Tuesday, October 5, 2010

U.S. Sen. Harkin: Applauds VA decision to review previously denied Agent Orange benefits for Vietnam veterans with "brown water" service

October 1, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for its decision this week to review the cases of 17,000 “Brown Water” and other Vietnam-era veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange. “Brown Water” vets are those who served in the inlets and inland waterways of Vietnam, where the use of Agent Orange was prevalent, while a “Blue Water” classification denotes service outside of affected areas. Senator Harkin, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, is a cosponsor of S. 1939, the Agent Orange Equity Act, which was designed to address cases of veterans who served in inland waterways and other areas of Vietnam who were denied benefits despite evidence of Agent Orange exposure.

“It is our moral obligation to treat our veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange, which has been linked to so many debilitating diseases,” Harkin said. “They served our country and we must honor the sacrifices they made.”

With the VA’s decision, veterans who served their nation in the inland waterways of Vietnam and at Air Force bases that may have been contaminated by Agent Orange will now receive more standing to claim Agent Orange benefits. Previously, veterans potentially exposed to Agent Orange were denied “Brown Water” classification without obtaining relevant military records, such as deck logs, and were classified as “Blue Water.” Conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure include lymphoma, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer and respiratory cancers.

A full list of diseases for which Veterans may claim Agent Orange benefits is listed here.


  1. Harold Arkenbout harkenbout@aol.comOctober 15, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Yes, the government is very fast to post a good list of presumptive diseases and I am grateful for all of that. I am a Vietnam Vet of Thailand, awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal and served one year at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand 68-69. The presumptive disease list does not apply in my case and I understand that, however, the overwhelming use of AO at Ubon, Udorn, U-Tapoa, Takhli and a host of other bases, including Guam, Fort Detrick, MD is staggering. In all these cases the VA insists on a "deny, deny philosophy" because the leaders of our nation will not admit to the AO mistake and our service departments, lose documents, have very short memories or that never happened. Well, I was exposed to AO like thousands of other GI's who did our duty as we were called upon to do. Anywhere on any Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand you were exposed to AO. The AO Act of 1991 Public Law 102-4 does and I quote Section 2 a 1 sub paragraph B "presumption of service connection by reason of having positive association with exposure to an HERBICIDE AGENT" After us GI's have endured decades of misery, pain, suffering and even death, the VA now explains AO was commercial variation of herbicide, which if you remember why DDT was removed because it was made of some of the same stuff, 2,4,D and 2,4, 5, T when mixed with diesel fuel forms Agent Orange. By the way, Agent Orange is not water soluble, needed for the SEA weather conditions, and any commercial variations will disipate in water. Yes, I am appealing a denial for diabetes Mellitus and I also have prostate cancer. They are on the presumptive list, but our Senators/Rep allow the US government to provide grossly inaccurate reports to the VA, deny the use of AO in many places and the VA is obliged to deny many claims that have reasonable arguments. The VA is now accepting claims, on an individual basis, from GI's who walked the perimenter defoliated fence lines,and some like myslef who worked on the aircraft, used AGE equipment, drove vehicles in and throughout the contaminate areas. Many of the personnel were given safety equipment nor proper handling procedures, because no one thought it to be dangerous. Hello, Congress, wake up three decades later the young men and women, you sent to war, and promised to take care of us (Abraham Lincoln, after Gettysbury)after we came home are still dying of the war. Maybe the VA will sort out there problems after all Vietnam Veterans pass away and the Iraq and Afgan vets come home.

  2. What about all of the minor dependents of military personnel who were regularly exposed to DDT fogging of Fort Kobbe, Panama in the early fifties?? I definitely DID NOT volunteer to allow the military to expose me at the age of eleven to this chemical and wonder why my Parkinson's Disease diagnosis at age 65 should not fall under the "presumptive disease" category. The principle is the same. Who is championing the cause of dependents also "victimized"??

    1. That fogging continued at least until 72 as far as I know. Whether or not it was DDT I don't know, but the fogging continued in the fight against Mosquitoes. It wasn't Glade, I know that much.

  3. We escorted DDT Sprayers to restricted areas (We were Air Police and sprayers lacked the correct clearance) We did this many nights a week, the DDT was mixed with Diesel fuel and when sprayed it dropped on a manifold type plate to heat the liquids into smoke (diesel has a low combustion point unlike gas) by the end of our tour our vehicle had an oily film all over at which time we cleaned it with TCE to cut the greases. This went on for 2 years, 63-65! I now have bladder cancer, my partner has Parkinson's, both due to that deadly cocktail of DDT/Diesel Fuel. We were not protected, we just did our job!

  4. No question that a chemical mix of DDT/Diesel Fuel cause cancers, in fact have read in various studies in Europe that the combination DDT & Diesel Fuel causes Bladder Cancer, Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer among other Cancers! Senator Harkin, please help our Veterans and inform the Veterans Affairs in Washington to take care of our Vets!

  5. As a Veteran who is has been struck physically with both Parkinsons and Prostrate cancer which my Neurologist and Urologist and Internest state they are he direct result of my contact with DDT/Diesel and also TCE which we used to clean our Vehicles, Having served in the Tropical Climate of Puerto Rico and as a Air Policeman I was subjected to extreme contact with the fogging oof DDT as we had to escort the vehicles sparying (Fogging)into restrected areas.There already has been 6 of my fellow AP's I directly served with who have died off Cancer.I ask "Is this a odd occourance" I don't think so. WE just did what we were told to do with absolutely no warning about the the the Deadly and toxic effect of DDT/Diesel/TCE. A sad commentary on our service to our country which I feel our Govt just considersus Collateral damage. Respectfully Dave Albanese USAF1961-1965 age 70 years.

  6. It's hard to envision our Government just sitting idle after your service to that same Government! Everyone has heard of the effects of DDT mixed with Diesel Fuel, thus creating dreaded diseases like bladder cancer and Parkinson's! I am at a loss for words!

  7. I was Brown water Navy. Was on River boat 67-68. Sprayed with AO on a regular bases. The boats (36 in my squadron) All had two either Gray marine diesels or in my case two Detroit 12V71 Detroit's. We we always covered with blue diesel smoke. We cleaned our 50 cals, 20 MM, 40 MM weapons and engine parts with diesel. Up to our elbows in ammo cans of diesel. Bladder cancer is a bid deal with boat guys. ONE guy has got it connected to A.O. and he "set foot" in Vietnam one day, for a meeting. Try 11 monhts swimming in it while being sprayed with Agent Orange and Diesel fuel. Not counting the "burning shit Details".