Vietnam War Pilots & Their Exposure to Agent Orange

Vietnam War Pilots & Their Exposure to Agent Orange

As the United States sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, pilots and everyone else onboard the planes were repeatedly exposed to this dangerous toxin. Of course, Agent Orange exposure was later found to be associated with a number of health conditions and birth defects.

Were You Exposed to Agent Orange?

Any veteran who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 is presumed by the VA to have been exposed to Agent Orange. For the purpose of obtaining service connection for Agent Orange-associated diseases, these veterans do not have to provide any evidence showing that Agent Orange exposure occurred.

This includes any veteran who set foot in Vietnam (“boots on the ground”), or who operated on a ship in the inland waterways of Vietnam. 

Veterans who served in the Korean demilitarized zone may also have been exposed to herbicides. The VA presumes that anyone who served in the Korean demilitarized zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971 was exposed to Agent Orange.

Even if you do not fit into one of these categories of veterans, that does not mean that you were not exposed to Agent Orange. It only means that the VA will not presume Agent Orange exposure for the purpose of receiving VA benefits, so you will have to provide evidence that you were exposed to the toxic herbicide.

Other military service members that may have been exposed to Agent Orange include:

  • Veterans who served onboard contaminated C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam War
  • Blue Water Veterans who may have been exposed onboard ships off the coast of Vietnam
  • U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships off the coast of Vietnam
  • Veterans who served at Thailand military bases during the Vietnam War
  • Veterans who served at military bases where Agent Orange was stored and tested

What to Do If You Were Exposed to Agent Orange

Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, research continues on the effects of Agent Orange. The VA has a list of presumptive conditions that have a proven association with Agent Orange exposure. 

If you have any of these conditions and believe you may have been exposed to Agent Orange, you should apply for VA benefits. If you have previously applied, but your condition has worsened, you may be eligible to get an increased rating for your disability.

You can also take part in the Agent Orange registry program to get a free medical evaluation. This is not part of the disability benefits process, but could help spot any health issues you are having.

If your claim for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure was denied, there may still be hope. Get help with your appeal from an experienced veterans law practitioner. Contact our veterans law firm today for a no-cost case evaluation by clicking here.

Category: Veterans Law