AGENT ORANGE IN THAILAND
Submitted by O.D. on 2 June 2010 - 6:16pm.
I just received this from an old Air America buddy, if you think this effects you, check it out.
VA Compensation & Pension Service Bulletin May 2010
After reviewing documents related to herbicide use in Vietnam and Thailand, C&P Service has determined that there was significant use of herbicides on the fenced in perimeters of military bases in Thailand intended to eliminate vegetation and ground cover for base security purposes. Evidence of this can be found in a declassified Vietnam era Department of Defense (DoD) document titled Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report: Base Defense in Thailand. Therefore, when herbicide related claims from Veterans with Thailand service are received, RO personnel should now evaluate the treatment and personnel records to determine whether the Veterans service activities involved duty on or near the perimeter of the military base where the Veteran was stationed.
DoD has provided information that commercial herbicides, rather than tactical herbicides, were used within the confines of Thailand bases to control weeds. These commercial herbicides have been, and continue to be, used on all military bases worldwide. They do not fall under the VA regulations governing exposure to tactical herbicides such as Agent Orange. However, there is some evidence that the herbicides used on the Thailand base perimeters may have been either tactical, procured from Vietnam, or a commercial variant of much greater strength and with characteristics of tactical herbicides. Therefore, C&P Service has determined that a special consideration of herbicide exposure on a facts found or direct basis should be extended to those Veterans whose duties placed them on or near the perimeters of Thailand military bases. This allows for presumptive service connection of the diseases associated with herbicide exposure.
The majority of troops in Thailand during the Vietnam era were stationed at the Royal Thai Air Force Bases of U-Tapao, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, Udorn, Takhli, Korat, and Don Muang. If a US Air Force Veteran served on one of these air bases as a security policeman, security patrol dog handler, member of a security police squadron, or otherwise served near the air base perimeter, as shown by MOS (military occupational specialty), performance evaluations, or other credible evidence, then herbicide exposure should be acknowledged on a facts found or direct basis. However, this applies only during the Vietnam era, from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975.
Along with air bases, there were some small Army installations established in Thailand during this period, which may also have used perimeter herbicides in the same manner as the air bases. Therefore, if a US Army Veteran claims a disability based on herbicide exposure and the Veteran was a member of a military police (MP) unit or was assigned an MP MOS and states that his duty placed him at or near the base perimeter, then herbicide exposure on a facts found or direct basis should be acknowledged for this Veteran. The difference in approach for US Army Veterans is based on the fact that some MPs had criminal investigation duties rather than base security duties. Therefore, the Veterans lay statement is required to establish security duty on the base perimeter. This also applies to US Army personnel who served on air bases in Thailand. During the early years of the war in Vietnam, before Air Force security units were fully established on air bases in Thailand, US Army personnel may have provided perimeter security. In such cases, if the Veteran provides a lay statement that he was involved with perimeter security duty and there is additional credible evidence supporting this statement, then herbicide exposure on a facts found or direct basis can be acknowledged for this Veteran.
Evaluation and adjudication of the cases described above can now be conducted by RO personnel without input from the C&P Service Agent Orange Mailbox.
These instructions replace those provided in the August 2009 C&P service Bulletin. In summary, no herbicide related claim from a Thailand Veteran should be sent to the C&P Service Agent Orange Mailbox. If evidence shows that the Veteran performed duties along the military base perimeter, ROs should acknowledge herbicide exposure on a facts found or direct basis. If the available evidence does not show service along the base perimeter and does not otherwise indicate exposure to tactical herbicides, place the memorandum for the record from M21-1MR IV.ii.2.C.10.q in the claims file and send a request for information to JSRRC.