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02/17/23 05:26 PM #102    

Ronald E. Hawkins (Na)



Ron Kaussner was diagnosed by the VA with health issues stemming from exposure to Agent Orange.  He worked Fleet at Yokota and was called out to a C141 (1969) to sweep and mop a liquid from some leaking barrels.  Freight did not want to get anywhere close to the aircraft because the crew did not have a DD Form 1387-2 for the barrels.  Because the crew did not know what was in the barrels they could not research AFR 71-4. Not knowing any better, Ron tried to help and he swept the liquid off the ramp and put it into some kind of container.  

After I retired from ATT in Greensboro, I drove to Winston-Salem and spoke with the VFW and DAV.  Both stated that Yokota and my Thai PCS locations were not on the list of affected locations.  Ton Son Nhut was even on their list. Shortly after that, Ron died.  Cause of death was listed as Agent Orange.  As you know I am not a doctor anymore than jai house lawyers that want to advise people on how to handle issues; but, I have dealt with the VA on different issues and had them refuse to honor my 20% disability that I was given by the VA in Winston-Salem.  Locally, they are not professional and I am not sure if they are knowledgeable about the latest guidance on Agent Orange. Some of my friends say that the VA is "on the ball and understand the latest guidance" and others say they are just coming to work just to collect a paycheck.  I have MEDICARE and TRICARE For Life so I am willing to take my chances as opposed to going to the VA.  

02/17/23 07:27 PM #103    


Jerry Davis

Hi Y'all,

I have filed with the VA for numerous medical conditions about 2 years ago.  Still waiting on ischemic heart disease & high blood pressure from exposure to dioxin in Guam.  The only thing they have approved is tinitus and hearing loss.  It's been a 2 year trip with them.  I filed for dioxin exposure prior to the PACT ACT.  I don't know how long that will delay any exam or decision.

02/17/23 07:31 PM #104    


Jerry Davis

Bob good luck on your C&P exam.  I hope it works out.  We are all getting long in the tooth and I hope that is not their strategy.

02/18/23 12:14 AM #105    


Art Cross

Ron,.I was sorry to hear about Ron Kaussner's situation and death. That could have been the same night that I got involved. I didn't realize he was on duty and had to clean up the mess. On the night I got involved, we did offload the pallet with the leaking barrel. There was a lot more exposure than the VA realizes. I think the VA employee attitudes varies by location. Here in Kerrville, Texas, I have been very impressed with all the workers that I have come into contact with, from Clerks, Technicians,  Nurses, and  Doctors. A lot of them are ex military and they are always  very polite, friendly and professional. 

02/18/23 06:31 AM #106    

Herbert Tidwell

If dioxin exposure on Guam leads to a presumptive factor for your illnesses, I would suggest filing a new claim.  It cannot hurt your case.  Glad that you like your caregivers at the VA facilities you use.  There are some really good people employed by the VA.  However, do not forget that the VA has a verified history of deceit and denial when it comes to valid claims.  Never trust the VA in regard to a claim and do your homework to substantiate any claim you make.  Hard work solves a lot of issues.  Don't be afraid to lawyer up if it seems advisable.  I have a 100% permanent and total disability rating due to Agent Orange exposure.  That is my situation and the one I make these statements from.

02/18/23 07:02 AM #107    

Bob Garcia

Jerry,thanks for the good luck because I'll need it.With regard to Ischemic Heart Disease issues,I was diagnosed last year by my cardioligist after a series of tests.Even though "boots on the ground is considered presumptive,I suggest you have your heart specialist fill out the V.A.FORM DBQ and submit it along with the 21-0995 supplemental form.Also,if you haven't already,go to the C.F.R.38 pertaining to disability ratings and criteria for cardio issues.Best wishes,Bob Garcia. 

02/18/23 09:15 AM #108    


Bob Shaw

I believe this is Ron Kaussner.

Barracks 332 across from chow hall.

02/18/23 09:19 AM #109    


Bob Shaw

02/18/23 12:00 PM #110    

Stephen M. Landon (Command & Control Specialist)

I worked for the Veterans Health Adminstration for 20 years and during that time  I visited (TDY) at least a dozen or so VA Medical Centers and was stationed (PCS) 7 VA Medical Centers. The Medical Centers throughout the land are grouped geographically into different VISN's having worked in the private sector with national large companies what surprised me the most with the Veterans Health Administrations (VHA) was depending on which medical center you visit they are not standardized with their procedure or understanding.  I think this makes navigating the claims process challenging to say the least. I finally was rated at 90 percent it took longer to get properly rated due to me going through the claims process until I really realized how it operated.  I would suggest always seeking help with the veteran Service Organizations for assistance they have offices at the VA Medical Centers and also in the community.

02/18/23 04:21 PM #111    

Bob Garcia

Very good food for thought here with regard to the non standardization of the V.A.system.My experience has been mixed.To qualify that statement I must be honest and say I screwed up years ago in the claims process.What I learned late in life is do your home work and dot the Is and cross the tees.Now this is not to say I have sucessfully navigated the V.A. system,but I'm giving it my best efforts to secure these benefits associated with Agent Orange.This gentleman's inside view of the V.A. is a great perspective on how the system functions.Above all be honest  as possible with your claim .The same goes for a C&P exam .Remember,these people are supposed to be objective ,but they are not there to give you a sympathetic ear.Those of you that spent time in country like me ,the clock is ticking and time waits for no man.If you feel you have a shot at securing V.A.benefits related to Agent Orange ,then give it a shot.Don't waste your time if you don't line your ducks up.Best wishes 610 gang,Bob Garcia.

03/20/23 03:15 PM #112    

Bob Garcia

As a follow up to the Agent Orange V.A. claims ,just got awarded 10% for Hypertension and 30% for Ischemic Heart Disease.They low balled me on the latter but it really suprised me on the Hypertension claim! Even though I submitted a ton of paper work to support these claims,couldn't have done it without the help of a very competant veterans service officer.Anyone out there looking for help with AO claims,I suggest you get in contact with the V.F.W.This is providing you qualify for membership.Read up on the Pact Act as so it will provide you with some direction.This process took me the better part of 25yrs with the V.A.Remember,I'm not saying that I am the sharpest tool in the shed,do your homework and don't give up! Signing off,Bob Garcia.

03/21/23 06:42 AM #113    

Herbert Tidwell

Study the CFR's applicable Schedule of Ratings and if you meet the criteria for X% rating, be sure to include medical evidence that mirrors them word for word.  Make it so clear that even the VA will understand and agree that you have earned X% rating.  Don't hesitate to appeal until you receive the rating you feel is correct.  Hire an attorney if necessary.  It's money well spent.  I'm 100% total and permanent based on ischemic heart disease caused by Agent Orange.  Feel free to contact me if you want additional information.

03/24/23 12:10 PM #114    

Bob Garcia

You are a wise man Mr.Tidwell,you truly know what your talking about when it comes to the process.I just went for another C&P exam for sinitus and Rhinitus.It was worth the effort because they found polyps in my left nostrel.I dont know how the medical report will turn out but this prompts me to finally see a specialist.Those of you that spent any time in Southwest Asia and are having these problems, it would behouve you to file a claim.Anyway,the V.A.saga goes on and signing off,Bob Garcia.

05/05/23 07:45 PM #115    


Jerry Davis

I found this article while reseraching 610 MASS history.  Written by CMSgt Jerry Merritt who wa in the instrument shop after my time, but the article reminded me of the hundreds of Medivacs I worked on during my 2 years.


05/05/23 07:50 PM #116    


Jerry Davis

For your reading pleasure and some history of the amount of patients that moved through our medivac system during Vietnam.  610 MASS was the primary transit point during my 2 years!


MAC Aeromedical Evacuation Support of Southeast Asia Operations 1964-1971



05/07/23 03:58 PM #117    

William Leibundguth

I spent 6 months reconfiguring 141's to med evac and back again. The worst were the burn flights.

05/08/23 08:28 AM #118    

Robert Hicks

Ha has anybody had a problem with there dd214 to update. The reason I say this is I looked at mine and it doesn't show where I was overseas like being at Yokota to all my TDYs to the PI for work at 604 mass. I do know working with the air force and the idiots in DC is like nothing. After the pact act came out as a flightline mechanic on C141,C5 and etc the number of toxic material was unbelievable. The government never recognized a lot places over there in southeast Asia so if anyone can help with paperwork of any sort would be really helpful. 


05/08/23 09:38 AM #119    

Bob Garcia

This is just a little heads-up information to you Air Force retirees out there that have Agent Orange disabilities that are less than 50%compensable. DAFS will take dollar for dollar out of your retirement pay.In this sinario the is tax free.The way around this is to qualify for the CRSC program.In my case the V.A.pays me 40% but DAFS takes back half.Since I met the Combat Related Special Compensation criteria they send me the other half tax free.This may or may not be news to any of you out there but if it is ,than check it out on the web.

05/09/23 05:09 PM #120    


Jerry Davis

Robert - 

None of my TDY's are listed on my 214, and they are important records for us!  I have repeatedly requested these records and the requests have fallen on deaf ears.  Same goes for my medical records from Yokota!

05/09/23 05:24 PM #121    


Jerry Davis


I am amazed at the lack of history available for our ole Squadron.  I wrote on line to the AMC History office at, and they can only find history from July 1975 through December 1978.  I have sent this on to Mitch to see if was any use to the 610 MASS group.  I can email this to anyone that is interested.

I was referred to Air Force Historical Research Agency at  I have searched many hours on this website and have found very few documents related to 610 MASS for the years of inception through 1975.  It's like 610 MASS has been totally redacted from Air Force HIstory.  I am very curious WHY???

I have also reached out to but have not heard anything back from them.




05/09/23 05:29 PM #122    


Jerry Davis

William -

Yeah those weekly flights with our burn casualties were the worse!  We were there about the same time.  Me - Jan '66 till Nov '68.

05/09/23 06:01 PM #123    


Jerry Davis

Circa 1967 in front of 610 MASS Barracks. Me and my machines took me many miles around Honshu!

05/09/23 06:03 PM #124    


Jerry Davis

Circa 1967 in front of 610 MASS Barracks. Me and my machines took me many miles around Honshu!

05/12/23 01:58 PM #125    

William Leibundguth

My DD214 is totally wrong too. It shows only one year overseas duty were as I was at Yokota for two and none of my TDYs  are listed either.Found out that it's too much of a hassle to get it fixed.


05/12/23 05:14 PM #126    


Jerry Davis


MASS Commander 1966-1968. He had quiet a background. I found this on Ancestry / Newspapers

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