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We have identified a growing number of seriously ill or deceased former service members, dependents, and staff who served, lived, and worked around Fort Ord, former U.S. Army base, which was declared an EPA Superfund site in 1990.1  Ord was added to the National Priorities List citing over 45 contaminants of concern found in the soil and groundwater, including aquifers that historically served as the drinking water source.2  Now, experts have found very substantial and compelling evidence that the most toxic components of Agent Orange, including the now banned 2,4,5-T, were used in massive quantities in order to control poison oak over thousands of acres of Fort Ord where troops extensively trained.


Based on this evidence, we respectfully request your URGENT assistance in adding Fort Ord to the Veterans Affairs updated and expanded list of stateside DOD installations where the use of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides are recognized. Ord’s inclusion with this new rule would grant presumption for the adjudication of disability or death benefit claims for certain conditions among those who were exposed—the deadline for federal register comments is April 12th, 2024.


As you may be aware, for the 1st time, a VA proposal on February 12, 2024, plans to expand Agent Orange health coverage and presumption for disability or death benefits to veterans with certain conditions who served at 18 DOD installations in 12 states.3  Unfortunately, Fort Ord was left off the list. Expert researchers, including a chemical engineer, have found substantial, compelling evidence that Fort Ord used massive amounts of herbicides to control poison oak over thousands of acres. We believe this use persisted for decades from the mid 1950s through the 1970s, and have noted the intent to store 2,4,5-T designated on Ord’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Closure plan in 1991.4,5


As a reminder, Agent Orange is a 50-50 mix of the herbicides 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T; the latter of which was banned in 1979.  2,4,5-T contains 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin or TCDD, otherwise known as dioxin, which is one of the deadliest substances known.6  Exposure to dioxin can include simple inhalation and exposures can occur from fires, trash, and fuel burning. The half-life of dioxins in the soil is from 60 to 80 years with decades-long persistence as it seeps into the soil and sediments, and migrates into the vegetation and aquatic life, poisoning the food chain.7

Evidence we have found on the use of these herbicides at Fort Ord includes:

  • Report on poison oak work control from an Army agronomist documenting a spray rig crew using between 4 to 8 lbs. of acid per acre of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T (experimenting with them separately and in mixture) which would mean a representative acre would take roughly 200 gallons of spray material.4

  • Citation of a Veteran claim and sworn testimony, including a December 1980 memorandum from the Dept. of the Army indicating that the Pest Control Shop at Fort Ord had monthly records, from January 1973 on, relating to Agent Orange and herbicide use—including references to 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D usage.7

  • Citation in The Military Engineer from 1956 indicating that the use of both 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T as brush killers at Fort Ord had been highly successful in preventing poison oak dermatitis and should serve as a “valuable reference in our weed control program.”8

  • Hazardous Waste Minimization Assessment from Fort Ord indicating roughly 80,000 pounds of herbicide use per year including waste classification of 2,4,5-T specifically.9

  • Fort Ord’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Closure Plan including a RCRA Part A form where F027 (the EPA hazardous waste number for 2,4,5-T) is listed as stored at estimated 1000 lbs.5,11

  • Original field plot research on industrial vegetation management report evaluating the effectiveness of herbicides in controlling poison oak at Ord, which sites the use of 2,4,5-T, silvex, and aminotriazole at rates of 1 to 2 pounds per acre in 100 gallons proving to provide immediate but not long-lasting control of the poison oak.12

  • Record of Decision Operable Unit 1 Fritzsche Army Airfield Fort Ord, CA in July 1995 where Table 3 cites 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin (TCDD) found after excavation at 3.5 ppt.13

You can help by taking IMMEDIATE ACTION to add Fort Ord under the updated and expanded list of stateside DOD installations where the use of Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides is recognized for presumption of service connection for certain conditions. Given the very direct and compelling evidence for dioxin use, as well as the decades of science behind the toxic effects of these herbicides, we believe the addition of Fort Ord to the proposed expanded list for presumption is the EVIDENCE-BASED action that is merited.

Over 27,000 patriots have signed our petition and stand with Fort Ord!!
Now, we need your ASAP action by 4/12 for the VA to recognize the Agent Orange contamination at Ord! Your immediate action will help ensure healthcare and death or disability benefits for Veterans exposed to toxic herbicides at Ord. 

Suggested Text for Federal Register Comments

The most intensively used areas for training troops for battle at Fort Ord were thickly infested with poison oak. Thousands of soldiers were severely afflicted--interrupting training and disrupting operations. In response, the Army regularly sprayed 9,000 acres of land used for training with herbicidal mixtures nearly identical to Agent Orange. It might have gone on for 20 – 30 years.  


According to Floyd L. Otter, Army Agronomist, herbicides used at Fort Ord included 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T - separately - and in various combinations. Various mixtures of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T were concocted at Fort Ord and used on the training areas where many thousands of troops trained in the dirt. The Army realized that sprays containing dioxin-laden 2,4,5-T were most effective in eradicating the poison oak. 

See the website of the University of California Division and Agriculture and Natural Resources, 


​The use of these herbicidal components of Agent Orange was also substantiated in a citation in The Military Engineer. In addition, a VA claim by a Fort Ord veteran sickened with type 2 diabetes mellitus included a letter from the Army dated in December 1980, noting that the Pest Control Shop at Fort Ord had monthly records dating back to January 1973 of all herbicides used, and that 2-4-5 T and 2-4 D usage was included in the records. Source: Citation Nr: 1235530 Decision Date: 10/15/12 On appeal from the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Portland, Oregon

Further evidence of toxic herbicide usage is clear on the 1991 Hazardous Waste Minimization Assessment from Fort Ord, which cites roughly 80,000 pounds of herbicide use per year, including the waste classification of 2,4,5-T specifically. Fort Ord's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Base Closure Plan also references intended storage of the dioxin-containing herbicide. Finally, the 1995 Record of Decision for Operable Unit 1 Fritzsche Army Airfield shows the toxic TCDD found after excavation in the soil to be elevated above the remediation goal. Supporting documents can be found on the Fort Ord Cleanup site.

In view of this substantial and compelling evidence, I hope you will consider including Fort Ord on the list of bases in the U.S. recognized for the exposure to certain herbicides like Agent Orange.

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Willing to talk to your lawmakers?
Contact us for a template letter. Email:

Take Action by 4/12!!

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We are asking all who support our troops in the US Armed Forces including our Veterans organizations to stand with the families facing the dire, and in some cases, deadly consequences of DOD contamination.


Poisoned in service to our country, hundreds of Veterans who served on Fort Ord Army base are facing cancers and other serious illnesses they are concerned are related to base contamination. Sadly in good company, many Fort Ord Veterans are suffering from rare blood cancers and other medical conditions which were recognized as linked to the water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. And as with Lejeune, civilian patriots who also served on base, as well as the families who lived there, are also suffering and dying.

Fort Ord was declared an EPA Superfund site in 1990 and was even placed on the National Priorities List as among the worst contaminated sites in the country. And in fact, many of the same contaminants found at Lejeune have been found contaminating the air, soil, and water at Fort Ord. This includes several known or probable carcinogens, namely Benzene, PCE, and TCE. These 3 highly toxic chemicals were primary contaminants of concern at both Lejeune and Fort Ord. But despite the similarities, all VA benefit claims for those exposed at Fort Ord are being denied.


If you believe we must stop the cycle of delay, deny, and hope they die when it comes to Veterans’ benefits, please sign. We must demand action and recognition of the deadly consequences from DOD contamination!

Out of fairness for Fort Ord families, we respectfully request updated investigation and consideration of Veterans benefit coverage as well as hospital and medical services coverage equivalent to those impacted at Lejeune and as guaranteed in the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. And because of the scope of DOD contamination, we request the following further actions:

● Creating a Health Registry similar to the Open Burn Pit Registry, which will allow for learning more about health effects from air, soil, and water contamination on DOD installations.

● Requiring periodic review of the registry as well as reassessment by ATSDR of emerging epidemiological evidence that would substantiate adding conditions to the presumptive list for VA benefits coverage.

● Establishing a Medical Monitoring program that will be guided by information learned through the Registry.

Stand with Fort Ord

Evidence Sources

1.    EPA Superfund Site report. Available at:

2.    EPA Superfund Contaminant List. Available at:

3.    Updating VA Adjudication for Disability or Death Benefit Claims Related to Exposure to Certain Herbicide Agents. Available at:

4.    Poison Oak Control Work at Fort Ord, California from Floyd L. Otter, Management Agronomist for US Army, Fort Ord, California. Available at:

5.    Fort Ord Hazardous Waste Permit Application Part A with storage of up to 1,000 pounds of F027 Hazardous AO Waste. Available at:

6.    NIH. History of the Controversy of the Use of Herbicides. Available at:,of%20the%20entire%20herbicide%20operation.

7.    NIH. A Review of Soil Contaminated with Dioxins and Biodegradation Technologies: Current Status and Future Prospects.

8.    Appellant sworn testimony before the Veterans’ Board of Appeals remanded to the AMC in Washington, DC. Available at:

9.    Discussion on the Chemical Control of Weeds. The Military Engineer Vol. 48. No. 321 (Jan-Feb 1956). Available at:

10.    Hazardous Waste Minimization Assessment: Fort Ord, CA from the Defense Technical Information Center in May 1991. Available at:

11.    EPA. Hazardous Waste Listings: A User-Friendly Reference Document. September 2012. Available at:

12.    US Dept of Defense. Industrial Vegetation Management. 2(1)15-17. 1970. Alb; A5b. Available at:

13.    US Department of the Army, Sacramento Corps of Engineers. Record of Decision Operable Unit 1 Fritzsche Army Airfield Fort Ord, CA from July 25, 1995. Available at:

14.    Cancer and Illnesses from Fort Ord, CA military base. Private Facebook Group, 1,600 Members.

15.    Database of Impacted Veterans, Civilians, and Dependents who served, worked, or lived at Fort Ord.

16.    National Archives Code of Federal Regulations . § 3.309 Disease subject to presumptive service connection. Diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents. Available at:


Were you impacted by the contamination at Fort Ord? Lawmakers need to hear from you! Please complete a brief questionnaire and stay tuned for more details on Fort Ord related action.

Our friend, Julie Peters Akey, started a Facebook group for those impacted by the contamination at Fort Ord. There are over 400 members in the private group. To date, we’ve identified nearly 400 individuals with cancer and other severe illnesses among Veterans, families, and civilians who lived or worked in that area. If you were impacted, we would love to welcome you into the group discussion.

For Those Impacted

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