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Agent B Presumptive Claims

Early Agent B cannister (78mm) with self actuator

Veterans Today – by Alex Graham

The Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) has just announced a new presumptive exposure entitlement due to Agent B for Vietnam Veterans. As usual, this one will only apply to Vets with “boots on the ground” in country from January 9th, 1961 and May 7th, 1975. Preliminary rules are still being drawn up, but the latest word is that it will fall under 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Chapter 4,  § 4.114 (digestive diseases) Diagnostic Code (DC) 7301:

Moderate; pulling pain on attempting work or aggravated by movements of the body, or occasional episodes of colic pain, nausea, constipation (perhaps alternating with diarrhea) or abdominal distension.  

The compensation picture appears to be a maximum of 10% now, but that may change as Congressional hearings progress.

Agent B was widely dispersed near Forward Operating Bases, Fire Bases and remote operating locations via slicks. Dispersal around larger Air and Army Bases was accomplished by C-7, C-123 and C-130 aircraft configured in the cargo mode. Apparently Air America aircraft engaged in this as well, but those records are still classified.  Agent B was manufactured by several different chemical companies during the course of the war.  Some of the more recognized ones include Adolph Coors Co. (light yellow containers) and the Schlitz Mfg. Co (white with brown lettering and stripes). The canisters were cylindrical and approximately the same diameter as an 81 mm. mortar round.  During the early part of the war, the canisters were devoid of an engagement pin and required a special tool to actuate the device. This was affectionately known as a “church key”. Later versions came equipted with self-contained actuators.

Agent B, or as some of you Vets may remember it, Agent Beer, was widely used as a depression suppressant. Unfortunately, the CDC has now determined it actually increased depression. The long term physical debility associated with this agent appears for the most part to be a large, distended abdomen in men. Doctors now refer to this as a “beer belly”. VA physicians have determined that compensation is due when a Vet can no longer see “winky” while standing and looking down.

If you suffer from this malady or have other friends who are Vietnam Vets that do, please tell them to contact a VSO or file a claim with the VA directly.  Most AMLEG, AMVET and VFW bartenders have been briefed on this and have all the details if you are unsure whether you qualify. Remember, the earlier you file your claim will result in benefits accruing when VA finally approves this disease for compensation.

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8 Responses to Agent B Presumptive Claims

  1. Leester says:

    Haha thanks for the laugh!

  2. John W. says:

    Thanks a lot. how many of them left today, a dozen?.

  3. Bullwinkle says:

    Reporting of this condition to the VA will lead to firearms confiscation .

    • milidude says:

      Negative there soldier. reporting of this condition will result in confiscation of all fermented alcoholic beverage stashes!

      • rhumstruck says:

        Now you know that would only be a temporary set back. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! 15-20 days later you gonna be slurping torpedo juice of some kind and again content.

  4. Smilardog says:

    I thought it was really cool technology when they started coming with the activation pen attached.

  5. rhumstruck says:

    It has to be the formaldehyde in those canisters.
    Hey guy’s remember that first awful tasting beer incountry? My wife thought I was joking back in 78-79 when I told her about it, then years later she looked at me and said, “You were serious weren’t you?” We were watching the movie GOOD MORNING VIET NAM when she realized I had been serious!

  6. Test Flight Dummy says:

    Agent B story sure is insidious, makes me wonder if it might still be happening in another form today. How did they ever find out? Article wasn’t clear about that.

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