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Feb-02-2012 21:53printcomments

Vietnam War Veterans: Burden of Proof

The reality is, we were there and we were poisoned.

Agent Orange
Agent Orange is a deadly chemical that was sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam during the U.S. war there.

(MEDIA, Pa.) - Vietnam veterans who never had boots-on-ground Vietnam, who are sick from presumptive exposure to agent orange dioxin poisoning are tied up in paperwork. The burden of proof is placed solely upon the veteran. Burden of proof is mainly directed to those service members who never had boots-on-ground. Presumptive exposure for these service members is most difficult of all to provide evidence for.

In nearly all cases, the Veterans Affairs (VA) requires evidence relative to exposure to this deadly herbicide. The mere fact that the service member without boots-on-ground can show proof of military service, and proof of having been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and medical proof of illness is in nearly all cases, not evidence enough for VA disability. Except for those who had boots-on-ground.

The herbicide was sprayed on the lands of the Republic of Vietnam. Consequently, much of this herbicide found its way miles out into the South China Sea because of run-off. This spraying was authorized by the Department of Defense and our Federal Government. The governing authorities knew the use of this deadly herbicide could be harmful to members of the U.S. Armed Forces engaged in the Vietnam War on land, at sea and in the air. The Institute Of Medicine (IOM) report has proven the toxicity of Agent Orange Dioxin. This was an irresponsible action on the part of our Government to poison we who served. That authority should be held accountable.

In 1991, the Congress passed a Bill that authorized the VA to approve all agent orange exposure claims for disability. In 2002, The Bush administration took away authorized disability claims from those service members who did not have boots-on-ground Vietnam.

Ask why do we who served and fought in this war need insurmountable evidence of proof? Evidence other then the above evidence provided by the veteran? Is the afore mentioned evidence not enough that we were there? No matter if we were on land, at sea or in the air?

Is this just another way our Government has authorized the VA to make disability claims impossible to get, by creating unnecessary paperwork placed upon the service member?

The reality is, we were there and we were poisoned.

If more evidence is required by the VA, then that burden of proof should be on the VA, other then evidence the veteran has submitted for disability health care claim for dioxin poisoning, to include due compensation. Our Legislators must be urged to do what is right and correct the errors made in times past. The Senate and Congress Veterans Affairs Committees need to approve Senate Bill S-1629 and House Bill HR-3612. These Bills then need to be sent to the Floor of both Houses and swiftly passed.

* Note from editor: Please feel free to redistribute this article.


John Bury represents both his interests and those of military veterans, with an emphasis on the U.S. Navy, and specific interest in health-related issues stemming from Agent Orange contamination; a rampant problem affecting so many who didn't necessarily have the deadly chemical dropped on their heads while fighting in Vietnam's jungles. John was onboard the USS Sacramento (AOE-1) a fast combat support ship from Oct. 1967 to Feb. 1972, making four deployments to Vietnam waters.

Now an activist and writer, John lives in the aptly named Pennsylvania city, Media, where he continues to seek justice while becoming a larger and larger voice of the movement. John has a college degree (AS) Management from Delaware County Community College, and he taught disciplines of engineering at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades. When he isn't writing articles, performing research or rallying support for his fellow military veterans, John enjoys fishing; he is an amateur artist, and also spends time gardening and traveling. You can write to John Bury at Email:

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EDMOND SANDOVAL November 13, 2012 10:56 am (Pacific time)


EDMOND SANDOVAL November 13, 2012 10:46 am (Pacific time)


mikey October 8, 2012 6:28 am (Pacific time)

I would like to find an attorney who is Really ready to address the issues and fight for the Veterans of the Vietnam War. All we did is follow orders, and the thanks we get is just delay and deny its like we are no more appreciated than yesterdays garbage..

Mitch September 28, 2012 2:02 pm (Pacific time)

With the National Health Care law, honorably discharged U.S. Veterans should be able to receive ALL medical care necessary; FREE of charge..This will cover all A/O issues..Well, Thank you..

mikey February 13, 2012 7:01 pm (Pacific time)

has anyone considered all the additional STRESS our greatful politicians have dumped on us. We served this country, honorably..returned home, (treated like last weeks garbage) we have health issues: delayed and denied..and now congress has the a new word to play with..PTSD..!! tell us about STRESS !! will congress ever except their responsibility to our Veterans ??

Anonymous February 4, 2012 9:17 am (Pacific time)

God help us all, and please  and give the Blue Water guys strength, more power to you all!

R.C.D., U.S. Navy 64-68 February 3, 2012 8:32 pm (Pacific time)

Someone should file a class action law suit against the VA for discrimination against U.S. Navy Vietnam veterans. Maybe with the ACLU or NAACP. Just an idea...

robert lower ao free vietnam vet February 3, 2012 2:46 pm (Pacific time)

Information from Department of Defense (DoD) on Herbicide Tests and Storage outside
of Vietnam
Project Description
DoD Involvement
Fort Chaffee, AR
5/16/1967-5/18/1967, 7/22/1967-7/23/1967, 8/23/1967 - 8/24/1967
basic, in-house, improved desiccants and Orange, Blue
During the period of 12/1966 - 10/1967, a comprehensive short-term evaluation was conducted by personnel from Fort Derrick's Plant Science Lab in coordination with contract research on formulations by chemical industry and field tests by USDA and U of HI.
Pinal Mountains near Globe, AZ
1965, 1966, 1968, and 1969
2,4-D isooctyl-ester, 2,4,5-t isooctyl-ester, silvex, propyleneglycolbutylether ester, 2,4,5-T butyl ester, 2,4,5-T 2-e-h e
In 1965, the USFS began a land improvement program in the Pinal Mountains. The program called for spraying an area of chaparral with herbicides to accomplish the objectives of multiple land use.
Brawley, CA
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent.Here, irrigation water studies were done with the agent. H.F. Arle worked here.
Orlando, FL at Army Grove Air Force's Tactical Center
3/14/1944, 4/12/1944
ammonium thiocynate, zinc chloride, sodium nitrate, sodium arsenate, sodium fluoride
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent.
Marathon, FL
zinc chloride, ammonium sulphamate, ammonium thiocynate
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent. Spraying was done here.
Near Lake George, FL
Spring 1944
zinc chloride
The purpose was to determine means of accomplishing defoliation of tropical forest vegetation by application of a chemical agent. Spraying here.
Orlando, FL, Cocoa, FL
ammonium thiocyanate and zinc chloride
Tests were conducted in 1944 by the Army in Orlando and Cocoa areas of Florida to determine the value of ammonium thiocyanate and chloride as marking and defoliation agents.. They were conducted initially at ground level and later from aircraft.
Department of

this paper is 10 pages longs it list every dam place agent orange was store,test or had but that how we get the agent orange but was not in vietnam,you can go need these areas they have used of ao and can start kill you now 50 years ather test its,the guys on the ships get from the water and the spay from the plaanes very easy to prove just know where to look

Anonymous February 3, 2012 10:26 am (Pacific time)

John just provide a random-generated database comparing "bluewater" personnel with "boots-on-the-ground" personnel showing statistically common VA recognized diseases that they provide disability for. I guarantee that you will show the same level and kinds of common diseases. Take that data to the media and congress and see what happens. You will have the proof, but then compare that same data with the civilian population and you will also see that it's the same. So now you can see what you are up and resources. Good luck. P.S. The CDC has the data available for in-country Vietnam Vets and their civilian co-horts, and that means you need a good sample developed for the bluewater people. Maybe the DAV and American Legion can help with a list of sick vets? Forget about congress until about a month before election time, then get them on record. Bet most never respond back to any inquiry about this.

Steven Moore February 3, 2012 6:59 am (Pacific time)

What about the Veterans that were in Thailand that had to walk through areas that were sprayed with herbicides? That traveled through Vietnam to Thailand assignments or on emergency leaves, but the VA does not except the Veterans claim since there are no records of the flights. They now say if you were a security guard or an MP you can qualify if you can prove you were on the perimeter. Well alot of the small army bases, using the VA's 500 meter policy, would cover about everyone ever assigned at those facilites. We need to look at all areas not just the Blue Water Navy.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

The NAACP of the Willamette Valley