Judge Gives VA Agent Orange Denial A Roundhouse Kick

VA Agent Orange Denial

Benjamin KrauseOne judge finally gave a VA Agent Orange denial a judo chop followed by a roundhouse kick when reversing a denial of a veteran formerly stationed in South Korea. Well, kind of.

The decision was not totally on point – it denied Agent Orange exposure while granting the disabilities due to chemical exposure – but the veteran and advocacy community called it a win, and we will too.

The veteran, Steve House, has been on a mission for years to get his Agent Orange exposure and resultant health problems service connected. House claimed he was exposed to the toxin while in the Army at Camp Carroll in 1978. Camp Carroll is in South Korea and one of the bases DoD long denied any connection with Agent Orange storage.

The decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals is not binding on any other decisions, but it does indicate the agency is possibly opening its eyes to the illegal treatment of these veterans on behalf of the VA and DoD to save a buck using insurance gimmicks and slight of hand.

[View the BVA case Citation Nr: 1412612]

According to the IB Times:

Rick Weidman, executive director of government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), called the judge’s decision on House’s claim historic. “It’s a precedent, a real turning point that we haven’t had before,” Weidman said. “Despite the fact that VA is still not saying that Agent Orange was buried there, virtually no one to date has gotten recognition for exposure to toxic chemicals, Agent Orange or otherwise, outside of the war zone. VA finally admits they sprayed Agent Orange along the DMZ [in Korea], but as far as toxins harming veterans at any other location, they very rarely admit it.”

VA spokesperson Megan Lutz attempted to diminish the victory:

“Pursuant to regulation, decisions issued by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals [Board] are nonprecedential in nature,” said the spokesperson, Meagan Lutz. “This means that decisions by the board are considered binding only with regard to the specific case decided. Each case presented to the board is decided on the basis of the individual facts of the case, with consideration given to all evidence of record, in light of applicable procedure and substantive law.” Lutz added that the percentage House receives for his disability rating “will be determined based on the nature and severity of his service.”

Agent Orange is a generic term referencing the DoD’s use of dioxin and other chemicals to conduct its war against North Vietnam. The toxin has had a long lasting and deadly impact on generations of Vietnamese and Vietnam War veterans who were exposed. Numerous kinds of cancers, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, skin problems, and other diseases have all been linked to exposure.

What do you think? Is it time America owns up for the destruction is caused through chemical experimentation on the Vietnamese and our troops during that war?

The USSR concluded our use of Agent Orange amounted to little more than a chemical warfare campaign against the country. Should we believe this translated report from Brooks Air Force Base?

[Read the translated USSR report on US Army use of chemicals in Vietnam]

Read More: https://www.ibtimes.com/judges-surprise-ruling-veterans-exposure-toxic-chemicals-us-military-base-called-turning-1569225


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  1. IntWresting conversation. I only will say this I know as a “humorous act.” The base in Gulfport Mississppi had Agent Orange stored there and it had leaked into the soil containers removed then came along this “group of who knows what.” This was all on the TV local news stations. I guess they set up their little white Tent over the area and they had HAZMAT SUITES ON. From the way it was depicted it looked huge, but in all actuality it was a very small place and you would see smoke coming out of the top because they were burning the soil? My ex was a pharmacy text, myself I joined the Reserves there and for whatever reason it just didn’t look realistic how many containers stored there wasn’t answered but they were taking care of it. I do wonder however, if they knew this stuff was bad then why didn’t they take care of it sooner? It had been stored there for quite sometime, it made absolutely no sense to my neighbors at all. A friend in that neighborhood years later told me she had a pretty good size lump in her back, when removed it was cancer so they removed more. Imagine a neighborhood not close to the base yet medical issues coming up from them all. I know she was raised closer to the base, but not everyone in our neighborhood was. I think it is sad that the government plays games and never released any truths never released any facts, and who knows what or who were exposed to it before the soil burning. ( peace time doesn’t get them off freely, and if they believe such, Lawyer Up!) As stated, read up on medical information of the gift that keeps on giving, I truly wonder will the government do anything or even admit to it? Ah well, just another day in what they feed you from a box, stating “THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.” Actually Finland and a finlander I did some work with, gee they beat us completely when stated claims the USA makes. SAD BUT TRUE!

    1. Okay you all I am not high in any manner, but long days and nights does not help my eyesight to adjust completely for quite awhile. So forgive my errors, just another “gift” from Fibromyalgia! Have a great weekend!

  2. S.2914 — DMZ War Veterans Recognition Act of 2006 (Introduced in Senate – IS)

    S 2914 IS

    109th CONGRESS
    2d Session

    S. 2914
    To recognize and honor the soldiers of the United States and the Republic of Korea who served, were wounded, or were killed from 1953 until the present in the defense of the Republic of Korea, to require the placement of a commemorative plaque at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and for other purposes.

    May 19, 2006

    Mr. DEWINE introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

    A BILL
    To recognize and honor the soldiers of the United States and the Republic of Korea who served, were wounded, or were killed from 1953 until the present in the defense of the Republic of Korea, to require the placement of a commemorative plaque at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    This Act may be cited as the `DMZ War Veterans Recognition Act of 2006′.

    Congress finds that–
    (1) the Korean War, which began in 1950 and ended when the Korean War Armistice was signed in 1953, is commonly known as the `Forgotten War’;
    (2) a later war in Korea, known only to some veterans and their families as the `Unknown War’ or the `DMZ War’, occurred long after the Korean War Armistice was signed in 1953;
    (3) according to military documents, the leadership of North Korea issued a declaration of war against the United States in a speech in 1966, which read that `U.S. imperialists should be dealt blows and their forces dispersed to the maximum in Asia. . . .’;
    (4) the 124th Special Forces unit of North Korea–
    (A) was trained–
    (i) to destroy the camps and civilians of the United States;
    (ii) to disrupt travel and communication between the Armed Forces; and
    (iii) to sabotage and assassinate the government officials of South Korea and the United States; and
    (B) repeatedly confronted the soldiers of the United States and the Republic of Korea when crossing through the Demilitarized Zone;
    (5) since the Armistice was signed, over 40,000 Armistice violations have occurred, many of which involved troops of the United States who were stationed in and around Korea;
    (6) some of those violations, like the capture of the USS Pueblo, caught the attention of the media, although most have not;
    (7) since the end of the Korean War, many soldiers of the United States have died or been wounded in Korea as a result of hostile fire;
    (8) some veterans of the Republic of Korea suffer from exposure to Agent Orange, which was used during a period that began in 1968 and ended in 1969 in and around the DMZ;
    (9) because the hazardous properties of Agent Orange last for at least 100 years, soldiers of the United States who later served in the Demilitarized Zone had been exposed to the chemical long after the Armed Forces stopped using it;
    (10) the military personnel of the United States who served in the Korean War during the period that began in 1966 and ended in 1969 received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; and
    (11) a few of the soldiers who fought and died in the Korean War have been–
    (A) nominated posthumously for the Congressional Medal of Honor; and
    (B) awarded–
    (i) the Silver Star or Bronze Star for valor in combat; and
    (ii) the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat.

    (a) Plaque- The term `plaque’ means the plaque directed to be placed at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. under section 4(a).
    (b) Secretary- The term `Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the National Park Service.

    Not later than November 11, 2009, the Secretary shall place on or near the grounds of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., a plaque to commemorate the sacrifices of those who served, were wounded, or were killed from 1953 until the present in the defense of the Republic of Korea, that contains the following inscription (in which the bracketed space shall include the date on which the plaque is placed): `Dedicated to the soldiers of the United States and the Republic of Korea who served, were wounded, or were killed from 1953 until the present in the defense of the Republic of Korea. The efforts of those soldiers have enabled the Republic of Korea to develop into a successful and modern country. Since 1953, the Armed Forces of the United States experienced more than 40,000 `Armistice violation incidents.’ Those incidents have caused the deaths of over 100 soldiers of the Armed Forces of the United States and the wounding of hundreds more from hostile fire in the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding waters. Unknown to most citizens, the soldiers of the United States and the Republic of Korea fought and won the `DMZ War’ between November 1966 and December 1969. That war caused the majority of the Armistice casualties. We remember the service, sacrifice, and valor of all of those soldiers on this 40th anniversary of the start of the DMZ War. Their fellow soldiers and their families will never forget them. Let this Plaque aid their countries to remember them as well. Placed this day, [XXXXXXXXXX].’.

  3. My claim was filed Oct. 2009; I was stationed (USAF) at U-Tapao,Airfld, Thailand, from Feb. 68/Feb.69, where I was required to serve as an “Augmentee Air Policeman” (not my MOS), due to an insufficient contingent of Air Police Personnel to guard the base, and the B-52’s and KC-135(refuelers) that were assigned TDY in 6 moth rotations. The claim for “Coronary Artery Disease(Ischemic Artery Disease)” was denied and has been in Appeal Status since 6-2010. It seems to me that there is a real indifference with the majority of VA employees that work in ranks ranks I believe we will not start any real reforms in resolving the thousands of C&P claims that are incomplete until we better define definitions: (For Example)the one that drives me “bonkers” is how the VA interprets the word “perimeter” when defining how veterans in Thailand are exposed to herbicides moreh or less only when they serve on the “base Perimeter”, the only definition that I find from the dictionary defines”perimeter as the area within the boundries……..in other words i my feeble mind we’ve got a tremendous amount of reforms in order to get our claims evaluated honesty, & timely.. Sincerely Gary R. Bostic SSGT, USAF, Apr. 1966-Dec, 1969.

    1. Try using Army Field Manual 3-3, Tactical Employment of Herbicides, Paragraph 5-2d. It would also help if you could show any training you received for Augmentee.

  4. Subject: Agent Orange in Korea – Continuation Letter

    Here is a statement that came from another veteran’s appeal and he won in reference of Agent Orange/Dioxins in Korea. He was station there in 1977-78, well past the presumptive dates:

    “He further stated that although he served after the Agent Orange “presumptive” period, the December 1998 toxicology study of record demonstrates that the half-life of dioxins on the surface is nine to 15 years and the sub-surface is 25 to 100 years.”

    Also, tons of personal and unit equipment was covered with Agent Orange spray when used. They equipment was never cleaned properly as we all know and was passed on to others through the years!
    Besides the ground/soil, Agent Orange was soaked into the various structures when it was sprayed and never was cleaned properly. Many of these same structures were used well past the 1980’s.

    Well into the late 80s, vegetation was still bare along many parts of the DMZ that we patrolled, guarded, dug holes in for trash and bodily functions and for foxholes….

    The soil which was saturated with Agent Orange during the use of it; 68 to 71. Retains the Dioxins for years to come as noted in many toxicology reports. The same very soil that we laid in and did combat patrols and ambushes, the summer time it was just outright mud during the monsoon seasons. The same very soil when it rain, the rain ran off into the underground streams which fed water to our various camps up along and on the DMZ. The same water, we bathed in, cooked, drank, and so forth.

    In Vietnam, the US Government has worked with the Vietnamese government to clean up the areas that Agent Orange was used and store. We have not done that in Korea yet or even made any attempts known to the public sector!

    It took till 2011 to even admit that Agent Orange was used in Korea, 40 years prior. How much more is kept covered and hidden from the public?

    There are many veterans who suffer severely from Agent Orange Dioxins before and long after the presumptive dates of 68 to 71. Many don’t even know that it was used in Korea till just recently, just I found out personally about a year ago. And most Veterans are denied, just because they don’t simply fall within the presumptive dates for Korea!!!!

    The VA’s Agent Orange Registry is a big hoax! We as veterans assume they refuse to allow the Registry to be done on Veterans outside the 68 to 71 presumptive dates, because the truth will come out that many of us were exposed well into the 1980s and the early 1960s!!!! The Registry needs to be opened up, to show that there is an issue outside of the Presumptive Dates!!!!!!!!

    We did our duty, and now we are being punished for it! We are did out part and now we are asking the VA/Government to do their part!

    Thomas J. Lucken
    Korean DMZ Veteran

  5. Subject: Dioxin (Agent Orange) Long Term Residual Effects Korean DMZ

    Five months ago, I found out that I have Adult Diabetes Type 2, which is one of the many side effects of Dioxin exposure. I already knew many veterans who have served in Vietnam and Korea suffer from not just this side effect but many others. I have discussed with other veterans who have also served in Korea, in particular those who have also served up on the DMZ north of Freedom Bridge/Imjin-gak (River). Many of these veterans also suffer not only from Diabetes, but many of the other side effects of Dioxin exposure.

    Agent Orange was used in Korea from approximately 1968 to 1971. Those that served in Korea at that time are the only ones who are acknowledged to have had exposure to Dioxin. It does not cover those that were exposed afterward, where it resides in the dirt for many years to come. From 1971 to 1991 we still had Troops running patrols, manning Guard Posts, and Observation Posts in the American Sector (11 Mile Stretch) after the use of AO.

    Our final troops exited Vietnam by 1975 and they are covered in the Zone for Agent Orange. But, in Vietnam we did not naturally get a chance to see the effects of Dioxin exposure in the ground to those Veterans. In Korea, many of us believe we were exposed to it through the 70s and 80s due to aliments we now suffer from.

    The US Government/VA needs to look at supporting and caring for these Veterans who are suffering from the side effects caused by exposure to Agent Orange. The Government needs to determine and accept that Dioxins remained in the area/ground well after its use and not just during. We exposed these Troops to an unsafe environment and now they suffer from it in sickness/illnesses, and in some cases death. I believe you will find in most cases, it has taken several years for the illnesses to appear, quite similar to those who were exposed to Agent Orange when it was used in Vietnam. Also, many Korean DMZ veterans do not know that A.O. was even used there.

    From 1972 to 1991, approximately 50,000 troops have served in the American Sector of the DMZ, and that is a conservative number! For the VA to see an issue/trend here is very limited due to relatively small number of veterans who have served there. With DMZ veterans spread in 50 states, territories, working, living, and retired overseas, and in some cases have passed on, it is hard to see that there is a trend/issue especially if veterans don’t know they were exposed…. The VA and the Federal Government has not taken any measures to notify these veterans either. “Hide the information, nobody knows”.

    My son John H. Lucken suffers from Spinal Bifida, a birth defect from those who were exposed to Agent Orange and it’s Dioxins. A birth defect that is define by the VA. As of a recent C-Scan on John, he is found to have 2 ½ kidneys also! This C-Scan is on record with the Pana, IL Hospital.

    John was born on July 17, 1989 at 121st Evac Hospital, Yongsan, Korea. John’s mother is Korean from the north part of the ROK. Her name is Mun, Yong-Cha!

    John’s spinal bifida is on record with the VA besides dealing with PTSD from Afghanistan 2009. Would I know that my service would come back to haunt him even more, then me!

    My info is: 831 W Jefferson, Vandalia, IL 62471; phone: 618-204-8391; email: [email protected].

    Thomas J. Lucken

    1. 1968-1971 that’s a bunch of crap. I was in C co 1/38 and then A co 1/9 1966-1967. On my cover letter I sent with my claim I asked if they didn’t spray AO why wasn’t there any vegetation in the DMZ .

  6. No doubt Vietnam is the war that keeps on giving.
    44 years after I served at Chu Lai, some of that time with the guard on the perimeter in one of those towers that should have had a bullseye painted on them,I came down with soft tissue sarcoma in my leg.I remember the view from the tower 4-500 yards of brownfield in front of the forest and all I thought at the time was
    if there was an attack I was sure I could hit something with my M-60 before they got to the wire.As far as I knew the Seabee’s clear cut and bulldozed everything and that was the result.
    I’ve had my surgery,removed the tumor and one of my quad muscles and the pathology report came back good,no cancer cells in the margins so no radiation treatment needed.I filed a claim in June through the DAV in Philadelphia and they hand delivered it to the Philly VA mailroom on July 8th and as of today that claim is not on my record.The DAV told me that since they Government is trying to fix the backlog they’ve actually slowed the system down.I believe it because when I filed a claim for Type 2 diabetis in 2010 it took the VA 60 days to issue my first compensation check.
    That’s what happens when you try to fix something that ain’t broken

    1. I have tried to live up to the old admonition to commit random acts of kindness, I really have.

      The universe still occasionally lines up so I can do this. Today I was out doing a piece of kinda-volunteer work I occasionally do: going out with my best friend here in Clarksdale on a part-time job he has evaluating warranty liability for a mattress-selling firm in Tennessee. We visited 7 customers in 8 hours or so, not including lunch break, and the last of the day was a woman bus driver for the Memphis metro system. I saw she had a kid (they were black), and in the course of conversation while we evaluated the mattress, I went in to say hi to the boy who was probably 10 or 11.

      I was shocked but held it in when I noticed that the boy, who was sitting playing his XBox on TV, had almost no arms. His hand were something like normal size, but his little arms were like flippers on a fish. I recognized the severe birth defect as one of the kinds of things that have resulted from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. I inquired of the mother whether the boy’s grandfathers had served in Vietnam. Sure enough, his paternal grandfather had. The effects of dioxin sometimes skip generations.

      I am lucky– it is the random blessing of whatever God is– that Jessie came out in one piece, as I myself was oversprayed by an Operation Ranchhand plane while out on a patrol one day. However, if she ever got pregnant, I would worry again.

      The mother had never given any thought to the possible connection between her son’s defect and his grandfather’s exposure to Agent Orange. Now she will.

      I had a harmonica with me. I blew a few notes for him, and then offered it to the boy, and sure enough, he was able to get both hands on the harp and bring it to his mouth to blow a few himself. He was beaming and empowered. A musical instrument even a person with almost no arms can play.

      I served in Vietnam from August 31 1969 to May 21 1970. I seved in Bien Hoa and Long Binh. The Vietnam War goes on for me, although I saw almost no combat.

      Day before yesterday, out doing this job, I met a Marine E-8, a veteran of both Korea and Vietnam, and a 100% DAV, who strongly urged me to file my claim because I had served in-country during the presumptive period. Having seen this boy, whose grandfather served there, and having a daughter of child-bearing age, I guess I, a naive kid whose family has always gone to the wars (both grandfathers, two uncles, two great aunts, two aunts, and my father in the 20th century) will finally have to file my claim.

      I will be the last of my family ever to serve.


  8. I have stage four Squamous Cell Carcinoma in my throat….not a type recognized…Must be Sarcoma??? So I have skin cancer in my throat. Doctors say can only be from exposure to Agent Orange. Radiation damage continues on my teeth and all soft tissues, spine etcetra. Left jugular vein gone…now the artery that side is gone. They will wait until I die to give decision if then. Also, nothing on PTSD….I was on LZ Professional during the covered up battle “Lamar Plain” in the Valley of Death. Longest battle against NVA in the “not a war”. I cannot afford to live in the US and moved to Thailand on SS disability…House foreclosed here. Did smoke for a decade following Vietnam…got the first cigarettes from the Army in Resupply. When going to VA clinics since 2002 no service…just fill out papers and get on waiting lists that sometimes were months old. Now in a clinic my PTSD kicks in due to terrible service, treatment, and bad manners of VA workers. My VA file is locked so not even DAV can access. Back to Thailand and my wife and daughter and to Hell with the VA and US that has abandoned me.

    1. Don’t try that ops crap
      There is nothing classified
      Vietnam today!
      Bs black ops
      That does not fly

  9. I never use the term AO, since we have never been able to get the DOD to release all pertinent information for all areas where herbicides were used, what exactly was used, and when. Please tell all vets, if your claim is after November 1971, and the claim says you were exposed to “Agent Orange”, it is an automatic denial, since there is an NSDM from Kissinger saying no more AO.

    1. Agent Orange was NOT only used in Vietnam. It was used by the Tennessee Valley Ath. (TVA) It was used at several U.S. Military Bases, Ft. Knox Ky, & Ft. Gordon Ga. To name a few. In fact “One” Veteran was awarded Benefits for Exposed At Ft. Gordon Ga. (In the 60-Early 70`s) The M.P. & Signal Corps. Schools. There ARE List available of places used in the U.S. Many people in the U.S. have been hurt (Or Killed) by AO that don`t know it People that never served in the Military.

      1. Curtis, I am personal friends with the individual from Ft. Gordon who was a park ranger, as well as many other advocates across the country. In fact, I was among the first to get a hard copy of his claim. I am also the individual that got the CHECO Report: Base Defense in Thailand declassified. So I doubt seriously that you can add to my collection of documents:


        or efforts of veterans to get and receive benefits while serving in Korea, Okinawa, Thailand, and elsewhere including the US.

    2. Kurt Priessman, thank you for your service. And thank you for sharing your extensive files on AO. I run a FB page called Ft McClellan Toxic Exposure Right To Know. If you don’t mind I’ll peruse your files to see if any can assist veterans and families of toxic exposure at Ft McClellan, AL. AO, AB, AW were among the ingredients in the toxic soup at FT McClellan. The evidence exists for our exposure and was compounded by contaminants and toxins from Anniston Army Depot and the City of Anniston, which was devastated by Monsanto/Solutia PCBs. We endured this exposure in complete secrecy, no veteran has ever received notification of the exposure. Civilians living in Anniston were notified as required by the CERCLA of 1980 and 1986. They were regularly included in townhall meetings where the Dept of Army, and EPA give briefings on contaminated subsurface water. Anyway, thank you. Joan Zakrocki, 1976 FTMC Veteran.

      1. Having been stationed at Mather AFB, I understand completely. In fact every base at which I served was identified as a toxic site. I hope you find something useful.


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