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.

http://www.disabilitylawclaims.com/

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.That creek was also their drinking water supply.

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)  http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3/309

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.

http://www.viet-remf.net/The%20Exclusion%20of%20Thailand%20Veterans%20Report.pdf

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 too individualized and represent the Vet involved but you can cite to it to have a judge take “judicial notice of it”.

Read this one as it is far newer and has some World Airways data for us to look at. Remember, to get to Thailand for most of us required going to Tan Son Nhut and then to Bangkok before we dispersed to duty assignments.

https://asknod.org/2014/03/11/making-ao-presumptive-for-thailand/

Also, here’s the latest claim that says the same thing at the CAVC. His widow won on the question. Now she needs to scare up the World Airways into pertinent to her husband.

https://asknod.org/2016/07/31/cavc-parseeya-picchione-v-mcdonald-the-ages-old-ao-paradox/

Here’s a map of Udorn RTAFB with the new 3-story barns 50 feet away from the fence and 20 feet from the perimeter road.

UdornRTAFB Heavy herbicide usage near barracks.jpg

About asknod

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40 Responses to Thailand AO Exposure

  1. Ray Reid says:

    Stationed at NKP Mar 1970 till Aug 1971 23rd TASS. Filed VA clan in 2013 for Ischemic Heart Disease, Diabetes Type II, Neuropathy in feet and legs, and Stage 3 Kidney Disease. Va denied claim as was in assigned to perimeter duty. Filed appeal. VA hospital requested I take AO test. Took test and results came back that illnesses were most likely caused by exposure. Wonder if that has any weight on my appeal being approved////

    • asknod says:

      Ray, we have a proven path to winning these claims. You need a doctor to make the Agent Orange/disease connection for you-and not a VA doctor. I might have met you I was Det. 1, 56th SOW over the fence mostly.

  2. Michael Barry says:

    I have non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – have been denied benefits – looking for anyone else who served at NAKHON PHANOM, THAI in 1967. VA says it might help if I can prove other people are having health issues they believe is the result of agent orange. Please contact me at my email address.
    Michael Barry
    sandy@iglou.com

    • asknod says:

      Michael, I flew in and out of NKP from 70 -72 about once a month on the 130 Klong from Don Muang/Ubon/NKP/ Udorn run and the place looked like the desert around the perimeter and the runway/taxiways. I have porphyria from this. I was stationed mostly at Udorn, Tango 11 and Long Tieng over the fence (Alternate). I have a stock letter Vets submit.

      • Stephen Powell says:

        I was stationed in Udorn from Nov 69 to Oct 70. I was initially assigned to the 7ABCC to support phase maintenance on their C-130s. I was in a TDY status from November to May. In May I received orders formally assigning me the 432 FMS Electrical Shop, at which time I was detailed as a Security Police Augmentee. I submitted an agent orange claim to the VA, which was rejected because I couldn’t prove that I served as an augmentee. The VA cited that I need formal proof that I served within 150 of the perimeter. I have a photo of me holding a M-60 machine gun during our initial guard training at the firing range. As an aircraft electrician the only weapon that I handled up to that point in the Air Force was the M-16 at Lackland. I suspect that the VA will not reject the photo as proof of my service. If I could prove that my barracks was located less than 150 feet from the fence I’ll resubmit a new claim to the VA, which I suspect will also be rejected because I lack any written proof that I lived in a barracks along the base perimeter. At this point I don’t know how to proceed. Any suggestion?

        • asknod says:

          Here’s a picture of Udorn with the barracks circled. This is pre-70-ish without the new big 3-story barns accross the street from the perimeter road. 150 yds. Are ya kidding me? Fifty feet max. Everybody got augmentee duty. I was critical AFSC so I escaped

  3. Station at udorn 1974 to 1975 air force supply (afsc 64550,inventory management specialist) I have dietbetics type 2 melltius,prostate cancer,peripheral neuropathy. Claim in appeal for 1 and 1 half years now. Could use a support letter.

  4. Rosalie Beckwith says:

    My husband just passed away from a rare lung disease that they don’t know how you get it and you die quickly. There is no cure but possibly transplant. He served in u-tapao from 73-74. He use to run around the perimeter, but even so, AO is airborne!! He had Ischemic heart disease and had 2 open heart surgeries.He had PVD (peripheral vascular disease) He had DM2, low platlets and low iron. We were initially denied, and have been in appeals for. 2 1/2 yrs. ( Not including 13 mos before initial denial. If anyone served on U-Tapao , or if you have heard about this lung condition,please respond. Thanks

    • asknod says:

      Negative on the lung condition but after spraying, the only time AO was airborne was when a chopper came in and stirred up that red clay. I blew boogers out that had it every night for two years. Once Monsoon hits, it percolates down into the soil because it’s a heavy metal base. That is also why we had to constantly respray it.

  5. Kenneth Kaylor says:

    You failed to include the 483rd EIG/EIS,Korat RTAFB on your list.We spent time TDY to every base in Thailand and worked all areas of the bases. I worked on the perimeter putting in cable for alarm system (SafeNest) for the SP towers, and was still denied because USAF conveniently lost all my records of even being therefor 4 years.

    • asknod says:

      Yep. I did and I apologize. But note that I did mention there were probably others that I failed to include. One big one was the 1st Mob. GEEIA-Greatest Electrical Engineers in Asia. They set up the TACAN at Phu Pha Te that the NVA took out in 68 at Lima Site 85. They did a lot of the TRC 28 on top of Skyline Ridge above Long Tieng several times including when the gooks wiped it out St. Valentine’s Day 1971. I can’t cite everything, Ken. Some of it hasn’t even been released yet. My non-disclosure agreement ends in September 2020 (fifty years). Come back for the after action report then.

  6. Gary Rich says:

    Station at 31st field hospital, Camp Friendship, Korat, Thailand The hospital was positioned in the corner of camp friendship, and my hooch was right across the street. Everything was defoliated around the area and I have very good photographic evidence, and have submitted all of it some years ago, I have suffered prostate cancer, and one and a half years ago head hard attack, and diagnosed with coronary artery disease, I have since filed claims on both and I’m now, TDIU (Totally and Permanently Disabled and Individually coronary artery disease, I have since filed claims on both and I’m now TDIU (Totally and Permanently Disabled and Individually Unemployable), rated at 70%, paid at 100% and get full benefits. It took me about 6 years to get this settled, and when I initially filed, yes, it was just perimeter guards, etc., now it is changing, slowly, and there are those of us with MOSs and AFSCs, that placed near the perimeter. Further, all of us crossed those perimeters frequently, it is absolute BS that people have been denied for such petty rules, guidelines. Gary Rich, US Army 1966-68.

  7. Dave Conder says:

    I was a crew chief at Ubon 69/70 had to drag that damn fuel bowser full of contaminated JP-4 to burn pit on nights shift nobody I know ever wrote that down anywhere & all of a sudden I end up with type 2 diabetes out of nowhere nobody in my family ever had diabetes.

  8. 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

  9. 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 hnewerac@aol.com 336-623-4691 336-209-4748

  10. 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 hnewerac@aol.com do it now or we all will be gone shortly

  11. 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:

        Agreed.

        • 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.
              a

    • Thomas McGinn, D.C. says:

      I was always being told I had to loose weight. I arrived at NKP weighing 217. It is in my medical record that I lost 30 pounds. In order to stay off the “fat boy program” I had to run daily. I chose the perimeter road. Other airmen ran here as well as Army SF. That road had no vegetation in the middle like the dirt roads in my neck of the woods in Utah. Nothing grew on at road. I got dust all over my boots along with mud. I took that dirt to my hootch when I returned. I even ran during the rain and wore my jungle boots in the puddles and mud. During my runs, vehicles often passed me as I ran with dust and splashing water on me. I went to my hootch and rested on my bed where the sheets were brown from the dust. I wonder how long the mattresses had been there. The base laundry washed them and our uniforms. Cross contamination from dust, dirt and mud from the perimeter road and other contaminated sites must have gotten into everything at every building we frequented in base. Dioxin knows no biundrys. It must have covered my feet and inhaled into my lungs. If herbicides were used on the parimeter roads then I was exposed and the base must have been exposed as well.

      • Thomas McGinn, D.C. says:

        I failed to mention diabetes type II since age 40. Stage three kidney failure at age 60. Neuropathy in my feet and ankles and legs with deep itching, burning and numbness. Prostate problems with BPH, but no cancer. Numbness in my fingers. Difficulty walking.

      • Thomas McGinn, D.C. says:

        I was at NKP in 1974.

    • nickhoffman says:

      NKP 1966-1967 as Security Police outside perimeter

  12. SGT. JAMES A. CHEVRETTE, 1973 COMM SQ. JUNE 1969-70. DENIED 100% FOR ISCHEMIC HEART DISEASE BECAUSE COULD NOT PROVE WAS AROUND PERIMETER. SERVICED TELETYPE EQUIPT. AT 555 FIGHTER SQ. AND AIR AMERICA. BOTH ON FLIGHT LINE. CAN ANYONE WHO SERVED IN 1973 COM SQ. SENT ME EMAIL VERIFYING WE WORKED ALONG PERIMITER jchevrette@satx.rr.com

  13. Bob Moilanen says:

    Where was the MARS station located at Takhli RTAFB?

  14. 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 http://lawyersforwarriors.blogspot.com/2008/10/blue-water-navy-agent-orange-appeal.html 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.

  15. AZeeJensMom says:

    Kiedove,

    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…..as 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……

    P.S.

    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:

    http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp

    • 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.

  16. 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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