15 April 2016

Army Vet Wins VA Agent Orange Claim, Cites 10 Days At a Post Where AO Was Once Used

This Army vet's claim was denied at first, so he appealed and the Board of Veterans Appeals soon granted his service connection. Read...he said he was TDY to Fort Gordon where Agent Orange was once used to control undergrowth. Ten days. Without any IOM study, or CDC/ATSDR finding...just his own recollection of duty 41 years earlier!

But VA said our ten years aboard C-123s confirmed by the AF and IOM to be contaminated is insufficient evidence to award our claims. Further, the Army vet was a Reservist and BVA found no problem at all providing him statutory veteran status because his ten day of alleged exposure constituted an injury by being on post at Fort Gordon.

This is so much different from how C-123 veterans were treated. VA Office of General Counsel raised the formal veteran status challenge at the last minute and ignored their own precedential opinions as well as a firm list of similar BVA and CAVC decisions.

Based on the evidence from DoD and the VHA medical
expert's opinion, the Board finds that the
preponderance of the evidence is in favor of finding
that the Veteran was exposed to herbicides (including
Agent Orange and Agent Blue) while serving on ADT at
Fort Gordon, Georgia, from July 24, 1967 to August 4,
1967, which constitutes an injury (see e.g.,
VAOPGCPREC 08-2001).  The Board further finds that,
based on the VHA medical expert's opinion, the
preponderance of the evidence is in favor of finding
that the Veteran's type II diabetes mellitus diagnosed in February 2008 is related to his exposure to herbicides
in 1967. Consequently, the Board finds hat the evidence establishes that the Veteran incurred bodily injury due to his exposure to herbicides while on ADT in 1967 and that such bodily injury is the etiology of his current type II diabetes mellitus.  Accordingly, for the purposes of granting service connection for type II diabetes mellitus,the Board finds that veteran status is established for the period of ADT from July 24, 1967 to August 4, 1967, and that the Veteran has type II diabetes mellitus as a result of injury incurred during such service.Forthese reasons, the Board finds that service connection for type II diabetes mellitus is warranted, and theVeteran's appeal is granted. 

The big difference between the lucky Army guy and us? He didn't have VBA Office of Public Health against him like we did.

He didn't have OPH redefining the word "exposure" to prevent exposure claims. He didn't have JSRRC input ignored in violation of VAM21-1MR and VCAA. He didn't have false promises of "case-by-case" claim consideration that only resulted in 100% denial of every single veteran's claim.
He didn't have the VA OGC determined to keep Air Force Reservists from the same protections awarded this Army Reservist.

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