The Veteran served in the United States Air Force from April 9, 1954, to November 30, 1975. During his long service, the Veteran served as a Weapons Mechanic and Weapons Flight Chief for one year at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base. He later developed diabetes mellitus and ischemic heart disease. After his death, his widow (Appellant) filed an accrue- benefits claim because the Veteran’s diabetes and heart disease were related to his exposure to herbicides at Takhli. The Regional Office determined that the Veteran was not exposed to herbicides because he did not work near the base perimeter at Takhli.
The Appellant appealed to the Board and hired Timothy R. Franklin (@tim4vets) to represent her. He argued to the Board that the Veteran worked on the flight line loading and unloading aircraft on the flight line which meant he worked on the perimeter of Takhli.
Board Ignored that Veteran Served on Takhli Base Perimeter
On May 2018, the Board issued a decision that denied service connection for diabetes and heart disease. In its decision, the Board referred to VA’s internal rule stating that exposure to herbicides (Agent Orange) should be conceded if a veteran served at a Royal Thai Air Force Base during Vietnam in a position that required work near the air base perimeter. But the Board decided that rule did not apply to Appellant’s claim because the Veteran did not work near the base perimeter but failed to explain why. The Board also failed to address argument and evidence that clearly showed that the flight line was on the base perimeter.
Attorney Franklin Appeals Herbicide Exposure Denial to Court (CAVC)
At the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), Mr. Franklin was able to obtain a Joint Motion for Remand because the Secretary agreed that the Board’s failure to address the Veteran’s service on the base perimeter required a remand. In other words, the BVA cannot ignore its procedures and credible evidence of service on the perimeter. In this case, the Board must also consider if the flight line is, in fact, working at or near the base perimeter.
Air Force and Army Thailand Veterans Should Not Be Afraid to Appeal to the CAVC
If the Board denied your claim for entitlement to your claims for service connection just because you served in Thailand as opposed to Vietnam, please consider letting us help win your claim. Veterans Service Organizations and County representatives do not typically practice at the CAVC. We represent veterans at the CAVC for no charge.
If you have a case, we will review it for free and let you know if we can help. Act fast, whether you contact me or another VA compensation attorney, because you only have 120 days from the date of the Board decision to appeal to the CAVC.
Link to Vacated Board Decision