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04/02/08

VALLEY PATRIOT OF THE MONTH
Agnes Bresnahan


Lonnie Brennan

METHUEN - Her statistics from 1970 are simple: female, 5 foot five inches, 125 pounds, age 19. As she entered her Junior year at the now-closed Catholic Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont, Agnes M.  Bresnahan was surrounded daily by images of the Vietnam war:

Images of war protests on TV, sounds of protest songs led the Billboard chart. But to spunky “Irish” as she was known, her love of country and dedication to service led her to enlist in the United States Army.

Born in Methuen, MA, raised in neighboring Lawrence in a family of 12 children, four brothers and  seven sisters, Irish said she had a simple choice based on her family’s makeup: “politics or military” to follow the steps of those family members who came before her.

“The U.S. Army had a special program for Juniors, and three woman from Trinity joined that year,” Irish explained. “The military was recruiting and I became a Corporal when I was 20. One day before graduation, my enlistment contract was finalized.”

Irish was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and began Boot-camp training at Ft. McClellan in Alabama. Fort McClellan was home of the Women’s Army Corps School, and the U.S. Army’s Chemical Center and School. In addition to the Chemical School, Fort McClellan hosted the U.S. Army’s Combat Developments Command, Chemical Biological-Radiological Agency . It was here, she claims, that her life took an unexpected and unwarranted turn.

Unfortunately for Irish, she says, “training exercises involved exposure to various gases which we were told were ‘not in a quantity to inflict permanent harm.’ We thought it was tear gas,” she said.
Following an extreme skin reaction after exposure, Irish says she began a downward spiral of medical problems. She was later transferred to Camp Richie in Maryland and from there received her diagnosis at Walter Reed Medical Hospital in D.C.  Having shrunken from 125 pounds to just 96 pounds, she began a long road back to stability.

After her apparent recovery, she applied and was accepted as an operations officer, and then applied and was assigned to a battalion in southern Germany in the signal corps. Women were not allowed in combat in leadership positions at the time.

It was during her trip to Germany that she was notified of the cessation of action in Vietnam.

She continued to serve, earned medals of commendation and was promoted to Captain. Her service also included the National Defense Service Medal. She was discharged in 1977. Later, under the Vietnam Readjustment Act, she was hired at the IRS in Andover where she worked until 2005. In 2005, complications of her earlier chemical exposure led to a downward spiral of medical problems and she was terminated. “I needed that job, a reason to get out of bed, and a steady routine. I need the structure,” she explained.

Today, at age 57, looking back at her time in the military, she proudly displays her medals and speaks with high regard for her fellow veterans. But she remains frustrated and saddened at not being able to help others as much as she would like to help them: to spread the word and let her fellow veterans know that they are not alone.

“I was diagnosed with stateside Agent Orange (exposure) at Walter Reed (hospital) in 1972. And, so I knew it was irreversible, incurable, progressive,” she related. “I’ve suffered brain damage, degenerative bones… my nervous system. I’m told to avoid stress. The only treatment I have is for pain. They can’t stop any of it.” 

“I was able to do well. But the dioxins in my body, they don’t go away, and they slowly eat away at you. I was young. I’m still young, but I’m dying. Little by little, for 37 years I’ve been dying,” she said.

Now, Capt. Bresnahan sits beside a map of the United States scattered with pins to show the locations of fellow veterans who she has been in contact with who, she said, have experienced state-side Agent Orange exposure.

“It’s something I have been outspoken about” said the now vocal activist and advocate for medical support for her fellow veterans.

“They would throw canisters, they would spray from above. They would spray. They would simulate war exposure,” she said. “How many thousands of us are there?” she asked.

“On one of the exercises, they had mustard gas,” she explained. “When I came out of the exercise, I blistered up. Around my mouth, around my neck. I was treated at the hospital.”

Since her downward spiral accelerated a few years ago, Capt. Bresnahan says that she has made it “my crusade to try to contact every single person I knew in the military to inform them that if they were sick too, to see my example,” she said. 

She said she has gone to Washington, D.C. three times to provide testimony regarding state-side chemical exposure.

Capt. Bresnahan is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Disabled Veterans of America, and the American Legion amongst other veteran’s organizations.

Initially denied VA medical benefits because her service records did not show service in Vietnam, she appealed and won. She relates cases where others have been denied entitlements, medical care, and compensation and are still struggling to get the care they need.

Time Is Running Out

“We don’t have time. We are running out of time,” She said. “There is no cure, no treatment. It just keeps coming. We are dying…we don’t know how many of us there are. “Agent Orange doesn’t care where you were exposed. It’s an equal opportunity poison. You could be here or in Vietnam or anywhere,” she said.

“People think the baby boomers are going to drain Social Security. We’re not, because we’ll be lucky to make it to age 60 or 62. You try to get the word out,” she explained. “Everybody has to fight on their own. I have so much documentation through my medical records. What I tell the people is to use my case.”

 “Here’s my heart break. How old do I look?” she queried. “It’s caught up with me and it’s killing me…I gave me life to my country,” she said.

Is there such a thing as a typical Vietnam-era solider? Capt. Breshnanan thinks that every soldier, no matter where or how they served, served their country and she is proud of them. We at the Valley Patriot are equally as proud of our veteran heroes and think our country should do everything possible to help them deal with the aftermath of their service.  
 
 




>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

All pictures and material are
(C) copyright, Valley Patriot, Inc., 2008

http://www.valleypatriot.com/VP040208hero.html

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Matthew Benns and Frank Walker | May 18, 2008
THE Australian Army tested chemical weapons on a town which now has
deaths from cancer 10 times the state average.
Military scientists sprayed the toxic defoliant Agent Orange in the
jungle that is part of the water catchment area for Innisfail in
Queensland's far north at the start of the Vietnam War.  The Sun-Herald
last week found the site where military scientists tested Agent Orange
in 1966.  It is on a ridge little more 100 metres above the Johnstone
River, which supplies the drinking water for Innisfail.
40 years later the site - which abuts farmer Alan Wakeham's land - is
still bare, covered only in tough Guinea grass, but surrounded by thick
jungle.  "It's strange how the jungle comes right up to this site and
then just stops. It won't grow any further," Mr Wakeham said.
Agent Orange was sprayed extensively in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle
and remove cover for North Vietnamese troops.  It contains chemicals
including the dioxin TCDD, which causes forms of cancer, birth defects
and other health problems.
Researcher Jean Williams found details of the secret Innisfail tests in
the Australian War Memorial archives.  "These tests carried out between
1964 and 1966 were the first tests of Agent Orange and they were carried
out at Gregory Falls near Innisfail," said Ms Williams, who has been
awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her work on the effects of
chemicals on Vietnam veterans.  "I was told there is a high rate of
cancer there but no one can understand why. Perhaps now they will
understand."  Ms Williams unearthed 3 boxes of damning files.
One file showed the chemicals 2,4-D, Diquat, Tordon and dimethyl
sulphoxide (DMSO) were sprayed on the rainforest in the Gregory Falls
area in June 1966.  The file carried the remarks: "Considered sensitive
because report recommends use of 2,4-D with other agents in aerial
spraying trials in Innisfail."  Ms Williams said: "It was considered
sensitive because they were mixing together all the bad chemicals, which
just made them worse. They cause all the cancers."
Ms Williams claims a file which could indicate much wider testing in a
project called Operation Desert had gone missing. The contents were
marked "too disturbing to ever be released".
"Those chemicals stay in the soil for years and every time there is a
storm they are stirred up and go into the water supply," Ms Williams
said.
"The poor people of Innisfail have been kept in the dark about this.
But these chemicals cause cancer and deformities that are passed on for
generations.  It is shocking.  I am just an 83-year-old war-weary
battler.  I don't want any more medals, I just want justice for the
people of Innisfail."
Queensland Health Department figures show Innisfail, which has a
population of almost 12,000, had 76 people die from cancer in 2005. That
is 4 times the national rate of death from cancer and 10 times the
Queensland average.
Australian War Memorial director Steve Gower confirmed the file on
Operation Desert could not be found.
Australia and Britain opened a joint tropical research unit at Innisfail
in 1962.  In 1969 the Liberal defence minister Allen Fairhall flatly
denied chemical warfare experiments had been associated with the unit at
Innisfail.  But last week The Sun-Herald found the site and an old
digger, a decorated veteran of three wars, who had worked on the
experiment.
Innisfail local Ted Bosworth, 86, fought in the New Guinea campaign in
World War II, copped a bullet in the lungs in the Korean War for which
he was awarded the Military Medal and was in the Army Reserve during the
Vietnam War.  In 1966 he drove scientists to the site where the spraying
occurred.  "There was an English scientist and an Australian.  I heard
they both later died of cancer.  "They sprayed by hand.  The forest
started dying within days.  By 3 weeks all the foliage was gone. The
scientists always denied it was Agent Orange.  They were pretty cagey."
       Mr Bosworth confirmed photos The Sun-Herald took were of the
experiment site.  "That is the area they sprayed.  That is it.  It was
on top of the ridge next to grassland in the trees.  It hasn't changed
much in all these years."
Innisfail RSL president Reg Hamann suffers terrible effects from Agent
Orange he was exposed to during the Vietnam War.
"A lot of my unit have died of cancer.  I've got cancer of the
oesophagus and stomach.  I have to sleep on a special bed that raises me
17 degrees or everything in my stomach rises up.  I've had a subdural
haemorrhage, a heart attack and a quadruple bypass.
"It passes on to the next generation.  My son was born with a deformed
lung.  My daughter has got the same skin problem I have from Agent
Orange.  Now my grandkids are going to get it."  Mr Hamann is angry at
the lies and deceit about the effects of Agent Orange on veterans and
their families.  Now he's discovered that while he was fighting in
Vietnam the Australian government was experimenting with Agent Orange
upriver from his home town.
"We were sprayed regularly by Agent Orange as they cleared the river
banks.  We had no idea how dangerous the stuff was. They'd fly over us
and give us a squirt just for fun and wiggle their wings.  We took it as
a joke.  But the stuff turned out to be a curse."
"I saw in Vietnam what Agent Orange did to an area and I am shocked to
learn they used it here.  It was kept secret.  The army didn't tell
anyone.  It was just some of the old army guys and local farmers who
knew they were experimenting up there.  "I believe it must have
something to do with the high cancer rates in Innisfail.  The amount of
young people in this area who die of leukaemia and similar cancers to
what I got from Agent Orange is scary.  The authorities are scared of
digging into it as there would be lots of law suits.  "The sad part is
the number of kids who get cancer here.  It's been that way at least
since I came here in 1970.  That means it can't be chemical spraying on
the bananas as they only came here 15 years ago.
"They've always used Innisfail as guinea pigs.  They did it in World War
II and they did it during Vietnam.  It's time to set it right."
       V
Val Robertson, 74, said a high number of local people aged in their 40s
were dying from cancer, about one a month for the last 12 months.
"That's a lot for a small town like Innisfail.  They would have been
babies when they were spraying Agent Orange," she said.
Innisfail Mayor Bill Shannon said there was a high cancer rate in the
area and there should be a full investigation.
The Queensland Government and the Federal Government said they would
look into the issue.

<http://f2nbt.112.2o7.net/b/ss/f2nbt/1/G.5-PD-R/s83493310266153?[AQB]&nd
h=1&t=18/4/2008 14:30:41 0 -480&cdp=3&pageName=Quee:Agent orange town in
Qld&ch=Queensland&server=www.brisbanetimes.com.au&events=event1,event5&c
1=Quee:Agent orange town in Qld&c2=Paper&c4=No cookie&c5=No cookie&c6=No
cookie&c7=No cookie&c8=No
cookie&g=http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/queensland/agent-orange-to
wn-in-qld/2008/05/18/1211049013324.html&s=1024x768&c=32&j=1.3&v=Y&k=Y&bw
=995&bh=559&ct=lan&hp=N&[AQE]>

Horizontal Divider 1

AO, Instructions for submitting a comment to the VA on their
Proposed Change to the M21-
In the First tab titled SEARCH, put in this docket ID:
VA-2007-VACO-0001-0213 (to minimize error, do a cut and paste)
VA-2007-VACO-0001-0213
Click on GO
That takes you to a page that says:
VA Adjudications Manual, M21-1; Rescission of Manual M21-1 Provisions
Related To Exposure to Herbicides Based on Receipt of the Vietnam
Service Medal;E7-22983
Click on SEND COMMENT OR SUGGESTION (which has a small yellow balloon
next to it)
That opens the page where your comments can be entered. Fill out all the
details of identification. In the Public Comment or Submission section
in the box, you may enter your comments. You can pre-compose your
comments and just cut and paste into this box.
________________________________
A SUGGESTED LETTER TEMPLATE
From Rick Spataro, NVLSP:
If veterans wish to submit their own comments, we think that it would be
useful to submit a statement such as the following:
I served on the U.S.S. ______ from [date] to [date]. I was awarded the
Vietnam Service Medal for my service in the waters offshore of Vietnam.
I would like to participate in the VA's rulemaking regarding the
proposed rescission of Manual M21-1 Provisions Related to Exposure to
Herbicides Based on Receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal. However, I am
unable to effectively participate without knowing what evidence the VA
relies upon to conclude that veterans like me, who served in the waters
offshore of Vietnam, but did not serve on land or on inland waterways in
Vietnam, were "exceedingly unlikely to have been exposed to herbicides
as a result of Vietnam service." The notice of this proposed rescission
fails to cite to any scientific studies or other scientific evidence
demonstrating that veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam
were "exceedingly unlikely to have been exposed to herbicides." This is
particularly troubling in light a December 2002 report by the National
Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology in conjunction with the
Queensland Health Scientific Services that determined that sailors
assigned to ships of the Royal Australian Navy with service similar to
mine were exposed to Agent Orange. See National Research Centre for
Environmental Toxicology and the Queensland Health Services, EXAMINATION
OF THE POTENTIAL EXPOSURE OF ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY (RAN) PERSONNEL TO
POLYCHLORINATED DIBENZODIOXINS AND POLYCHLORINATED DIBENZOFURANS VIA
DRINKING WATER, Brisbane Queensland, Australia (2002).
This study noted Agent Orange entered the harbors and territorial waters
of Vietnam. It found that ships in marine waters near the Vietnam shore
collected waters that were contaminated with the runoff from areas
sprayed with Agent Orange. The distilling plants aboard the ships, which
converted the salt water into potable drinking water, according to the
study, actually enhanced the effect of the Agent Orange. The study found
that there was an elevation in cancer in veterans of the Royal
Australian Navy which was higher than that of the Australian Army and
Royal Australian Air Force. When I served on the U.S.S. _____, I drank
water that was collected from the area offshore of Vietnam. It is my
understanding that the water was distilled using the same method as the
Australian ships.
The VA has cited no scientific evidence rebutting the Australian study
or supporting their contention that veterans who served in the waters
offshore Vietnam were "exceedingly unlikely to have been exposed to
herbicides."
*************************
Any veterans submitting a statement such as that above should feel free
to include any other supporting information to beef up their statement.
Information such as how close their ship was to shore, the type of
distilling plant on their ship, or other information demonstrating that
they were likely exposed to Agent Orange could be included.

SCROLL DOWN TO THE RED PRINT, COPY IT AND PUT IT WITH YOUR CLAIM...THAT'S THE VA DOCUMENT I TOLD YOU'LL ABOUT... GOD SPEED IRISH BRESNAHAN 
http://powmiaawareness.tripod.com/id25.html

1501.gif

From: Jeff White [mailto:vvapastatecouncil@verizon.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 10:54
Subject: PASC: Agent Orange conditions

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bill Muns (VVA 862) is the County Director of Veterans Affairs for Beaver
County.
He has provided the attachment which contains the diseases that qualify a
Veteran
for Service-Connected Disability Compensation for a condition related to
presumptive exposure to AGENT ORANGE.

This sheet can be printed out and given to your family physician and shared with
other Vietnam vets.

Thank you Bill for this invaluable information.

Jeff White
President
PA State Council
Vietnam Veterans of America
610-356-8524 (H)

vvapastatecouncil@verizon.net

www.vva-pa.org

The following diseases qualify a Veteran for Service-Connected Disability
Compensation for a condition related to presumptive exposure to AGENT ORANGE
(In-Country Vietnam)*(Blue Water Veterans)**

Types of Cancer
1. Cancer of the Bronchus
2.    Cancer of the Larynx
3.    Lung Cancer
4.    Cancer of the Trachea
5.    Prostate Cancer
6.    Hodgkin's Disease
7.    Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
8.    Multiple Myeloma
9.    Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Soft Tissue Sarcomas***
1. Adult Fibrosarcoma
2. Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma
3. Angiosarcoma
4. Clear Cell Sarcoma of Apaneuroses
5. Clear Cell Sarcoma of Tendons
6. Congenital Fibrosarcoma
7. Dermotofibrosarcoma Protuberans
8. Ectomesenchymoma
9. Epithelioid Malignant
10. Leiomyosarcoma
11. Epithelioid Malignant Schwannoma
12. Epithelioid Sarcoma
13. Extraskeletal Ewing's Sarcoma
14. Hemangiosarcoma
15. Infantile Fibrosarcoma
16. Leiomyosarcoma
17. Liposarcoma
18. Lymphangiosarcoma
19. Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma
20. Malignant Ganglioneuroma
21. Malignant Giant Cell Tumor of the Tendon Sheath
22. Malignant Glandular Schwannoma
23. Malignant Glomus Tumor
24. Malignant Granular cell Tumor
25. Malignant Hemangiopericytoma
26. Malignant Schwannoma with Rhabdomyoblastic differentiation
27. Proliferationg (Systemic)
28. Angiendotheliomatosis
29. Rhabdomyosarcoma
30. Synovial Sarcoma

Other Conditions
1. Chloracne
2. Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
3. Diabetes Mellitus, Type II and all related complications
4. Spina Bifida in children of male Vietnam Veterans
5. Birth Defects in children of female Vietnam Veterans
6. Any other cancer that can be linked to the chemicals contained in the
herbicide
known as "Agent Orange" by a creditable source, i.e.: Doctor, Scientists, etc.
7. Residuals (Secondary conditions attributed to the primary condition) of
all of
the above
*Surviving Spouses and Dependent Children may qualify for benefits
**8-16-06 federal court ordered VA to include Blue Water Navy, VA has created
STAY
of decisions
*** Other than: Osteosarcoma, Chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma

Beaver County Veterans Office
Courthouse Rm A-100
Beaver, PA 15009
724-728-5700
Department of Veterans Affairs, Pittsburgh 1-800-827-1000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject: Civilian Agent Orange Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)

HR 972 IH
110th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. R. 972
To provide compensation to individuals who, during the Vietnam conflict,
were employees of the Federal Government or contractor employees of the
Department of Defense and suffered disability or death from exposure to
Agent Orange.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 8, 2007

Mr. WEXLER (for himself, Mr. FILNER, Mr. KUCINICH, Mr. MORAN of
Virginia, Mr. MCNERNEY, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, and Mr. GONZALEZ)
introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on
the Judiciary ________________________________

A BILL

To provide compensation to individuals who, during the Vietnam conflict,
were employees of the Federal Government or contractor employees of the
Department of Defense and suffered disability or death from exposure to
Agent Orange.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Civilian Agent Orange Act of
2007'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) EXPOSED EMPLOYEE- The term `exposed employee' means
an individual who--

(A) during the Vietnam conflict--

(i) was a civilian employee of the
Federal Government, or an employee of a contractor (or subcontractor at
any tier) of the Department of Defense; and

(ii) while so employed, was--

(I) physically present in the
Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning January 9, 1962, and
ending on May 7, 1975; or

(II) in or near the Korean
demilitarized zone during the period beginning September 1, 1967, and
ending on August 31, 1971;

(B) contracted an Agent Orange illness; and

(C) suffered injury or death by reason of that
illness.

(2) AGENT ORANGE ILLNESS- The term `Agent Orange
illness' means an illness listed by the National Institute of Medicine
as having at least a limited or suggestive association with
2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 1,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic
acid (2,4,5-T), 4-amino-3,5,6-trichloropicolinic acid (picloram), and
cacodylic acid (dimenthylarsenic acid, DMA), and
2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD, or dioxin).

SEC. 3. COMPENSATION PROGRAM.

(a) In General- There is hereby established a program to be
known as the `Agent Orange Illness Compensation Program' (in this Act
referred to as the `compensation program'), to be carried out by the
Attorney General.

(b) Purpose- The purpose of the compensation program is to
provide for timely, uniform, and adequate compensation of exposed
employees and, where applicable, survivors of such employees, suffering
from Agent Orange illnesses incurred by such employees.

SEC. 4. COMPENSATION FUND.

(a) Establishment- There is hereby established on the books of
the Treasury a fund to be known as the `Agent Orange Illness
Compensation Fund' (in this Act referred to as the `compensation fund').

(b) Amounts- The compensation fund shall consist of the
following amounts:

(1) Amounts appropriated to the compensation fund
pursuant to an authorization of appropriations.

(2) Amounts transferred to the compensation fund.

(c) Financing- Upon the exhaustion of amounts in the
compensation fund, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer directly
to the compensation fund from the General Fund of the Treasury, without
further appropriation, such amounts as are further necessary to carry
out the compensation program.

(d) Use- Subject to subsection (e) of this section, amounts in
the compensation fund shall be used to carry out the compensation
program.

(e) Administrative Costs Not Paid From Fund- No cost incurred in
carrying out the compensation program, or in administering the
compensation fund, shall be paid from the compensation fund.

(f) Monetary Allowance Not To Be Considered as Income or
Resources for Certain Purposes- Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, a monetary allowance paid an individual under this Act shall not be
considered as income or resources in determining eligibility for, or the
amount of benefits under any Federal or federally assisted program.

(g) Investment- Amounts in the compensation fund shall be
invested in accordance with section 9702 of title 31, and any interest
on, and proceeds from, any such investment shall be credited to and
become a part of the compensation fund.

(h) Authorization of Appropriations- There is hereby authorized
to be appropriated $100,000,000 to the compensation fund.

SEC. 5. COMPENSATION TO BE PROVIDED.

(a) In General- An exposed employee, or the eligible survivor of
that employee if the employee is deceased, shall receive compensation
for the injury, illness, or death of that employee from that employee's
Agent Orange illness in an amount determined under subsection (b).

(b) Amount- For each exposed employee, the Attorney General
shall provide compensation in the amount of $100,000.

(c) Payments in the Case of Deceased Persons-

(1) SURVIVORS ELIGIBLE- In the case of an exposed
employee who is deceased at the time of payment of compensation under
this section, whether or not the death is the result of the employee's
Agent Orange illness, such payment may be made only as follows:

(A) If the employee is survived by a spouse who
is living at the time of payment, such payment shall be made to such
surviving spouse.

(B) If there is no surviving spouse described in
subparagraph (A), such payment shall be made in equal shares to all
children of the employee who--

(i) had not yet attained the age of 18
when the employee died or was permanently or totally disabled before the
age of 18; and

(ii) are living at the time of payment.

(2) CLAIMS- If an employee eligible for payment dies
before filing a claim under this Act, a survivor of that employee who
may receive payment under paragraph (1) may file a claim for such
payment.

(3) DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this subsection--

(A) the `spouse' of an individual is a wife or
husband of that individual who was married to that individual for at
least one year immediately before the death of that individual; and

(B) a `child' includes a recognized natural
child, a stepchild who lived with an individual in a regular
parent-child relationship, and an adopted child.

(d) Children With Spina Bifida- In any case in which a child of
an exposed employee is born with spina bifida by reason of that
employee's exposure to Agent Orange, that child shall directly receive
compensation in an amount determined under subsection (b).

SEC. 6. CLAIMS PROCESSING.

(a) In General- Subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d), the
Attorney General shall specify standards and criteria for filing
applications and for processing, determining, and paying claims.

(b) Deadline- A claim not filed within 20 years after the date
of the enactment of this Act is void.

(c) Written Medical Documentation- Payment may not be made on a
claim except on written medical evidence that the Attorney General, in
consultation with the Surgeon General, determines to be adequate.

(d) Review- Unless otherwise specified by the Attorney General,
any determination on a claim under this Act is not subject to
administrative or judicial review.

SEC. 7. IMPLEMENTATION.

The Attorney General shall prescribe regulations to implement
this Act.

SEC. 8. OFFSET FOR CERTAIN OTHER PAYMENTS.

A payment of compensation to an individual, or to a survivor of
that individual, under this Act shall be offset by the amount of any
payment made pursuant to a final award or settlement on a claim, against
any person, that is based on the same illness, injury, or death of that
individual on account of exposure to Agent Orange herbicides.

H.R.972
Title: To provide compensation to individuals who, during the
Vietnam conflict, were employees of the Federal Government or contractor
employees of the Department of Defense and suffered disability or death
from exposure to Agent Orange.
Sponsor: Rep Wexler, Robert
<
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/?&Db=d110&querybd=@FIELD(FLD003+@
4((@1(Rep+Wexler++Robert))+01537))>  [FL-19] (introduced 2/8/2007)
Cosponsors <
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR00972:@@@P>
(8)
Latest Major Action: 2/8/2007 Referred to House committee.
Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
________________________________

COSPONSORS(8), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]:
(Sort: by date
<
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR00972:@@@N> )


Rep Filner, Bob
<
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/?&Db=d110&querybd=@FIELD(FLD004+@
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Charles A.
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Mazie K.
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United we Stand

 Well here is something to stir the blood to boiling point.  Now - Go to the first link below and then read the article about LET US SPRAY then play the seven videos that are loisted at the bottom with the Windows Media player logo.  Be aware that there should be a total of 2 hours of video to watch but I guarantee that it is well worth a watch.

 Video Archive: "LET US SPRAY"

Once you have managed to feast your senses on the long videos then you will have to view the much shorter news article vidoes listed below.  You go to the link and look for the video listed under the title I have highlighted in red.  I think you will get a greater understanding of the feeling that is about in NZ nowdays.  NOTE - watch the Ministry of Health guys face when he is interviewed, very revealing body language

31 OCTOBER

4 minute news video

3 NEWS: Truth, contradiction and confusion

1NOVEMBER

4 minute news video

3 NEWS: Backdown

 2 NOVEMBER

4 minute news video

3 NEWS: Dioxin - SOS for public health

 3 NOVEMBER

4 minute news video

3 NEWS: Dioxin breakthrough

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"Agent Orange"
  To those suffering the plights of unknowing guniea pigs
At the hands of our Government and Military big wigs;
Be assured there will be justice for all the sufferage you give
For when you meet your maker, your life you will just begin to live.
While those who secretly ordered, denied and have lied
About Agent Orange, it's affects and the facts they strive to this day to hide,
We'll find justice when they meet their maker on their judgement day;
For from Him they can't hide the truth and facts in any such way.
To Him they must answer all the questions refused today,
Of birth defects, infecting loved ones in the most casual ways.
It will start at the top and move it's way down
Holding each one responsible, they'll be met with God's frown.
He'll ask them, one and all, how could you treat your fellow man and woman this way?
How could you use humanity for chemical play?
Why did you continue to lie amongst all the proof?
Why didn't you do RIGHT by coming forth with the truth?
AO sufferers, family members, Veterans and friends,
They ignor you, deny you and continue to pretend
That Agent Orange caused none of the ills and pain you endur,
But hold on to your Faith for His justice shall be served!
 
They can run, but they cannot hide forever.
 
Dedicated to all families touched by the Horrors and Pain of Agent Orange and most especially to Jen, the Founder of the Quilt of Tears and to my great friend "Irish", ravaged by AO.

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Agent Orange Information
This website and locator list is intended to help those who are
researching Agent Orange and the problems it is causing to veterans and
their family members due to the spraying during the Vietnam War and
other locations.

Animated AO spray Map
http://www.stellman.com/jms/E4_all_agents_wide.mov

Collateral Damage (2006)
http://www.hatfieldgroup.com/files/This_Collateral.pdf

Vietnam, Still at odds (2005)
http://www.hatfieldgroup.com/files/Newsday2OO5.pdf

Hatfield Studies on Agent Orange in Viet Nam
http://www.hatfieldgroup.com/files/Hgnews.htm

Supreme Court's Decision on AGENT ORANGE "June 2002"
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aocourt.html

VVA's Guide on AGENT ORANGE
http://www.vva.org/benefits/vvgagent.htm

Peripheral Neuropathy Registry
http://www.soft-vision.net/ao_vets/addregist.html

AO Spray Map & Info "Must See"
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aospraymap.html

AO Spray Map II
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aornap2.htm1

Gallons of Agent Orange, White & Blue Sprayed in Nam
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aosprayeda.html

The Story of Agent Orange
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aostory.html

Agent Orange Classified Info
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/AOClassified.html

Article on Defoliation
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/Defoliation.html

MORE info on AO Chemicals
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aochem.html

MORE Problems Caused by AGENT ORANGE
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/AOp.html

Operation Ranch Hand Web Site
http://cpcug.org/user/billb/ranchhand/ranchhand.html

The Agent Orange Cover-up: Dioxin KILLS Web Site
http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunker/82I2/dioxinkills.html

Thesis on Agent Orange by Deana Feist
http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Bunker/8212/feist.html

Agent Orange and general information (Vietnam Veterans Page/Lots of Good
info)
http://www.tpromo.com/usvi/ag_org.htm

Agent Orange in Korea
http://cybersarges.tripodcom/aoinkorea.html

AGENT ORANGE Quilt of Tears
http://journals.aoI.com/armrdangel/QUILTOFTEARS/

AGENT ORANGE Bracelets
http://journals.aol.com/armrdangel/QUILTOFTEARS/

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
http://www.vetsprobono.org/

AGENT ORANGE Law Suite
http://www.agent-orange-lawsuit.com/

The Order of The Silver Rose
http://silverrose.org/

Wildgun's Site
http://wildgun1.com

Cyber Sarge's Site
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/

Steve's Site
http://veteransinfo.org/id4.html

ColonelDan's News Letter Veteran Issues
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Veteranlssues/

2nd Battalion 94th Artillery AO Page (Charles Kelley)
http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/AgentOrangePage.htm
                          or
http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/HouseCom.htm

Dioxin (Agent Orange) Study by Charles Kelley
http://www.nara.gov/regional/mpr.html

National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records Web Site
http://www.nara.gov/regional/mprsf180.html

Download form SF 180 to request a copy of DD Form 214
http://www.va.gov/index.htm

Veterans Administration & Benefits
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/index.htm

Compensation & Pension Benefits
http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/

Veterans online application web site (VONAPP)
http://www.va.gov/FORMS/default.asp

VA Forms
http://www.vva.org/benefits/vvaguide.htm

Agent Orange, VA Claims and Appeals, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

VA's Guide To Veterans Preference
http://www.vva.org/benefits/vvgvaclaims.htm

VA's Guide on VA CLAIMS and APPEALS
http://www.vba.va.gov/bIn/2l/benefits/herbicide/AOno3.htm

The VA's guide on Agent Orange claims
http://www.ssa.gov

Social Security Online
http:/fwww.ssa.gov/disability/

Social Security Disability Information
http://www.senate.gov/

U.S. Senate
http://wwwhouse.gov/Welcome.html

U.S. House of Representatives
http://www.firstgov.gov/

U.S. Government Links
AGENT ORANGE Outside of Vietnam, Canada:
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aocanada.html

AGENT ORANGE Outside of Vietnam, Guam:
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aoguam.html

AGENT ORANGE Outside of Vietnam, Hawaii:
http:/Iwww.environment-hawaii.org/500wat.htm

AGENT ORANGE Outside of Vietnam, Korea:
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aoinkorea.html

AGENT ORANGE Outside of Vietnam, Laos:
http://cybersarges.tripod.com/aolaos.html

Dioxin Contamination from Agent Orange in Residents of a Southern
Vietnam City
http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Agent-range-Vietnam- DioxinMay0I .htm


A PDF report on AO Outside Vietnam
htp://www1.va.gov/agentorange/docs/Report_on_DoD_Herbicids_Outside_of_Vi
etham.pdf

Links to Vietnam Veterans Toxic ChemicalslUpdates
http://www.2ndbatta1ion94thartillery.com/Chas/LinkToxicChemical.htm

BOOKS I STUDIES on Agent Orange

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 1998.
Toxicological profile for chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins Update). US
Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. Atlanta,
Georgia. 678 p. with appendices.

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 1997. Interim
Policy Guideline: Dioxin and Dioxin-like compounds in soil. US
Department of Health and Human
Services, Public Health Service. Atlanta, Georgia.
Dioxins and Health. Arnold Schecter (ed.). New York, NY: Plenum Press,
1994. ISBN: 0-306-44785-1.

Dioxin and its Analogues, Joint Report No. 4. Academie Des Sciences -
CADAS. Paris: Technique & Documentation - Lavoisier, 1995. ISBN:
2-7430-0020-1.

Harvest of Death. J.B. Neilands, G.H. Orians, E.W. Pfeiffer, A. Vennema,
and A.H. Westing. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1972. Library of
Congress Number: 72-14352 1.

Herbicidal Warfare: The RANCH HAND Project in Vietnam.
Paul F. Cecil. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers, 1986. ISBN: 0-
275-92007-0.

My Father, My Son. E. Zumwalt Jr., F. Zumwalt III, and J. Pekkanen. New
York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1986. ISBN: 0-02-633630-8.

The Wages of War: When American Soldiers Came Home - From Valley Forge
to Vietnam. R. Severo and L. Milford. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
Inc., 1989. ISBN: 0-671-54325-3.
The Withering Rain. Thomas Whiteside. New York, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co.
Inc., 1971. Library of Congress Number: 77- 148477.

After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Viet Nam. Ronald H. Spector. The Free
Press, New York. 1993. ISBN: 0-02-930380-X

In Retrospect - The Tragedy and Lessons of Viet Nam. Robert S. McNamara.
Random House, New York. 1995. ISBN: 0-8129- 2523-8.

Veterans and Agent Orange. Committee to Review the Health Effects in
Vietnam Veterans of Exposure to Herbicides, Division of Health Promotion
and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine. Washington, D.C.:
National Academy Press, 1994. ISBN: 0-309-04887-7.
1996 Update: ISBN: 0-309-05487-7.
1998 Update: ISBN: 0-309-06326-4.
2000 Update: ISBN: 0-309-07552-1.

VIETNAM: A History. Stanley Karnow. New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1983
.
ISBN: 0-670-74604-5.

Hamburger Hill. Samuel Zaffiri. Presidio Press, Novato, Ca. 1988. New
edition printed 2000. ISBN: 0-89141-289-1.

Herbicides in War - The Long-term Ecological and Human Consequences.
A.H. Westing (ed.). Taylor and Francis, Philadelphia. 1984. ISBN:
0-85066-265-6.
WHO/EURO. l998a. WHO Revises the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for
dioxins. World Health

Organization European Centre for Environment and Health; International
Programme on
Chemical Safety. Organohalogen Compounds 38: 295-298.

WHO/EURO. 1998b. Assessment of the Health Risk of Dioxins: Re-evaluation
of the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI). World Health Organization, European
Centre for Environment and Health; International Programme on Chemical
Safety. WHO Consultation, May 25-29, 1998, Geneva, Switzerland.

WHO/EURO. 1991 . Consultation on Tolerable Daily Intake from Food of
PCDDs and PCDFs, Bilthoven, Netherlands, 4-7

December 1990. Region Office for Europe Summary Report. EUR/ICP1PCS
030(S)0369n. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe,
Copenhagen.

WHO/EURO. 1989. Levels of PCBs, PCDDS and PCDFs in Breast Milk: Results
of WHO-coordinated interlaboratory quality control studies and
analytical field studies (Yrjanhaiki, EJ, ed). Environmental Health
Series Report #34. Copenhagen: World Health Organization Regional Office
for Europe.

WHO/EURO. 1988. PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs in Breast Milk: Assessment of
health risks (Grandjean, P et al., eds.). Environmental Health Series
Report #29. Copenhagen:
World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.

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Dear President Bush and Honorable members of the Presidents Veterans Commission
 
I am extremely concerned with the fact that the Veterans Commission at the request of the President of the United states Is once again  persecuting those who have served the country as second class citizens.   In light of the deceptions of the past,one of many which have been perpetrated with the intent of minimizing the financial liability and retribution to previous enemy nations as well as prosecution in world courts for WAR CRIMES , there has always been an overbearing factor of a Commander in Chief  taking care of his men . Each and every Leader within that Chain of command  clearly recognizes the fact that  "I F YOU TAKE CARE OF THE TROOPS -THE MISSION WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED SUCCESSFULLY." That has not always been the outcomes,because of the government deception on trying to cover it's tracks.
 
Here we are engaged in a conflict again of which many young men and women are fighting and serving in foreign lands  as an All volunteer force of Dedicated professionals . Just as many in the past have served ,who like myself volunteered their service and dedications to our governmental purpose above that of their own personal wealth and successful attainment of PROFITS-for the idealistic principles our forefathers established in the various proclamations,as well as our Constitution and Bill of Rights. These men were like us all Honorable men who believed in the their Word was their Bond.  It is very saddening to see how far we as a society have regressed to our current sad state of affairs. 
 
The current bond with the military and commitment to which our fighting force will be able to be maintained is directly proportional to the honorable and truthful commitment to those who serve in those far away lands under less than ideal conditions ,which often lead to loss of life or injuries one must survive with on a daily basis. . They were honorable and lived up to their oath to the Nation and I sincerely hope that as our elected President and His Honorable Selected Senior Military Personal  your intent and purpose is not to do a terrible injustice of breaking that bond with our Military Personal as has been so decidedly been done in the past  simply for ecconomic  purposes and personal self gain and enrichment.
 
I have taken the time to enclose an article which is not from the far past ,but from  2006 to prove once again that the government and administration  knows of past injustices and yet fails to rectify  past injustice in an honorable fashion with the very defenders of the nation,the one who are the front line of defense in the War effort and not the Political arm chair politicians dressed up to resemble honorable Military men committed to doing what is right over what is politically expedient or convenient for self enrichment or purposes. 
 
Please feel free to respond.
 
Sincerely
 
Joe S Anton  HTCS(SW) USN RETIRED /PDRL   
619-429-1947

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WHAT YOUR DOCTORS DON'T KNOW ABOUT CHEMICAL EXPOSURE CAN KILL YOU. I DON'T ENDORSE THIS SITE BUT AFTER ALMOST 4 DECADES AND MANY DOCTORS, TESTING ETC.  FOR MULTIPLE CHEMICAL EXPOSURE TO DIOXINS AND OTHER WMD, I KNOW FIRST HAND HOW MISDIAGNOSIS AND INCORRECT MEDS CAN HARM ONE MORE THAN CURE THEM. MANY YEARS AGO I SPOKE TO VIETNAM VET GARY MOORE ON ALTERNATIVE MEDICATIONS AND TREATMENT. THANKS TO THOSE TALKS I QUESTION MY DOCTORS BOTH VA AND PRIVATE ON THEIR RECOMMENDED TREATMENT. YOU HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN BEST ADVOCATE WHEN DEALING WITH MEDICAL "PROFESSIONALS". I WENT INTO THE NEW ENGLAND BAPTIST HOSPITAL AND MET WITH ONE OF THE "WORLD BEST SPINE SPECIALISTS". HE TOLD ME WHEN I COULD NO LONGER STAND THE PAIN TO COME BACK AND HE WOULD PUT RODS AD SCREWS AND FUSE MY SPINE.  TO WHAT??? BESIDES THE DJD, DBD AND DDD, MY BONES ARE SO DEGENERATIVE DUE TO THE CHEMICALS WHAT DID HE THINK WOULD ANCHOR THE SCREWS AND RODS. BESIDES THAT MY IMMUNE SYSTEM IS SUPPRESSED AND DEFICIENT. WHICH MEANS MY BODY WOULD REJECT ANY FOREIGN OBJECT INSERTED. MY NEUROLOGICAL AND BRAIN DAMAGE WOULD ALSO SUFFER.  MAKE SURE YOUR DOCTORS ARE AWARE OF YOUR EXPOSURE AND IF THEY DO NOT SEEK OUT A NEUROTOXIN DOCTOR OR ONE WHO IS FAMILIAR WITH CHEMICAL EXPOSURE.   
ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A LIST OF BOOKS, DVD WHICH DEAL WITH CHEMICAL EXPOSURE PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
 
SEMPER FI
AGNES M BRESNAHAN "IRISH"
PLEASE FELL FREE TO PASS THIS ALONG AS YOU WISH
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jin4TOyLQU

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Agent Orange - Herbicide Exposure - 2004

VA’s Guide on Agent Orange Claims

What is Agent Orange?

Agent Orange was one of the weed-killing chemicals used by the U.S. military in the Vietnam War. It was sprayed to remove leaves from trees that enemy troops hid behind. Agent Orange and similar chemicals were known as "herbicides." Agent Orange was applied by airplanes, helicopters, trucks and backpack sprayers.

In the 1970’s some veterans became concerned that exposure to Agent Orange might cause delayed health effects. One of the chemicals in Agent Orange contained small amounts of dioxin (also known as "TCDD"), which had been found to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. More recent studies have suggested that dioxin may be related to several types of cancer and other disorders.

As a Vietnam Veteran, What Kind of Benefits Can I Get?

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays disability compensation to Vietnam veterans with injuries or diseases that began in, or were aggravated by, their military service. These are called "service-connected" disabilities. VA has several pamphlets describing VA benefits. They are available on the Internet at: www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edspamph.htm. If you do not have Internet access at home, you can get free access at most public libraries. Publications are also available at your VA Regional Office or by calling these offices at 1-800-827-1000.

How Much Compensation Will I Get?

Monthly payment rates are based on the veteran’s combined rating for his or her service-connected disabilities. These ratings are based on the severity of the disabilities. Additional amounts are paid to certain veterans with severe disabilities ("special monthly compensation") and certain veterans with dependents.

Current and Historical Compensation Rate Tables are available on the web.

What Evidence Do I Need?

In an Agent Orange-based claim by a Vietnam veteran for service-connected benefits, VA requires:

1. a medical diagnosis of a disease which VA recognizes as being associated with Agent Orange (listed below),

2. competent evidence of service in Vietnam, and

3. competent medical evidence that the disease began within the deadline (if any).

Who Can Get Benefits?

Under the law, veterans who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 (including those who visited Vietnam even briefly), and who have a disease that VA recognizes as being associated with Agent Orange, are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange.

These veterans are eligible for service-connected compensation based on their service, if they have one of the diseases on VA’s list of "Diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents." This list is found in VA’s regulation, Section 3.309(e), in title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations. VA updates this list regularly based on reports from the National Academy of Sciences, an independent research and education institution.

Diseases Associated With Exposure to Agent Orange

These are the diseases which VA currently presumes resulted from exposure to herbicides like Agent Orange. The law requires that some of these diseases be at least 10% disabling under VA’s rating regulations within a deadline that began to run the day you left Vietnam. If there is a deadline, it is listed in parentheses after the name of the disease.

* Chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne. (Must occur within one year of exposure to Agent Orange).

* Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

* Diabetes Mellitus, Type II

* Hodgkin’s disease.

* Multiple myeloma.

* Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

* Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy. (For purposes of this section, the term acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy means temporary peripheral neuropathy that appears within weeks or months of exposure to an herbicide agent and resolves within two years of the date of onset.)

* Porphyria cutanea tarda. (Must occur within one year of exposure to Agent Orange).

* Prostate cancer.

* Respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea).

* Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma).

What Benefits Can My Family Get?

Spina bifida birth defect

In 1996, President Clinton and VA Secretary Jesse Brown asked Congress to pass legislation providing health care, monthly disability compensation, and vocational rehabilitation to the children of Vietnam veterans suffering from the serious birth defect spina bifida, which has been linked to the veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange. Congress passed the legislation, marking the first time our nation had ever compensated the children of veterans for a birth defect associated with their parent’s exposure to toxic chemicals during their military service. VA is now providing benefits to over 800 children, including minors and adults.

Effective December 16, 2003, Congress authorized these benefits to children with spina bifida of certain veterans who served at or near the demilitarized zone in Korea between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971, because Agent Orange is known to have been sprayed in that area.

Survivor Benefits

Survivors of veterans (including spouses, children and dependent parents) who died as the result of a service-connected disease may be eligible for monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits. These survivors may also be eligible for education, home loan and medical care benefits.

How Can I Apply for VA Benefits?

To apply for benefits, apply on-line or send the VA Regional Office a letter stating that you have a specific health problem and that you claim it is due to your exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. This is called an informal claim and will set the effective date for your benefits payments, if your claim is granted. The VA Regional Office will then send you an application form, which you must fill out and return. To get the address of your VA Regional Office, call 1-800-827-1000.

Can I Get a Representative to Advocate for Me?

You may get a representative to help you present your claim to the VA. Most veterans service organizations and state and county veterans service agencies offer free representation. A listing of veterans service organizations is available on the Internet at: http://www1.va.gov/vso/. A listing of state veterans agencies is available on the Internet at: www.va.gov/partners/stateoffice/index.htm.

What If My Claim is Denied?

If the VA Regional Office says your disability is not service-connected or if the percentage of disability is lower than what you think is fair, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The first step in appealing is to send the VA Regional Office a "Notice of Disagreement." This Notice of Disagreement is a written statement saying that you "disagree" with the denial. Be sure your Notice includes the date of the VA’s denial letter and be sure to list the benefits you are still seeking.

The Notice of Disagreement must be mailed to the VA Regional Office within one year of the VA Regional Office’s denial of your claim or you cannot appeal.

In response to the Notice of Disagreement, you will get a "Statement of the Case" from the VA Regional Office. This will repeat the reasons stated in the VA’s denial letter why your claim was denied and will include the relevant VA regulations. Once you get the Statement of the Case, if you still wish to pursue your appeal, you should file a VA Form 9, "Appeal to Board Veterans’ Appeals," which is sent to with the Statement of the Case. You have 60 days from the date on the Statement of the Case, or one year from the date the VA first denied your claim, to file the VA Form 9. Whichever date is later is your deadline.

Can I Appeal Beyond the VA Regional Office?

The Board of Veterans' Appeals (also known as "BVA") is a part of the VA, located in Washington, D.C. Members of the BVA review benefit claims decisions made by VA Regional Offices and issue a new decision. You may have a hearing before the BVA in Washington, DC or at your VA Regional Office.

Anyone appealing to the BVA should read the "Understanding the Appeal Process" pamphlet. It explains the steps involved in filing an appeal and to serve as a reference for the terms and abbreviations used in the appeal process. The Board mails a copy of this pamphlet to anyone who appeals their case. It is also available on the Internet.

Can I Appeal to a Court?

If the BVA does not grant all the benefits you are seeking, you have four choices:

1. decide not to pursue your claim

2. appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

3. ask the BVA to reconsider its decision or

4. reopen your case at the VA Regional Office with new and material evidence.

Appeal to the Court

You may appeal to the Court only if BVA has denied some or all of your benefits. You may not appeal a BVA decision to remand your claim back to the VA Regional Office. You must file your appeal by mail or by fax. Send your name, address, phone number, and the date of the BVA decision to:

Clerk of the Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

625 Indiana Avenue NW

Washington DC 20004

Fax number: (202) 501-5848

To get a list of veterans’ representatives who practice at the Court, and for more information on the Court, see the Court’s web site at http://www.vetapp.uscourts.gov/AboutCourt/HowToAppeal.asp. This list is also available by calling the Court at 1-800-869-8654.

Ask BVA to reconsider

The BVA will reconsider its denial decision, if it finds an "obvious error of fact or law" in that decision. Such a request should be sent to the BVA.

Reopen your case

If you can get additional evidence that is both new and material, you can reopen your claim at the VA Regional Office and get a new decision.

What If I Served in Vietnam and Have a Disease Not on VA’s List

If you served in Vietnam and believe that you have a disease caused by herbicide exposure, but that disease is not on VA’s list of diseases associated with herbicides like Agent Orange, you may still apply for service-connection. Such a veteran needs to establish entitlement to service connection on a "direct" (rather than "presumptive") basis. In these cases, VA requires:

1. competent medical evidence of a current disability;

2. competent evidence of exposure to an herbicide in Vietnam; and

3. competent medical evidence of a nexus (causal relationship) between the herbicide exposure and the current disability.

What If I Was Exposed to an Herbicide Outside Vietnam?

Herbicides were used by the U.S. military to defoliate military facilities in the U.S. and in other countries as far back as the 1950s. Even if you did not serve in Vietnam, you can still apply for service-connected benefits if you were exposed to an herbicide while in the military which you believe caused your disease or injury. If you have a disease which is on the list of diseases which VA recognizes as being associated with Agent Orange, the VA requires:

1. a medical diagnosis of a disease which VA recognizes as being associated with Agent Orange (listed below),

2. competent evidence of exposure to a chemical contained in one of the herbicides used in Vietnam (2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD; cacodylic acid; or picloram), and

3. competent medical evidence that the disease began within the deadline for that disease (if any).

If you have a disease which is not on the list of diseases which VA recognizes as being associated with Agent Orange, VA requires:

1. competent medical evidence of a current disability;

2. competent evidence of exposure to an herbicide during military service; and

3. competent medical evidence of a nexus (causal relationship) between the herbicide exposure and the current disability.

 

VA Medical Care

Even if you decide not to file a claim for VA compensation benefits based on Agent Orange, you can still get a free physical examination at the nearest VA Medical Center. This is called the Agent Orange Registry Exam. This exam consists of four parts: an exposure history, a medical history, laboratory tests and a physical exam of those body systems most commonly affected by toxic chemicals. This exam might detect diseases which can be treated more effectively the earlier they are diagnosed. You may also be entitled to free ongoing medical treatment at a VA medical facility. Information on VA health care is available on the Internet at: www.va.gov/vbs/health/index.htm. A listing of all VA medical facilities is available on the Internet.

Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers both disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits. Veterans can receive both Social Security disability insurance benefits and VA disability compensation. (The supplemental security income benefit (SSI) is offset for VA pension or compensation.) Unlike VA compensation benefits that are measured in degrees of disability, SSA benefits require a total disability that will last at least one year. If you cannot work because of your disability, contact the nearest district office of SSA at 1-800-772-1213. SSA benefits information is available on the Internet at http://www.ssa.gov/.

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Monsanto's Agent Orange:
The Persistent Ghost from the Vietnam War

Meryl Nass, MD

The Issue That Wont Go Away

"TCDD (dioxin) has been shown to be extremely toxic to a number of
animal species. Mortality does not occur immediately.
  I
t appears that
the animals' environment suddenly becomes toxic to them."

Casarett and Doull's Toxicology, 1996

From 1962 to 1970, the US military sprayed 72 million liters of
herbicides, mostly Agent Orange, in Vietnam. Over one million
Vietnamese were exposed to the spraying, as well as over 100,000
Americans and allied troops. Dr. James Clary, a scientist at the
Chemical Weapons Branch, Eglin Air Force Base, who designed the
herbicide spray tank and wrote a 1979 report on Operation Ranch Hand
(the name of the spraying program), told Senator Daschle in 1988,

"When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the
1960s, we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin
contamination in the herbicide. We were even aware that the 'military'
formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the 'civilian'
version due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture. However,
because the material was to be used on the 'enemy,' none of us were
overly concerned. We never considered a scenario in which our own
personnel would become contaminated with the herbicide."

quoted by Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, 1990

What Did We Know About Dioxin, and When Did We Know It?

The first reported industrial dioxin poisoning occurred in Nitro, West
Virginia in 1949. The exposed workers complained of rash, nausea,
headaches, muscle aches, fatigue and emotional instability. A 1953
accident elsewhere resulted in peripheral neuropathies.

A 1969 report commissioned by the USDA found Agent Orange showed a
"significant potential to increase birth defects." The same year, the
NIH confirmed that it caused malformations and stillbirths in mice. In
1970, the US Surgeon General warned it might be hazardous to "our
health." The same day, the Secretaries of the Departments of
Agriculture, the Interior, and HEW jointly announced the suspension of
its use around lakes, recreation areas, homes and crops intended for
human consumption. DOD simultaneously announced its suspension of all
uses of Agent Orange.

When dioxin contaminated material spread on a Missouri farm in 1971,
hundreds of birds, 11 cats, 4 dogs and 43 horses died.

In 1978 the EPA suspended spraying Agent Orange in national forests,
due to increases in miscarriages in women living near forests that had
been sprayed.

A 1979 study published in the JAMA by Bogen et al looked at 78 Vietnam
veterans who reported Agent Orange exposures. Eighty percent reported
extreme fatigue. Over 60% had peripheral neuropathies, 73% had
depression, and 8% had attempted suicide. Forty-five per cent reported
violent rages. Sudden lapses of memory were seen in 21%.

A 1981 study by Pazderova et al. found one half of 80 exposed workers
had metabolic disturbances, 23% peripheral neuropathies, and the
majority, psychiatric changes, primarily depression and fatigue.

In 1979, 47 railroad workers were exposed to PCBs including dioxin in
Missouri when cleaning up a spillage from a damaged tank car that had
been filled with these chemicals. All were followed medically for six
years. Their initial complaints included fatigue and muscle aches. Two
committed suicide. Careful evaluations at Rush-Presbyterian Hospital,
in Chicago, confirmed peripheral neuropathies (in 96%), depression
(69%), tremors (78%), abnormal fatigue (91%), and muscle aches or
cramp (51%). Half had cognitive problems, including problems with
attention and concentration (50%) and slowed reaction times.

These studies are all consistent with each other, and describe a very
significant, multi-system illness affecting all parts of the nervous
system, and causing fatigue and muscle aches. Some of the studies
documented additional organ dysfunction. This syndrome could be very
disabling.

What Did It Take to Forget What We Knew?

By 1983, 9170 veterans had filed claims for disabilities that they
said were caused by Agent Orange. The VA denied compensation to 7709,
saying that a facial rash was the only disease associated with
exposure.

Congress passed the Veterans' Dioxin and Radiation Exposure
Compensation Standards Act of 1984 in response. It required the VA to
appoint a 'Veterans' Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards' to
review the literature on dioxin and submit recommendations to the head
of the VA.

According to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, "The VA. directly contradicted its
own established practice, promulgating instead the more stringent
requirement that compensation depends on establishing a cause and
effect relationship," improperly denying the bulk of the claims.

Four groups of impartial scientists were asked by Zumwalt to review
the Advisory Committee transcripts. Their comments are telling, and
include the following:

"The work of the Advisory Committee has little or no scientific
merit."

".an inadequate process is being used to evaluate scientific
publications for use in public policy."

".less than objective."

Unfortunately, the flawed scientific reviews didn't end with the VA
committee. The CDC was brought in to add weight to the bogus analysis
of dioxin's effects. After 4 years and $63 million in federal funds,
CDC concluded that an Agent Orange study could not be done based on
military records, and furthermore concluded, without data, that
veterans were never exposed to harmful doses of Agent Orange!

When the CDC's protocols were examined, however, it was found that
three changes had been made to its study in 1985, in an apparent
attempt to dilute any negative effect that might be found. Congress
learned in 1986 that administration officials, not scientists, had
forestalled CDC research on the effects of dioxin.

In 1990, Senator Daschle disclosed additional political interference
in the Air Force's Ranch Hand study of Agent Orange effects. A 1984
draft report's conclusion was substantially altered, and the study was
described as "reassuring."

The Ranch Hand study is still ongoing, despite new allegations of
fraudulent methodologies coming to light every few years. It will cost
taxpayers over $100 million.

Monsanto, a manufacturer of Agent Orange, was happy to duplicate the
methods of federally funded studies. By omitting five deaths in the
exposed group and putting four exposed workers in the control group,
they were able to hide a 65% higher death rate in the workers exposed
at the Nitro plant. Another study of workers exposed in 1953 at a BASF
plant was also shown to be falsified, as all the data had been
supplied by the BASF company.

Thanks to the efforts of Admiral Zumwalt, who as the commanding Navy
Admiral in Vietnam was responsible for some of the spraying, and whose
son died from lymphoma, probably as a result of dioxin exposure, many
more illnesses were finally linked to Agent Orange, and have been made
service-connectable over the past decade.

But Zumwalt did not succeed at clearing the air regarding dioxin's
actual toxicity, nor did he stop further scientific shenanigans
carried out by government and industry to hide the toxic effects of
other products, especially those to which our servicemen and women are
exposed.

In April 2000, the National Institute for Environmental Health
Sciences tried to release a report listing dioxin as a carcinogen, but
it was blocked by a lawsuit filed by an industry group. NIEHS had
tried to list dioxin as a carcinogen in 1991, but was not allowed to
do so then. John Bucher, deputy director of the NIEHS, says, "Dioxin
tends to increase the likelihood of all types of cancers" while
industry representatives continue to claim there is insufficient
evidence to link dioxin to health problems.

Ellen Silbergeld, a University of Maryland toxicologist, responded, "I
think the public should be mad as hell about the [dioxin review]
process and the way it's been abused."

Agent Orange: 2002

US and Vietnamese government scientists and international experts met
last week in Hanoi to discuss the effects of the "last significant
ghost" of the Vietnam War: Agent Orange.

Vietnam wants US help performing research and obtaining compensation.
It blames Agent Orange for tens of thousands of birth defects. The US
and Vietnam did sign an agreement during the meeting to carry out
joint research studies. But US ambassador Raymond Burghardt noted that
developing research studies "that are definitive and address the
underlying causes of disease in Vietnam" will be a "difficult task."

Reporting on the conference, Reuters pointed out, "Observers say
conclusive research could have far-reaching and expensive consequences
in terms of compensation claims for the US and Agent Orange makers,
Dow Chemical and Monsanto."

However, the US seems to think it has an ace in the hole. The US
embassy made clear, at the time of the conference, that "US-Vietnam
relations were normalized in 1995 after Vietnam dropped claims of war
reparations/compensation. At the time of normalization, neither
compensation nor reparations were granted or contemplated for the
future."

And, anyway, the US government has a fallback position. "Washington
argues there is no hard evidence showing the defoliant caused specific
illness," Reuters reported last week. And US government scientists
chimed in that any linkages to birth defects "would take many more
years to prove."

The well-documented story of dioxin and scientific perfidy provide a
guidepost for how to assess government-sponsored research, advisory
committees, and regulatory decisions that impact on the health effects
of toxic exposures, especially when the government may be liable for
damages.

"Those Who Cannot Remember the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It"

--George Santayana

Recommended Reading

Zumwalt ER. Report to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans'
Affairs on the association between adverse health effects and exposure
to Agent Orange. DVA Report, 1990.

Echobichon DJ. Toxic Effects of Pesticides, in Casarett and Doull's
Toxicology. Klaassen CD ed, McGraw-Hill, NY. 1996.

Klawans HL et al. Neurologic problems following exposure to TCDD,
dioxin. In Neurotoxins and their pharmacological implications, ed.
Jenner P, 1987. Raven Press, NY.

Welch, Craig. Dioxin debate growing hotter. Seattle Times May 29, 2000

Agent Orange help needed now, Vietnam Red Cross says. Reuters, March
5, 2002.

Brunnstrom, David. Hanoi meeting probes "last ghost" of Vietnam War.
Reuters, March 3, 2002.

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AGENT ORANGE PRIMER 2008
A Review of the Conditions and Benefits
Linked to Agent Orange Exposure
Editor:  Bob Kozel
Table of Contents
1.0  Introduction                                                                                                                
1.1   Brief History of Agent Orange Use and Follow on Health Studies                                           
2.0  Agent Orange and Service Connected Benefits
2.1   Diseases of Veterans Who Served In Vietnam
2.2   Diseases of the Children of Male Veterans of Vietnam
2.3   Diseases of the Children of Female Veterans of Vietnam
2.4   Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD
3.0  Special Benefits Consideration
3.1   The Veteran
3.1a  Earlier Claims
3.1b  The Need to Reopen Claims
3.1c  Concurrent Pay
3.2  Spouse Benefits:  Why these Spouses are Unique
3.2a  Compensation 
3.2b  Education
3.2c  Preference Points 
3.2d  Health Care 
3.2e  Other Benefits
3.3  Children
3.3a  Compensation 
3.3b  Education                                                                                                                           
3.3c  Health Care  
3.3d  Special Considerations 
4.0  Agent Orange Details                                                                                                          
4.1  Agent Orange Registry                                                                                                             
4.2  Agent Orange Lawsuit
4.3  Agent Orange   HOT LINE
4.4 Agent Orange 2007 Updates
5.0  Other Details
5.1  Diabetes and Sight Loss                                                                           
5.2  Reflections on PTSD
5.3  CFR Citation (on herbicides)
5.4  Comments on Applying for Service Connection
1.0  Introduction
As we move past the thirty-year anniversary of the end of the Vietnam era there are still lingering health problems for many of the veterans from that era.  The following document looks at Agent Orange exposure and the diseases and benefits linked to Agent Orange. 
Agent Orange exposure covers the veterans who were in country from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975.  Veteran exposed in 1968 and 1969 in Korea are also covered in this document (see explanation below).  In 2006 the Department of Defense, DoD provided a partial list of other locations where Agent Orange has been used.  The list is available on request, or can be found on the VA’s Agent Orange homepage at: 
http://www1.va.gov/agentorange/
The specific list can be found at:
http://www1.va.gov/agentorange/docs/Report_on_DoD_Herbicides_Outside_of_Vietnam.pdf
1.1  Brief History of Agent Orange Use and Follow on Health Studies
During the war in Vietnam the military used chemical agents to do away with the jungle vegetation.  At the time of use no one realized that this could have harmful effects on humans.  The chemicals were shipped in barrels with coding stripes.  Agent Orange comes from the orange stripes on the barrels.
After the war the Air Force was tasked to do follow up studies on the effects on chemical on the troops.  Three studies were done and the results were very controversial.  By the mid 1990’s it was clear that Vietnam veterans were having health side effects due to Agent Orange exposure.
Studies continue on the effects of Agent Orange.  In 2002 Type 2 diabetes was Service Connected to Agent Orange.  In 2003 a form of Leukemia was also linked to Agent Orange exposure.  Children of veterans who served in Vietnam (and Korea in 1968 and 1969 near the DMZ) could also be service connected for birth defects.  This was the first time offspring of veterans had ever been considered for their own direct service connected benefits.
In 2005 studies reconfirmed the link between Agent Orange and type 2 Diabetes.  However, findings in other areas were inconclusive.  Go to section 4.4 for more recent updates on Agent Orange.
2.0  Agent Orange and Service Connected Benefits
One day in country during the war constitutes exposure to Agent Orange.*  This is not always as clear as it may sound.  Many veterans of the Navy never went ashore, though they were in the waters around Vietnam.  Other veterans were never acknowledged to be in Vietnam due to the nature of the units they served in.  This can make proving a claim very difficult.
The Department of Defense has announced that Agent Orange was used in Korea in 1968 and 1969 along the demilitarized zone (DMZ).  Veterans who served along the DMZ in those years are encouraged to put in claims.
There are other locations where the Defense Department acknowledges Agent Orange use.  The VA has asked for more information from DOD to help expand eligibility for claims from other locations.
* In 2006 this definition of service in Vietnam was set aside by the Court of Veterans Appeals, COVA.  COVA did not offer a new definition, but felt that this was too narrow a definition because it excluded Navy personnel potentially exposed.  At the time of this going to press the VA has apparently decided to narrowly define Agent Orange exposure in a way that may exclude personnel who served off the shore of Vietnam.
We are recommending that all Navy personnel who have a Vietnam Service Medal, VSM, to apply for service connection if they have one of the presumptive conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure (see below).  As part of your claim we recommend including documentation of your VSM.  Unless, something changes in the near future, the claim will be turned down, but in the future would be covered under Nehmer (see explanation in Section 3.1a) if the VA reverses its rules on exposure.
2.1  Diseases of Veterans Who Served In Vietnam
Chloracne: a skin condition that looks like common forms of acne. It is important to mention that skin disorders are among the most common health problems experienced by combat forces. Because of the environment and living conditions in Vietnam, veterans developed a variety of skin problems, ranging from bacterial and fungal infections to a condition known as "tropical acne". However, the only condition consistently reported to be associated with Agent Orange and other herbicides is chloracne.
Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma: a term used to describe a group of malignant tumors that first affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue. These tumors are relatively rare (about 3% of all cancers that occur among the U.S. general population) and, although the survival rate has improved considerably over the last 20 years, these diseases tend to be fatal.
Soft Tissue Sarcoma: a group of different types of malignant tumors which arise from body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels and connective tissues; and distinctive from hard tissue such as bone or cartilage.
Peripheral Neuropathy: a nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness by involvement of the nerves; that is, neural conducting tissue outside the brain and spinal cord.
Hodgkin’s Disease: a malignant lymphoma characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, with progressive anemia.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda: a disorder characterized by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas.
Multiple Myeloma: a cancer of specific bone marrow cells or the plasma cell and characterized by plasma cell tumors in various bones of the body.
Respiratory Cancers: this refers to cancers of the lung, larynx, and bronchus.
Prostate Cancer: prostate cancer is the most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) for American men. The National Academy of Science concluded, in its most recent report, that Vietnam veterans have an even greater increased incidence rate for contracting prostate cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.
Adult Onset Type II Diabetes Mellitus: high blood sugar, resulting from a deficiency of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. When the body doesn't produce insulin, or doesn't use it correctly, it can't make use of its main fuel -- sugar. Untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, vascular disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, and other problems.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): CLL is a progressive disease that involves increased production of white blood cells.  The chance of recovery from CLL largely depends on the stage of patient’s health. 
CLL was declared service connected in January of 2003 and is the most recent of the service connected conditions linked to Agent Orange veteran diseases.
2.2  Diseases of the Children of Male Veterans of Vietnam
Spina Bifida: a devastating spinal birth defect that affects the children of some Vietnam veterans. 
For more information on Spina Bifida benefits go to:
http://www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/spina/spina.asp
For a short time period Acute myelogenous leukemia was considered a disease of the offspring of Agent Orange veterans.  This has since been rescinded based on new scientific research.
 2.3  Diseases of the Children of Female Veterans of Vietnam
Achondroplasia (produces a type of dwarfism)
Cleft palate and cleft lip
Congenital heart disease
Congenital talipses equinovarus (clubfoot)
Esophageal and intestinal artesia
Hallerman-Streiff syndrome (prematurity, small growth and other defects)
Hip dysplasia
Hirschprung’s disease (congenital megacolon)
Hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis
Hypospadias (abnormal opening in the urethra)
Imperforate anus
Neural tube defects
Poland syndrome (webbed fingers and other birth defects)
Pyoric stenosis
Syndactyly (fused digits)
Tracheoesophageal fistula
Undescended testicles
Williams syndrome (linked to thyroid activity, multiple defects)
NOTE:  In December of 2003 these same service connections were extended to the children of veterans who served at the DMZ in Korea in 1968 and 1969.
For more information on benefits for children of female veterans exposed to Agent Orange go to the following website:
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Milsvc/Docs/CWVVMoney4.doc
2.4  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD
PTSD is not caused or linked to Agent Orange.  Estimates of PTSD for Vietnam veterans run as high as 30%.  PTSD can have devastating affects on  the veteran and  the family.  It may make convincing the veteran to attend or participate in rehab services very difficult.
Newer treatments for PTSD seem to work.  They involve medications.  It can be a challenge for the veterans to take medications regularly.  (See section 5.2 below for more on PTSD).
3.0  Special Benefits Consideration
To establish a service connected claim based on exposure to Agent Orange a veteran has to demonstrate being in country (Vietnam) for at least one day.  The same is true of the DMZ in Korea.
 3.1  The Veteran
Most of the items linked to Agent Orange exposure no longer have time windows for application for service connection.  This was reaffirmed in 2004 by an Institute of Medicine’s study on the cancers linked to Agent Orange.  A person can apply for service connection for the remainder of their life.  The exception would be peripheral neuropathy, which would have to show up within one year.  However, if the veteran had diabetes that was service connected, the form of peripheral neuropathy connected to diabetes could be linked as a secondary effect of the diabetes.
One question some individuals have is:  If some people would have developed diseases such as diabetes or prostate cancer anyways, why service connect them?
It is true that in a group of veterans statistically some would develop diabetes and prostate cancer.  Research has shown that the rate was higher in Vietnam veterans or that exposure to certain chemical agents definitely can cause certain diseases.  Also, there is a chance that Agent Orange contributes to much more severe cases of the disease.  This last point is not a proven scientific point, but a nasty possibility. 
Editor's Note: A recent study by the Department of Defense suggested that the recurrence of prostate cancer is more likely for individuals exposed to Agent Orange.
Claims for Agent Orange are handled just like other claims.  The veteran needs a diagnosis and medical proof.  They must also show that they were in Vietnam for one day.  If their DD 214 does not make this clear, or their unit was not assigned to Vietnam, then the veteran may need statements to show that they were in Vietnam.
3.1a  Earlier Claims
A number of veterans applied for service connection, especially for type 2 diabetes prior to diabetes being recognized as linked to Agent Orange.  Due to court decisions the VA must go back and recognize those (and other Agent Orange) claims from the initial filing. 
This decision is a result of a 13 year long series of class action suites against the VA.  The person listed in the suite was Beverly Nehmer, and the resulting action is known as “Nehmer”.  Under the Nehmer clause three principles came out:
A person could receive back pay to the original date of a claim
A person could not receive interest on the back pay
The estate of a person could receive benefits under this principle.  This might include back pay and the right to benefits such as Dependency Indemnity Compensation
Editor’s Note:  A veteran might consider applying for service connection for certain conditions such as cancers that are not currently recognized as being presumptive with Agent Orange.  The thought is that they might be service connected in the future.
3.1b  The Need to Reopen Claims
The term 100% sounds final.  A solution cannot be anymore than 100% of some one thing.  Often veterans do not understand that there are levels of 100% beyond the basic rating.  They do not understand the need to reopen their claim and document additional disabilities.
What is the benefit in reopening claims? 
First, it allows the possibility of special monthly compensation.  This could mean additional dollars.
Second, when a claim involves vision it may trigger a benefit such as Auto Grant, or Special Housing Grant, which is a large lump sum payment towards an auto or housing modifications.
Third, if a veteran is not rated Permanent and Total it important to work towards this rating, and to document potential conditions that could cause death.  Payments from the VA to the spouse and family might hinge on dying of service connect cause or being rated Permanent and Total for a certain time period.
Finally, a rating that leans more heavily towards Agent Orange related items may have an effect on a military retirees rate of Combat Related Special Compensation (see below).
3.1c  Concurrent Pay
Concurrent Pay has been undergoing evolution since 2003.  The National Defense Act of 2008 called for some additional changes in CRSC (see below).
There currently are two types of Concurrent Pay:
Veterans who served 20 years in the military are eligible for Concurrent Receipt of their retirement pay in addition to their VA compensation if they fall into one of the following categories:
CRDP- Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments, which is paid to individuals with 50% service connection or higher.  To receive CRDP an individual must have served 20 years on active duty. 
CRSC -  Combat Related Special Compensation, which is paid for any battlefield related injury 10% or higher for which the veteran is receiving compensation.  The veteran must apply for this through their branch of service. 
The National Defense Act of 2008 included provisions for Chapter 61 retirees (those who were medically retired before 20 years) if there injuries were combat related.  It also called for adjustments for those veterans who were on Individual Unemployability dating back to January 2005.  Details on these changes had not been released at the time this edition went to press.
All of this has become very complicated.  CRDP is granted automatically to a retiree through joint cooperation by DoD and the VA.   A veteran must apply for CRSC.  To apply the veteran must fill out a DD 2860.   An individual does not collect both CRDP and CRSC, they collect whichever is of greater value. 
For more information on CRDP the veteran would contact Defense Finance and Accounting Service at:  1800 321 1080
Or write:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Cleveland Center
Retired Pay Department (FRCCBB)
PO BX 99191
Cleveland, OH 44199-1126
To apply for CRSC the DD 2860 is submitted through their branch of service.  They may also contact their service branch for more information on CRSC and eligibility.  The following is current contact information:
ARMY:
Department of the Army
U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
200 Stovall Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22332-0470
Toll-free: (866) 281-3254
Hours: 8am - 8pm EST
E-mail your questions to:
CRSC.info@us.army.mil
Or visit: http://www.crsc.army.mil
NAVY AND MARINE CORPS:
Department of Navy Naval Council of Personnel Boards
Combat-Related Special Compensation Branch
720 Kennon Street S.E., Suite 309
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5023
(Toll free 1-877-366-2772)
AIR FORCE:
United States Air Force Personnel Center
Disability Division (CRSC)
550 C Street West, Suite 6
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4708
(Toll Free 1-866-229-7074)
COAST GUARD:
Commanding Officer (RAS)
U. S. Coast Guard Personnel Service Center
444 SE Quincy St.
Topeka, KS 66683-3591
(toll-free at 1-800-772-8724)
All CRSC payments are tax exempt.  It is considered a disability type payment, not a retirement payment.  This has large implications for tax purposes.
The definition of battlefield injuries falls into two categories.  The first is direct injury, the type Purple Hearts are awarded for.  The second is conditions or injuries linked to battlefield action.  This would cover Agent Orange exposure and possibly PTSD if it could be linked to combat. 
Concurrent Pay for Spouses
Spouses of military retirees have three possible government retirement sources to consider:
Social Security
Survivor Benefits Plan, SBP
Dependency Indemnity and Compensation, DIC
SBP is an annuity that the veteran pays into so that the surviving spouse can receive a percentage of their military retirement pay. 
For more information on SBP go to: 
http://www.military.com/benefits/survivor-benefits/survivor-benefit-plan-explained
DIC is paid by the VA.  It is for the survivors of a service connected veteran if the death met one of the following conditions:
       Military service member who died while on active duty, OR
1       Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
2       Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling
       for at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
1       since the veteran's release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
2       for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
For more information on DIC go to:
http://www.military.com/benefits/survivor-benefits/dependency-and-indemnity-compensation
Originally there were monetary offsets for individuals who eligible for Social Security, SBP and DIC.
As of 2005 a widowed spouse or a military retiree was able to collect Social Security and the Department of Defense’s Survivor Benefit Plan, SBP.  The SBP payment and full Social Security will be phased in increments from 2005 to mid year 2008.  Many retirees have dropped SBP, it is important to check on open seasons for re-entry into the program and cost for buy backs. 
It appears that the first SBP – DIC  payment offset will appear in 2008 as part of the provisions in the National Defense Act.  The sum of money is small.  Though it is not officially labeled as an offset and at this time there are no plans for further increases, it may be the start of the removal of the SBP-DIC offset.
It appears that there will be a 50 dollar offset monthly starting in October of 2008.  With a 10 dollar a month increase for the next 5 years.  Final details on this were not available at the time this went to print.
3.2  Spouse Benefits:  Why these Spouses are Unique
For many years the VA has been predominantly World War 2 veterans.  This is not good or bad, but merely a reflection of the large number of people who served during that war.
Today, when a World War 2 veteran dies it is a fairly safe bet that the spouse is of retirement age.  Talk about going to school and rejoining the workforce is not really the core element of the benefits used.  We normally speak in terms of benefits such as Dependency Indemnity Compensation.
Agent Orange veterans may be as young as their 50’s.  You may have cases where the veteran was working only months before and was forced to quit due to health.  Health care for the spouse may have been made available through the veteran’s job.  The spouse may be well below Medicare age and find for the first time in decades they find themselves with no health insurance.
NOTE:  In the review of benefits below we are talking in terms of the veteran being 100% service connected.  It could be due to Unemployability or Permanent and Total type rating that is clearly 100%.
3.2a  Compensation
The spouse will receive no compensation as long as the veteran is alive.  However, the veteran will draw compensation.  When the veteran dies the spouse could be eligible for Dependency Indemnity Compensation.  It is important that they understand the program.  This program has Housebound and Aid and Attendance rates also, a fact that few spouses understand.
3.2b  Education
The granting of 100% service connection or death from a service connected cause can open a window of education benefits for the spouse.  The loss of income from the veteran’s job could make education a consideration.
NOTE:  Eligibility for education benefits is opened once for a ten year period.  If it opens upon granting of 100%, it does not reopen later if the veteran dies of a service connected cause later.  If a veteran rated less then 100% dies of a service connected cause the education window will open for the first time for the spouse.
3.2c  Preference Points
A spouse can apply through Regional Office to use the veteran’s preference points in the event the veteran is no longer able to work due to a service connected disability rated at 100%.  Again, if the spouse finds that they are back in the workforce, or the major breadwinner this could be an important consideration.
3.2d  Health Care
The spouse may be eligible for CHAMPVA as a health care provider.  This could be critical if there is no other health care in the family.  CHAMPVA is now an extended benefit that can be used past Medicare age in the CHAMPVA for Life program.  
The spouse of a military retiree is likely to be covered by the TRICARE health program and ineligible for CHAMPVA.
3.2e  Other Benefits
With the granting of 100% service connection comes PX and Commissary privileges.  There are other perks and privileges that are linked to being rated 100% service connected many have to do with use of Department of Defense facilities.
3.3  Children
Children of Vietnam veterans are going to find that they are in one of two categories:
The vast majority will receive benefits through their veteran parent.  This includes additional compensation for a dependent, health care, and education benefits.  For many this will end when they reach 18.  For some it will continue through their post high school education years, and end when their education is completed.  For a few who have severe disabilities before the age of 18, they may remain the dependent of the veteran for life, and collect Dependency Indemnity Compensation when the veteran dies.
The second group of children have health conditions that are linked to the veteran’s exposure to Agent Orange.  These children are themselves service connected and have their own benefits.  For this second group of children the following benefits exist:
3.3a  Compensation
Compensation is not paid at the same rate as a veteran’s compensation.  A separate tiered scale is used.  Application for benefits are is made through Regional Office following the normal criteria for evidence.
3.3b  Education
A child in this category will receive the same education benefits that a dependent child eligible for VA education benefits would receive.
3.3c  Health Care
These children will be eligible for health care funded by the VA for life.
3.3d  Special Considerations
Would a service connected child with spina bifida be eligible for Blind Rehab services from the VA?  
This has not been tested – yet.  It is my guess that they would be eligible for this service if they wished to pursue it.  But, there is no precedence in such a case.
4.0  Agent Orange Details
4.1 Agent Orange Registry
Vietnam veterans and veterans from Korea who served in the DMZ area can be tested and placed on the Agent Orange Registry.  What does this mean in practical terms?
The registry is a database used for health care comparisons.  It is vital in research, but not in the individual’s claim process.  This might sound confusing, but here is a practical example:
Diabetes was shown to be service connected by doing a comparative study between veterans who served in Vietnam and those who did not, all having served in the same time frame.  The VA can use the registry for statistical information for Vietnam veterans.  A veteran is doing a great service research wise by going through the registry process.
EDITOR'S NOTE:  The findings of a Registry exam can be used in the claim process as evidence.  This is information in the VA system and easy to access by VA Regional Office.
4.2 Agent Orange Lawsuit
A class action suit was filed in 1979 on behalf of Agent Orange exposed veterans against the chemical companies that had produced Agent Orange.  The suit was settled in 1985 and paid approximately 180 million dollars to 50,000 veterans.  Well over 2 million veterans were exposed to Agent Orange.
4.3  Agent Orange   HOT LINE:  1 (800) 749 8387
The VA sends out a quarterly bulletin on Agent Orange.  It is called Agent Orange Review.  A veteran can enroll for the bulletin by calling the hotline. The hot line will also answer questions and provide information.
4.4 Agent Orange 2007 Updates
The year 2007 proved to be a very busy one for Agent Orange concerns.  However, is some areas there seem to be more questions then answers.
Navy Service off Vietnam coast:  At the time of printing there has been no formal resolution of what constitutes exposure for personnel serving off the shore of Vietnam.

Agent Orange use in Guam and Okinawa:  It came to light from two already decided cases that Agent Orange was used in some manner on Guam and Okinawa and that individuals were granted service connection by the Board of Veterans Appeals.  Neither Okinawa or Guam were included on the DoD list offered on sites where Agent Orange was used.    The website below also covers a case in Thailand.  DoD has already released that certain areas of Thailand were sprayed.  However, this case hinged on an individual who worked on the equipment used to spray Agent Orange as his exposure.

To review these cases go to: http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/guambva.htm
Agent Orange has long been rumored to have been used at Panama and Johnston Island.  This has never officially been confirmed.
In July of 2007 a report came from the Institute of Medicine of a possible link between Agent Orange exposure and high blood pressure.  No further considerations have come out on this yet.
 
5.0  Other Details
5.1  Diabetes and Sight Loss
One of the earliest symptoms of diabetes can be blurred vision.  This blurred vision can be caused by the lens of the eye swelling in response to high blood sugar.  This is not permanent and goes away when blood sugar is in control.
Vision may be affected when a person is in very low blood sugar.  The field of vision may actually narrow.  Low blood sugar has other serious affects including influencing judgment.  A person may not even realize they are in low blood sugar and do nothing to correct it.  Low blood sugar can lead to the loss of consciousness and even more serious complications.
But, these are not the long-term effects of diabetes on vision.  The blood vessels in the back of the eye and in the kidneys are some of the very finest in the body.  Blood vessels high in glucose content are rigid and over time tend to damage these blood vessels.  They leak and cause fatty deposits on the Retina.  These are referred to as cotton-wool spots (because of their appearance).
Blood vessels can actually start to break and cause bleeding into the eye.  In most cases the intervention of choice to stop bleeding has been the use of a laser.  Though the laser effectively stops bleeding portions of the retina are damaged and there is permanent vision loss.
The body in an attempt to adjust might promote the growth of new blood vessels.  These tend to be frail and break easily creating additional bleeding.  Many of the new treatments that involve injections and medication implants are to address the problem of new blood vessel growth and the additional problems they bring.
The best intervention the individual can do to save their eyesight is effective control of your blood sugar.  This is done through diet, medications, stress reduction, and exercise.
Everyone with diabetes should be doing regular finger sticks (using a glucometer).  Large print or a talking glucometers are options for visually impaired individuals.
Progression of Medications
Individuals with diabetes usually have a medications treatment that follows something like this:
Exercise and Meal Planning with the goal of possible weight loss
Diabetes Pills
Multiple Pills used together
Insulin added to pill therapy
Increased insulin dose and frequency if shots
NOTE:  Diabetes is a cause of one type of Glaucoma.  This type involves the growth of new blood vessel growth and may be referred to as neo-vascular.  It is important to have this type defined if the veteran is going to reopen a claim based on glaucoma and diabetes service connection.
5.2  Reflections on PTSD
The National Comorbidity Survey Report (NCS) provided the following information about PTSD in the general adult population:
The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among adult Americans is 7.8%, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to have PTSD at some point in their lives. This represents a small portion of those who have experienced at least one traumatic event; 60.7% of men and 51.2% of women reported at least one traumatic event. The most frequently experienced traumas were:
Witnessing someone being badly injured or killed
Being involved in a fire, flood, or natural disaster
Being involved in a life-threatening accident
Combat exposure
The majority of the people in the NCS experienced two or more types of trauma. More than 10% of men and 6% of women reported four or more types of trauma during their lifetimes.
The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD in men were rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. For women, the most common events were rape, sexual molestation, physical attack, being threatened with a weapon, and childhood physical abuse.
However, none of these events invariably produced PTSD in those exposed to it, and a particular type of traumatic event did not necessarily affect different sectors of the population in the same way.
The NCS report concluded that "PTSD is a highly prevalent lifetime disorder that often persists for years. The qualifying events for PTSD are also common, with many respondents reporting the occurrence of quite a few such events during their lifetimes."
The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS) report provided the following information about PTSD among Vietnam War veterans:
The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among American Vietnam theater veterans is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. An additional 22.5% of men and 21.2% of women have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. Thus, more than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans-about 1,700,000 Vietnam veterans in all-have experienced "clinically serious stress reaction symptoms."
15.2% of all male Vietnam theater veterans (479,000 out of 3,140,000 men who served in Vietnam) and 8.1% of all female Vietnam theater veterans (610 out of 7,200 women who served in Vietnam) are currently diagnosed with PTSD. ("Currently" means 1986-88 when the survey was conducted.)
The NVVRS report also contains these figures on other problems of Vietnam veterans:
Forty percent of Vietnam theater veteran men have been divorced at least once (10% had two or more divorces), 14.1% report high levels of marital problems, and 23.1% have high levels of parenting problems.
Almost half of all male Vietnam theater veterans currently suffering from PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once-34.2% more than once-and 11.5% had been convicted of a felony.
The estimated lifetime prevalence of alcohol abuse or dependence among male theater veterans is 39.2%, and the estimate for current alcohol abuse or dependence is 11.2%. The estimated lifetime prevalence of drug abuse or dependence among male theater veterans is 5.7%, and the estimate for current drug abuse or dependence is 1.8%.
For more information you can go to the following Website:
http://www.ncptsd.org/facts/index.html
5. 3  CFR Citation
The following is the section of the 38 CFR 3.309, Disease subject to presumptive service connection that covers Agent Orange exposure.  It is important to not that findings on Agent Orange are changing faster than the law.  Those changes are addressed through memorandums from the Secretary of the Veterans Administration.
(e) Disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents. If a veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service, the following diseases shall be service-connected if the requirements of 3.307(a)(6) are met even though there is no record of such disease during service, provided further that the rebuttable presumption provisions of 3.307(d) are also satisfied.
        Chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne
        Type 2 diabetes (also known as Type II diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes)
        Hodgkin’s disease
        Multiple myeloma
        Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
        Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy
        Porphyria cutanea tarda
        Prostate cancer
        Respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea)
Soft-tissue  sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
Note 1: The term soft-tissue sarcoma includes the following:
        Adult fibrosarcoma
        Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
        Malignant fibrous histiocytoma
        Liposarcoma
        Leiomyosarcoma
        Epithelioid leiomyosarcoma (malignant leiomyoblastoma)
        Rhabdomyosarcoma
        Ectomesenchymoma
        Angiosarcoma (hemangiosarcoma and lymphangiosarcoma)
        Proliferating (systemic) angioendotheliomatosis
        Malignant glomus tumor
        Malignant hemangiopericytoma
        Synovial sarcoma (malignant synovioma)
        Malignant giant cell tumor of tendon sheath
Malignant schwannoma, including malignant schwannoma with rhabdomyoblastic differentiation (malignant Triton tumor), glandular and epithelioid malignant schwannomas
        Malignant mesenchymoma
        Malignant granular cell tumor
        Alveolar soft part sarcoma
        Epithelioid sarcoma
        Clear cell sarcoma of tendons and aponeuroses
        Extraskeletal Ewing’s sarcoma
        Congenital and infantile fibrosarcoma
        Malignant ganglioneuroma
Note 2: For purposes of this section, the term acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy means transient peripheral neuropathy that appears within weeks or months of exposure to an herbicide agent and resolves within two years of the date of onset. 
5.4 Comments on Applying for Service Connection
There is now a clearly established precedent for applying for service connection for exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam or Korea.  However, it is clear that individuals have been exposed to Agent Orange at other locations throughout the world.  How should a veteran approach those claims?
It seems clear that the burden of showing a logical exposure from the cases in Guam, Okinawa, and Thailand demonstrate that just being in country is not the key to winning the case.  The individual has to show how their activity brought them in contact to areas where Agent Orange was used, or in contact with Agent Orange equipment used for spraying.
Consider this in writing your claim.  If you worked on the flight line and the perimeter was cleared by Agent Orange use, you may have a possible claim.  If you jogged on Guam, then you need to include where you jogged and how you now know it was in or near the area that Agent Orange was used to clear the flight line or fields.  Being in Guam alone will not win your case.
Consider using statements of witnesses.  There may be people from you unit that can corroborate that Agent Orange was used to clear the fields.
It is highly recommended that you submit copies of the existing Board of Veteran Appeals cases (see website below) as part of your evidence.  Also, reading them, might provide you insight as to if you have a valid claim. 
http://www.2ndbattalion94thartillery.com/Chas/guambva.htm
It is also highly recommended that you file, even if your exposure was in areas such as Panama and Johnston Islands.  These are locations that DoD has never indicated that Agent Orange was used.  Under Nehmer, you would be establishing the date of your original claim.
Finally, it is recommended that you seek the assistance of a service organization in filing.  These cases are not likely to be settled at Regional Office.  They may need to be appealed and move up the ladder.  Representation is a good thing to have.

 
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