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Agent Orange Exposure in Okinawa and how it pertains to second and third generations.


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Hello to all here on the forums.  

I am writing to inquire if anyone has any good insight or perhaps even any suggestions about how to explore Agent Orange claims for children and/or grandchildren of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.   

My mother was stationed in Okinawa from 1974 until 1977.  She and my father were both stationed together on separate orders there at the time.  She was actually pregnant with me, and I was born there in July of 1978.   My mom passed away from complications of Multiple Myeloma in 2012.  While she never received monetary benefits from the VA, I do know that she was receiving medical care from the VA relating to her Myeloma diagnosis for at least 5 years post her initial diagnosis.  I surmise it was their way of quietly handling her claim that she had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving.    

I am not even sure how to begin looking into claims on my behalf, however, my concern lies more so with my children.   I have two who suffer from a laundry list of issues, OCD, Depression, Asthma  in my older child, as well as an Autism Diagnoses and Severe Anxiety Disorder diagnoses for my youngest child.   I myself struggle with some mental health concerns, as well, along with early onset Type 2 diabetes.  I have been reluctant to pursue any sort of claim on my behalf, due to the fact that my grandparents, (also veterans who have served in in places like Korea,), were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in their late 60s.  My diagnoses however was in my early 30s.  Though, I can not say for certain that it may have some family link.  

However, with my children, I do have questions and concerns.  We have no history or genetic dispositions for Autism in our family, and the fact that there are so many issues with both of my children, coupled by the fact that my mother was pregnant with me during the time she was in Okinawa, and it has been subtly acknowledged by the VA that she was exposed, leaves me unsettled.   

Any thoughts or suggestions on where I should start? In my son's case he requires a significant amount of care and supports due to his Autism.   

Thank  you so much for your help or input! 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

This is the most recent link from the VA on Agent Orange and children of incountry Vietnam Vets, as well as AO DMZ Korea vets.

https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/benefits/children-birth-defects.asp

 " I surmise it was their way of quietly handling her claim that she had been exposed to Agent Orange while serving.  "

I disagree- she was fully eligible for VA health care. It is a shame that no one filed an AO claim for her.

https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/multiple_myeloma.asp

A few veterans have proven their exposure to AO in Okinawa.

https://www.stripes.com/news/2-vets-win-agent-orange-exposure-cases-from-okinawa-1.457227

There are no Nehmer provisions for AO Okinawa veterans or their survivors, that I know of.

Others here might have more info to offer.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to hadit! 

I know this sounds like a broken record, but once again Berta has given superb advice.  

Are you or your spouse a Veteran?  If so, This may help.  Dependents benefits and Veterans benefits are in an entirely different class, generally favoring the Veteran.  If there is a 100 percent P and T disabled Vet (husband or wife) then the dependents should get medical care via Champva.  Champva is, imho, the best insurance available, bar none.    

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  • HadIt.com Elder

one more point :

You stated:

"My mother was stationed in Okinawa from 1974 until 1977.  She and my father were both stationed together on separate orders there at the time."

If your father is still living ( hope so) he could file a DIC claim on a 21-534 form .

The problem would be however, how does he prove your mother was exposed to AO.

He would need to obtain her complete SMRS and Personnel file by going to the NARA web site,www.archives.gov , and making a request under the Veteran's records button, to fill out an SF 180. He will need to print off the bar cioded thing they tell him to, sign it, and keep a copy of it and send to where the  SF180 directs him to. 

There were more than 2 awards mentioned in this article I posted but this is what VA will seek:

 

"FINDINGS OF FACT 1. Credible evidence sustains a reasonable probability that during service, while performing regular duties at the Naha Naval Port in Okinawa, Japan, the Veteran was exposed to Agent Orange from leaking barrels. 2. The Veteran is currently diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type II.

 

As service connection is being granted on a presumptive basis, there is no need to discuss entitlement to service connection on any other basis, as other theories of service connection have been rendered moot, leaving no question of law or fact to decide. See 38 U.S.C.A. § 7104 (West 2014). ORDER Service connection for diabetes mellitus, type II, is granted. "

There was a lot to this case-his MOS , many buddy statements and other evidence finally got him this award.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp16/files5/1635277.txt

Your father is the surviving spouse of a veteran so he is the one who should try to pursue a DIC claim but it will not be easy.

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