After a five-year struggle, the Lowell Air Force veteran has received federal benefits totaling more than $90,000 for his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
“I feel a little upset I had to keep arguing with them,” said Starkweather, 65, who suffers from heart disease as a result of coming into contact with the herbicide while stationed at an airbase in Thailand between 1970 and 1971.
But because Starkweather – who filed his first benefits claim in 2010 – served at an air force base in Thailand, he had to overcome a higher burden of proof to receive compensation, he said.
But Starkweather still faced another hurdle.
Armed forces personnel who served at an air force base in Thailand during the war have to prove their duties took them to the perimeter of their base, near where Agent Orange was used.
Learn more about Thailand Military Bases and Agent Orange Exposure