Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange in Korea DMZ Will Have Easier Path to Benefits

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WASHINGTON, DC–Veterans exposed to herbicides while serving along the demilitarized zone in Korea will have an easier path to access quality health care and benefits under a VA final regulation that will expand the dates when illnesses caused by herbicide exposure can be presumed to be related to Agent Orange.

Under the final regulation published this week in the Federal Register, VA will presume herbicide exposure for any veteran who served between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971, in a unit determined by VA and DoD to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied.  

Previously, VA recognized that Agent Orange exposure could only be conceded to Veterans who served in certain units along the Korean DMZ between April 1968 and July 1969.  

In practical terms, eligible veterans who have specific illnesses VA presumes to be associated with herbicide exposure do not have to prove an association between their illness and their military service.  This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits and ensures that Veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

Click on these links to learn about Veterans’ diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp and birth defects in children of Vietnam-era Veterans at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/birth_defects.asp.

VA encourages Veterans with covered service in Korea who have medical conditions that may be related to Agent Orange to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation as soon as possible so the agency can begin processing their claims.

Individuals can go to website http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/AO/claimherbicide.htm to get a more complete understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits.

Comments (14)

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  1. Thomas Lucken says:

    VA is avoiding recognizing vets especially after 1971 as being exposed to the Dioxins.. Took 40 years, but the government admitted to spraying along the DMZ. They also have admitted that the dioxins reside in the ground/soil for decades! But what they REFUSE to admit, that Troops were still exposed to the dioxins from 1972 to 1991 after the use. Now many DMZ vets from that time period are now ailing from A.O. So when are we going to take care all of our veterans?????

    • Edward Flores says:

      IAmen brother Thomas Lucken, when is our boat coming in ?! McDonald ok’d those Air Force boys Presumptive for AGENT Orange 20-40 years after Op Ranch Hand ! Weren’t those Planes Cleaned and Scrubbed down and parts and panels replaced?! 40 years!
      And they were found to be Highly TOXIC !!!
      WTH !!! and the DMZ was Never cleaned yet were denied ?!
      Crap ! Yet they’re Cleaning up Veit Nams Toxic sights 40years after the war !!!
      FUBAR !!!! (that’s Freanch)

    • Michael Curtis Boetjer says:

      I am currently fighting this battle…I have ischemic heart disease and serviced in DMZ Feb 1973 but have been fighting the VA for years now…even though the Aspin Report shows exposure 3-5 years on ground and up to 20 years in water…
      my email is mboetjer@yahoo.com if you have any information that may help me please email me…
      thanks
      mike boetjer

  2. Thomas Lucken says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thomas J. Lucken
    Korean DMZ Veteran

    • Wayne Roach says:

      I was stationed at Camp Kaiser from Sept. 66 until Nov. 67. There was no vegetation anywhere plus an odor that smelled somewhat like diesel only much worse. Being in transportation, I may have transported agent orange. I have ischemic heart disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure plus as I have just recently learned that offspring may be born with hip problems. My son was born with his hip out of socket. I have applied for benefits three times only to be rejected. I was told by a VA officer had I set one foot in Vietnam I would immediately receive benefits. Benefits should be same for all vets. Any advice I would appreciate.

  3. Regina M. Turrentine says:

    This is ludicrous!!! I was stationed in Korea during 80-81, at Camp Hovey. The water that came through the shower facet was rusty and odorful. This was indeed a sad scenario, especially when we had to wash our hair. Right now today, I suffer from chronic headaches, inflammation of the eyes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cervical radiculopathy, Arthralgia pain in the joints and on top of that, have experienced having fibroid tumors on my cervix that caused me to have a spontaneous abortion (SAB), which I had no control of. I had difficulties with abdomen cramps constantly and uncontrollable bleeding during my cycle. Deep down, I know it had a lot to do with that poison that we were using to try and keep our bodies cleaned. Hopefully, one day the Veterans Administration will accept it responsibility and pay up. They know that those chemicals were soaked in the ground and some how penetrated the water system. It’s no difference than a mechanical shop that has dirt on the ground to absorb the oil that is spilled, and that same dirt continue to house that oil and the dirt becomes oily with residuals from the effects. Same thing with chemical being housed in the ground and builds a form of sod. But what do we know? We know our bodies, especially if it was normal before we came in contact with the posion. Only we can tell the story of how it has affected our lives first hand. I pray that one day, this nightmare will end.

    Disappointed Female Veteran

  4. Tom Dillman says:

    I was hospitalized at the 44th MASH after being heavily sprayed by dioxin herbicides North and East of Munsani, along the Korean DMZ in the year 1959. I developed multiple lesions on my body, the worst requiring several yards of medicated gauze to fill the surgical hole caused by the largest lesion.

    Most people are not aware that dioxins were invented in 1948 at the University of Chicago, to kill plants in irrigation ditches. They have been readily available to the Armed Services since then. They were commonly used in the DMZ area where I was stationed, AND I was an armed guard handling and protecting deliveries of barrels of herbicides along the American side of the Korean DMZ, the Turkish area next to us, and some ROK Army areas in South Korea.

    Most people either aren’t aware (or don’t want to be) that the dioxins are “fat soluble. That means they can enter the body’s fat tissues and remain there for decades. A simple thing like going on a diet years later can release the dioxins as if they were brand new.

    Type II Diabetes and insulin issues are just part of my long list of Agent Orange type health problems. I feel so sorry for all those wonderful Korean people we were there to protect. Clearly Regina (above)knows what I’m talking about.

    • Luther W Fisher says:

      Dear Sir,DAV found your information on the internet and I was in Korea March 1960 thru April 1961 and actually sprayed the agent orange from the tank on a trailer.I have came down with Thyroid,type 2 diabetes,Rheumatoid arthritis,and am now taking Radiation for none Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and also some some heart meds. I filed a claim for agent orange in 2013 and have been denied on the grounds of there ws no agent orange in Korea. If you could give me positive info on your info it would be very much appreciated.

      • Bill Beil says:

        I was with the 226th Signal Co. TDY from Camp Page . We set up a VFH communication on a mountain behind a Camp Kaiser in 1959 and I returned there as team chief in Jan. Thru March of 1960 . I also have breathing problems and use different steroid sprays due to basil scars in my lungs . I am getting meds from the VA only after my civilian Doctor diagnosed the problem . We were north of Camp Kaiser and only the DMZ was in front of us . I was in Korea 16 months 12/1958 thru 03/1960 with the 4th Missle Comand in the 226th Signal Co.

  5. Warren Hassler says:

    I spent 13 months in Korea. Six months of it was on the DMZ between Feb 1968 and Apr 1969. I spent a lot of time on GPs in the DMZ and along the barrier fence. I went on patrol in the DMZ. I slept in the dirt on the GPs. I now am being treated for prostate cancer and am a borderline type 2 diabetic. I have recently been placed on the A.O register. I did this near the end of Sept 2015. I got an appointment for a physical exam for Nov 19. I received a call on the 18th of Nov that that the Dr was not available to see me on the 19th. The next available time was Jan 14,2016.(3 1/2 months after registering?)Tomorrow (Nov 23)I am going to go to the VA and start the claim process. By the time I get to the physical exam my cancer treatment will be almost finished.

  6. Bob says:

    On May 08, 2014 the VBA ruled in favor of a veteran claiming AO exposure while serving in the [Korea] DMZ from Oct 1975 to Feb 1980. Docket no: 12-01 202.

    Do decisions rendered by the VBA change how the VA decides future claims? Is the VA obligated to make changes to the CFR because of a decision made by a VBA judge?

  7. imjin scout says:

    1/9 inf here patrolled the DMZ frequently in very early 80’s lived, slept and ate a few hundred yards from there. When I rotated back to the states I had several lesions on my legs from the knees down. Sent to Balboa Naval Hospital where they conducted every blood test known to man on me. They said I had nothing wrong with me and it will probably just go away on it’s own. Fast forward present day I have lumps under my arms in my ltmph node system the VA suspects to be sarcoma. Can anyone direct me to any information that can help me relate my issues to the DMZ?

  8. William h frye says:

    I don’t believe any of it.I was drafted in 1971 and was an M P and did security in an Mesa area for nuclear weapons stored there and have been denied for over nine years and have all the presumptive illnesses. They are just waiting for all of us to die

  9. Thomas McCree says:

    I served in the 50323rd M.P.Detachment in Inchon, Korea. We made numerous truck and money escorts to the DMZ. They have denied my claim for exposure to Agent Orange. I was there 68 and until Mar 69. If you were there same time please let me know.

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