Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and certain kinds of cancers are just a few of the conditions that are considered presumptively service-connected when a veteran can show exposure to Agent Orange. For veterans who were stationed in Vietnam, exposure is easily conceded by the VA. Those who served in the Navy on what are called “blue water” ships have a harder time.
Veterans who served in the Navy have to show that they had “boots on ground,” even if it was just for a day, or part of a day. Deck logs, photographs, letters home, or temporary orders can help establish that you were in Vietnam. Those items can also be used to show how close the ship was to the shore, and if the ship was close enough, you can establish Agent Orange exposure in that way. Veterans on board a ship that anchored or entered the “mouth of” the Cua Viet River, Saigon River, Mekong River Delta, Ganh Rai Bay, and the Rung Sat Special Zone are also considered to have been presumptively exposed to Agent Orange.
However, a recent decision from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) opened the door for Da Nang Harbor to be considered an inland waterway for purposes of Agent Orange exposure. (Gray v. McDonald, decided April 23, 2015) If the VA determines that Da Nang Harbor should be considered an inland waterway, more Navy veterans will be eligible for presumptive service connection for diseases linked to Agent Orange.
If you need assistance with your VA claims, please contact our office for a free consultation at (888) 883-2483.