A federal court has ruled against the VA and granted aid to Navy veterans suffering from cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses linked to toxic exposure while stationed in Vietnam.
The Republican senator never has sought to connect any of his health troubles, including prior bouts with skin cancer, with Agent Orange exposure and has a mixed record when it comes to compensating fellow veterans for wartime exposures.
At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA's compensation service was critical of the media, scientists, and the VA's own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his.
Neither the Navy nor the Department of Veterans Affairs has a comprehensive list of which ships went where during the Vietnam War. As a result, veterans themselves often have to prove their ships served in areas where Agent Orange was sprayed.
Though most didn’t step foot in Vietnam, some 90,000 Navy vets who served offshore may have been exposed to the chemical brew and seek benefits. The battle is playing out in the courts and in Congress. It boils down to a comma.
The 1991 law presumes veterans were exposed to the defoliant if they have certain diseases and “set foot” in Vietnam, but Navy vets and Air Force vets in Thailand say they were also exposed. Here’s our guide to groups seeking Agent Orange benefits.