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


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 and birth defects in children of Vietnam-era Veterans at

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 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 (26)

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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?????

  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

  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

    • Richard Morrow says:

      Bill, don’t give up. Keep fighting the VA. Go to the DAV and make another claim. “DAV-Disabled American Veterans”. If the VA denies you again appeal it. Reopen, reopen, reopen…appeal, appeal, appeal each time. Make your claim folder get so big that they have to wheel it on a dolly. I know what I’m talking about. I ended up 100% service-connected permenant and total disability and the VA had to pay me retroactive pay. Yes, they were hoping I would die first. Don’t let the VA have their way. Keep fighting those bonus sucking bastards!

  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.

    • james ellis says:

      hey Thomas, I was there for 19 moths until Oct1969 as combat engineer. we were building air strips & helping the people on the Haun river to keep their villages from the erosion of the river. I now have benn diagnosed & am being treated for IH disease, RA disease, OA diease & have been turned down multiple times. I just believe that our govt is responsible but will no accept that even tho it is a presumptive case.I can prove my wearabouts with photosplus my station @ Camp Carroll in that timeline.

  10. Michael Carnell says:

    I served in Korea from 1977 – 1978 at Camp Howze HHC 3rd Brigade, 2nd Inf division. We had barrels of Agent Orange stored in our Generator shed in back of our motor pool where the Katusa’s would fill up pump sprayers and saturated the ground all around our base to create a perfect line of fire 1 – 200 yards out in every direction. Within a couple days of spraying those toxins everything as far as you could see was dead. I thought this is some serious stuff, i took photos of the barrels,and the kill zone. Fast forward, i now suffer from diabetes, have recently been looked after by the V.A for possible Parkinson’s and when i filed a claim, they denied that i even served there. This is with photos, documentation of the toxins uncovered at Camp Carrol, my dd214 to name a few.they denied everything. They want us all to die before anything will ever be done.How can anyone in charge of each individual case look at what i provided and act like it never happened.I am disgusted with the lack of support we veterans have been given outside the prescribed dates. This stuff will be leaking out into the ground water for decades to come. I feel bad for those people living in the villages who will pay the ultimate price along with the vets who served there. Korea is the next Love Canal

  11. warren m. hairston says:

    i was stationed at camp Pellam dmv moon sung Korea traveled to JSA everyday over looking north korea every day i know chemicals was sprayed along the road for what i did know at that time i thought it was for mosquitos i have all the systems of disease related to agent orange 9/01/1980 8/01/1981

  12. Robert niemic says:

    I was stationed in Korea from 1965 thru 1966. They Did a lot of spraying if it wasn’t agent orange, what was it? Our hutches were warmed by some kind of fusal or desiel oil, we had to breath all of that. We had to walk up a hill to get water and go to the bathroom. The conditions there were awful. I have heart problems and vocal chord cancer. I also was denied benefits. can someone tell me what they sprayed? Such a shame we lived on those conditions. I was stationed by yanjacol village by cc1 where supplies was bought. Robert Niemic

  13. Linda Paulson says:

    I am looking for help for my husband. He is having epileptic seizures, and while searching the internet for help, I came across this website. He served in the military during Vietnam on the dmz zone in Korea. He was in water purification. This is now a large concern because I am reading how agent orange contaminated the ground and water at this site. He is having memory problems and this is making it hard for me to get info out of him, he is often confused. He has bouts of anger and hostility. He is sometimes impossible to deal with. He does not like being around crowds because he is paranoid most of the time, and now is becoming angry and paranoid around family. Our pastor visits him regularly and has great concerns. Jim is only 65 years old, this seems cruel. Where do we go for help. Is there help for agent orange victims?

  14. Mike Klabunde says:

    I served in Korea from 1977 – 1978 at Camp Howze. Two weeks out of the month I went to the DMZ guard post Collier. I have had two heart attacks, 1st one was October 2015 and had a stent put in. The 2nd heart attack was January 2017, had a triple by-pass. I am 59 years old. I believe this is from being exposed to Agent Orange. Can anyone help me with any information on applying for VA compensation?

  15. Mark Johnson says:

    Where have I been? I just heard about Korean exposure to AO yesterday.

    I served 2nd Div, 122nd Signal, Co C for 16 months in 75 and 76. I also did an extended tour up on Hill 754.

    The comments above verified my concern about long-term contamination of ground and water to camps down stream from the DMZ (which Camp Casey was) that did little more than chlorinate their water.

    Additionally, I learned that Hill 754 had 55 gallon drums of the stuff and used it frequently to keep approaches clear of vegetation.

    I dismissed my experiences when first digging into this because they were nephropathy or cancers. But today I learned that the painful facial (and arm) lesions I have been fighting unsuccessfully for many years could be one of these side affects (chloracne) and explain why several MDs and dermatologists have failed to treat it successfully.

    Ugh. I don’t even know where to start.

  16. PFC William Williams says:

    Served in Korea from 1983-1984 did tour on DMZ had Health issues and Release with Medical Hardship Discharge . Trying to get evaluated by VA now. Diabetes , skin rashes, respiratory issues. Just need to know what’s going on with me now. Civilian doctors unsure. Understand Agent orange was everywhere I’m 54 now and I guess things are surfacing now.

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