2015 .. THE V.A. HAS TO PAY HIS CLAIM AND INCLUDE THE 1.7% INCREASE. SINCE HE HAS PASSED AWAY SHE NOW BECOMES ELIGABLE FOR HER ‘WIDOWS INCOME’! File THAT for her as she will no longer receive his disability benefits.

        To Jane, (Marvin’s Widow) Please read the posts that I have made to Mr. Robert Duke. You are eligible for a “Widows Pension” Jane. You ARE eligible for Marvin’s back pay payable at the current rate of pay and you are eligible for the “Higher of The Social Security Disability/Social Security Benefits.”

        Let me State Once Again: “Nothing happens until you FILE A CLAIM!!” Once you HAVE filed a claim .. when you win, even if you have passed on .. your Widow IS eligible to receive 100% of your back pay up until the day you passed away! Since the V.A. pays Claims one (1) month in advance she will have to pay them back one month. Pay extra special attention to what I said about being eligible to receive benefits even after a loved one has passed away .. “IF” HE HAD A CLAIM FOR BENEFITS FILED BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY”.

        Michael Stewart

  12. I am a Vietnam Combat Veteran 67′-68′, I am 100% rated service connection. I now help other Veterans with their claims as most VSO organizations are severly inept. I had been aiding a 67′ Thailand Army Medic who had evidence, including a NCO who verified that their Unit was responsible for storing, spraying and teaching AF units to spray Agent Orange. This man had 3 VA presumptive diseases but died before his claim was decided…. naturally, Deny, Deny until they die. I am proceeding to help his widow.

    The basis for all Thailand claims denials is proof of a Veteran having been on a perimeter. Unless you have daily reports in your file, the daily orders for guard duty are NOT going to be found in your military file. THEY know this!

    UNLESS, the Thailand Veterans get together as a Large Group and rattle the halls of Congress, Thailand will continue to be a non combat area and AO Claims will be denied in mass, with only a few getting through in certain circumstances.

    It’s HIGH TIME ALL VETERANS came under one flag to push such issues, continuing to use the over 210 VA recognized Veterans Service Organizations is the death knoll for Veterans as a whole. Veterans are ignored in evey election.

    Using the usual VSO’s like DAV, American Legion, VFW, MOPH, State VA Offices, etc just continues to stall the VA Regional Decision Offices that hide behind closed doors, rules, regulations that make no sense, and a VA Court System controlled by the VA.

    • Robert, proof of duty ON the perimeter is not required. Proof of duty NEAR the perimeter is. NEAR is within 500 meters according to Army Field Manual 3-3, which covers manual herbicide spraying operations. For the Air Force, your APRs and aerial photos of the installation will provide that proof. Read my entries above for more information.

      • 556 CES, Udorn Thailand, 1966-67. Det 1 was a unit that constructed barracks, right next to the fence. A part of a 35 man unit, you AFSC meant very little, you did what needed to be done. as supply, trunk driver, count material in the field, forklift, transport construction from base to base. Was sprayed each 10 days or so, 500 meters was the width to the flight line. My appeal sits in Bay Pines Regional Office, St. Petersburg, Fl, with 28,000 others. Va wrote my appeal in in a great back-log, and can not estimate when our DROs, will get to your appeal. Have a Lawyer ?

  13. Benjamin,

    Thank you for a very good report. I’m a Thailand Vet who just happens to be living in Thailand today. Back in 2012, I pointed out the same discrepancy of missing pages as you mentioned to several VA groups while researching my own claim which I filed in Sept 2011. I too found the missing pages. One other area to research are the “Rules of Engagement” (R.O.E.) from that time period. They too are hard to find but also very enlightening.

    My own claim which was denied in July 2013 is now in the “backlog” of Appeals. Just went from one basket to next because they failed to even read my claim. Had they even read the claim they would not have made some of the ridiculous and incorrect statements in the denial. Facts stated do not even match what was in the claim. Very close to being a CUE. This was during the “Big Push”.

    Now to real point of my response. I was stationed at a remote radar site in Thailand known as Green Hills (Khao Yai National Park) in 1969. Upon the recommendation by my VSO, I wrote to good old boy “Senator Sanders” (Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) not once but twice with clear evidence of the aftermath of the “spraying of herbicides” at the radar site and lower resort areas. I received back two identical form letters stating how great they are, helping us Vets and will forward my letters to my state Senator Barbra Boxer. She contacted me but it went nowhere. Among my normal duties I was also the “site photographer” and I took both aerial and ground photos (B&W) of the site. From the photos you can clearly see the lack of vegetation around the entire lower resort area where we lived every day. This area covers several hundred acres. No way could clearing vegetation by mechanical means be accomplished with out chemical help. Compared these photos to current satellite photos, it is like day and night.

    This is getting to be a long post so I’ll cut it short. Since I live in Thailand I have revisited the radar site several times because I enjoy the Park itself. The Park was given a photo history I personally took 45 years ago, for which they not have and have been very grateful. I will be returning in the next month (hopefully) for a more formal visit to the site meeting with several high level officials. It is my every intention to ask some serious questions about medical issues that Thais may have suffered over the years. Thailand does not have the same support foundation we veterans have but they are sticklers on documentation. However, they tend to throw away what is no longer useful. It is my hope I can stumble upon some of the records to help support our claims. They are also not know for speed in returning answers so patience is required.

    But it also begs to ask the question if we didn’t physically apply herbicides and the Thais did, what happened to the Thais that sprayed it? Are they not also entitled to compensation? This opens a big Pandora Box which needs to be brought to light. Thailand was never really compensated for our actions 50 years ago. Is our answer there? Remember, Thais have been and are very loyal to the US but the current administration has weaken that loyalty. Will they not respond? Or do the opposite as I hope?

  14. It is time for someone to find an attorney out to make a name for themselves and request back pay for conditions that were in effect the last day we were in country! I left in October of ’71 – why didn’t my service connection go back to the last day it was possible for me to be exposed?

    • Dear Mario, and everyone else who thinks that they can hire an Attorney!
      If you BOTHER/BOTHERED to look at all my POSTS on this site/subject you will find that you must FIRST FILE A CLAIM!!

      THEN, WHEN THE V.A. TURNS YOU DOWN, YOU MUST FILE A “NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT” WITH THEM!

      Then, if they DO pay you less than you expect, you must again file a NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT with them .. and you mast continue to do this until the V.A. gets tired of hearing from you ( the V.A. is REQUIRED TO SEND YOU AN ANNUAL “STATMENT OF CASE” or S.O.C.) and send you an “APPEAL FORM 9” that you must send to Washington D.C.!

      If the “Decision Review Board” IN WASHINGTON D.C. decides you are eligible for the Benefits that you are requesting, they will then send your Claim back to your State Office and make it clear that you are right and they are wrong and order them to pay your claim.

      However, IF YOU WILL “BOTHER” TO TURN OVER TO THE BACK PAGE OF AN APPEAL FORM 9 YOU WILL FIND THAT IN ORDER TO HIRE A LAWYER, ATTORNEY OR “ANY FORM” OF LEGAL SERVICES, THESE SERVICES “MUST PRE-FILE AN INTENT LETTER (to file a claim for benefits on your behalf) WITH THE WASHINGTON D.C. OFFICE, THE WASHINGTON D.C. OFFICE WILL THEN SEND THEM A LETTER STATING THAT THEY, WHOM, EVER YOU HAVE APPOINTED TO REPRESENT YOU ON YOUR CLAIM, WILL NOT ONLY RETUURN THE WASHINGTON D.C. OFFICE THIS LETTER, THE LEAGLE BEAGLE(S) YOU HAVE REPRESENTING YOUR CASE “WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COLLECT 10% OR $2,000.00 .. WHICH EVER IS LESS .. THIS LETTER MUST BE SENT BACK TO THEM “IN A TIMELY MANNER” TO THEM IN WASHINGTON D.C. BEFORE THEY, THE LEGAL TEAM “YOU” HAVE HIRED, CAN FILE A CLAIM ON YOUR BEHALF AND IT MUST BE ON FILE AT “THEIR OFFICE IN WASHINGTON D;C. BEFORE THE WASHINGTON OFFICE WILL PROCEED IN WHOMEVER YOU HAVE HIRED TO TAKE ON YOUR CASE. THIS IS FOR YOUR PROTECTION & FROM THEM BEING ABLE TO TAKE ON YOUR CASE”! THEY CANNOT CHARGE ANY VETERAN “MORE THAN” $2,000.00 OR 10% ,,, “WHICH AMOUNT EVER IS “LESS”!

      CORDIALLY,
      MICHAEL

      • My friend, I already receive 40% for diabetes and stage 3 kidney disease as a result of presumed exposure of herbicides from NKP, Thai (Oct 70-Oct 71). I am just wishing we could boot back the claim to the last day in country. Of course my next duty station was Pease, NH and there isn’t much doubt that herbicides were used there, but USAF wouldn’t admit it.

      • To: Mario Smith,
        “NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL YOU FILE A CLAIM”!! Evidently you did not file a claim, in time to receive your benefits until after you got out of Service. Had you filed a Claim for Benefits you would have gotten your Back Pay and the annual increases every year since then Mario. At least you are getting them NOW! There is a book named the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV” that gives ALL the %’s that are available for you Illnesses & Injuries and their Minimum and Maximum Benefits that A Veteran may apply for, Mario. Should your ailments increase, and they will, you may then refile for your increases!

        I file Claims for Benefits in the following manner.

        I first list that I am filing my own claim for: P.T.S.D., Diabetes Type ll, Heart Attack, Coronary Heart Disease, ect. Then I skip a line and I list them one by one’

        I then list them one by one by saying:

        ITEM 1.) POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. DISORDER (P.T.S.D.)

        (a.) I have taken the test designed specifically for Vietnam Veterans and am enclosing my Test Scores. (I then enclose my test scores.)

        b.) I am enclosing my Doctors Statement saying: It is as least likely as not that this Patient suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) as he meets the following criteria on the Test And that are in the LexisNexis Manual that defines the number, and the experiences, required to be eligible for 100% Total & Permanently impaired.

        c.) I have:

        1. Intrusive Dreams about ACTUAL EVENTS and also Dreams that have nothing to do with Vietnam but that DO make me feel trapped, being chased or chasing after someone or dreams that make them able to run faster while I feel mired down chest deep in sticky stuff.

        2. I have Flash Backs that are about ‘actual events’ that took place in Vietnam but they are short, quick, bursts that last about 30 seconds up to three minutes and then evaporate.

        ITEM 2.) DIABETES TYPE ll.

        (a.) I am on Diet, Exercise and Pill Form. I take Glipazide 5mg. twice per day.

        Item 3.) Corenary Heart Disease.

        a.) I am taking the following medications:

        1.) Prepanolol. 2.5mg. 4 X per day

        2,) Liseinopril. 5 mg. twice per day

        I am not suggesting that my spelling is correct not am I suggesting that you ‘say things exactly as I have said them’, Mario. I am only trying to show you HOW to file a Claim for Benefits or a Notice of Disagreement. What ever, or How ever, YOU have found it to be effective is how YOU should file, what book you can fine the Disability %’s in and what the “Appeal Form 9” says about hiring Legal People and what they MUST file back to Washington D.C. before taking you on as a Client, Mario.

        I am Happy that you are finally receiving your 40% for Diabetes Type ll and Liver Disease, Mario.

        Semper Fi

      • I am not sure where you getting your facts but you are mistaken about attorneys and the claim VA process.
        As a veteran’s claims paralegal I regularly file initial claims for fellow veterans. If it is approved we receive NO payment because an attorney CANNOT charge a fee UNTIL an appeal has been filed. If we assist with the appeal we receive 20% of the back pay as our fee. If the appeal is not successful we do not get paid. We have argued many claims successfully that resulted in over $10,000 as our fee payment.
        There is no “annual Statement of the Case.” You receive a statement of the case after you file an NOD. You have 60 days from the date of the statement of the case to file a Form 9 (substantive appeal) with the regional office that has jurisdiction of your claim.

        James E King
        SFC, USA (Retired)
        VA Claim Paralegal

    • Mario, my husband, Richard “Dick” Gauthier was at Korat around the same time period as you were in Thailand. He died in 1997; I had no idea about Agent Orange in Thailand until I just heard about it on the news a few nights ago ( 4/26/17). I am trying to look through his files to verify dates and see if I have everything that is needed to file a claim. Thanks to everyone for all the information.

      Patty Gauthier

  15. I was ground/administrative support for the 336TFS at Ubon and at Utapoa this was always a question in everyone mind. Thanks for bining this up.

  16. Really good article. Just to show how dicked up the VA is, I was a security policeman stationed at Utapao RTAF and I was denied service connection for Diabetes Mellitus. I had my VSO (who is very good) immediately den them a NOD and the claim was reopened. I just received a denial again even though the VA’s own ajudication manual states very clearly that a security policeman stationed at Utapao, Thailand “If yes, concede herbicide exposure on a direct/facts-found basis”. Seems to me that things like this should have punitive measures imposed on the rater by the BVA, ie….fire the basted who won’t even follow the VA’s own manual. I know that I will eventually win this claim for presumptive service connection, but I guess they do this to everyone thinking they will finally die.

    • Mark, so far there is no penalty to the VA claim evaluators; I agree with you; there should be. But there is an advantage to the veteran who lives long enough to get his claim approved. They will pay you benefits back to the date of your first claim. I fought them for 7 years; I received an initial check for $58K.

    • Mark
      I am so sorry for what you are going through. My husband went through 8 1/2 years a cancer treatments and he didn’t get approval of his untill 4 days before he died. Then they only paid me for 2 years of the claim. At least he never new that part. I requested a re-evaluation of time almost 18 months ago and I have heard nothing.
      God Bless you
      Jane

  17. Vietnam-era Veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 may have been exposed to herbicides and may qualify for VA benefits.

    The following Veterans may have been exposed to herbicides:

    I was at Korat working in the Munitions Operations Area (MOA) 20MM shop. From what I read and the spray maps the MOA was originally jungle that was sprayed. Once the vegetation died they built the MOA.

    I did not arrive till August that year. Why do they have a cutoff date when there were still troops serving at these locations. What is significant about the date…………end of the war? I am sure that the makers of the herbicides did not program all spray to safe on May 7th.

    That is a lot of acres in the ammo area full of residuals that I am sure I was exposed to.

    Any thoughts out there?

    Jim

  18. It’s December 3rd, 2015. My spouse, who died in August of 2013, first started with Diabetes, Type 2, sometime in the early 1990’s. After that, he made an appointment with the local VA hospital to get evaluated and was sent home after a cursory examination. They never asked to look at his Dr. reports. He received a letter saying that he was denied any service related disability, as he had not served in Vietnam. He did not appeal…felt it was a waste of time. He ultimately developed COPD and Lung cancer and died on Aug. 1, 2013. He spent 22 years in the Air Force and was stationed in Thailand as part of the Civil Engineering squadron, who was building an Airfield in Thailand in the mid 1960’s. That particular effort was called “Operation Red Horse.” He oversaw an electrical crew while they were building the Air Field. He said there had been a jungle where the Airfield was constructed, but some type of defoliant was used……not only to clear the vegetation for the runway, but to stop the aggressors from growing food. After that, he and others ate food that was grown around the same areas and served to the Airmen.

    People keep telling me I should re-file a complaint, but I have no idea how to go about it. I am disabled myself and cannot travel to the nearest VA facility, which is 150 miles away.

    Jan

    • Jan,

      You need to contact one of the service organizations that assist for free Veterans in filing claims and other veteran related issues. Here are a couple, most have offices in larger cities, often in the same building as the Veterans Aministration offices. They can get you started

      https://vva.org/ vietnam veterans of America

      https://www.dav.org/ disabled American veterans

  19. Very interesting info. & comments. I was in Ubon Thailand in 1968 TDY to work on and fly Blind Bat missions on the C 130A models dropping flares with a fighter escort.

  20. I was stationed at Ubon, RTAFB from July 1969 to July 1970. I was assigned to the 435 TFS (flight line) as a Crew Chief working on F4 Phantoms. Our squadron was located just inside the perimeter of the base and during flight launches we would walk out to the perimeter to have a smoke as you could not be near the parked aircraft or to just take a break.

    I currently have a claim for prostate cancer for AO / Herbicide exposure . However I have received a package stating they want to sever my service connected claim due to my AFC. I am currently waiting for a hearing date from the VA. I was able to get aerial photos of our squadron and the proximity from our flight line to the perimeter.

  21. Anyone stationed at U-Tapeo RTAFB. I see no where anything said about the Public ON BASE beach recreation area. Since U-T was directly on the Gulf of Siam the base set up a large beach inside the base which was just off of the runway and flight line. THE BEACH WAS DIRECTLY ON THE PERIMETER OF THE BASE IN THE MOST SENSITIVE AREA OF THE VERY LARGE BASE. It had Tiki Huts, bars, food services and a sailing club. It was just a few hundred feet from the flightline containing a large number of B-52, KC-135 aircraft plus a very large fuel and bomb depot. The base was attacked at night 1/10/1972 with 3 B-52 aircraft damaged. One attacker was killed the rest escaped. In reports found on the internet, you will see that guards searching for the attackers heard a boat off of the beach. In the same report you will see that in the suggested improvements that defolliants were ordered but none were available until the summer of 1972.

    I was on a KC aircrew and was on TDY to U-T on 4 tours from 1970 to 1973. Being from FL and stationed in SD, I spent a lot of my abundant free time on the beach. Anyone that frequented the beach would like be clad only in trunks and often barefoot. The vegetation between the beach and the nearby flightline was cleared with defolliants including the dunes. I contend that USAF personnel that frequented the beach area at U-T were FAR more apt to be exposed to Agent Orange than anyone working on the perimeter. We layed in it, walked in it with direct exposure to the skin of your body. My last tour was Nov 72 through Jan 73, I spent a lot of time on the beach as we had a cease fire on 1/1/73 after LB2. I noticed that a new guard tower had been added among the huts on the beach and it also appeared that the area between the beach and the runway/flight line now resembled a desert with virtually no vegetation from the dune area to the tarmac. Anytime it rained, whatever defolliants that were used would drain down onto the beach area into the Gulf of Siam. Anyone wanting pictures of the beach area should do a google image search of “U-Tapeo beach” and you will find a number of them, some labeled on the photo “U-Tapeo 1972” that clearly show it being a public beach area some with B-52s KC-135 flying over the beach on takeoff, one shows the added guard observation tower directly on the beach.

    • Thank you for this info. I have been fighting VA disability claim over two years now for vocal cord cancer ( removed four time )and prostate cancer remover twice since Sept.2016 and was stationed at U-tapao AFB 324 days From 1969 thru 1972 (two six month tours ).VA still declining me but I will keep protesting their decision. Again Thank you .
      Richard C. Brown

    • I left U-T for the last time in late Jan, 72. I had noticed my hands were itching and sweating badly on this trip and also on other trips. When I got back to Ellsworth, it had gotten so bad I went to the E/R. I became a cilvilian on 8-1-72 and the skin issues got worse spreading from my hands. I went to a dermatologist who within secs. disagnosed the skin issues as exposure to toxic industrial chemicals and suggested I contact the VA, they awarded me 10 servive connected for skin rash hqnds feet and face and for excessive sweatly hands. They found history in my USAF Med records. The medical codes used were 7899 and 7817 and backdated to the first day I was a civilian. The skin issues got much worse, I looked like a leper with chicken pox and much worse, I go back to VA and they raised me to 30% for skin codes 7816 & 7817 noting it now covered my entire body. In 1980 it disappeared completely never to return. 10 or 15 years later when all of the AO stories hit, my skin issues sounded like clear exposure to AO, however I contacted VA and told I was ineligible since I had only been in Thailand.

      Since, I have had many serious autoimmune/inflamatory issues/disease but have been blocked on making the AO connection. It seems to be another rigged system. I might note that Nixon had banned use of AO in warfare in Nov 69 due to worldwide outcry including protests in the US, yet they used them on U-T in the 2nd half of 1972. The dioxin TCDD in AO is one of the deadliest chemicals known. In Dec 1982 dioxins were found around Times Beach, Mo and the residents were forced to abandon the town and it was leveled by the governemt. It seems criminal to have freely sprayed it inside our US Thai bases and likely why the coverup for 40 years. The 40 years makes it very hard to produce good evidence, like your medical records from civilians from the 70s.

      One last point for anyone stationed at U-T, the runway elevation is 43 feet, the overrun is 1300 ft from the recreation beach. So a pretty steep decline down to the sandy beach from the most sensitive perimeter of the base. The area between the flight line and the beach was always defoliated but especially zapped in late 1972 after the attack. Any defoliant sprayed in that area between the planes and bomb dump would drain onto the beach in heavy rains. It is documented U-T had a beach rec area open to all base personnel. There are a lot of pictures of it showing security guard towers and life guard towers on the same beach perimeter.

      I do not like congressional hearings, they usually have a political agenda. Here is one I would like, both parties respect Vets and the Vietnam Thai Vets continue to get the shaft 40+ years later. Who authorized spraying inside our own bases with AO? And then the massive 40 year coverup. Imagine how many of us had medical issues from this, yet the VA continues the tactic of deny til we die.

  22. Thank you for all of your hard work and efforts on behalf of all veterans. Your information is very timely, I was stationed at Ubon AFB from Jan 1969 to 1970. I was a Flightline Crew Chief on F4 Phantoms, my squadron was the 435 TFS which was located by the perimiter of the base. Flash forward to 2011, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and opted to have it removed, talk about a life changing event. I went thru the Agent Orange registry and it was dedcided that I was exposed, for which I got a claim for loss of creative organ. Jump to March of 2016, VA decided that my MOS did not qualify for AO/Herbiced exposure, so I sent supporting documentation with aerial maps of the base that I found online. On Nov 17, 2016, I received an updated ruling from the VA saying that, Yes I was exposed to Agent Orange, so no change to my file. Timely right?

    • Nick, I worked on aircraft that returned to US and had to clean electronics, antenna and avionic equipment bays. Is there any way to get tail numbers ? PS I’m sick too.

      • Hi Mike,
        Sorry to hear that. The tail number of my aircraft was 594 and the other one that stood out was 555, they were all F-4D’s.

        Nick Rizzo

  23. I was a Flight Mechanic on KC135 Aircraft and stationed at U-Tapao from 11-69 to 11-70. I was also sent to Takhli in July ’70 for 8 weeks to support F105 Operations (it was decided to experiment refueling the Thuds when they took off ‘nil’ of fuel but fully overloaded with ordinance immediately after takeoff). While at UT I witnessed, more than once, C-123 aircraft from Pleiku AB, that landed, were refueled and departed. I am sure you know what type of aircraft was used to dispense AO! I also spent quite a bit of time on the Beach and also the outdoor movie screen that was right next door. The barracks for all of the KC135 enlisted crew and maintainers was approx 300 yards from the western perimeter wire. I had a friend from high school who walked that perimeter as a Canine Handler with the USAF SP., and he used to complain about the possibilities of defoliants especially after his dog got very sick.
    I would like to commend you for your deep investigation into this. I too started suffering from PTSD episodes about 20 years ago but the VA Hospital Staff in Dallas stated that Thailand was never sprayed. Hopefully your work will help the thousands of veterans, a high percentage of them USAF Vets who served at the Bases in Thailand, wade through the muck that is the VA. We do need to get together and fight the system as ONE!!

  24. I was station at Udorn ab attached to 432nd supply sq. I would like clarification on the word “perimeter.” You could not claim any effects of agent orange unless you were worked the perimeter or was an SP and patrolled the perimeter. I always believed the entire base was the perimeter. My barracks and my warehouse”s boarded a chain link fence and beyond that fence were patty fields and woods. If you could help me in this clarification of perimeter. I would very appreciative..

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  26. I was stationed at NKP Air Base in Thailand from May 1973 through February 1974. Not only were our “hooches” situated right on the very edge of the base perimeter but, because of my job as an airborne radio systems operator, I also spent a LOT of time on the flight line. Therefore, I just naturally assumed this would be enough to confirm that I most likely had been exposed to Agent Orange. However, that’s not the case at all!! In fact, I just returned from a meeting with the people at my county VA office where I had attempted to apply for Vietnam veteran health benefits and also get on the Agent Orange register. But first I had to listen to a two minute spiel from one of the ladies working in the office about how I shouldn’t take it personal if I was denied confirmation of my Vietnam service or my possible exposure to AO. So in essence, she was telling me that I could almost expect to be denied and not to hold the people in her office responsible. Wow! This in return for an 18 year-old pimply faced young man who first volunteered for service in the military 1970, and then two years into that service also volunteered for service in Vietnam. At this point I’m way beyond disappointed with our government and the VA. But that aside, thanks so much for the valuable information provided in your article. Hopefully what I’ve learned by reading it will prove helpful in the near future.

    • don’t give up they also want the 4 ws who what where why and how a letter be very descriptive down to the color of the leafs don’t give up most do and pass away and where does that money go GOD BLESS

  27. Ernie,
    Do not take no for an answer, NKP is on the list for Agent Orange/Herbicides exposure. This is a cut and pastes from a VA report: U.S. Air Force Veterans who served on Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) bases at U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang, near the air base perimeter anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 would have been exposed. Keep fighting.

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  29. Hello all,
    I served at Ubon from Nov68 to Nov69, and have neuropathy, but I am not diabetic…
    so I have been denied my claim. I am re applying. I will let you know.. keep up the fight!!

  30. Thank you for another informative site. The place else
    may just I am getting that type of information written in such a perfect way?
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  31. Have you received any comments from US Army Thailand veterans who served at 7th RRFS Ramasun Field Station near UDORNRTAB regarding their experiences filing claim for A/O exposure? Or anyone who served at its Detachment , Det C/J, located at the very end of UBONRTAB runway? I read somewhere about a denial of claim from someone at Ramasun but that’s about it. Aerial photos showing location of DET C/J at end of runway “appear” to indicate proximity to perimeter within 500 Meter rule. As I scrounge around for ‘slides’ proving I was there, as well as the other recommended evidence, I wonder if there is precedence for denying or approving claims from Veterans who served at these places.
    Your info and help to everyone is terrific.
    Thank you….

  32. I was stationed at Camp Samae San from Aug 73 till Oct 74, in Jan we started running 2 miles each morning M-F that half was along perimeter of base(Camp Samae San was a small but beautiful base). We had a long beach line with Gulf of Siam and outdoor theater was there. I was turned down last yr and waiting of appeal but not hopeful since I was a finance specialist, which didn’t stop me from winning every 2 mile run. Also on my flight to Thailand the chartered flight stopped in Viet Nam and we disembarked and waited for flight to Utapao AFB on C130, I hope to connect with someone who was at Samae San during this time that had to run eac morning around the perimeter.

  33. Hello
    My husband was station in Takhli Thailand in 68/69 and worked on a launch team as Air Force air craft mechanics he has filed for agent orange benfits on being diabetic 2 and he has COPD and prostaticed and Neuropathy and 1 lung that does not work but they do not want to do anything what can we do to get him some help thank you wanda phillips

  34. WHY ISN’T NAM PHONG INCLUDED IN THIS. i WAS STATION THERE FROM JUNE 1972 TO MAY 1973. i KNOW ALOT OF GUYS THAT I WAS STATIONED WITH THAT TYPE 2 DIABETES AND CANCERS, HEART DISEASE. THAT COULD BENEFIT FROM THIS. I HAD BOOTS ON THE GROUND SO I WON MY CASE. MY COUSIN AND NEIGHBOR DIDNT AND ARE NOT BEING COMPENSATED.

  35. Does anyone know where I can find definite proof that U-Tapao RTAFB was sprayed with agent orange.Have had cancer remover from vocal cords four times and prostate removed and prostate area treated with radiation for cancer and Va continues to deny my claim saying I did not serve on premiter of base . Any help would be appreciated. Richard C.Brown email [email protected],co or phone at 254-238-8711

  36. Interesting – not surprising – hopefully helpful for many. However, it is still incomplete. The idea that only MP perimeter guys were exposed is ludicrous. I/we (Army intel – ASA ARDF – 7th Rock and Roll Freak Show aka Radio Research Field Station) flew out of Udorn from 73 to 74 into mostly Laos with guest appearances to the place north of Laos…. Then out of U-Tapao into Cambodia to the end of 74. Udorn was home to the C123s. We shared the same flight line with Scare America’s C119s, Porters, Otters, and C-123s. I know what herbicides smell like. The ground-crew loadies were pumping from drums into the C123s. Not from a tanker, but from bung capped drums. On more numerous occasions, I can remember these guys loading hot (engines running, props turning), or, they’d be pumping when those big radials would spool up. Everyone would get misted with that stuff.

    The denial that we weren’t flying that stuff, and only using it on perimeters is BS. Those 123s were going to Laos. The weird “idiopathic” shit growing on my spine isn’t related to AO – so I’m fucked. But hey – I’m fucked anyway.

    Thanks anyway Ben. There’s some comfort – even in partial truths.

  37. I am a military brat I started helping my father get his claim in before he past away last year the only saving grace we have is my mom signed some PAPERS allowing the claim to go forward in CASE HE PASSED we even signed for the claim to expedited because my mothers age my dad was in takil thialand in 1966 1967 he had four of the five symptoms and now they want proof that he did what he claimed he did he was I artillery, he loaded them big airplanes they want a picture of him in front of a c 123 WTF,,,,,i have an awesome disabled vet advocate he is not gonne give up my dad gave up I would like to thank all of our veterans for all you have done men .women god bless you all don’t give up that’s what they want

  38. I was stationed at U-tapao from oct 1972- sept 1973. I was in the motor operations unit and part of my job was to take mps to their duty stations on the perimeter and also to clean out their vehicles after they patrolled the perimeter of the base. Motor operations did many jobs and I was all around the base. I too was ordered to go to the edge of the tarmac to smoke and also made many memorable visits to the beach and the small restaurant there. I figure I was exposed to AO from going all those places. In the beginning of this year I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I have since found that my type 2 diabetes, neuropathy and heart trouble are all part of AO exposure. I am just getting things together to file a claim and will take any and all advice. I am not so good on the internet so anyone out there with links to google aerial pictures of the base from that time period would help me out. Also, does anyone have a link to internet reports about that attack on the base in 1972 that is mentioned here in Scott Nelms above post? I’d like to include that report showing that defoliant was the response to the attack? Id ike to include that report in my claim.

  39. I was stationed at Ubon RTAFB from Feb. 1969 to Feb. 1970 (worked on F-4’s and C-130’s) and was also assigned as an Air Police augmentee. My question is, was there ever any records kept who were assigned to augmentee duty? Also the location of the electronics barracks on this base (Ubon), any info. would be gladly appreciated…

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