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Agent Orange Guam recent BVA awrd


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  • HadIt.com Elder

GBArmy recently posted info in his blog on AO in Guam-I am glad he did, as this situation is still affecting many veterans and probably their survivors as well.

Veterans have had a difficult time proving they were exposed to AO on Guam.
 
The fact however that 2 veterans have proven they were exposed to AO on Guam, 
one quite recently, and there might be more at the BVA site- there are 2,208 BVA decisions there on AO and Guam.
 
 
 
What gets me is that VA has been so adamant about NO AO on Guam, however they said that about Thailand, Blue Water ships ,and certain  C 123s , and even CONUS, yet veterans have proven those claims.
 
I will analyse the above claim in a few minutes-waiting for low cloud to move.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

https://law.yale.edu/yls-today/news/clinic-issues-report-confirming-guam-veterans-exposure-dioxin-herbicides-agent-orange

 
 
 

 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I dont really have to 'analyze' these decisions, as it is clear how the veteran succeeded,in proving exposure to AO in Guam.

https://www.va.gov/vetapp05/files4/0527748.txt

In part:

"The veteran's service medical records reflect that, during 
service, the veteran did not report herbicide exposure.  In 
addition, he did not receive treatment for and was not 
diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.  His DD Form 214, DD Form 7 
and Airmen Performance Reports dated in March 1968 and 
October 1968, however, confirm that he had active service 
from December 1966 to December 1970, including at Anderson 
Air Force base in Guam from December 1966 to October 1968.  

He has submitted copies of articles indicating that Agent 
Orange may have been stored and/or used on Guam from 1955 to 
the late 1960s, which is the time period during which the 
veteran served there.  These articles also reflect that in 
the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency listed 
Anderson Air Force base as a toxic site with dioxin 
contaminated soil and ordered clean up of the site.  Given 
this evidence, particularly, the articles reflecting the 
latter information, and the veteran's testimony, which is 
credible, the Board accepts that the veteran was exposed to 
herbicides during his active service in Guam.  

The veteran did not serve in Vietnam; therefore, he is not 
entitled to a presumption of service connection for his 
diabetes mellitus under the aforementioned law and 
regulations governing claims for service connection for 
disabilities resulting from herbicide exposure.  As 
previously indicated, however, the veteran may be entitled to 
service connection for this disease on a direct basis if the 
evidence establishes that his diabetes mellitus is related to 
the herbicide exposure."

and 

"Post-service medical evidence indicates that, since 1993, the veteran has received treatment for, and been diagnosed with, diabetes mellitus. One medical professional has addressed the question of whether this disease is related to such exposure. In June 2005, a VA examiner noted that the veteran had had the disease for 12 years, had no parental history of such a disease, and had served in Guam, primarily in an air field, which was often sprayed with chemicals. She diagnosed diabetes type 2 and opined that this disease was 50 to 100 percent more likely than not due to the veteran's exposure to herbicides between January 1968 and April 1970, when he served as a crew chief for the 99th bomb wing on the ground and tarmac. She explained that such exposure, rather than hereditary factors, better explained the cause of the disease given that the veteran's parents did not have diabetes. As the record stands, there is no competent medical evidence of record disassociating the veteran's diabetes mellitus from his in-service herbicide exposure or otherwise from his active service. Relying primarily on the VA examiner's opinion, the Board thus finds that diabetes mellitus is related to the veteran's service. Based on this finding, the Board concludes that diabetes mellitus was incurred in service. Inasmuch as the evidence supports the veteran's claim, that claim must be granted. ORDER Service connection for diabetes mellitus secondary to herbicide exposure is granted." ____________________________________________ ROBERT E. SULLIVAN

--------------------------------------------------------

Another Guam AO award:

https://www.va.gov/vetapp14/files1/1409977.txt

In part:
The Veteran contends that service connection is warranted for his claimed diabetes mellitus based on exposure to Agent Orange during his service in Guam, and for diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the right upper extremity, diabetic neuropathy of the left upper extremity, and diabetic retinopathy as secondary to his diabetes mellitus.  

The competent medical evidence of record does not demonstrate that the Veteran currently suffers from diabetic retinopathy.  There has been no diagnostic testing to confirm a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.  The November 2013 examiner reviewed the Veteran's medical history showing multiple ophthalmology examinations, finding no evidence of diabetic retinopathy of record, and diabetic retinopathy was not found on examination.  
and:
Service records indicate that the Veteran was stationed at Andersen Air Force Base at various times between 1958 and 1965.  The Veteran has reported that the weather aircraft on which he flew was situated near a storage facility which housed Agent Orange that was used in Vietnam and possibly in Guam.  

In support of his claim, the Veteran has submitted a number of pieces of circumstantial evidence indicating Agent Orange was stored at Anderson AFB and herbicides were used in Guam.  He submitted news articles and statements indicating that herbicides were stored and used in Guam at the time the Veteran served on the island.  One article in particular referenced a Dow Chemical Risk Report revealing a heavy concentration of dioxin on Anderson AFB that poisoned soldiers stationed there in the late 1960s and confirmed Agent Orange in Guam.
Following the Board's remand, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) performed a search regarding the Veteran's claimed herbicide exposure.  In an email dated January 2013, VBA stated that the Department of Defense (DOD) list of sites associated with Agent Orange and other tactical herbicides did not show any use or testing of tactical herbicides such as Agent Orange at any location in Guam before or during the Vietnam Era.  VBA also stated that the available documents showed that all pesticides used in Guam were commercially available.  The US Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) stated in a May 2013 memo that Compensation Service responded to a request to verify herbicide exposure in Guam that historical reports submitted by the 9th Weather Reconnaissance Wing stationed at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam did not document or verify exposure to Agent Orange or tactical herbicides nor did they document Agent Orange or tactical herbicides spraying, testing or storage at Anderson Air Force Base from December 1966 to February 1967.  

After reviewing and weighing the evidence of record on the question of whether the Veteran was exposed to herbicides during his period of active service, the Board finds that there is a state of equipoise of the positive and negative evidence.  In such a case, the question is to be resolved in the appellant's favor.  38 U.S.C.A. § 5107(b); see also Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1990).  Although the VBA and JSRRC provided evidence that the Veteran was not exposed, their findings were based on the DOD list and historical reports with little or no consideration to the other evidence of record which clearly demonstrates that herbicides were used in Guam, Agent Orange was stored in Guam, and there was a heavy concentration of dioxin found in the soil many years later.  Further, the VBA finding showed that commercially available herbicides were present in Guam.  

In view of the Veteran's credible statements and the news articles, and resolving all doubt in favor of the Veteran, the Board finds that the Veteran was exposed to herbicides during his active service in Guam.  

Although presumptive service connection due to herbicide exposure is not available in the Veteran's case as he did not serve within the Republic of Vietnam or the Korean DMZ, the Veteran may still be entitled to service connection for diabetes mellitus on a direct basis if the evidence establishes that this disease is related to the herbicide exposure.  

ORDER

Service connection for Type II diabetes mellitus is granted.

Service connection for diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the right upper extremity is granted.

Service connection for diabetic neuropathy of the left upper extremity is granted.

Service connection for diabetic retinopathy is denied. 
https://www.va.gov/vetapp14/files1/1409977.txt

Nothing is impossible- it just takes a lot of work and probative vidence for AO Guam claims.

 


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