Sending Office: Honorable Bruce Westerman
Modification of Presumption of Service Connection for Veterans Exposed to Herbicide
Agents in Thailand During the Vietnam Era
This legislation will allow veterans the opportunity to prove their exposure to herbicide agents in
Thailand during the Vietnam era from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975, regardless of their
assigned duties at the time. It also authorizes children with Spina Bifida whose parents were
exposed to herbicides during service in Thailand to receive covered benefits.
The VA has determined that during the Vietnam era, herbicides were used on the fenced-in perimeters
of military bases in Thailand to remove foliage providing cover for enemy forces, as evidenced in a
declassified Department of Defense document entitled “Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report: Base
Defense in Thailand.”
As a result, the VA does currently provide special consideration for herbicide exposure on a factual basis
for veterans: (1) who served at specific military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam era, and (2) whose
duties placed them “on or near the perimeters of Thai military bases during the Vietnam era.” Eligible
duties are further defined as security policemen, security patrol dog handlers, and members of security
Unfortunately, these specifications limit and arbitrarily disqualify veterans who may otherwise be able
to prove their exposure to herbicide agents in Thailand and subsequent entitlement to VA benefits.
Furthermore, children with Spina Bifida whose parents were were exposed to herbicides during service
in Thailand are currently excluded from receiving any benefits while children with Spina Bifida whose
parents served in Vietnam and Korea are eligible. This legislation would eliminate that coverage
discrepancy by ensuring all children with Spina Bifida whose parents served in Vietnam, Korea, and
Thailand are equally entitled to authorized benefits.
This legislation will not create the same broad presumption of service-connection for military
service in Vietnam.
I hope you will join me and provide our Vietnam veterans with the coverage they deserve.
To become a cosponsor or if you have any questions, please contact Nicholas Lisowski in my office at Nicholas.Lisowski@mail.house.gov
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