VA expands disability benefits for Air Force personnel exposed to contaminated C-123 aircraft


VA today published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).

VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by VA to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

VA Secretary Bob McDonald made the decision to expand benefits following receipt of a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. This VA-requested report found evidence that as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.

“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” said McDonald. “We thank the IOM for its thorough review that provided the supporting evidence needed to ensure we can now fully compensate any former crew member who develops an Agent Orange-related disability.”

Under this new rule, Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical and ground maintenance crewmembers who served on the contaminated ORH C-123s are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides during their service, thus making it easier for them to establish entitlement for some VA benefits if they develop an Agent Orange-related presumptive condition. In addition, for affected Air Force Reserve crew members, VA will presume that their Agent Orange-related condition had its onset during their Reserve training. This change ensures that these reservists are eligible for VA disability compensation and medical care for any Agent Orange-related presumptive condition, and that their surviving dependents are eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation and burial benefits.

The interim final rule can be found on the Federal Register: VA will immediately begin processing claims and issuing benefits to eligible Air Force crew members.

VA encourages reservists who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron), Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron) or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport ( 758th Airlift Squadron) during the period 1969 to 1986, and developed an Agent Orange-related disability to file a disability compensation claim online through the joint VA-Department of Defense web portal, eBenefits (

VA also has identified several active duty locations where ORH C-123 aircraft may have been used following their service in Vietnam. Active duty personnel who served in a regular USAF unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned and who had regular and repeated contact with the aircraft through flight, ground or medical duties during the period 1969 to 1986, and who develop an Agent Orange-related disability, also are encouraged to apply for benefits. For more information on applying for these benefits, including the affected units, Air Force Specialty Codes and dates of service for affected crew members, and a listing of Agent Orange-related conditions, visit

In order to avoid unnecessary delay of benefits, claimants should annotate “(C-123)” after each Agent Orange related disability in Part II, Block 14 of VA Form 21-526 or Section I, Block 11 of VA

Form VA Form 21-526EZ when filing on eBenefits. Example: Diabetes (C-123). If claimants have any of the following documents, they should be attached to their application:

  • Discharge, separation papers,  (DD214 or equivalent)
  • USAF Form 2096 (unit where assigned at the time of the training action)
  • USAF Form 5 (aircraft flight duties)
  • USAF Form 781 (aircraft maintenance duties)
  • Dependency records (marriage & children’s birth certificates)
  • Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports)

VA will process all claims related to C-123 exposure at the St. Paul, Minnesota, VA Regional Office.  Claims not filed through eBenefits should be mailed to the following address (or faxed to 608-373-6694):

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: C123 Claims
PO Box 5088
Janesville, WI 53547-5088

Individuals with specific benefit questions related to herbicide exposure on C-123s may call VA’s special C-123 Hotline at 1-800-749-8387 (available 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST) or e-mail




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  1. Patrick jahnke    

    Yesterday Tammy balwin wis Congress put bill to stop any narcotics drugs to be given in the va hospitals/clinics, why did she add any clinic at any government places like Congress, senators in DC and state offices, I’m sure. Thier candy for some of our Congress/ senators it need to added on bill, how many of our of our law makers were in services? How how iud, shot, prisoners, got injury any way , that we are in pain.!!! I feel if u got meds that don’t work send them to our Congress/senators if u pass this bill u get tons more useless med given to us veterans, I have bottles of meds I got that don’t work, give me nasty side effects, I refused to take any more . I HATE BEING IN PAIN CAN’T ENJOY LIFE WHILE IN PAIN!!!!!! I’m cc a private doc. I get 2 pills a day help with pain it helps doctor even told me I look better a month later., I know thier are veterans are in same boat with me, fighting pain and the va, and antidepressant drugs that give more problem, or nasty side effects KEEP ON FIGHTING WWW3 war with the VA

  2. John Hawk    

    Every time I turn around, I find more stuff that gave me Agent Orange! 🙁

  3. Con Shuck    

    The list needs to be expanded to include USMC KC-130-F aircraft that carried agent orange into just about every place you can think of. I understand that Lockheed did testing on aircraft and all those tested from the Viet Nam era were contaminated.

  4. Bob Fiorito    

    I use to fly in C130s non-pressureized. Ears busting. I saw these planes transporting Agent Orange. In Pleiku they sprayed it all around the perimiter our base camp Enrie, Then the empty canisters 50gallon drums were cut in half and use as the shitters in the latrine, Then they would burn the shit in the open. I have friends from there I still have some contact, One had throat cancer, He beat, another has diabeties and colon cancer. While I was in PTSD treatment in southen Cal. In our group there were several Vets who did serve same place Camp Enrie before I was there in 1969, Diabeties and Prostate cancer was with many, One guy had four different cancers including pancreas, Stomach, colon, intestines, Believe it or not He was still alive in 2003, I haven’t heard of Him since then. I don’t know of the many who were there at that time who suffered more then these guys. The guys I know and many more are the ones who fought this government to get the benefits that you are now seeing these non-in- country veterans getting. So be very thankfull for the Vietnam Veterans who stood up against the Government who would send Us to war but would not grant us the benefits that would help us survive with respect after leaving the war.

  5. Christopher Cole    

    And yet for those of us who were sprayed in Thailand it is: Deny, Deny, Deny until they die.

  6. Judy Darlene Thiret-Wallace    

    Need help with benefits, have been trying to get disability for several years only to be told “Denied, can not find medical records. I sent all my private medical records since released from service with honorable discharged. I finally located my military medical records and they state everything I was filing for and had been treated for in service. Now I a trust issue because I got those records within 2 weeks. All the Veterans Affairs counselors never helped me, called me back or ask for anymore information, I don’t know how to get a Veterans Attorney or if I can trust them with looking out for my best interest or the VA. Any answer will be appreciated.

    Judy Thiret-Wallace

  7. Frances Porgal    

    What about those Blue Water Sailors from the Vietnam era who have been shut out for so long? My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2001 – a very aggressive type – and had the surgery only to have it return. He is now being treated with the hopes of putting it into hibernation.

    Blue Water Sailors across the board have a high incidence of prostate cancer but are excluded from disability for Agent Orange cause.

    1. Richard hogg    

      I was on board the U.S.S Constellation CVA 64 did Vietnam missions from 1970 to 1973 in the Gulf of Tonkin we had aircraft land and refuel on board we had work details for loading. So I’m considered blue water. So far I had cancer heart problems muscle spasms I just like to know if and decisions were made for us.

  8. Ignacio Moreno    

    What about the so called blue water sailors that provided fire support for our troops during the Tet offensive!
    My ship was within a stones throw from the beach along the DMZ. Everywhere you looked was nothing but dead jungle.
    WE breathed , drank and probably ate the stuff with out knowing it.
    I have talked to my Dr and he states that I am just getting old. I believe that chloracne is caused by agent orange. I have little sores in my eye brows on my scalp and around my hairline that are a constant irritation.
    Does ant body have more onformation on this issue?
    Thank you,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Nash Moreno

  9. Gary Craig Sobie    

    I was in the US Navy from 1969 to 1971. And during that time, I served on the USS John F Kennedy CVA-67. We were told, that our ship was being deployed. But none of the crew knew where we were deployed to at all. So I was in during the Vietnam War. And I was wondering if the USS John F. Kennedy CVA-67 could be added to the list of ships, that were deployed to Vietnam or not. Can someone check into this for me? And get back to me with the information. Because I am trying to get on the Agent Orange list. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.


    Gary Sobie

  10. Glen Dale Swain    

    I served aboard the USS Jenkins DD447 we operated off the coast from the delta to DMZ and the gulf we anchored the harbor in Da Nang 2 years running can you give me answers 4 from our engine room are already dead from cancer 2 more have cancer that is poor average for a crew I 14

  11. Jon Petersen    

    If anchored in Da Nang harbor for 2 years; you just need to write a statement that you went a shore. If it was for supplies or leave or liberty it counts. There is a list of ships that were in that harbor now. Start there, then your statement, then your diagnosis for the covered condition. Note: Not every cancer is covered by Agent Orange but submit it anyways in case it is changed.
    Good luck, Shipmates!
    HT3 Jon D. Petersen
    DAV Chapter #78 Commanding Officer

  12. Ellsworth Whitehead    

    Look up
    Navy and Coast Guard ships associated with service in Vietnam and exposed to herbicide agents
    it has the complete list

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