Thailand Vietnam Era Veterans: Herbicide (Agent Orange) Exposure

Thailand Vietnam Era Veterans: Herbicide (Agent Orange) Exposure

Agent Orange

Veterans that served on a Royal Thai Air Force Base or U.S. Military Base in Thailand between January 6, 1962 and May 7, 1975 may be eligible for disability compensation due to exposure to herbicides (Agent Orange).

Agent Orange was used around the perimeters of Royal Thai Air Force Bases to clear the perimeter of foliage for increased security. Additionally, C-123 Aircraft that were used to spray Agent Orange over Vietnam, flew out of Thai Air Force Bases.

Royal Thai Air Force Bases Include:

  • U-Tapao
  • Ubon
  • Udorn
  • Takhli
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Korat
  • Don Muang

The presumption of exposure is not a blanket presumption like it is for Vietnam. The Thai presumption relies on the servicemember’s military occupational specialty (MOS). Specifically, jobs that had duties on or near the fenced perimeters of the bases. Keep in mind, the VA does not define “near”, so there is not a set distance from the perimeter that will preclude a claim.

For certain jobs, the VA concedes Agent Orange exposure:

  • Security Policeman
  • Security Patrol Dog Handler
  • Member of the security police squadron, or
  • Otherwise near the airbase perimeter as shown by evidence of daily work duties, performance evaluation reports, or other credible evidence.

As stated above, if a veteran can provide credible evidence that they served on or near the perimeter of the base, the presumption of exposure will be granted. Because this presumption is so narrow, veterans are encouraged to provide additional support for their claim of exposure such as pictures, buddy statements, other service records, or their own statements regarding their proximity to the perimeter. Statements from the veteran or buddy statements should state what base it was, what the veteran’s job was, why the veteran was near the perimeter, how close to the perimeter they were, and how often they were near the perimeter.

One distinction used by the VA regarding herbicides in Thailand is that these herbicides were “commercial”, making the herbicide different from the “tactical” herbicide used in Vietnam. Thus, because they were two different herbicides the same presumptive health conditions cannot be attributed to both “commercial” and “tactical” herbicide. This is simply not true. The same herbicide was used in both locations and therefore caused the same health conditions in service members.

As with all VA claims, the presumption of exposure must be accompanied by a current diagnosis of a presumptive disease to be granted a service-connected disability.