The VVA Veteran® Online

BENEFITS Q&A, May/June 2012



Q: I have a good friend with serious problems. Do you have anything he could use for an Agent Orange claim? He was in the Marines, stationed on Okinawa. He loaded, sprayed, buried, and handled drums with orange rings on them. He recently had to have his colon removed, and he has developed type 2 diabetes. Can you please steer me in the right direction to get him compensated for his problems? I have read articles on AO in Okinawa, but things seem to be at a stand-still.

—John Giovo

A: I would encourage your friend to file a claim for service connection for his health conditions, especially type 2 diabetes, as related to Agent Orange exposure. You are correct that the Pentagon has not acknowledged use of Agent Orange in Okinawa, but more than 130 veterans have claimed to have been exposed to Agent Orange there. I suggest he get all the statements he can from himself and others he served with. These statements should describe what the chemicals and containers looked like and how he was exposed to them (spraying, leaking barrels, etc.) with the most detail possible. 

I know that the VA has granted the Agent Orange claims of at least three veterans who served in Okinawa. This is definitely a more difficult process to go through than for veterans who already are acknowledged to have been exposed to Agent Orange. But your friend will also help others go through the process by giving his account of what happened. You can locate one of our service representatives at or contact the VVA national office for a referral. 

Veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange through perimeter duty and as military police were recently helped by the declassification of military documents. I encourage your friend to contact his congressional representatives to push for further investigation and acknowledgement of where and when Agent Orange was used in Okinawa. 

Lauren Kologe is deputy director of VVA’s Veterans Benefits Program. She can be reached at

The Pleasures Of Showering In Long Binh | Agent Orange: The Past Is Prologue | What Can Science Offer The Children Of Agent Orange? | The Legacy Of Agent Orange | The Toxic Risk At Home | Civilians In Vietnam | Searching For Legislative Remedies

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