Many Vietnam veterans are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and are eligible for benefits for illnesses believed to stem from the herbicide. But other Vietnam veterans aren't eligible. Below is a great article about how this happens.
The men and women who served in the Vietnam War are used to being treated differently than other veterans, but even within their ranks, some are treated better than others.
While many Vietnam veterans automatically are granted benefits for cancer, diabetes and other sicknesses because they are presumed to stem from exposure to Agent Orange, others don't get that consideration.
Keith Trexler of Whitehall Township is one of them.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago. If he had been among the ground troops or those patrolling inland waterways, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would have considered his cancer to be "service-connected" due to the likelihood he came in contact with Agent Orange, an herbicide sprayed to kill vegetation the enemy used for cover.
Because Trexler served in the Navy on the waters offshore, the VA doesn't presume he was exposed. He's what the VA considers to be a "blue water" veteran. To qualify for benefits for his cancer and other ailments, he must prove to the VA he came in contact with Agent Orange, something that's not easy to do.