From:  Bob Peetz

     Date:  August 6, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans - Attached AO Database

Paul - do we know the source of this document?  I was at Naval Support Activity Binh Thuy in the Delta.  We know the area was sprayed heavily but it does not appear on this list.


Bob Peetz

   From: Paul Kasper

    Date: January 26, 2018

Subject: Get VA claim decided in 30 days

[Please note that this information is valid as of this date and may change in the future.]

Below is information about the VA "Decision Ready Claim" process.  The VA claims you can get a decision in 30 days.  Sounds good if it works? 
In any case it is worth pursuing, although the VA recommends you obtain the help of a service group as an individual may think their claim is ready when it is not, but a service group would be able to help get the claim ready, or know if it was currently ready for a quick decision. 
See information below. 
Thinking of filing another VA disability compensation claim? Make sure you file it through the new Decision Ready Claim (DRC) Program. With DRC, you can get a decision on your claim in 30 days or less. Work with an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to determine if the DRC Program is right for you and your claim. Your VSO can then help you gather and submit all relevant and required evidence so your claim is ready for VA to make a decision when you submit it. If you plan to file any of the following types of claims, work with your VSO to file them as a DRC: Direct Service Connection Claims: Claims for a disability that was caused by or during your service. Presumptive Service Connection Claims: Claims for a disability that VA automatically presumes to be service-connected based on unique conditions or situations you experienced during your service. Secondary Service Connection Claims: Claims for a disability that you have as a result of another service-connected disability. Increased Disability Claims: Claims for a disability you have a VA rating for that has gotten worse. Not planning to file a claim soon? Spread the word to your fellow Veterans, Service members and their families about the DRC Program to help them get faster decisions on their claims too. The DRC Program also now accepts Pre-Discharge claims for Service members about to transition to civilian life, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) claims for surviving spouses. Learn more about the DRC Program, including eligibility requirements, what medical evidence you need to submit, and how to find an accredited VSO at gov/compensation/drc.asp. Thank you for your service!

Veterans Benefits Administration

    From:  Paul Kasper

     Date:  August 5, 2017

Subject:  VA to Decide on New Agent Orange Ailments by Nov. 1

VA to Decide on New Agent Orange Ailments by Nov. 1 
Posted By: Tom Philpott August 3, 2017

       Military Update: VA Secretary David J. Shulkin will decide “on or before” Nov. 1 whether to add to the list of medical conditions the Department of Veteran Affairs presumes are associated to Agent Orange or other herbicides sprayed during the Vietnam War, a department spokesman said Tuesday in response to our enquiry.

       Any ailments Shulkin might add to VA’s current list of 14 “presumptive diseases” linked to herbicide exposure would make many more thousands of Vietnam War veterans eligible for VA disability compensation and health care. Ailments under review as possible adds to the presumptive diseases list include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson-like symptoms without diagnosis of that particular disease. But hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke also might be embraced, or ignored, as part of the current review.

       The process was sparked by the Institute of Medicine’s 10th and final review of medical literature on health effects of herbicide exposure in Vietnam. The 1100-page report concluded in March 2016 that recent scientific research strengthened the association between herbicide exposure and bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson-like symptoms. Specifically, the institute, or IOM, found “limited or suggestive” evidence of an association to herbicide versus its previous finding of “inadequate or insufficient” evidence of an association.

       The IOM report also reaffirmed from earlier reviews “limited or suggestive evidence” of an association between herbicide sprayed in Vietnam and hypertension and also strokes. That same level of evidence was used in 2010 by then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to add ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s disease to the Agent Orange presumptive list. Shinseki had stronger evidence, an IOM finding of “positive association” to herbicide for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which he also added to the list that year.

       Shulkin, the current secretary, has authority to use IOM findings to add all five diseases to the presumptive list, or he can choose to look at other studies and scientific evidence to support adding fewer ailments or none at all.  

       The IOM, renamed the National Academy of Medicine last summer, delivered its Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2014, to then-VA Secretary Bob McDonald 15 months ago. He immediately ordered a technical work group formed to review IOM findings and original studies it relied on, as well as any new science relevant to Agent Orange ailments. The workgroup’s findings then were reviewed by a smaller strategic workgroup, followed by an internal task force of senior VA leaders. “The entire VA response packet (with specific recommendations for action) from the IOM Task Force was delivered to the Office of the Secretary for consideration” on February 17, a senior official told us at the time.

       Shulkin that month was confirmed as VA secretary. The previous 18 months he was VA undersecretary for health and would have been familiar with the Agent Orange packet. So, what has happened since then?

VA officials are lean on those details. A spokesman said VA continues to work “diligently to review the National Academy of Medicine report on potential new presumptions for Agent Orange and prepare the Secretary to make an informed decision. This includes everything from what the science is indicating, necessary regulations and a complete regulatory impact analysis. There is no delay in the decision process. Rather VA is taking appropriate time to ensure we are prepared to provide any benefits and services based on the Secretary’s decision.”

       Past VA secretaries had rigid timetables for accepting or rejecting IOM findings. They also had to adhere to certain standards and procedures in determining if more diseases should be presumed service connected, and to explain in writing if they declined to add IOM-identified conditions to the presumptive list.

       But Congress allowed those provisions of the Agent Orange law to “sunset” Oct. 1, 2015, six months before IOM delivered its last report. Shulkin therefore is under no “statutory deadline nor required to do anything” with the IOM report, except whatever he promised veterans and Congress, said Bart Stichman, co-director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, a non-profit that advocates for veterans and had lobbied to the Agent Orange provisions.

       Many veterans know what’s at stake and have been pressing VA to add more diseases to the presumptive list. Also, thousands of sailors and Marines who served on ships in the territorial waters off Vietnam continue to press VA and the Congress to make Blue Water Navy veterans eligible for Agent Orange benefits.

       “I’ve been doing everything I can to bug the hell out of Secretary Shulkin” on the latest IOM study, said Rick Weidman, executive director for policy and government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America. Shulkin responds, Weidman said, that “he’s trying and it’s a process.”

       Weidman said he suspects one big hurdle is the White House’s Office of Management and Budget which likely resists saddling VA with sharply higher disability pay obligations for high blood pressure, bladder cancer or stroke contracted by any veteran who stepped foot in Vietnam during the war.

       OMB tried to block Shinseki in 2010 from adding three ailments, including heart disease, to the presumptive list. Shinseki went around OMB and appealed directly to then-President Barack Obama who sided with veterans, Weidman said. The Congressional Budget Office calculated that within three years of that decision, ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s and leukemia accounted for 280,000 additional compensation claims and $4.5 billion in retroactive disability payments. Beside resistance from OMB, Weidman said Shulkin is counseled by senior staff who run post-deployment health services and study environmental hazards for VA and yet are skeptical of the science associating herbicide dioxins with higher incidence of various ailments. The Agent Orange “experts” they rely on, Weidman charged, haven’t published “one scientific paper in a reputable peer review journal. The whole crew should be fired and I’ve told the Secretary that.”

       But is VA studying more than whether to add Agent Orange ailments? Anthony Principi, VA secretary in President George W. Bush’s first term, argues for more sweeping changes. Like Weidman, Principi served in combat in Vietnam but believes the Agent Orange law went too far, forcing VA secretaries to build out lists of presumptive illnesses based only on suggestive links to their wartime service, and ignoring the impact of unhealthy lifestyles, heredity and aging.

       Interviewed Tuesday, Principi said it doesn’t seem fair that an elderly Vietnam veteran can begin receiving more disability compensation for heart disease at 75 or 80 than a young Marine receives who loses a leg fighting in Afghanistan.

       Principi said he wants “common sense” changes to the Agent Orange law so that, for example, diseases on the presumptive list are deemed service connected only if diagnosed within 30 years of a veteran exiting Vietnam.

       There’s legal precedent if Shulkin were to propose such a rule, perhaps while adding hypertension to the presumptive list, said lawyer Stichman. In 1994, he recalled, Congress allowed such a “manifestation rule” for Agent Orange-related respiratory cancers. By 2001, however, it rescinded it on complaints by veteran groups that there was no science to support limiting benefits in that way.

   From:  Brian Russ
  Dated:  November 4, 2017
Subject:  Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions 
On August 9 2017 Va Secretary said he would make a decision on 5 new presumptive conditions from Agent Orange for Vietnam Veterans on or before November 1 2017.  These conditions are Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism,Parkinson like symptoms, Hypertension and Stroke.  This is how he answered on November 1 at 06:07 PM: 

Statement from Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions 

Today, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin announced that he is considering  possible new presumptive conditions that may qualify for disability compensation related to Agent Orange exposure. 
“After thoroughly reviewing the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)’s latest report regarding Veterans and Agent Orange, and associated data and recommendations from the NAM Task Force, I have made a decision to further explore new presumptive conditions for service connection that may ultimately qualify for disability compensation,”  Secretary Shulkin said.  “I appreciate NAM’s work and the commitment and expertise of VA’s NAM Task Force, and look forward to working with the Administration on the next steps in the process.” 
The Department of Veterans Affairs will now begin work with the Administration to concurrently conduct a legal and regulatory review of these potential presumptive conditions for awarding disability compensation to eligible veterans. 
Brian Russ

    From:  Paul Kasper

     Date:  August 7, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans  

Contact me at my email please Also request a face to face hearing . They have people, usually Veterans to be mediators, they are more likely to be in your favor. Neuropathy is also a side effect of diabetes, do you have that.  By it self neuropathy is listed and you had boots on the ground in Vietnam, so it should be a no brainer.  Both my legs from below the hip and down.  I haven't felt my lower legs or feet in years.  I have it bad, and now its in my hands.  I loved doing wood projects and carving so mentally its getting to me as well.

Here is the current list from VA--  

Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange

VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran's qualifying military service. We call these "presumptive diseases."
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.
AL Amyloidosis
A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
Chronic B-cell Leukemias
A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
Chloracne (or similar acneform disease)
A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin
Hodgkin's Disease
A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
Ischemic Heart Disease
A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
Multiple Myeloma
A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue
Parkinson's Disease
A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset
A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer)
Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues


AFVN Group Conversations

    From:  Ron Hesketh

     Date:  August 6, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans - Attached AO Database

Apparently the word hasn't reached the VA office I am working with. I have been experiencing peripheral neuropathy for many years & the VA has been performing tests on me for the past 10 years. They have been unable to define the source until they performed a special blood test. Then in January they diagnosed me with Monoclonal Gamopathy, a blood disorder that, according to the Sloan Kettering and Mayo Clinics, is related to Agent Orange exposure and the strain I have is a cancer producer. It is also not normally diagnosed until about age 70. I just had a bone marrow biopsy (from hell, since it woke me from anesthesia & they had to give me a second dose to put me back under) They have denied my claim twice and now I have been assigned a person to review my claim. Of course I haven't heard from this person for over a month now, so I am planning on writing to my congressman, Marco Rubio, to see if he can help. I am also trying to get a decision for my hearing, since I fired on three post rifle teams over the years. They have also refused me twice. The funny thing about this is that I have been wearing VA issued hearing aids for more than 10 years and I am profoundly deaf at the two highest test frequencies. 
Ron Hesketh

    From:  Paul Kasper

     Date:  August 6, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans - Attached AO Database (2 Attachments)

Agent Orange Veterans

For the purposes of VA compensation benefits: Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991. These Veterans do not need to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides in order to get disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure. 

For all others, see
Agent Orange Missions.   You may have to log into to see this.

Agent Orange (and other color coded) Missions

VIetnam 1961  -1971

This is a PDF file showing Dates, Mission #'s, Locations, Chemicals and Amounts

​​There is also a lot of information on the various chemicals used on Wikipedia.  

    From:  Ken Kalish

     Date:  August 7, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans - Attached AO Database

Ron, don’t start worrying until they shout “Can you hear me now?” every time you show up in Audiology. 
Ken Kalish

    From:  Paul Kasper

     Date:  August 6, 2017

Subject:  Agent Orange Veterans - Attached AO Database

Bob Peetz,

Have you seen this site?   Click Here

Agent Orange - Page 3

July 2014, November 2015 and February/March and

October, 2016, August 2017, and December 2018

  From: Steve Wiltsie

    Date: December 26, 2018

Subject: It was a surprise to me! (Agent Orange Eligibility and Be Sure to go to the ER)

I’ve learned many things from this e-mail group, especially things about the VA medical benefits.  If it wasn’t for this group, I wouldn’t have known that I was eligible for VA medical care since I had been in-country in Vietnam and had been assumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange.  As it turns out, I ended up with hardening of the arteries in my heart because of that exposure and it caused a heart attack in mid-2017.  I am considered 30% disabled by the VA and receive a monthly check due to that.
However, the reason I’m writing this note is to let you know something I found out recently – the hard way.  If you have a medical problem and someone calls an ambulance for you, be sure to let them transport you to the ER.  If you do, and the problem is determined to be service-related, the VA will likely pay for the ambulance and the ER visit.  If it is not service related, Medicare part B will likely pay up to 80% for the ambulance and the ER visit and, if you have a Medicare advantage policy, it may pay all or part of the rest.  The main thing to realize is if you are NOT transported to the ER, NONE of this will be paid by the VA or Medicare and you will need to pay for the ambulance call yourself.
This happened to me recently when I was at an event at the local National Guard Armory.  I began feeling dizzy and passed out before getting to a chair.  Someone who knew I had a heart attack a year and a half ago called 911.  I was checked out by the paramedics and began to feel much better.  I decided not to be taken to the ER.  In the end, my cardiologist had me take my blood pressure medication at night instead of in the morning and has taken me off of the blood thinner.  The problem has gone away.  The $2500 bill for the ambulance service arrived a few days later.   I have checked with the VA and the insurance company and it is my responsibility to pay.
I hope this info can help anyone who didn’t know about this (then again, maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know it).
Have a great new year,
Steve Wiltsie

   From:  Paul Kasper

    Date:  November 21, 2018

Subject:  Review Finds 'Sufficient' Evidence Linking Hypertension to Agent Orange Exposure |
WASHINGTON -- Researchers with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found for the first time that enough evidence exists to link hypertension to Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. The finding, announced Thursday, bolsters the case for veterans with hypertension to be granted easier access to Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, advocates argued. Before last week's announcement, researchers had determined there was only "limited" or "suggestive" evidence hypertension could be caused by chemical herbicides used in Vietnam. In addition to hypertension, researchers determined there's sufficient evidence linking Agent Orange to monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, or MGUS, a condition in which an abnormal protein is in the blood that progress to other disorders, including some forms of blood cancer. A link between the condition and Vietnam War service hadn't been considered previously. Based on the new report, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars called on VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to add hypertension and MGUS to the list of diseases presumed to be caused by Agent Orange. There are 14 diseases on the list, and veterans suffering from them are allowed quicker access to VA benefits. "There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Agent Orange made veterans sick, it made their children sick, and it brought pain and suffering and premature death to many," VFW National Commander B.J. Lawrence said in a statement. "We now call on VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to use his authority and recognize the science in the report to swiftly add these two illnesses to the presumptive list so that these veterans can finally receive the assistance they earned and deserve." Congress requires the National Academies of Sciences to review scientific literature about Agent Orange exposure every two years. The first report was published in 1994. There have been previous attempts to get hypertension onto the list of presumptive diseases. Following the 2016 report, when researchers recognized there was "suggestive" evidence linking hypertension to Agent Orange, the VA sent a recommendation to the White House that it be added. At the same time, the agency recommended adding three other diseases: bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson's-like tremors. The recommendation is still sitting in the Office of Management and Budget. Members of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs were told in June that OMB was waiting on the results of two studies before making a decision.. One of the studies isn't expected to be complete until 2020. With the new report bolstering their case, Rick Weidman, policy director for Vietnam Veterans of America, is pushing for Wilkie and President Donald Trump to add hypertension and MGUS. But he has his doubts. Earlier this fall, Wilkie came out opposed to legislation that would extent Agent Orange benefits to tens of thousands of "Blue Water" Navy veterans who served on ships off the coast during the Vietnam War. At the time, Wilkie cited high costs and a lack of scientific evidence as his reasoning. "With the actions of the new secretary in regard to Blue Water Navy, I'm not hopeful," Weidman said. "It all has to do with the president. It depends on whether he loves us enough to spend money on us." If the executive branch won't move on the issue, Congress needs to step in, he said. "It really depends on Congress and how much pressure they're willing to put on the VA to act," Weidman said.