Veterans Affairs ( VA) released an updated DOD list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the U.S. Military. The Military Times reported that the new list omits 40 previously identified locations, such as Thailand, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including an Agent Orange Registry health exam, health care and disability compensation for diseases associated with such exposure. We are more than half a century since many of these incidents occurred and the government keeps changing its story. We know these chemicals harmed our veterans and VA has the obligation to deliver care and benefits regardless of DOD’s ongoing revisions.
Regardless if a veteran used the new list or old list where DOD confirmed that there was storage or spraying, the VA needs to grant benefits if a veteran has any evidence demonstrating that spraying may have occurred or they were exposed to storage of the chemicals.
The VA is now delaying the latest presumptive diseases of bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, parkinsonism, and hypertension to allow time to review another study. The National Academy of Medicine has already established an association between Agent Orange exposure and these four diseases and there is no reason to wait for results of a new study and delay providing care and benefits to veterans in need.
Those veterans who have signed the Airborne Hazards & Burn Pit Registry need to review and make sure that their contact information is up to date.
You may want to research a VA Puget Sound Health Care System study designed to learn about the health and life experiences of veterans from all different backgrounds. No in person visits are required as the study will consist of a four web-based questionnaire.
Until next time, we thank you for serving our great country and ask that God bless Texas and the USA.
Carl Dry is a Korean War veteran, a former Grimes County Veterans Service Officer and former VFW Post 4006 Commander.