Thailand AO Exposure

downloadI got an interesting article from member (anyone who writes me is a member!) Mike J. this morning. Attached was a link to a Veterans  legal assistance site talking about certain sites in Thailand and the usage of AO there.

The listed sites were Udorn, Ubon, NKP, Takhli, U-Tapao, Korat and Don Muang. Well, what the hey. Most would think that kind of shoots the moon because that is all the bases there were. Wrong. Most do not know the network of spook sites that were spread all over the country. We had operating locations in Chiang Mai, Phitsanolouk, Lampang , Nam Phong (Kan Kaen) and Ramasun to name just a few. I’m sure there were others even I didn’t hear about.

Another thing that disturbs me is that the thrust of the article was entirely towards Security Police squadrons and their duties on the base perimeters. I’m sure many of you remember arriving in country and being told you were going to be put on “Augmentation duty”. This was a one month assignment with full combat gear to defend the perimeter. It was twelve hours on and twelve off with one day a week reprieve to pai teo (seek pleasure).Due to the fact that many bases were extremely understaffed, the Air Police couldn’t handle the perimeter duties. We didn’t trust the Thai Army that were assigned because they could be bribed and also had a propensity to sleep on duty at night.

What the article does not discuss is the duties of AFSC 362X1 and 362X4. These codes are for Cable Splicer/Maintenance and Telephone installer/Maintenance. Both involved spending nearly every waking moment outside repairing or installing cable or telephones. In the case of the latter, there was a lot of perimeter repair work for the telephone installers. I know because that was my primary AFSC. Because we were so understaffed, I got away without pulling Augmentation, but the trade off was the excessive amount of time spent in areas that had  been sprayed.

Most people who have never been to that part of the world have no idea how rapidly vegetation grows. A jungle can spring up in six months after clearing it. Within two years you would have no idea there had been any activity there. The same was true on the perimeter. We had ten foot tall cyclone fences topped with concertina wire. An area 50 feet wide on both sides of the fence was completely denuded of vegetation for a better field of fire. I can honestly say I never saw it sprayed at Udorn or Chiang Mai, but the evidence was constantly there. I did watch the Hmong kids spread it up at 20 Alternate (Long Tieng) with bleach bottle scoops right out of the barrel. This was undiluted and extremely caustic. The children just went down to the creek and jumped in to wash it off their bodies and clothes.

For any of you assigned to the following Communications squadrons who had outside plant duties as Cable splicers or telephone installers, I would seriously consider filing a claim for AO if you suffer any of the diseases associated with it and listed in 38 CFR §3.309(e)

Don Muang RTAFB— Bangkok (Krung Taep)

Nam Phong (Kon Kaen)—Marine Logistics Support Group Delta

Korat RTAFB—-1998th Comm. Sqadron

Takhli RTAFB—- 1980th Comm. Squadron

U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield—-1985th Comm. Squadron

Nakhon Phanom RTAFB (NKP)—- 1987th Comm. Squadron [to include Pakse (Lima-11) across the Mekong river in Laos.]

Udorn RTAFB—- 1974th Comm. Group; 1973 Comm. Squadron;  [to include up-country personnel assigned to Lima Site-20 Alternate (Long Tieng) and Lima-54 (Luang Prabang); TRC-103 area

Ubon RTAFB—- 1982nd Comm. Squadron

Operating Location B, 1980th Comm. Squadron (Phitsanulok  MRC-98 Tropo Scatter site)

Operating Location C, 1980th Comm. Squadron (Chiang Mai Airport); aka O/L-C, 1973rd Comm. Sq.; aka O/L-E, 1974th Comm. Group; Detachment B,  7th Radio Research Field Station; Detachment 415, USAF HQ Command.

Kho Kha (Lampang) —17th Space Surveillance Squadron Radar Station

Camp Ramasun—– 7th Radio Research Field Station

1st MOB (1st Mobile Communications Group) deployments to any of these locations

As I mentioned, this represents most of the bases or small operating locations I remember. I do know there were more but many required a higher security clearance than I had to even be aware of them.  Most have been declassified for more than 15 years now, so if any of you are aware of ones I missed, please feel free to contribute. If you know someone who fits this profile please be sure to tell them to get tested for liver function tests and uroporphyrins in the urine. There is also a blood test for PCT now as well.  If they have Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, they may be eligible for a presumptive exposure to AO.

P.S. Here’s another site that will provide a wealth of cut and paste for your AO Thailand claim. Something else to consider is that they fought us tooth and nail on this for twenty or more years and refused to entertain the idea that one drop of AO fell outside RVN. The cracks in the wall started and now we have this. First it will be the MPs. I suspect the commo guys will get a piece of it next. Then? Well, if you were on base and the wind was blowing, what do you think? We’re not talking about some impossibility like getting clap from a toilet seat or Immaculate Conception. Look at  the base perimeter on the northwest side at Udorn. Our barracks and hootches were less the 60 feet from the fence. There was nothing growing in between-period. A perimeter road in laterite and red clay dirt then the fence.

And added 13 Sept. 2013 is this . An AF guy who sprayed the crap by hand at Udorn wins his case. Read this closely. He admits he sprayed it around common areas like the barracks. We figured that much but here’s the verbal proof. VA says we cannot use BVA decisions to support our claims as they are to individualized and represent the Vet involved but you can cite to it to have a judge take “judicial notice of it”.

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19 Responses to Thailand AO Exposure

  1. Anthony sciotti says:

    They were spraying the crappie out of ubon about in 1972 and 1973 they went down with a tank truck and sprayed and it was cloudy with that junk does anyone know what it was?

    Tony Sciotti

  2. lets come together on board and beat this thing call denial if it mean marching on Washington if you know a better way call me I am ready 21 years 6 months lost wife and three kids behind agent orange 336-623-4691 336-209-4748

  3. I was stationed in Karat in 1968 1969 and Satahip camp same san I was in food service as a matter of fact I was the mess sgt we delivered chow to many of you on the perimeter I remember the 50 caliber machine gun sites my claim has been denied twice, what we need to do is flood the va with support letters from each other, call me 336-623-4691 or 336-209-4748 email do it now or we all will be gone shortly

  4. David J. Weeks (Dave) says:

    SSGT David (Dave) Weeks, 1987th Comm Sq, , R306x0 (crypto) Nakhon Phanom RTAFB (NKP), 1972-73. Denied AO claim for diabetes type 2 diagnosed formally two years ago. Was assigned as perimeter security augmentee; lived in hootch on back side next to special ops troops near the perimeter with nothing between us and the perimeter except for a machine gun bunker; exercised (jogged) on trail/road adjacent to perimeter; performed keying material changes over entire base including installations close to the perimeter; walked or rode bike daily between hootch and Task Force Alpha (also not far from perimeter). Not allowed to carry camera on-duty (90-117 hours each week – yes, no typo) but VA wants a photo of me at the perimeter. No one on either side of my family has ever been diagnosed with diabetes; was not overweight.

    • asknod says:

      I think we need to revisit augmentee duty and find the CHECO records on it. Seems every base had to use Augmented Forces. We did up at Udorn. Same deal of our barracks being about 50 feet from the perimeter and it was barren on both sides all year long. Brown dead grass/bushes.

      • Weeks, David Jamison (Dave) CTR USARMY SMDTC (US) says:


        • asknod says:

          I have a solid link up above for all tHE CHECO stuff we’ve found so far. I also wrote a letter for Jim Chevrette as he served the same place I did up at Udorn. Same barracks, Same augmentee game. Look at all of my AO posts, David. Any relation to Fred Weeks who was killed in late 71 up at Tango 11? Same AFSC in DSTE (crypto)

          • Weeks, David Jamison (Dave) CTR USARMY SMDTC (US) says:

            I have downloaded the CHECO report (years ago) but long before I developed diabetes (or at least before a formal diagnosis). Since I have no family history of diabetes a VA doctor told me that mine was likely caused by exposure to AO.

            • asknod says:

              You get that in writing with a reasoned “Rule out…” and you can win this. Look at the Nexus Bible and CAVC precedence on what they will buy (Olbert v. Brown). A nexus that reaches is toast. One that succeeds describes why the doctor feels it is probative. I pulled down several pics of NKP in 70 where it was a brown spot next to the river. Next I did a few with google earth showing it today and the last ten years at different times (i.e. winter vs Monsoon). It’s a stark difference.


  6. Bob Moilanen says:

    Where was the MARS station located at Takhli RTAFB?

  7. Charles W Crump says:

    My vso said there was people exposed to ao that was in the gulf of tokin. I dont have much
    confidence in him as he hasnt help me much with mt claims i have. I have hep c was in military
    hospital befor discharge for 39 days with acute hep and mono but still been denied about 4 times so far for that. We were within a 1/2 mile from the coast along with the new jersey. Got ringing in my ears so bad i can hardly here and got arthritis really bad in about every joint. He said that was from ao so was just wondering if he knows what he is talking about. Thanks for any info. Charles CrumpBeen fighting va since 2004 but not giving up. take care and god bless you for all the help you are doing for the vets

    nOD SAYS
    The Haas decision Is a “Welcome to the VA” wakeup call. VA effectively dumped all the Blue water Navy in the trashcan and skated. I hope you can find something here to win with, sir.

  8. AZeeJensMom says:


    DM2 is one of those conditions that don’t fall into remission. You have it or you don’t. It is because of the food you are preparing and lifestyle that his blood sugar is under control —- however, even with that, those numbers can go to hell in a hand basket in a split second. It would be the same with hypertension, as long as the person is taking their meds and following a BP friendly diet, the BP numbers usually remain constant and within range, unless a major blow-up occurs in the way of a heart attack, stroke or other idiopathic consequence.

    For example, my DH has cirrhosis as a result of HepC infection. Within a few hours last year he developed a condition called thrombocyptopenia and his BP went sky-high and he had been taking his BP meds, all of his meds actually. AT the ER, it was determined he had suffered a silent heart attack sometime in the past (we have been able to narrow the time frame down from evidence contained within his medrecs.)

    Bottom line, if you husband was exposed to AO and has a confirmed DX of DM2, he should high-tail it down to the nearest VSO or… many do, skip the VSO and file his claim on his own. You never know if the DM2 will exacerbate OR cause incidence of a related condition to crop up and you will want those service connected if something happens to preserve the filing date.

    Take it from a wife who has been through it……


    First, criteria has to be met that he was boots on ground in RVN or, as Nod lists, in one of the airborne units to be presumed to have been exposed. This is a must or the claim will be denied.

    VA has recently added a list of blue water ships with possible exposures to Agent Orange. It’s interesting to read through, one ship in particular that was not on the list is now — I’d like to think that us proving to the VA the ship did dock where it did on occasion with enough Veterans who filed claims and won, did the trick but we’ll never know for certain and it doesn’t matter in the whole scheme of things. What matters is that other sailors onboard who came down with illness and ailments due to exposure to the AO do receive service connection. My thought is enough Veterans filed, proved and won their claim(s) that VA had to finally say “Well, Okay…we agree that it could have happened and therefore it did.”

    Good Luck..

    Does your hubby have a Hemoglobin A1C test done every 3 months? That will tell the average blood sugar levels for the previous 3 months. This is an important indicator of average blood sugar but it doesn’t indicate damage. Be cautious of the peaks and valleys of his blood sugar readings, those are the culprits of kidney, heart, damage to the eyes, etc the docs are concerned the most with.
    Forgot to add the link:

    • Kiedove says:

      Thank you for this detailed answer. Yes, he was in-country for a year. He was diagnosed with DM2 while being treated for HCV. (Fibrosis/grade 2.) We made significant lifestyle changes and got the DM2 under control without medication. We haven’t filed any claims–the whole thing is SO overwhelming. He sees a VA doc every 6 months and they do blood work. All I know is that they are keeping tabs on his blood sugar but aren’t too concerned. But I appreciate your advice and will look into this–probably with a private doctor. His eyesight has been getting worse and I am concerned. It sounds as if he should file for AO related DM2 since we have a confirmed DX on that from 2003-2004. Thanks again. This forum gives me courage to press on.

  9. Kiedove says:

    How would one define “have” diabetes mellitus 2 for claim purposes if it was previously diagnosed but is now under control due to a strict, mostly vegetarian, diet? If my DH goes off the diet, it will return in full force. So does he have it or not? I say “yes” because while currently in remission, it’s only because I, the cook, work hard at maintaining a healthy pantry.

    nOD SAYS
    I believe your blood sugar readings would still spike on a glucose test.

    • Kiedove says:

      Also, could you post information about the blood test for PCT? When my DH was getting
      treated for HCV (non-VA), he complained constantly about the sores on his head. He was sent to a dermatologist (non-VA) who was clueless as was his private internist. After reading your asknod blog, and doing a little outside research, I now am certain that he had PCT. The mystery “sores” went away eventually after a successful year of treatment. (We just learned that his HCV genotype was 1 so he’s been fortunate indeed.)

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