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Can Anyone Help This Vet?


Berta

Question

The only AO Thailand vet who I am aware of got an AO award in 1995 due to exposure to AO in Thailand-which VA sibsequently tried to take away from him- and then they restored the award:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp04/files2/0418252.txt

This case show sht eproof that avet needs to succed and I think I sent this to Kurt before (he is member here I think) and will send it again-

If anyone can offer some research help or support to him- his email addy is in the letter.

"Hello to All Veterans,

I would like a brief moment to introduce myself. My name is Kurt Priessman I am a retired Air Force Master Sergeant who served from 1970 to 1990. Much of my career was spent in places where herbicides, insecticides, and toxic petroleum by-products were used, stored, or dumped; from Mather AFB, California to Korat RTAFB, Thailand to Taegu AB, Republic of Korea. I traveled across the entire Pacific theater during the final years of the Vietnam War and have transited the Pacific six times.

I was exposed to herbicides (agents orange, white, and blue at a minimum), Malathion, and other chemicals that cause cancers, diabetes-mellitus, and attack the nervous and immune systems.

Like many of you, I suffer from diabetes-mellitus with neuropathy, nephropathy, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and Gastroparesis. I also suffer from secondary symptoms such as Dupuytren’s contracture, Peyronies disease, and a rare blood disease called polycythemia vera.

And like many of you, after thirty five years, the paper trail is lost. There are parts, but nothing like the evidence (without the benefit, the assistance, and honesty) the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense requires. I have already done research on routes to Southeast Asia, the use of herbicides in Thailand, and am now seeking people who want to help.

In my research using the Freedom of Information Act, available archives, and many veterans organization’s websites, I have found that the Department of Defense (Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army) and the State Department have maintained the classification of documents that should have been declassified between 1975 and 1985 and were not. I have found that histories exist that hold the truth.

Where you may ask? I found them in the histories themselves, in footnotes of documents and reports, and in messages between. While there is sometimes anger, frustration, and yes, even disbelief at why this has happened, I believe that the full truth is there, waiting for someone to ask for the release of the right document.

So what can you do you ask? Help to research, cross-reference, and link these documents so that specific FOIA requests can be made that will finally tell enough of the story that they can no longer deny claims for benefits.

Why you ask? The truth is for us, for our comrades in arms, both those still living and those who have past, for those who fought in the Gulf War, and for those serving today. We served to protect our country, our democracy, our way of life and now as we look back at what the government has done, what they have not done, and what it appears they fully intend to keep doing, our only solution is to band together as brothers to fight until we see the light of a new day. A day where the treatment we receive is documented whether the diagnoses is compensable or not, a day when after the documentation is complete, treatment, compensation, and dignity are given back to us.

If you want to help, contact me at kpriessman@msn.com or kpriessman@yahoo.com. Give me some idea of what you would like to help with, and a phone number where you can be reached. Today, we do have heroes, we do have some support, and we cannot give up, we can never give up."

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If he hasn't already, contact TVVET,(Thialand Vietnam Vets for Equal Treatment)

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Thanks Ronn-yes he did contact them and probably

http://www.vspa.com/k9/ao_5.htm also

I can't help him with research - I have 2 weeks more school to go then am graduating from AMU- that will free up my time- but only for pursuing an amendment to the VCAA- I just wrote again to the Congressman who is considering the one I wrote-and also I have 2 other veterans related issues that regard policy that I am fighting over-

VA Reg changes and amendments can become full time jobs for anyone who sees the need to do all they can to get a reg changed-

The AO regs could be altered by Haas-for Blue Waters- Kurt might fall into a BWV category as he crossed the Pacific 6 times- I dont know-

still I dont foresee Thailand becoming presumptive unless the DOD confirms that it was used in Thailand and then if the VA adds this to the AO regs-as they did for certain Korean vets who were near the DMZ 1968-1969-

It could happen- but in my opinion- a vet should do all they can to prove exposure to AO wherever they served.

Or get a Congressperson to push the DOD to find Thailand as confirmed AO site-

Congressman Lane Evans -who I used to exchange email with-did this for many years as to Okinawa vets etc-and I think he burned himself out-he is ill now too- and I wonder if he too has an AO disability from AO in Okinawa-

Then again Nehmer vets owe thanks to Beverly Nehmer -a widow and NVLSP- these things CAN be accomplished-I just have way to much on my plate now regarding veteran's issues to do any research for Kurt.

He certainly knows Charles Kelley-we were all on the air the other noght together at SVR radio discussing these issues-

but in my opinion-all the research in the world wont help unless there is someone in the Senate or Congress to push for it.

I am pushing Filner for the VCAA-I cannot ask him to do more than that- and if he amends it -it will truly be a Victory for ALL veterans and widows.

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Yes- Kurt- Sue at BWV, John Rossie himself who started the BWV web site, Charles Kelley, 2ndbattalion 94th artillery- countless vets and advocates have acquired significant info on these matters.

They have to get it before Congress- Charles recently got some before Congressman Filner-

All the documentation in the world that shows AO was sprayed in Thailand etc-means nothing for a claimant with presumtives until the DOD confirms that AO was there- except --

as in the 2 BVA cases I posted the veterans proved DIRECT exposure to AO and did not need to rely on the fact they did not fall into any of the presumptive regs.

All of this infomation has to be correlated and someone has to aggressively approach Congressmen/women and Senators with it and be willing to push for a change in the regs.

I cant wait to finish school in 2 weeks to give me the time to push for the legislation I want-I know it will take a lot of time,but I have begun taking the steps.It is different than these issues.I was aggressive with the COngressman in my initial appraoch to him and due to a personal situation that has caused me lots of time- that situation itself (regarding my former POA) has given positive proof of the need for Congress to amend to VCAA- not years down the road but ASAP!

Thanks for contacting kurt- he is always at the SVR broadcast too at stardust.com on Wed nights.

Edited by Berta
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