VA Is Ready to Implement Veterans’ Toxic Exposure Act – Click link above. Published in FRA Today (2022)
Published in FRA Today, March 2017
Submitted on 10/29/16 by shipmate Milton Ainsworth Stephens
Submitted 9/8/16 by Brian Basham, Director of Outreach, Mesothelioma Veterans Center
Mesothelioma Veterans Center
Free veteran specific resources and support
192 Nandina Terrace
Winter Springs, FL 32807
February 8, 2013 – VA’s Agent Orange Registry Health Exam for Veterans
VA’s Agent Orange Registry health exam alerts Veterans to possible long-term health problems that may be related to Agent Orange exposure during their military service. The registry data helps VA understand and respond to these health problems more effectively.
Please go to the VA Website for further information and to register.
Requesting your help
The following documents how I applied for and received my claim for compensation from the VA for Type II Diabetes, whick falls under the Agent Orange umbrella. I know there are still many Vietnam veterans who are trying to get the health benefits they deserve. I hope this helps.
If you were aboard the Mansfield November/December 1966 when we went up the Saigon River and anchored while giving support fire, I need your help. I am trying to document this fact for the Veterans Administration (VA) to support a claim for typeII diabetes which falls under the Agent Orange umbrella. According to them “we can’t make a claim unless we disembarked the ship” while in Vietnam. Although we literally didn’t go ashore, we did anchor in the middle of the river within “spitting” distance of the banks. Obviously, they think any airborne substances stop at the water’s edge and then continue on the other side.
So here’s how you can help me: (and any other shipmates trying to make a claim)
- If you remember being at anchor during our shore bombardment assignment, please write (via regular mail) and describe, in your own words, how close you feel we were to the shore and any other facts you may think are important. (If by chance you have any pictures taken at that time, please include them.)
My snail mail:
901 Tobey Street
Acushnet, MA 02743-1709
I would also like to gather other anecdotal data that may help:
- If you were on deck at all during that bombardment assignment, have you contracted type II diabetes (insulin dependent or not) or any other ailments that fall under Agent Orange?
- Have you filed a claim with the VA regarding this? Any success?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me,
Karl Kristiansen (SA/65-66)
UPDATE – December 1, 2005
I received a letter from the VA dated December 1, 2005 denying my claim for type 2 diabetes.
The main reason seems to be the following as stated in the “EVIDENCE” portion of their letter:
- Response from the US National Archives dated September 15, 2005, stating the USS DD-728 was in the official waters off the Republic of Vietnam. There is no record you went ashore, or up a river into the mainland of the Republic of Vietnam.
In the “REASONS FOR DECISION” portion of their letter they wrote:
- Review of the uncertified statements submitted in support of your claim are not taken as proof that the destroyer class Mansfield traveled into the Republic of Vietnam, up the Saigon River between November 25, 1966 and December 24, 1969, the dates the US National Archives, National Personnel Records Center, verified your ship was in the official waters of Vietnam. the official US Navy website, www.history.navy.mil shows the Mansfield provided gunfire support for South Vietnamese, Australian, and American forces fighting in South Vietnam. No conclusive evidence of in-country service has been submitted.Service connection may be established based on a relationship to herbicide exposure only if evidence demonstrates that the veteran served in Vietnam during the Vietnam era. As the required service in Vietnam is not shown, service connection for type 2 diabetes mellitus is denied.
So, there you have it shipmates. I plan to go on to the appeals process and will keep you updated.
Once again, I ask that any Mansfield crewman onboard during this time frame that remember going up the river to shoot, please contact me. I would especially like to hear from anyone who was in communications, navigation and/or CIC to contact me if they remember these missions.
UPDATE – December 15, 2005
I visited my VA agent and we sent a letter requesting the paper work for an appeal. He said that will basically be a retelling of my story in all the detail I can remember. So once again, I ask my shipmates for any help they can give me. I have the deck logs for December 1965 and there is no mention of ANY shooting missions or even being at GQ. I find this pretty strange. I know we all didn’t imagine this stuff. So if anyone can shed any light on this PLEASE CONTACT ME.
I’m going to start searching the internet for any Army ops during that period that used Navy support fire. I do recall it being mentioned that the spotter pilot we had was Army.
UPDATE – January 9, 2006
I had my appointment at the VA Medical Center in Providence, RI today. I had an EKG, blood test and a C&P (Compensation and Pension) exam. According the person who gave me the C&P exam, my claim must have been accepted in order to have this exam. She will send the results of her exam to the VA Regional panel and they will decide on any compensation I am to receive. I will keep you posted.
UPDATE – March 15, 2006
I received a letter from the VA stating they have granted me a disability (TYPE 2 Diabetes Mellitus) rating of 20% falling under the Agent Orange umbrella. This is retro-active to the effective date of September 1, 2004.
I would like to thank all the shipmates that wrote letters supporting my claim. They were one of the factors the VA took into consideration in approving my claim. One good thing that comes of this is the fact the VA now agrees we were, indeed, in Vietnam.
I would also like to thank Town of Dartmouth (MA) Veterans’ Agent Shawn Goldstein for his help and guidance.
So contrary to my original beliefs, shipboard sailors can get a VA claim approved.
FINAL UPDATE – April 8, 2006
The checks from the VA were direct deposited to my account on March 15, 2006 (Retroactive check) and March 31, 2006 (monthly check).
So it can be done. If you are trying to get compensation from the VA, don’t give up. Please feel free to use my case as a reference.
REQUEST FOR HELP – November 13, 2006
This request is on behalf of shipmate MM3 U.S. Grant:
“I am a law professor at Widener University School of Law, Wilmington, DE. I direct a free legal clinic for disabled veterans and dependents called the Veterans Law Clinic. We do VA claim appeals and discharge reviews. U.S. Grant, a shipmate on your destroyer from 1961-63, is our client. He has PTSD and one of his claimed stressors is an incident off the coast of Viet Nam when Mansfield was buttoned up on GQ and under some kind of alert when pro driven aircraft were flying overhead. The main battery was fired just as Grant popped through a scuttle to the deck, Does anyone remember Grant or this incident?”
Please contact me:
Prof. Thomas J. Reed
Widener University School of Law
P.O. Box 7474
Wilmington, DE 19803-0474
TEL: 302-477-2070 FAX: 302-477-2257 e-mail. email@example.com
NEW REQUEST FOR HELP – July 26, 2009
I am looking for a YN2 Roland aboard Mansfield during the Dong Hoi conflict…anyone heard from him or know where he is ?
Please contact Rick Felty if you have any information. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HELPFUL INFORMATION – January 13, 2010
From shipmate Cef Suarez:
” Here is a way to find out some of the ships movement and firing missions. This is the Combat Naval Gunfire Support File (CONGA), [Fixed-length Version], 3/1966 – 1/1973. I found all of the times I was on the ship to prove that I was in Vietnam and in Combat. The other files that you have to order is called HOSTA . If you were not aware of this you could post it on the WEB site for others to do search’s. HOSTA will one day be on the CONGA files that will be accessed from the NARA.Gov.
I have found an operation that we were on during my time called “Pepper Bush” that we did fire support on the island of Phu Quoc for spraying. But the records are still classified and they won’t release any of the details. I’ve also got a hold of Doc Danforth who gave me the web site to search for personal records. I ordered mine and will let you know what I get and how to access them.
I received this information concering Operation Sea Dragon while researching data for my claim:”
Dear Mr. Suarez:
I write pursuant to your conversation with Mr. Zervos, of our staff, on 18th January concerning the number of rounds expended by the USS Mansfield during operation Sea Dragon from October, 1966 – April, 1967. You told Mr. Zervos that you did search CONGA via Access to Archival Databases (AAD) and received the message that “Sea Dragon” is not a term in CONGA. On 30th January you called and expressed an interest in locating other records related to the USS Mansfield and operation Sea Dragon
during October, 1966. You asked if there might be information in the “Congressional Records,” and I referred you to Legislative Archives, which can be contacted via email@example.com.
While “Sea Dragon” is not a nickname in the “NICKNAME OF OPERATION SUPPORTED” list of available terms, you will find it encoded as “SE” in the list of codes available for the “OPERATION TYPE” field. If you search CONGA using “MANSFIELD” in the “NAME OF FIRING SHIP” field and “SE” in the “OPERATION TYPE” field, you will retrieve 161 partial records for the period from October, 1966 – May, 1968. There are five records for October, 1966.
Of related interest is the “Hostile Fire File (HOSTA),” Records About Hostile Fire Against US and Australian Warships During the Vietnam Conflict, 10/25/1966 – 04/05/1970; Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (09/18/1947 – ). This series contains information about combat incidents of hostile fire directed at U.S. and Australian warships patrolling North and South Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea. Each record contains the date and time of incident, the number and size of hostile guns, the number of rounds fired and their accuracy, the name and mission of the ship attacked, and the number of fatal and non-fatal casualties. The record also indicates whether the incident occurred during Operation Sea Dragon or the naval bombardment of North Vietnam. This file is not currently available via AAD. It may be ordered from us together with its eight pages of documentation. Please request a price quotation if you are interested and provide us with your UPS shipping address. We also need to know your technical specifications. Our standard is copying files to CDROM or DVD, encoded in ASCII with DOS file names and record-delimited records; I.e., the inclusion of carriage return and linefeed characters at the end of each record to prevent system “lock-up”.
I looked at the documentation for HOSTA in preparing this message. There are two records for 10/25/66. The Time of Incident (local) for the first incident was 0928. The Number of Rounds Fired in Incident was not given. Accuracy of Enemy Fire was Unknown (UNK). Target Range in Yards (shore to Ship) was 8000. Unknown Numeric Data Element: 15, Name of Ship Fired Upon was MANSFIELD. Friendly Killed in Action was “NO”. Friendly Wounded in Action was also “NO”. Name of Operation was Sea Dragon (SD). Information for second incident is:
Date of Incident: 10/25/66, Time of Incident: 1710 (local), Number of Hostile Guns: 6, Size (caliber) of Hostile Guns: 120MM, Number of Rounds Fired: MANY, Accuracy of Enemy Fire: 50, Target Range in Yards (shore to Ship): 8000, Unknown Numeric Data Element: 20, Name of Ship Fired Upon: MANSFIELD, Friendly Killed in Action: “NO”. Friendly Wounded in Action: “NO”. Name of Operation Sea Dragon (SD).
If we can be of further service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our reference line (301) 837-0470.
Lee A. Gladwin, Archivist
Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division (NWME)
NATIONAL ARCHIVES (USA)
“I hope all of this will help some others”. – Cef Suarez 1.13.10
NEW REQUEST FOR HELP – January 21, 2010
From shipmate Cef Suarez: “I’m looking for any former shipmates that were on the Mansfield from September 1966 to May of 1967. They can say they recall me serving with them or not, that doesn’t matter. This is about getting letters into the VA database showing we were up rivers, anchored in DaNang, in river harbors, supported defoliation of Phu Quoc island in IV Corps while we were helping clear the island of NVA/VC supplies and possible base. Those are the things I remember. I know we were anchored in DaNang and went to General Quarters on one incident. I seem to recall getting water from DaNang, when they brought out a barge. The letter doesn’t have to name the rivers because many of us wouldn’t have known exactly where we were. It just needs to state, to the best of their knowledge, they remember different operations that took place in the mouth of rivers, up rivers, in harbors, and the Phu Qouc island operation.
The letter needs to be addressed to:
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Attention: Sean M. Sturgeon
Patrick McNamara Building
12th Floor, Room 1215
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226
The reason we need to do this is to support any of our fellow shipmates that may come down with the following diseases. If it doesn’t help them it could help their spouses should they die from any of these diseases since they (spouses) get a rating. Once the Blue Water Navy veterans are approved these are all automatic, the same as any veterans that served in Country (Boots on the Ground, as it is known).
- 1. Acute and subacute transient peripheral neuropathy
- 2. AL amyloidosis
- 3. Chloracne
- 4. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- 5. Diabetes Mellitus (type 2)
- 6. Hairy cell lukemia
- 7. Hodgkin’s Disease
- 8. Ischemic heart disease
- 9. Multiple myleoma
- 10. non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- 11. Parkinson’s disease
- 12. porphyria cutanea tarda
- 13. Prostate cancer
- 14. Respiratory cancers
- 15. Soft Tissue Sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chodrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelima)
Please feel free to contact me via email: email@example.com. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.” – Cef Suarez [January 21, 2010]
NEW UPDATE! – March 26, 2011
Ship’s Deck Logs from 24 October 1966 – 25 October 1966 and 5 November 1966 – 19 November 1966 are now available. Please click here to view, save and print PDF files.
Link to the VA Agent Orange Page: http://www1.va.gov/agentorange/
Go to the Blue Water Navy site for details on their court case: Blue Water Navy Wins Court Ruling for Presumptive Agent Orange! …the application of presumption of exposure to herbicides only to Vietnam-era veterans who set foot on land is inconsistent, plainly erroneous, and unreasonable, and must be SET ASIDE . … the provision allowing for the presumption of exposure to herbicides based on receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal CONTROLS [the procedures of processing Claims for Disability]. You can download a PDF file of the Ruling at their website.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Jan. 16, 2010 – Board of Vetrans’ Appeals Rules Da Nang Harbor as Inland Waterway – Follow this link to the Blue Water Navy website to see the PDF files that are a copy of the November 2, 2009 ruling by the BVA that Da Nang Harbor is an “inland waterway.” Please go here.
List of Ships Identified in Vietnam Inland Waterways by C&P
Updated August 19, 2009
PLEASE NOTE: This is only a partial list of ships now recognized as ships having been on the Inland Waters of Vietnam. If you have additional data for any other ship, please email contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of that ship and the dates of service on Inland Waters. Please include all Navy and Coast Guard ships.
|Mouth of Saigon River
|7 Miles up Saigon River
|3 days in small inlet north Da Nang guarding bridge over Highway 1
|Captain’s History, See also BVA case 04-42-761
|USS Niagara Falls
Direct fire NSAR Gulf of Tonkin
|13 miles up-river from Vung Tau toward Saigon
|2 day trip up the Saigon River
|Channel of Saigon River Vang Tau Anchored in Saigon River
|Per Jim Sampsel C&P
|M21-MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section C
|IFS-93 (Inshore Fire Ships)
|Per Jim Sampsel C&P
The Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War (VASVW)
NOW HEAR THIS!
The Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War is founded on the principle of furthering the benefits for Veteran Sailors of the Vietnam War, their families, and survivors, and other Veterans of the Vietnam War, and the Vietnam Era, who have been damaged by exposure to Dioxins from herbicides used or transported to Southeast Asia during that war. We also welcome those who agree with and support our causes and efforts.
We espouse the concept that no one shall be left behind. We equally espouse the concept of a broad based, grass roots, common-sense effort to support any legislation that will further that cause. And we espouse the concept of mutual support, and comradeship among our member shipmates.
We believe in fairness, openness, and the inclusion of all in decision-making. Each member shall have full say, and each member shall have available full knowledge of the issues at hand.
Membership is free. Widows, survivors, and Veterans Advocates are welcome as members. All we ask is that you actively support our efforts, including helping to develop our goals and objectives.
The DVA put out their Compensation and Pension Bulletin for January 2010 and it has the following information that may affect some of you:
Information on Vietnam Naval Operations
Compensation and Pension (C&P) Service has initiated a program to collect data on Vietnam naval operations for the purpose of providing regional offices with information to assist with development in Haas related disability claims based on herbicide exposure from Navy Veterans. To date, we have received verification from various sources showing that a number of offshore “blue water” naval vessels conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam. We have also identified certain vessel types that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways. The ships and dates of inland waterway service are listed below. If a Veteran’s service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through military records during the time frames specified, then exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further development.
All vessels of Inshore Fire Support [IFS] Division 93 during their entire Vietnam tour
USS Carronade (IFS 1)
USS Clarion River (LSMR 409) [Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket]
USS Francis River (LSMR 525)
USS White River (LSMR 536)
All vessels with the designation LST [Landing Ship, Tank] during their entire tour
[WWII ships converted to transport supplies on rivers and serve as barracks for brown water Mobile Riverine Forces]
All vessels with the designation LCVP [Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel] during their entire tour
All vessels with the designation PCF [Patrol Craft, Fast] during their entire tour
[Also called Swift Boats, operating for enemy interdiction on close coastal waters]
All vessels with the designation PBR [Patrol Boat, River] during their entire tour
[Also called River Patrol Boats as part of the Mobile Riverine Forces operating on inland waterways and featured in the Vietnam film “Apocalypse Now”]
USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, October 24-25, 1965]
USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River August 8-19, 1967 and December 21-24, 1968]
USS Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) [Destroyer] [Operated on coastal inlet north of Da Nang, June 2-5, 1966, protecting Marines holding a bridge]
USS Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, May 24-25, 1966]
USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers, August 15-September 1, 1966]
USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early August 1966]
USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River, June 16-21, 1966]
USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, July 13-19, 1966]
USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during January 1964]
USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River October 24-28, 1964]
USS Okanogan (APA-220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River July 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and August 5-6, 1968]
USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay, April 22-25, 1968]
If you served on any of these ships during the periods specified contact your Regional Office and direct their attention to there own Compensation & Pension Bulletin for January of 2010. If you are using a Veterans Service Officer as a representative, have him drive both of you to the Regional Office and take a printout of this notice.
There is no reason for the DVA to hold the claims of anyone who served on the above listed vessels during the indicated time frames.
* * * Military Update: Agent Orange Victory Reversed for Sailors * * *
By Tom Philpot, Special to Stars and Stripes Pacific edition, Saturday, May 31, 2008
A federal appeals court has delivered a stinging defeat to ‘Blue Water’ sailors and Coast Guard veterans of the Vietnam War who have been fighting for disability compensation from illnesses they contend resulted from shipboard exposure to deadly herbicides including Agent Orange.
A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled 2-1 on May 8 that the Department of Veterans Affairs acted lawfully and reasonably in 2002 when it cut off Agent Orange-related disability payments and began to deny new claims from veterans who served on ships off the coast of Vietnam but never actually “set foot” in country.
The decision reversed a 2006 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in the case of Haas v. Nicholson. That three-judge panel unanimously rejected as “unduly restrictive” VA’s interpretation, by revised regulation, of qualifying “service” in Vietnam under the Agent Orange Act.
The U.S. military sprayed herbicides over Vietnam from 1962 through 1971 to strip away foliage under which enemy forces could hide, to destroy crops and to clear vegetation from around facilities and fire bases.
Over the last two decades, Congress and VA expanded the list of illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure and for which veterans can receive disability compensation. The list of ailments includes prostate cancer, type-2 diabetes, non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma, certain soft-tissue sarcomas, chloracne and skin conditions, Hodgkin’s disease, various respiratory cancers, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
VA officials worried that if the 2006 Haas decision survived a government appeal, the pool of veterans eligible for disability pay if they contract illnesses tied Agent Orange would jump by 830,000 and VA benefit costs would rise by $3.3 billion over 10 years.
But from 1991 until early 2002, the VA was paying Agent Orange-related claims filed by sailors who only served off waters of Vietnam, said Barton F. Stichman, an attorney with the National Veterans Legal Services Program. NVLSP lawyers have represented the claimant in this case, Jonathan L. Haas, a retired Navy Reserve commander.
Stichman said sea service veterans for a decade won claims based on ailments linked to Agent Orange with relative ease. A manual used by VA claim adjudicators advised them to make awards based on presumptive service-connection of certain diseases if sea service veterans had received the Vietnam Service Medal. The VSM had been awarded to all military members who served from July 3, 1965 through March 28, 1973, in Vietnam, its contiguous waters or even in its airspace.
Haas served on an ammunition supply ship, USS Mount Katmai from August 1967 to April 1969. The ship operated off Vietnam but didn’t dock there and he never went ashore. By 2001, Haas had developed type-2 diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and loss of eyesight which he claimed were caused by herbicide exposure off Vietnam.
His regional VA office denied the claim, saying service connection couldn’t be established because Haas had not gone ashore. The Board of Veterans Appeals agreed. It turned out VA had reinterpreted the Agent Orange Act of 1991 regarding the phrase “service in the Republic of Vietnam,” requiring at least a brief visit on land to be considered exposed to Agent Orange and eligible for disability pay for herbicide-related ailments.
The veterans’ claims court reviewed Haas’ appeal with a three-judge panel so the decision would affect all claims filed by Blue Water veterans. It found the VA was being too restrictive, in part because ships along the coast might have been exposed to at least as much toxin from windborne coastal area spraying as service members deemed exposed from brief visits ashore.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District, in a 51-page opinion, has reversed the decision for Haas and fellow sailors, finding VA’s stricter interpretation of service in Vietnam permissible.
The court acknowledged that in a 1990 regulation VA had defined service in Vietnam to include veterans offshore. It also noted that, even today, a VA regulation informed by a Center for Disease Control study allows presumption of service-connected Agent Orange exposure for sailors who served only offshore in Vietnam but suffer from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The two-judge majority said Congress left ambiguous the meaning of having “served in the Republic of Vietnam” under the Agent Orange Act, and Haas pointed to no single clarifying statement in the legislative record. But Congress did give to the VA authority to interpret such ambiguities and those interpretations are “entitled to substantial deference,” the court said.
But the third appeals court judge, Jeremy Fogel, dissented. He said judicial deference to administrative agencies is important but the appeals court should note that the intent of Congress has been to make it easier, not more difficult, for veterans to assert claims for exposure to Agent Orange.
“I agree with the Veterans Court,” Fogel wrote, “that in the absence of any scientific evidence in the records that support a ‘foot on land’ requirement, the VA’s position is unreasonable.”
Stichman said Haas will seek a fresh review of the case from a full or en banc panel of seven appeals court judges. Such reviews are granted only sparingly. If that fails, an appeal to the Supreme Court will be weighed.
Agent Orange Causes Genetic Disturbance.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Jan. 16, 2010 – There is a bill currently in the House of Representatives that will eliminate the boots on the ground requirement for veterans wishing to get a claim approved through the VA. Go here http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-2254 for details. Write you Congressman and ask him to support this bill!
There is a version of this bill in the US Senate. (S1939 – The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009) To read the bill and links to your senators to support this bill please go here.
http://thomas.loc.gov/ In the Search Bill & Summary Status box check Bill Number and enter S1939 or HR2254 in the Search field.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Feb. 28, 2011 – H.R. 2254 never went anywhere in the last Congress. H.R. 812 has been introduced by Rep. Bob Filner. It is basically the same bill so chances are it won’t go anywhere either because of the cost. Check the details here: http://thomas.loc.gov/ Hilight Bill Number and type in HR 812 in the Search field.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Jan. 28, 2011 – Subject: New List of Eligible BWN Ships
The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a new list of Blue Water Navy ships now determined to have operated on the Inland Waters of Vietnam. Additionally, they have added a new class of eligibility for individuals who had “visitation” to Vietnam while attached to a vessel that had smaller craft that regularly went ashore with either supplies or personnel. This new class includes veterans who may have gone ashore even if the ship did not dock, but was in close proximity to Vietnam for extended periods of time. This new list can be accessed at http://www.bluewaternavy.org/newspage2.htm.
Those who are in any of the three categories explained in this new release are eligible for presumption of exposure to herbicides and are given benefits equal to those with boots-on-ground who are suffering from any of the diseases the VA has listed as related to herbicide exposure. That list
can be accessed at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp.
This program, called Policy 211, began January, 2010 with the VA’s active efforts to find all personnel who served offshore Vietnam but who may have had “duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam.” This originally covered crewmembers of ships on Inland Waters but has recently been expanded.
Pease note that the list includes entire classes of ships designated by hull type as well as named ships for their entire WESTPAC tours or for specific dates or date ranges due to their short term operations on the inland waters of Vietnam. This list is not yet complete and additions are made to it almost daily. If your ship is not listed and you feel you qualify as a crew member in one of the given categories, there are specific steps to acquire the documentation required to submit with your claim.
Please contact email@example.com regarding the procedure to follow. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association is a portal through which you can submit the documentation for entry into the DVA database available to all Regional Offices and used to verify claims of herbicide-related disabilities by personnel who are not covered by the new boots-on-ground criteria.
Update provided by J. P. Rossie, Executive Director, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association (a 501[c] organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service).
Paul Sutton, Special Advisor
IMPORTANT UPDATE – July 2013 – Subject: New List of Eligible BWN Ships
Agent Orange: Alphabetized Ships List – The VA has come out with a revised list of ships who were in Vietnam.
You can see it here: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp
I have become increasingly aware that a number of our shipmates who served on Mansfield during 1966 to 1969 have either died from cancer or suffered from the disease. In a brief checking of the records I found we have lost Eric Ashburn, Jeff Walters, Charlie Gosnell, Lou Scafani, and Capt Griffin. The XO is recovering from cancer. In chatting with R.B. Coulter I discovered that he and I have both suffer from bladder cancer (his recently mine in 2001). I my case the doctors at OSU’s James Center indicated that I did not have a medical or work history that makes this type cancer likely. They were puzzled. The fact that the VA has listed Mansfield on its list of ships that qualify for Agent Orange consideration is a further indication that more of us may have been exposed to something. Unfortunately, many cancers, bladder cancer included, are not covered under the current VA policy.
In 2005 at the urging of an Army buddy (who served in Vietnam about the same time we were there) I talked with the VA in Tampa about Agent Orange. They indicated at that time that Navy personnel were not being considered. Since that time the situation has apparently changed to the point that they are now slowly considering Navy personnel. The fact that Mansfield is specifically listed makes it apparent that the problems are starting to be identified.
I am starting to wonder if the loss of so many of our shipmates is more than mere coendience. What do you think about sending out an e-mail to as many shipmates as possible to determine if others have experienced some form of cancer or other diseases that just don’t seem to fit their life style. You have become the quarter back for keeping the crew together and have everyones respect. I’ll be happy to do whatever I can to help including putting a survey together. II strongly believe that we have a suspicious situation that requires further investigation. What we don’t know is how many shipmates have been suffering with diseases for a number of years. If the results from the responses support what I now suspect, we need to get all forms of cancer and associated diseases suffered by our shipmates put on the list so that they can receive help. I can start by working with my Congressman who is a strong support of the military. Let me know what you think.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Oct.17, 2011 – Subject: Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011
There is a bill, Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011, in both houses of Congress that will amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam.
You can see the House version, HR 812, here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-812
You can see the Senate version, S 1629, here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-1629
Please contact your Senators and Representative to have them support these important bills.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – Jan. 22, 2012 – Subject: Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011
Updates on the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011 & Updated ship list for AO exposure.
You can see the House version, HR 612 & HR 812 here:
HR 612: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR03612:
HR 812: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00812:
You can see the Senate version, S 1629, here:
Please contact your Senators and Representative to have them support these important bills.
The VA expands list of ships with Agent Orange risk:
Updated list: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp
IMPORTANT UPDATE – May 30, 2013 – Subject: Agent Orange Equity Act of 2013
You can see the House version, HR 543 here:
Mesothelioma & Asbestos AwarenessCenter
I am with the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center. We aim to provide the most current and accurate information regarding asbestos exposure and its link to mesothelioma cancer. As you know, many Navy veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos while working in shipyards, and while onboard ships. I chose to contact you today because the USS Mansfield is one of those ships. When built at Bath Iron Works, asbestos was used as an insulator for many parts of the engine room and boiler room.
That said, in an effort to spread awareness about this terrible disease, I am trying to reach all those who understand this devastating disease and the importance to get good information out there. I would invite you to visit our site, especially our mesothelioma and veterans section. I am confident you will find that we have compiled a large resource for those who may be suffering from the disease or have family members who are. I would like to share this resource with your browsers, and would ask you to point a link to some portion of our navy section that you feel would be the most pertinent to your browsers, (possibly the Bath Iron Works page).
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center
Another resource is The Mesothelioma Cancer Center. You can vist their website here: Mesothelioma Cancer Center
|The Online Asbestos, Asbestos Cancer, & Mesothelioma Links
|Click on each banner to proceed to their website.
MesoLink.org is a site created to provide you with up to date information on the deadly disease Mesothelioma. We strive to provide the most complete overview of the disease and all aspects of it. This includes general information on the disease, breaking news on the search for a cure and perspective legislation designed to limit you as well as all other news on the subject, links to other sites and online resources that can provide important and in-depth Mesothelioma and cancer related information, and a legal guide to help you with the complex legal issues involved with Mesothelioma.
You can vist their website here: Mesothelioma Cancer
Research Guide on Malignant Mesothelioma Lung Cancer and Asbestos Topics including types of Cancer, treatment options, Hazardous Careers @ risk of asbestos exposure, clinical trials and more.
You can vist their website here: Research Malignant Mesotheliomia
Lung cancer kills 160,000 Americans every year. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and worldwide. Lung cancer is significantly different from other types of cancers because it is associated with prominent modifiable risk factors such as exposure to tobacco smoke that may result in the onset of the disease. However, not all lung cancer cases are linked to cigarette smoking.
Asbestos Exposure in Military Service – Did you get lung cancer because you inhaled asbestos fibers while serving in the military? Veterans from all branches of service have developed lung cancer after exposure to asbestos. Click on the link below to get some vital information concerning Naval personnel and how they may have been exposed to this disease.
You can vist their website here: Lung Cancer Answers
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential hotline and online chat, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for Veterans, Service members, and their loved, ones, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA healthcare. Veterans and their friends and family can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net to connect with a trained VA responder.
You can vist their website here: Veterans Crisis Line