VA Issues relevant to MOB Team Veterans

Mobility Operations Branch - MOB Teams

The War may be over, but its after-effects continue.

PROSTATE CANCER AMONG MOB VETERANS
Agent Orange linked to heart disease, Parkinson's (Yahoo News)
Agent Orange and Graves' Disease

USAF NEW COMBAT ACTION MEDAL
You may qualify for a VA Disability Pension
VETERANS SURVIVAL GUIDE
Official VA online Applications Web site: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/

A Must See Guide for us: http://www.howtoassemblevaclaims.com

A must-see page regarding Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment by Dr. Donohue of the U.K.

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NOTE: THIS IS A NEW PAGE AND IS VERY MUCH A WORK IN PROGRESS. PLEASE COME BACK SOON TO LEARN MORE AS WE CONTINUE OUR RESEARCH ON THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES.
3/4/2009 updated 3/10/2011 1/29/2013  6/30/2013



Although most of us survived the combat exposure in Vietnam, our service there often left us with more than we bargained for. And, although most of us did our utmost to avoid the Veterans Administration - and often seemed discounted by veterans groups, the VA and the government and society in general when we first returned from Vietnam, time has changed things - both for them and for us.

The VA has improved its services remarkably since our earliest experiences with the organization in the 60's and 70's. Many of our members have benefitted in very real ways from the services now available to us, and there may come a time when we will find it helpful to take advantage of the benefits we earned during our time in service. These pages will attempt to deal with these issues and offer organized information, clearly presented (we hope) that will benefit all of us.

Your webmaster was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in Februrary, 2009. And I am not the first. All of a sudden, we are learning of more MOB team veterans who have already had to deal with this issue. This is a very important issue for all of us - and, not to be alarmist, but, no kidding - you may be next.

We will be adding a new forum for discussion of this issue as well as a survey of MOB team veterans that will show us conclusively just how real this threat is.
It will take some time, but as we learn more about this subject, this page will be updated regularly.

- Alan (Sgt. Runfeldt, 1970) 3/4/2009 Alan's Prostate Cancer Blog page

Risk for Graves' Disease Nearly Tripled in Vietnam Vets Exposed to Agent Orange -

"April 27, 2010 (Boston, Massachusetts) Vietnam veterans who report being exposed to Agent Orange have a markedly increased prevalence of Graves' disease, compared with those with no exposure, a new study finds. "

read more: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2010/06/11493.html
and more: 
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/720864


Graves Disease is basically a thyroid condition and affects less than .032% or 3 out of 1,000 of of the male population. If that threat is tripled for those of us with heavy exposure to agent orange, that number could jump to 9 out of 1,000.

more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graves%27_disease#Signs_and_symptoms

Agent Orange and Prostate Cancer, Diabetes

The inspiration for this section of the 8th MOB web site is the high incidence of Prostate Cancer discovered among Vietnam Veterans - particularly those, like us, who served in hostile environments - ie. jungle combat areas - and particularly combat areas whose jungle canopies had been removed using Dow Chemical Company's Agent Orange. Most of the remote airstrips we worked and lived at had been cleared of jungle foliage using Agent Orange.

We are twice as likely as other veterans of our age to develop prostate cancer. And, typically, when we develop prostate cancer, it's more virulent than in others our age.

An annual physical - including a PSA blood test for prostate cancer - is our first defense against this possibility since prostate cancer, as with any cancer, is best defeated when discovered early.


"Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange are twice as likely to contract prostate cancer as unexposed veterans, according to a study of 13,000 Northern California veterans conducted by University of California at Davis researchers. Worse, the cancer will likely be an aggressive, deadlier version that strikes earlier and spreads more readily to other organs.

"In the study, Northern California veterans exposed to Agent Orange developed prostate cancer at twice the rate of unexposed veterans. Among 6,214 exposed men, 239 were diagnosed, compared with 124 out of 6,930 unexposed men."

source: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/vietnam-vets-face-dangers-decades-later
(Ed note: 239/6214= nearly 4% of us are likely to develop early, aggressive prostate cancer.)



More about Prostate Cancer - what I am learning as I go through this process

PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE A MOB VETERAN AND HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PROSTATE CANCER!


Links I have found helpful during this adventure...:
Links from Vietnow website
Search results at VA website:

Diabetes is another serious illness which may be related to our service in Vietnam. We will be adding information about this soon as well.

We will add to this section as our personal research progresses.



Combat Action Medal

Another issue which has come up is the question of whether we served under combat conditions in Vietnam. The USAF now has their own combat service award, similar to the Army's CIB - which many of us already felt we deserved, since we worked with and fought beside various US Army combat units.

According to the USAF website, any of us who came under fire while on mobility missions would clearly qualify for the new US Air Force Combat Action Medal

Airmen are eligible for the Combat Action Medal "if their primary role includes performing duties in a combat zone, either on the ground or from the air, by entering into an unsecured area away from an established installation. While performing their duties, they must have come under fire or fire upon an enemy to qualify."

Well, been there, done that, eh?

Here's a breakdown of the nearly 2,000 CAM's awarded since it's inception

Aerial Port Mobility Operations Teams participated in tactical airlift support operations at US Army Fire bases and US Army Special Forces camps in remote combat areas of Vietnam. We often came under fire and were equipped with M-16s and ammunition and often defended ourselves during ground attacks made by the VC upon the camps and firebases where we worked and lived. Aerialport Mobility Operations Team members were shot at, wounded and killed. In turn, we fought back and were involved in defense of the locations where we worked.  Let there be no doubt that we would have qualified for the US Air Force Combat Action Medal had there been one at the time.

MOB Team members were awarded Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars and other combat-related military awards. While they seemed trivial to us at the time, those awards did and do document the hazardous nature of our duty and clearly confirm the combat exposure which we experienced.

Resources:
For help in preparing a VA claim, and to connect with your state's American Legion Service officer, go to http://www.legion.org/members/locators/dsodirectory
contact webmaster
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