Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Hiroshi Kitamura

Committee Members

Peyman Jafari

Michael Butler

Elizabeth Barnes


This thesis examines the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam War and its effects on American Blue Water Navy veterans amidst their battle for presumptive service connection to Agent Orange exposure. The first chapter studies the history of the American decision to use Agent Orange, placing this history in the broader context of the Vietnam War. It argues that as long as Agent Orange and its health consequences persist among its victims without proper compensation, the Vietnam War is an ongoing conflict. The second chapter is a focused study on the Blue Water Navy veterans’ battle for a presumptive service connection to Agent Orange exposure, examining the congressional, legislative, and legal debates that surrounded this battle. The third chapter presents three original oral histories of US veterans to chronicle the struggles of the victims while legislative discussions were under way. This thesis introduces a political and social history of US veteran Agent Orange compensation to a Vietnam War literature that largely revolves around military and diplomatic history. It also highlights new oral histories of Blue Water Navy veterans within the literature that does focus on veteran compensation. This thesis uses these oral histories, governmental correspondence, congressional debates, speeches, and more to chronicle US veterans’ battles for health care and compensation for their exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War.

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