In January 2018, Representative Bruce Westerman (AR) introduced H.R. 4843, a bill that would concede herbicide exposure to all veterans who served at any military installation in Thailand during the Vietnam Era for purposes of determining their eligibility for VA benefits. This measure is a companion bill to S. 2105, introduced by Senators John Boozman (AR) and Joe Donelly (IN). DAV issued an alert in support of S. 2105 in December 2017.
While VA’s internal manual acknowledges herbicide exposure for specific military occupational specialties on the perimeter of eight specific Thai Royal Air Force Bases, Thai statutes and regulations do not automatically recognize veteran exposure to herbicides while serving in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.
H.R. 4843 would automatically concede herbicide exposure for all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam Era, regardless of the base, duty on the perimeter or military occupational specialty. As a result, the presumptive diseases currently associated with herbicide exposure, including spina bifida for children, would be applicable to all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.
Consistent with DAV Resolution No. 214, DAV supports the recognition of herbicide exposure to veterans who served at military installations in Thailand so that the presumption of service connection for Agent Orange related diseases would be available to service members exposed to include those who served in Thailand. Please use the prepared electronic letter or draft your own to urge your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4843.
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