Vietnam Veteran Profile - Michelle Taylor
Michelle Taylor - Former Nurse and Agent Orange Registry Participant
Michelle Taylor is a Vietnam Veteran and a participant in the Agent Orange Registry. She began her service as a second lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps and did basic training at Fort Sam in Houston for the Medical Nurse Corps. Taylor was deployed to Vietnam shortly after, in March 1969, as a first lieutenant.
Most of Taylor’s service was on an intensive care surgical semi-vac truck. She also worked in triage and participated in goodwill medical missions. “I donated time at an orphanage in a leprosarium in Vietnam and turned 21 at the leprosarium.” said Taylor. She served for two years, and then was re-stationed in Indianapolis at Fort Benjamin. Taylor was a practicing nurse until retiring about six years ago.
Taylor decided to join the Agent Orange Registry after finding out about it through a neighbor. She has a rare autoimmune disease and wanted to learn more about her exposures in service, including Agent Orange, and how they may be affecting her health. “Especially with some of the medical missions we did, by boat or jeep, we went through areas that were deeply foliated and I never thought about it.”
VA’s Agent Orange Registry is designed to help Vietnam-era Veterans learn about possible long-term health problems that may be related to Agent Orange exposure during their military service. Veterans can talk to an environmental health clinician and learn more about exposures and health. The registry also helps VA to better understand Veterans’ health needs.
VA encourages more women like Taylor to join this registry. Not only will women learn about the connection between their exposures and their health, but it will help VA understand the health of women Vietnam Veterans like them. Taylor was able to have her registry exam at the VA medical center near her home in Colorado.
To be eligible for the Agent Orange Registry, you need to have served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975, either on the ground or as a Brown or Blue Water Navy Veteran; or have served in Korea, Thailand, or on a C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1986. Contact an Environmental Health Coordinator to schedule a registry exam near you.