Citation Nr: 18160426
Decision Date: 12/26/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 14-24 681A
DATE:	December 26, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to service connection for a kidney disability, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
Entitlement to service connection for prostate cancer, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
Entitlement to service connection for anemia, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
Entitlement to service connection for peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral upper extremities, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
Entitlement to service connection for peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral lower extremities, to include bilateral foot drop, claimed as due to herbicide exposure, is denied.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that a kidney disability began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease.
2. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that prostate cancer began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease. 
3. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that anemia began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease. 
4. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that diabetes mellitus began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease.
5. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral upper extremities began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease.
6. The preponderance of the evidence is against finding that peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral lower extremities, to include bilateral foot drop, began during active service, or is otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease. 
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The criteria for service connection for a kidney disability are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
2. The criteria for service connection for prostate cancer are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
3. The criteria for service connection for anemia are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
4. The criteria for service connection for diabetes mellitus are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
5. The criteria for service connection for peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral upper extremities are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
6. The criteria for service connection for peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral lower extremities, to include bilateral foot drop, are not met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1111, 1131, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(a), 3.309(e).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
The Veteran served on active duty from September 1965 to September 1966. 
These matters are before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) from a June 2013 rating decision by a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO). The Board remanded the issues on appeal in April 2016.  They are now before the Board for final appellate consideration.
The Veteran alleges that he was exposed to herbicides during active duty while stationed on Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida from approximately December 1965 to September 1966 and that exposure caused his claimed disabilities.  
The Veteran’s service personnel records reflect that he was at Eglin AFB from October 24, 1965, to September 23, 1966.  His DD Form 214 shows that he was at Eglin AFB and his military occupational specialty was a supply helper.  
Internet articles submitted by the Veteran in July 2014, his July 2014 substantive appeal, and correspondence he submitted in January 2015 and August 2016 make it clear that he contends that the claimed conditions are directly due to the Agent Orange exposure at Eglin AFB.  Therefore, the Board will only address service connection based on Agent Orange exposure at Eglin AFB.  Robinson v. Mansfield, 21 Vet. App. 545 (2008).
Establishing service connection generally requires medical or, in certain circumstances, lay evidence of (1) a current disability; (2) incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury in service; and (3) a nexus between the claimed in-service injury or disease and the current disability. Service connection can also be established based upon a presumption that certain conditions are related to specified types of service. Relevant here, for certain veterans exposed in service to an herbicide, Congress has established a presumption of service connection for several diseases, including prostate cancer, Type 2 diabetes and early-onset peripheral neuropathy.  Kidney disease, anemia and peripheral neuropathy other than early-onset, are not among the diseases.  38 C.F.R. § 3.309 (e).  Even if the presumption of herbicide exposure cannot be established, a claimant may still show entitlement to the benefits by demonstrating that the disorder was directly caused by actual exposure to herbicides in service. See Combee v. Brown, 34 F.3d 1039 (Fed. Cir. 1994).
The question for the Board is whether the Veteran has a current disability that began during service or is at least as likely as not related to in-service Agent Orange exposure.  
The Board concludes that while the Veteran has current diagnoses of the claimed disabilities, he was not exposed to herbicides and service and the preponderance of the evidence is against finding that the claimed disabilities began during active service, or are otherwise related to an in-service injury, event, or disease, to include exposure to herbicides.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131, 5107(b); Holton v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1363, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2009); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.303(a), (d), 3.309 (e). 
A July 2018 VA Memorandum summarizes the steps taken to verify the Veteran’s claimed herbicide exposure.  The Memorandum details the corresponding development of the Veteran's claims by the Department of Defense (DoD) Compensation Services and the United States Army and Joint Service Records Research Center.  The Memorandum also summarizes three entries from a VA public health website addressing herbicide at Eglin AFB in 1952, from 1962 to1970, and from June to September 1968.  
The VA Memorandum concludes that while Agent Orange was shown to have been used at Eglin AFB, it was only used in test sites in restricted areas.  As DoD stated, “For exposure to be considered, the Veteran would need to provide evidence of working at, or being associated with the test site C-52A during the actual testing.”  A review of the Veteran's service records did not show any evidence of being in the restricted area.  As a result, VA did not concede exposure to Agent Orange.  
The Board finds that the Veteran's own assertions as to Agent Orange exposure at Eglin AFB do not support his claims.  The Veteran himself is not competent to state he underwent such exposure, and he has failed to provide any evidence showing such exposure.  
While the Veteran believes his disabilities are related to in-service exposure to herbicide at Eglin AFB, the Board reiterates that the preponderance of the evidence weighs against findings that such exposure occurred.
As there is there is no evidence of exposure to herbicide during active duty, the Veteran's claims for service connection must be denied.  38 C.F.R. §§ 3.303(a), (d), 3.309(e).
 
M.E. Larkin
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	J. Davitian, Counsel 

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

For More Information on Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits! Visit: DisableVeteran.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency


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