More than three million Veterans have served in Southwest Asia. Many of you were exposed to airborne hazards like open burn pits. I know during my time in Afghanistan we were downwind of a burn pit and exposed to a constant amount of particulate matter in the air from sand and other materials.

Join even if you don’t have health problems

Of all the Veterans who served in those theaters, fewer than 300,000 have signed up for our Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. I encourage all of you to sign up and learn more about how participating in the registry can help you get connected to VA health care and services you have earned.

Even if you’re not having any health problems currently, joining the registry can help us to really understand the potential health effects of these exposures and provide better care for all Veterans.

Join even if you aren’t enrolled in VA health care

Joining the registry cannot negatively impact your VA claim or access to care. You can join even if you aren’t enrolled in VA health care. That said, you can submit your registry information to support your claim if you choose. I also strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free, optional health evaluation that is a part of the registry.

I encourage you to come forward, talk to your doctors and medical teams, sign up, and ensure that we are better able to help all Veterans in the future.

Thank you for your service.

Learn more:


Acting Under Secretary for the Veterans Health Administration Dr. Richard Stone is a retired Army major general and Veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He was born and raised in Michigan and is a proud alumnus of the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

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26 Comments

  1. Bill Kyle February 15, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Burned the S*** in nam, 67 to 69

  2. Eddie. Ray February 14, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Yea an the Vietnam Vets done the same in Vietnam cause I know I did it for 2 yrs. So don’t forget the Southeast Asian vets,that’s where it lstarted,do we have to be let out again

  3. Eugene Walker February 14, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    I served in Viet Bam, from December 1967 until December 1968. There was open burning of human waste on a daily basis. It was horrible. Has anyone taken note of that?

  4. Aric Bernhardt February 14, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    I have been trying for over a year. Site does not function correctly, and calling for help is absolutely useless. Typical VA transfer you around until you just give up.

  5. Kendall Joseph Tough February 14, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    burn pits at USMC LTA … daily runs to dump military equipment not repairable or contaminated.

  6. Donald edward josker III February 14, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    I was in 1st marines division rct1 alpha team during the very very beginning of the war actually was in Kuwait way before then war even kicked off with the publicized shock-n-awww. Anyway i remember having to join in on the make shift toilet’s that we would so elegantly have to pour in diesel and stir the pot while the black sooty nasty foul smelling orders would envelope whole living areas at times when they wind was not quite brewing enough for our so called sanitizing and disposing of human excrement. But i did numerous times remember having to help with it and even if you weren’t it still was enough to make you gag and feel awful. It was definetly not a good duty or job anyone wanted however something we were of course obstructed to do .so that being said, what is it doing to our military men and woman? Like i said i have been out since after the initial wave which I was in over in Iraq for a year straight .until i get back to them U.S.A. and was time to check out of the marines corps. .

  7. Mark Hasch February 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    I have asked several times to be put on the pit list!!! How do I find out if I am and if not how do I get on it!!!
    The burn pit was only one of my concerns but its a start!!!

  8. Brian Novak February 14, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Why does the VA ignore the issues concerning countless burn pits used by the military in Vietnam? Using burn pits is not some recent idea which only occurred in Southwest Asia.
    The effects of burn pits in Vietnam should have been studied long ago. Many health issues attributed to Agent Orange or of unknown origin could actually be the result of burn pits used all over Vietnam

  9. Keith johnson February 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Why is it so hard to get 100 % disability? Some cases are not taken so serious when it comes to gender like sexual trauma to a m
    .an

  10. Roger miller February 14, 2021 at 9:05 am

    This is of concern when VA continues to encourage Veterans in or out of VA Healthcare System to make “Claims” when VA continues to Delay Agent Orange Claims from a Undeclared War in which over 58,000 of those who served died in battle and possibly a majority of those who served have expired yet knowing this Naval Claims that were finally admitted as factual in January 2020 some 45 years after War have not been addressed. In my case it has been over 13 months since my Claim was processed and 51 years since I returned and though I have requested physicals verbally over years and have exhibited those reasons thru VA Healthcare and are being treated for such? As a Vietnam Veteran some of the documents required or questions related to claim are humiliating when VA has access to Service Records including discharge papers provided with Service Related Medals.

    [Editor: VA doesn’t necessarily have access to service records. When a Veteran files a claim, VA will submit a request to the branch for what records the service has. It is always best to submit your claim with your own documented service records, or to work with a VSO who can assist you.]

  11. James Fisk February 14, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Very funny guys!
    I’ve been trying to do that since 2016. The process, first of all, is looong, especially if you have slow internet. 45 minutes every time I tried. Thats if you are lucky enough to try when the server is up. Then at the end of it, when you hit submit, you get this nice message that says ‘something went wrong!’ I brought this issue up at a VA townhall where someone promised to look into it and never did. Now we no longer do townhalls where people can publicly voice issues.
    Another issue, in 2018 I informed my VA pulminologist about the registry. She had no clue.

  12. Wayne Haynes February 14, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Was exposed to burn pits and burning waste in Vietnam

  13. Luis N Alicea February 14, 2021 at 8:07 am

    I was in Vietnam and the us army burn allkind of product and corsp ammunition, vagetation and we absorp all of it.
    I have problem because of it.

  14. Michael R Puckett February 14, 2021 at 7:12 am

    I’m always concerned about the burn pit. I was a army fire fighter in Balad Iraq. Responded multiple times to the burn pit.

  15. Combat Veteran February 14, 2021 at 4:23 am

    THEY DON’T CARE… THIS IS A FLUFF ARTICLE… TRIED TO CLAIM IT MYSELF FOR CURRENT BREATHING/HEALTH ISSUES CAUSE OF MULTIPLE TOXIC BURN PIT EXPOSURES AND CHEMOCALS BURNED!! (DENIED)
    EVEN AFTER APPEAL & WAITING 18 MONTHS FOR A JUDGE TO SIMPLY TELL ME NOT STRONG ENOUGH CASE… UMMM? I GAVE MULTIPLE BUDDY STATEMENTS, WITNESSES FROM FAMILY/FRIENDS SEEING ME COUGH UP UNRECOGNIZABLE THINGS/STRUGGLE TO BREATHE DAILY, ETC, ETC, AND YET NOPE!!!!
    GET REAL VETERANS AFFAIRS!!!! YA’LL WOULD RATHER US VETERANS DIE THAN TAKE CARE OF US PROPERLY!!!

    4X COMBAT VETERAN (3 TOURS IRAQ, 1 AFGHANISTAN)

  16. Rex A. Barrow February 14, 2021 at 3:42 am

    Vietnam Veteran.. I have been around many burn pits including human waste.

  17. Rex A. Barrow February 14, 2021 at 3:32 am

    I have sent it already

  18. Rex A. Barrow February 14, 2021 at 3:27 am

    in 1970 I was in Vietnam..camp evens..and all places around.. I had to fire up the burn pits as scheduled..many times human waste also.. I also have type 2 diabetes and COPD.. among other problems.

  19. Jamie February 14, 2021 at 3:24 am

    Gotta protect our nose.

  20. Richard L. Hill February 14, 2021 at 2:53 am

    Does airborne hazard exposure include agent orange? The defoliant was sprayed from the air and contained dioxin which never breaks down and is seriously toxic.

  21. Corrine OKeefe February 14, 2021 at 1:02 am

    My son-in-law served a tour in Iraq during 2009-2010 and ran the burn pits. In October 2018, at the age of 39, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away in the early morning on January 1, 2021 leaving behind my daughter and their 5 children

  22. David E Claiborn February 13, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    While in Iraq we breathed some interesting air. We even were exposed to asbestos while having to gut catalytic converters out so the hummers could run

  23. Wayne B Wheatley Sr February 13, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    I would like to join the registry.

  24. loretta martin February 13, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Why if there’s no financial compensation for pain and suffering

  25. Tanya Mcguire February 13, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    My late husband SFC William Mcguire passed away September 16 2018 from cancer. He was exposed to the burn pits while deployed as were at least 8 other deceased soldiers from his unit. These 9 soldiers died from the exact same thing. They were otherwise healthy men. My husband was diagnosed in May of 2018. He explained his symptoms to Healthcare providers who overlooked a lot of them. I’ve reached out for help many times only to be told by the VA he didn’t have a service connected issue. He had an open claim at the time of death. Someone please help. He left behind 9 children and 4 grandchildren.

  26. Francis Arthur Garrett February 13, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    We had the same burn pits in Vietnam do the Vietnam vets apply I served in country for one long yeear

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