Home Veteran on a mission to help Agent Orange victims
Veteran on a mission to help Agent Orange victims
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 06 May 2010 15:03

If you’ve had a conversation with Donald Measel recently, chances are the topic has drifted to Agent Orange, herbicides used in Vietnam to defoliate trees and bushes that could conceal those fighting U.S. forces.

Measel, the sergeant-at-arms of American Legion Post 324 in Genoa, has been on a mission to inform Vietnam veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange - and anyone who can pass the word to them - about assistance that is available.

For the past few months or so he’s been wearing a cap with emblems of his service in Vietnam, hoping it will draw a comment from anyone he meets and give him an opening to discuss what has become his personal crusade; to alert as many veterans of the war as he can there is help if they need it.

“If you start talking with me about Vietnam you’re going to get an earful,” said Measel, who served there for 11 months while in the Army. “I tell anyone who served in country and feels they have medical conditions caused by Agent Orange they should re-apply for help if they’ve been turned down.”

Citing a study by the Institute of Medicine, Eric Shineski, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, last October established a service connection for Vietnam veterans to three specific illnesses based on evidence of a link with Agent Orange herbicides.

As a result of Shineski’s decision, B cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic heart disease will be added to a list of diseases presumed to be linked to Agent Orange.

“In practical terms, veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a `presumed’ illness don’t have to prove an association between their illnesses and their military service,” the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a prepared statement announcing Shineski’s decision. “This ‘presumption’ simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits.”

Shineski’s new policy brings to 15 the number of illnesses recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as being associated with herbicide exposure.

The DOVA announced this past March that more than 80,000 veterans will have past claims reviewed and may be eligible for retroactive payments and those who are not currently eligible for enrollment into the VA healthcare system will become eligible.

Measel believes his heart problems are the consequence of being exposed to Agent Orange. He recently decided to participate in the DOVA Agent Orange Registry, which is designed to collect information about the health status of those who served in Vietnam.

His appointment for an initial physical exam and blood testing is May 20 at a Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“A lot of guys don’t even know about the registry,” Measel said last week.

But if they should happen to run into him they will likely learn about it.

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The Forgotten Vietnam Veterans
posted by Rodger Fausey, May 08, 2010
There are thousands of veterans who didn't serve in Vietnam but were
exposed to "Agent Orange" while serving in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia,
Burma and on ships just off the coast of Vietnam.

By Rod Douglas

Who are the forgotten Vietnam Veterans? They are the men and women who served either in direct combat or in support functions based in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and on ships just off the coast of Vietnam. They were all exposed to "Agent Orange" and other toxic sprays from 1961 to 1969 in "Operation Ranch Hand". That was the code name because the toxic sprays were made by the chemical companies that make defoliants for farmers in the United States.

More than 300 thousand U.S., Australian, Korean and Thai service personnel had their air, water and food, purchased from the local economy, contaminated. Thousands have been diagnosed with "Agent Orange" related diseases and have died or are slowly dieing. Not only are the veterans victims but the toxins may have been passed on to their offspring. The V.A. has listed well over fifty "Agent Orange" connected diseases including various types of cancer, skin diseases, heart trouble and type two diabetes.

The Veterans Administration will only recognize veterans with "Agent Orange" related diseases if they actually stood on Vietnamese soil. They refuse to believe that the deadly toxic defoliants were even used in Thailand, yet the U.S. Government has conceded that it was first tested in Thailand, before use in Vietnam. There's also evidence, which may be found on the Internet, that shows that the air bases and other military camps in Thailand were sprayed before construction.

There were three bases in Thailand that were used as spraying operations for the U.S. Air Force and also the Central Intelligence Agency's famed "Air America". The bases were Udorn and Nahkon Phanom Royal Thai Air bases in the Northeast and Utapao Royal Thai Air Base in the South. Not only did they spray along the Mekong Delta area, but also other areas of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia where there was Communist infiltration. There's also evidence available on the Internet that “Air America “flew spraying missions in an area which borders Burma, Thailand and Laos, known as the "Golden Triangle". The "Golden Triangle" was thought to be the prime growing area for poppies.The Communists were said to have used this area for harvesting drugs in order to finance the war. The spraying of "Agent Orange" and other toxic sprays such as "Agents' Pink, Purple, Yellow and White were also used to destroy the poppy fields.

With all of the documentation of government orders, memo's, pictures and sworn affidavits from pilots, supply officers, flight crews etc; the Veterans Administration still denies the "Forgotten Vietnam Veterans" service connected health benefits and monetary compensation. However a bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Bob Fillner of California called "The Agent" Orange Equity Act of 2010" would force the Veterans Administration to give U.S. Service Personnel that were stationed in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and aboard ship, off the coastal waters of Vietnam, parody with the Vietnam Veterans. The bill according to Congressman Fillners Office may be introduced in May of 2010.

One of the many unofficial groups urging veterans to contact their representatives and voice support for the bill is "The Thailand Vietnam Veterans for Equity" group. For more information you may contact Marilyn Oliver, the wife of stricken Thailand vet Dennis Oliver, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Marilyn has copies of documents and other information that she will e-mail upon request.

I served two tours in Thailand myself and at one of the bases where “Agent Orange” was used , stored and was used by the CIA and the Air Force for spraying operations. I feel it’s about time that the U.S. Government came clean about what they did over there. Besides our military personnel being exposed to toxic sprays,
so were civilians in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. In fact according to an article on the Internet the Thai Government had asked the U.S. Government to pay them 17 million Baht or 7 million U.S. Dollars restitution. Since the government ishanding out stimulus money, why not help our “Forgotten Vietnam Veterans”.

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By: Larry Limpf

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