But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever.  Amen.

2 Peter 3:18



I had heavy exposure to Agent Orange as a Marine Grunt in the I Corps area of Vietnam (1968-69). My unit (G Company, 2/4, Third Marine Division) patrolled and lived in heavily sprayed areas near the DMZ and near Khe Sanh.


We often had to drink water from bomb craters polluted with Agent Orange. The Institute of Medicine’s exhaustive study for the VA, entitled Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange, states, ...the level of dioxin contamination in Agent Orange could have been up to 1,000 times higher than the level of dioxin found in phenoxy herbicides domestically available at the time.[1]


It also states, Free-spraying areas, including the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at the seventeenth parallel and the first 100 meters outside base camps, were also exempt from Ranch Hand regulations (NAS, 1974)[2]


I Corps area bases like Khe Sanh, Camp Big John (Dong Ha), Con Thien and fire support bases like LZ Stud were all places I patrolled from and near.  All had extra heavy spraying of Agent Orange.


Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange goes on to say that between Jan. 1966 and Dec. 1969, more than 2 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed in I Corps.[3]  The report identifies Marine ground troops as those who were heavily and immediately exposed.[4]


Several neurologists have stated in writing that Agent Orange (Dioxin Herbicide) Exposure in Vietnam was the probable cause of my polyneuropathy.  The VA pays me a small, service-connected disability compensation and provides medical care.


If you're a combat veteran with a neurological disorder, you may want to seek the advice of an independent Neurologist. If you are like me, the Doctors cannot find any other cause for my polyneuropathy.


My case went all the way to the Court of Veterans Appeals (COVA). See, Docket Number 99-1325.  COVA ruled in my favor, with the outstanding help of Ed Zimmerman, an Attorney with the Military and Veterans Law Center in Burnsville, MN


On April 1, 2003 the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) granted me service-connection for my peripheral polyneuropathy due to Agent Orange exposure (see BVA Docket No. 97-18 169).




MDS, or myelodysplastic syndromes, is a group of bone marrow diseases. MDS can often lead to AML.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, is a fast-growing form of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.


As of the time of this writing, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does NOT recognize MDS/AML as service-connected due to Agent Orange exposure.


But, on 12-26-2013, the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) ruled in favor of the widow of a Vietnam Veteran who had died from complications due to MDS/AML. See BVA Citation # 1342944 (5 pages). It is BVA Docket No. 08-13 294A.


The BVA Decision cited benzene, a known cause of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) as present in diesel fuel, often mixed with Agent Orange in Vietnam.


Therefore, Agent Orange and MDS/AML can sometimes go together as cause and effect .


For more evidence on the connection between Agent Orange and MDS/AML, see also the excellent article by Dr. David Steensma, entitled Agent Orange, US Military Veterans and Myelodysplastic Syndromes.


Dr. Steensma is a physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.



BVA Citation # 1342944


Agent Orange, US Military Veterans and Myelodysplastic Syndromes



Still not convinced?


There are two other Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) decisions made in favor of Vietnam Veterans with either MDS or AML as service-connected due to Agent Orange exposure:


·      BVA Citation # 0812788 (Veteran's MDS/AML due to Agent Orange)


·      BVA Citation # 0930914 (Veteran's MDS due to Agent Orange)







[1]  Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1994) page 91.

[2] Ibid, page 94.

[3] Ibid, page 96.

[4] Ibid.


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Christian Rescue Mission for Veterans:


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George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God.  He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019).  They have 8 grown children.  You can contact George at support@tulipgems.com

Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss