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My AO exposure story

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I joined the Army in 1967 as airborne Infantry but I didn't make it to Nam. I served 1967-1970 stateside and in Germany. My AO exposure was at Fort Gordon GA. I/we were involved in finding the optimum mixture of the concentrate AO to diesel fuel. It became my duty to use up the defoliant that was left over after the testing was complete. My direct exposure, directly and hands on working with and spraying 24D-245T was every day from September 6, 1967 to March 4, 1969 whereupon I was deployed to Germany.

When I filed my first claim in 2005 the DOD and the VA were very adamant that AO had never been used in CONUS, PERIOD!

In order to Substantiate my AO exposure claim I needed, first to prove that I was an MP Game Warden in 1967-1969. I needed to prove that the spraying and testing of agent orange, 24D-245T with Picloram, at Fort Gordon actually took place in 1967. Last, but most important of all, I had to show how I was directly involved and exposed, thirty eight years after the fact.

I furnished them with the aircraft tail number. I provided the name of the firm in Texas from which the Bell G-2 helicopter used in the spraying was leased, along with the pilot's name. I proved the amounts, 450 gallons of orange alone, and the color names of herbicides that were used, orange, blue, and white. I furnished the exact location of the spraying and testing.

It was necessary to travel to the Fort Gordon area, where I obtained and provided statements from the Fort Gordon Forester and the Fort Gordon Post Engineer, who were there and working with me during the time that I served and was involved. Both wrote sworn statements on VA forms 21-4138 stating that they remembered me by name as being the Fort Gordon Game Warden, and they swore in their written statements that it would have been my job to spray those herbicides. The Forester wrote that he discovered my stash of herbicides and spray equipment in a building in the 1980s, just where I said that they would be.

I also furnished a statement written by the Fort Gordon Adjutant General who had thirty five years experience in personnel and wrote a statement in support of my claim attesting to the fact that I was the Fort Gordon Game Warden who served and was involved in the time period of 1967-1968, during the testing of AO.

My evidence had to be overwhelming and beyond doubt. Nothing was left to chance, and I covered all of my bases.

I furnished my Fort Gordon Game Warden badge number, my expired Richmond County GA. Deputy Sheriff credentials and my military drivers license. I presented a 1967 Fort Gordon phone book listing my office phone number and naming me as the Fort Gordon Game Warden.

The significance of producing my long ago expired Deputy Sheriff credentials was the fact that, as a military Game Warden, and in compliance with the "Posse Comitatus Act of 1878", which removed the military from regular civil law enforcement, It was necessary that I be appointed as a Deputy Sheriff in order to have the authority to carry my weapon off post and to be able to stop and/or pursue civilians on and off post. Only MP Game Wardens carried such credentials.

The significance of the military drivers license, that expired many years ago, was the fact that only MP Game Wardens, and only MP Game Wardens, were issued a license to drive a Ford four wheel drive Bronco. Of note, there were only two Game Wardens at that time and fort Gordon only had two Ford Broncos, each of those was assigned to a Game warden.

I testified before the BVA Judge the fact that I defoliated around the Fort Gordon Controlled lakes and then often caught and ate fish from those lakes, within hours of the spraying operation. I furnished my wife's and my original 1967 Fort Gordon Hunting and fishing license along with the documented set of orders as proof that I was on separate rations at the time to back up that statement.

I furnished a statement written for me by a Doctor who was involved in AO research and employed by the CDC in Atlanta GA in support of my exposure. I submitted a statement from the Georgia State Agriculture Director as to the name and chemical designation of the herbicide that I sprayed. That being 24D-245T.

My most overwhelming proof of AO exposure was the fact that I had Chloracne, first diagnosed on my ETS medical exam and there were many diagnosis post service including VA and civilian doctors. I had thirteen Medical opinions that concurred in the fact that the only cause of Chloracne is Dioxin exposure, Dioxin being the contaminant in AO and the other rainbow herbicides.

Following my AO grant in 2009 by the BVA, there have been many more claims filed, but few have prevailed.

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Jamescrippe2 listen to you  and Ray Cobb all the time, when you and Ray are on hadit.com podcast interesting  story’s of how you and Ray won your agent orange claims. Having problems with the VHA Grants would like to talk to you and Ray about it, let me know if you can give me some help with the Grant not being pay for the work done. Thanks Semper Fi

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James, I agree with Marine Corp 69/70. Quite a journey you were on and as we say often, don't give up and get the evidence you need to win! You might not realize how much you moved the needle for others exposed, but we thank you for all your efforts. Take care of yourself Jim.

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Marine Corp, I would guess that you are referring to the PCAFC caregiver program. Specifically, what is it that you need help with. It is actually not a grant but a program for comprehensive help and a stipend for the caregivers of seriously disabled veterans of any era.

Right now the program that is under the VHA is in a state of total disaster and is being overhauled and restructured. You can apply through the VHA and if denied you can appeal. The appeals process includes a VHA appeal, A higher level revue and a supplemental claim , all of which are adjudicated by the VHA, the very same people who turned the claim down to begin with. Last but not least, you can ask the BVA to revue your claim. At the Board you are more likely to find justice. I would recommend going straight to the Board if your initial application is denied.

It is very Important to have your medical records updated in a way as to support your contentions before making application to the program. Read the rules several times and make shure that your circumstances comply. Pay attention to the phrase, "each and every time the ADL is preformed". Yes, I can answer your questions pertaining to the program.

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