U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, often referred to as U-Tapao or U-Taphao, is an airfield located in the Sattahip district of Rayong province in Thailand. It played a significant role during the Vietnam War, serving as a major operational base for United States military forces. The link between veterans and U-Tapao largely stems from its use by the U.S. military during this period.
U-Tapao was initially developed as a major logistics and aircraft repair base by the United States in the 1960s to support its military operations in Vietnam. It hosted a significant number of U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers, reconnaissance planes, and refueling aircraft. The airfield was essential for launching bombing raids over Vietnam and Cambodia, and it also served as a key point for air logistics, maintenance, and support operations for the U.S. military in Southeast Asia.
Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, especially those involved in air operations, may have direct links to U-Tapao either through being stationed there, participating in missions that originated or ended at the airfield, or through support roles that contributed to the base’s operation.
Previously, in order for veterans to claim presumptive conditions for Agent Orange, they had to provide proof they were present close to the fence line of the base, usually working on the flightline on the base. This proved difficult for many veterans who were either stationed at U-Tapao, or traveled through the base en route to other locations. Veterans we have talked with told us about spending a day at U-Tapao, but not being able to provide proof they were actually present on the flightline.
With the passage of the PACT Act in August 2022, veterans no longer have to worry about where on base they were stationed, or even if they were on another base in Thailand. According to the PACT Act, veterans are covered for service “performed in Thailand at any United States or Royal Thai base during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on June 30, 1976, without regard to where on the base the veteran was located or what military job specialty the veteran performed;”
If you are a veteran who served anywhere in Thailand between the dates as stated above AND you have one of the presumptive conditions for Agent Orange, talk to a local Veteran Service Officer and submit your claim for disability compensation.
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