I have told the story before of Mr. Barnes. This month, he finally received compensation for his conditions.
Mr. Barnes served along the DMZ in Korea and he saw Agent Orange being used along the DMZ when he was TDY’d to the DMZ. We were able to obtain pay records to show that he had received hazard pay for his work, corroborating his account. We also found unit records that established that his paving company worked on roads in the vicinity of the DMZ. This was the evidence we needed to prove that he was exposed to Agent Orange.
NOW THE BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS HAS AGREED TO RECONSIDER JESSE BARNES’ CLAIM THAT HE WAS EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE ALONG THE DMZ!
This is great news for Mr. Barnes. Jesse Barnes served in Company A of the 76th Engineer battalion. Unlike infantry troops, the VA in most cases does not presume that non-infantry troops were exposed to Agent Orange.
Here is what we found:
- Pay stubs showing he received Combat Pay. There was only one way to win combat pay in Korea — Service in and near the DMZ.
- Mr. Barnes’ Unit Records. The 76th Engineer Battalion built roads throughout the 2nd Infantry division’s territory. Under VA logic, 2nd Infantry units are presumed to be exposed to Agent Orange. However, the 76th Engineer Battalion was building roads near the DMZ for the 2nd Infantry, is not.
- TDY assignments: Mr. Barnes was TDY’d to assist at Camp Giant, only a few miles from the DMZ.
These records convinced the Board to reconsider its denial.
If anyone out there recalls seeing the 76th Engineer Battalion out paving roads along the DMZ, please contact me.