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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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JHutchinson

agent orange sprayed on Alaska Pipeline-Ft. Wainwright

Question

My husband spent 18 months at Ft Wainwright Fairbanks Alaska 1967 - 68..  I have obtained reports from the 2 Indian Tribes where the US government admitted to spraying  Agent Orange on Pipeline.  I have report from DEC in Alaska where Corps of Engineers admit to spraying in Alaska.  I am trying to locate anyone who may have claims approved for this same area.  I now am looking for anyone at Ft. Wainwright who may have served during this same era who may have any pictures of storage of agent orange on base or pictures of the bare pipeline.  I forgot to mention that I also have letters from the US Army to the Canadian government outlining the spraying of agent orange.  Any info would be appreciated or if anyone can put me in contact with veterans from Ft. Wainwright serving during the same time as my husband.  He was a helicopter mechanic who worked on some of the Hueys returning from Viet nam which had been used for spraying agent orange.  Any help???? 

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I Searched for Ft Wainwright Agent Orange and your past post at the  VBN came up.

Also 3 BVA decision, one denied and two on remand.

 

In one remand BVA stated:

 

“Here, the information regarding the Veteran's claimed exposure from all of the identified aircraft (OH-13, U6A, "Caribou" and O-1) should be forwarded to the JSRRC for additional research.

 

If this additional development confirms that the Veteran an worked on aircraft used in dispersing herbicides, then the claims file should be forwarded to an appropriate VA examiner for an opinion as to the relationship, if any, between the Veteran's work on these aircraft and his currently diagnosed diabetes mellitus.”

 

The remand further states:

“ 2.  If the JSRRC or other appropriate agency requests more specific descriptions of the Veteran's herbicide exposure, notify the Veteran and request that he provide the necessary information.  If the Veteran provides additional information, forward it to the requesting agency.

 

3.  If, and only if, it is found that the Veteran worked on aircraft involved in spraying tactical herbicides during service, the RO/AMC should refer the case to an appropriate VA examiner for an opinion regarding the relationship between the Veteran's diabetes mellitus and his potential exposure to herbicides.  The claims folder, including a copy of this remand, must be made available to the examiner.  The examiner must, in light of the service and post-service medical evidence of record determine whether it is at least as likely as not that diabetes mellitus is due to or the result of the Veteran's potential exposure to tactical herbicides in service.”

https://www.va.gov/vetapp11/files3/1120808.txt

 

I did some searcheds and found the OH-13 the veteran worked on was used for reconnaissance , but the “Casper Platoon” Oh-13 also had a twin machine gun system and nickname of  “Hot Stuff”

 

The O-1 ( Bird Dog) was a fixed wing small  plane  and primarily used for reconnaissance in Vietnam.

 

What exact type of helicopter did your husband work on?

 

I didn’t look up the other two types of aircraft the BVA vet mentioned, but this is what JSRRC will do…they will seek if the type of helicopter your husband worked on had anything to do with spraying missions.

 

Has he attempted to find any other veterans who also had AO presumptives and his same MOS, who might have had success with a claim like this? His unit is surely on line.

Wes Carter ( C 123 vets) did an extraordinary amount of research to get these planes recognized as exposed to AO.  Also we have had one or two Ft Wainwright veterans here- they can be searched for under a hadit search.

I have only seen one award of AO compensation to a vet who served in Alaska. The award came from the AMC and it is not public.

I assume this vet served directly with the Army Corps of Engineers when they sprayed a specific area on the pipeline long ago. 

It would be good to narrow down the type of helicopter and then search for whether it was used for spraying in Vietnam.

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You did say he worked on Hueys, from Vietnam.

There are many types of Hueys…and Iassume these were in fact Army Helos:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_UH-1_Iroquois_variants

Hueys were actually HU-1s but the military changed that to UH-1

 

He would need proof that the helos he worked on came from Vietnam (the bullet holes would indicate that but VA might want more proof on that. Perhaps morning reports of his unit would show that they had arrive from Vietnam, or maybe from buddy statements from his Unit in Alaska.

 

These links might even help:   A Buddy , even someone  not stationed in his unit  might be able to verify where the Hueys were sent for maintainence and repair during the time he was at Ft. Wainwright and might even verify the Hueys were often used for spraying AO.

I believe only 5 % of any AO spraying was done by helo or by hand spraying.

But if a helo was in Vietnam during the war, that proves exposure of the helicopter. It does not prove anyone in them or working on them was exposed to AO.

I am sure Wes Carter's contact info is here and will find it....he might be able to direct  your husband to the type of research he needs to do.

It is the same enigma of the AO ships- the AO exposure list of ships will probably continue to grow and covers any sailor who was on the ship(s) in the time frames of the regulations, who has an AO presumptive...

But Navy vets themselves , like Wes Carter, (C 123 AO) did lots of research to prove their ships were exposed to AO. Maybe someone has already started an AO Helicopter research data bank.

 

Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association:

https://www.vhpa.org/

Vietnam Helicopter Crew Members Association

http://www.vhcma.org/

 

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The only contact info I found for Wes Carter was here:

http://veteranveritas.com/?p=910

That info is probably out of date by now.

I mentioned him but cannot forget James Cripps (hadit Member) first AO CONUS vet, and Kurt Priessman, (hadit member), first AO Thailand vet, and the Thailand VA directive is solely due to his work.

These vets above were willing to do all of the leg work needed to get their exposures to AO confirmed by the VA, and their work has helped many others.

Their results should be very encouraging for anyone attempting to do what has not been done before....and Kurt and James have posts here as well as their radio shows have been archived and accessible via the Radio blog links. They did the 'impossible'. I too was told some of my claims were 'impossible".

They were not impossible, they just took LOTS of leg work-as the above veterans were willing to do without getting discouraged.

In December 2016 you posted at hadit that you feared the claim would be denied.

With a very strong independent medical opinion from a doctor with some expertise in Agent Orange, they,the IMO doc,  might be able to state, with medical abstracts and treatises, and his complete medical files, that there is no other know etiology you husband had , for his disabilities, other than for his Agent Orange exposure.

Still, that could be costly and the claim would still need proof that he worked on helicopters that had been exposed to AO in Vietnam, and might have even held the spraying equipment.

Have you attempted to find the Units in Vietnam they were sent to Alaska from?

 

 

.

 

 

 

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I also found email from a lawyer who contacted me via hadit many  years ago, to see if I could help with his first CAVC case, which involved proving exposure to Agent Orange.(Alaska-repaired Bird Dogs )

He wrote:

"Wow! Thank you for this update. My involvement with the vet that led me to connect with you back in 2009 ended several years ago, following my pro bono involvement and the grant of remand. I tried to keep in touch and assist him in the process following remand. Even helped ghost write a couple letters to move his remanded claim off of dormancy. But, I never heard the final result. I still wonder what became of him and his claim His claim was not as clear or direct in terms of exposure as this ruling you forwarded on the post-war C-123s. My claimant's matter was aircraft related, but his claim was that certain 0-1 "Bird Dog" planes he worked on in Alaska, that had been sent there for repairs, had been used in herbicide spraying operations. The VA maintained that the 0-1 was only used as a forward air control spotter plane, and that they had never found any evidence or record of the 0-1 being used in Vietnam for AO or other herbicide spraying. They in fact maintained that the 0-1 could not have been used for spraying, but I did find actual manufacturer manuals and related literature that showed that the aircraft did in fact have an optional configuration for spraying. But, never could find any evidence or anecdote of one being actually used in Vietnam for spraying. In fact, every 0-1 vet I could find said, to a man, they'd never heard of or seen an 0-1 used for spraying. It is encouraging however to finally see the acknowledgement, as noted in this ruling you sent me, that exposure could and did come from a lot more paths and methods of exposure than first hand. Thanks again. Kudos to you and all those who continue to press for what is right for these vets. -- Randy Holliday"

I wonder after all these years, if the veteran succeeded on remand and was awarded at the regional level.If so, we will never know.

However the point I have made is clear here as well....

I was a student pilot and knew this plane the lawyer's client referred to ,was as small as the ones I took flying lessons in Pipers or cessna 152s and could not  possibly hold AO spraying equipment and containers of AO.

You definitely need to  prove that the helicopters he worked on were used in Vietnam to spray AO or, by the fact they were on ground and in air - Vietnam as well for refueling,so  that , as Wes Carter proved, the helicopter (and it's pilots) were exposed to AO from a contaminated aircraft.

 

 

Edited by Berta

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On ‎9‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 2:47 PM, Berta said:

I Searched for Ft Wainwright Agent Orange and your past post at the  VBN came up.

Also 3 BVA decision, one denied and two on remand.

 

In one remand BVA stated:

 

“Here, the information regarding the Veteran's claimed exposure from all of the identified aircraft (OH-13, U6A, "Caribou" and O-1) should be forwarded to the JSRRC for additional research.

 

If this additional development confirms that the Veteran an worked on aircraft used in dispersing herbicides, then the claims file should be forwarded to an appropriate VA examiner for an opinion as to the relationship, if any, between the Veteran's work on these aircraft and his currently diagnosed diabetes mellitus.”

 

The remand further states:

“ 2.  If the JSRRC or other appropriate agency requests more specific descriptions of the Veteran's herbicide exposure, notify the Veteran and request that he provide the necessary information.  If the Veteran provides additional information, forward it to the requesting agency.

 

3.  If, and only if, it is found that the Veteran worked on aircraft involved in spraying tactical herbicides during service, the RO/AMC should refer the case to an appropriate VA examiner for an opinion regarding the relationship between the Veteran's diabetes mellitus and his potential exposure to herbicides.  The claims folder, including a copy of this remand, must be made available to the examiner.  The examiner must, in light of the service and post-service medical evidence of record determine whether it is at least as likely as not that diabetes mellitus is due to or the result of the Veteran's potential exposure to tactical herbicides in service.”

https://www.va.gov/vetapp11/files3/1120808.txt

 

I did some searcheds and found the OH-13 the veteran worked on was used for reconnaissance , but the “Casper Platoon” Oh-13 also had a twin machine gun system and nickname of  “Hot Stuff”

 

The O-1 ( Bird Dog) was a fixed wing small  plane  and primarily used for reconnaissance in Vietnam.

 

What exact type of helicopter did your husband work on?

 

I didn’t look up the other two types of aircraft the BVA vet mentioned, but this is what JSRRC will do…they will seek if the type of helicopter your husband worked on had anything to do with spraying missions.

 

Has he attempted to find any other veterans who also had AO presumptives and his same MOS, who might have had success with a claim like this? His unit is surely on line.

Wes Carter ( C 123 vets) did an extraordinary amount of research to get these planes recognized as exposed to AO.  Also we have had one or two Ft Wainwright veterans here- they can be searched for under a hadit search.

I have only seen one award of AO compensation to a vet who served in Alaska. The award came from the AMC and it is not public.

I assume this vet served directly with the Army Corps of Engineers when they sprayed a specific area on the pipeline long ago. 

It would be good to narrow down the type of helicopter and then search for whether it was used for spraying in Vietnam.

My husband worked on the UH 1 Huey and yes they were used.  I have pictures from my research actually showing a Huey crashing carrying a barrel of agent orange on board with the veteran stating the type of helicopter and that he had been covered with the agent orange.  I also have a copy of a poster printed by the VA showing a Huey spraying AO in Viet Nam stating that any veteran who felt he had been exposed to these chemicals should contact the VA.  Even with  this, they are still fighting tooth and nail.  I assume because it would open another can of worms should the claim be awarded merit.  I spoke with other 2 claims and they have helped me greatly.

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