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Agent Orange Ship List Updated Again

Veterans who served in Vietnam have something referred to as Presumptive Conditions. There is a list of conditions Veterans can service connect for as long as they served in Vietnam and were Boots on Ground. Essentially, a Veteran who is boots on ground is one who stepped foot in country. Meaning you had a stay in the country for at least a few hours. Veterans who served on ships during the Vietnam conflict aren’t subject to the same rules. These Veterans must have served on a ship that is on the official ship list released by the VA. The ship list does change from time to time, and it was just updated again last month. In total, 19 new ships were added and changes were made to nine existing ships.

Here the new ships and the changes:

NEW SHIPS

USS Arnold J. Isbell (DD-869) sent small boat ashore while anchored in Da Nang Harbor on April 12, 1970.

USNS Barrett (T-AP-196) carried US Army 2nd Transportation Company to Qui Nhon during August 1965 and transported additional troops to Vietnam from April to December 1968 and January to May 1969.

USS Bennington (CVS-20) [Anti-Submarine Aircraft Carrier] entered Qui Nhon Bay Harbor to pick up Bob Hope for onboard Christmas show on December 26, 1966.

USS Berkeley (DDG-15) sent small boats ashore at Da Nang and elsewhere for gunfire support missions during May-June 1970.

USS Brinkley Brass (DD-887) conducted fire support mission in Rung Sat Special Zone during February 9-11, 1970; sent crew ashore for work details and liberty leave while anchored at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, and Vung Tau during April-May, 1970.

USS Carpenter (DD-825) sent medical team ashore at Song Tra Village on December 20, 1968.

USS Fox (DLG-33) sent small boat ashore from Da Nang Harbor with Captain for mission briefings on October 24, 1967.

USS Kennebec (AO-36) provided fuel to vessels while in Ganh Rai Bay during August 1969.

USS Mobile (LKA-115) docked to pier at Da Nang on April 16, 1971; transported troops and cargo to/from Da Nang and elsewhere July-September 1970, during April 1971, October-November 1971, and January-July 1972.

USS Persistence (MSO-491) docked to piers at Da Nang and Cam Ranh Bay during October 1970.

USS Pyro (AE-24) [Auxiliary Explosive, Ammunition Ship] sent small boat ashore from Da Nang Harbor with injured crew member for medical tx on September 29, 1972.

USS Quapaw (ATF-110) provided tow on Saigon River with deliveries to inland river base at Nha Be during June 1966.

USS Stoddard (DD-566) operated on Saigon River during September 1965.

USS Taylor (DD-468) operated on Ganh Rai Bay during August 1967 and November-December 1968.

USS Truxtun (DLGN-35) sent small boats ashore from Da Nang Harbor on June 2, 1968 and October 25, 1969.

USS Vescole (DD-878) operated on Saigon River during December 1965-February 1966.

USS Walker (DD-517) operated on Saigon River during December 1968.

USS Welch (PG-93)

USS Wilhoite (DER-397) sent crew members onto enemy vessel in De Sey Ky River during July 16, 1965 and sent landing party ashore from Vung Tau Harbor on September 28, 1968.

UPDATES TO EXISTING SHIPS

USS Catamount (LSD-17): ADD: travelled up Saigon River to Saigon during November 1962.

USS Firm (MSO-444) ADD: docked to piers at Cam Ranh Bay February-April, 1971.

USNS Geiger (T-AP-197): ADD: transported troops to Qui Nhon and Vung Tau from September to December 1965 and additional troops to Vietnam January to February 1967 and July 1969.

USS James E. Kyes (DD-787): ADD: provided naval gunfire support on Song Ca River during October 1967.

USS John W. Thomason (DD-760): ADD: operated on Mekong River Delta for Operation Deck House III during August 1966.

USS Procyon (AF-61) docked to Pier #1 at Da Nang Harbor on August 18-19, 1967.

USS Renville (APA-227): ADD: May-August 1965, and March-October 1966.

USS Rupertus (DD-851) ADD: sent motorized whaleboats ashore while in Da Nang Harbor on January 4, 1973.

USS Shelton (DD-790): ADD: conducted small boat inland waterborne logistics craft (WBLC) surveillance of Cua Viet River on August 16, 1972.

Please keep in mind, the ships listed above are just the ones that were added or were changed. To see the complete list of ships, check here. We know that a lot of Vietnam Veterans aren’t aware of the changes, so please help us spread the word.

If you’re a Veteran who served in Vietnam and would like more information about our services, call us toll free, 1-877-526-3457. Or, if you’re not available now, fill out this form, and a specialist will call you at a better time.

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House Bill Seeks to Expand Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits to Blue Water Vietnam Veterans

 

There is a lot of talk right now about a bill that passed the House involving Blue Water Veterans who served during Vietnam. Essentially, this bill will expand Agent Camp Lejeune WaterOrange Presumptive Benefits to Veterans who served on Ships near the coast of Vietnam. This is great news for these Veterans, but do you even know if you are a Blue Water Veteran?

In the complex world of VA Disability, there are essentially two types of Veterans who served on ships during Vietnam; Brown Water and Blue Water. Brown Water Veterans are currently able to receive disability benefits under the Agent Orange Presumptive List. Blue Water Veterans aren’t able to receive these presumptive benefits. Many people aren’t aware of the difference between Brown Water Veterans and Blue Water Veterans.

It may seem complicated, but really the difference really just comes down to where a Veteran served. If a Veteran served off the coast of Vietnam in the open sea, he or she is considered a Blue Water Veteran. If a Veteran served on a ship or boat that was in the inland waterways of Vietnam, they are considered a Brown Water Veteran. Agent Orange presumptive conditions currently apply to Brown Water Veterans only. The VA website states that a Blue Water Veteran must have stepped foot on ground in Vietnam in order to receive a disability benefit for Agent Orange.

Let’s stop for just a second to discuss how ridiculous this sounds. In the eyes of the VA, a Veteran onboard a ship off the coast of Vietnam could not be exposed to Agent Orange because they were not in country. This means that somehow Agent Orange knew where the border of the country was and it couldn’t float off into the sea. I for one will not buy that because I have something called common sense. If I go out this evening and spray Round Up in my flower bed, it will be released into the air and float off into my driveway and other surrounding areas. It won’t just stop at the end of the flower bed. It’s an herbicide, so it will float a little bit. Round Up is like a much weaker version of Agent Orange. Instead of being released from a handheld spray bottle, Agent Orange was dropped from large planes. To think that Veterans onboard ships off the coast weren’t impacted by this is somewhat asinine.

Granted, some people might argue that they knew a Veteran who was Blue Water only and is getting connected for Agent Orange conditions. Yes, this is possible if the Veteran stepped foot in country. This is where things get interesting. All ships have logs that document the daily activities of the crew. Anytime personnel leave a ship for any reason, it’s documented. Many Veterans on these Blue Water ships did travel to Vietnam for short trips during the war. This could be for trips to get supplies, official mission meetings, or the one that stands out to me, picnics. While it may seem odd, there are several instances in different ship logs of large numbers of Sailors heading into the mainland for picnics. Like I said, they document everything on these ships. This is good though, because we’ve been able to get some Veterans who were Blue Water only connected off of these logs.

The good news is that the House has already approved a bill allowing Blue Water Veterans to receive Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits. It still must pass the senate before it becomes a law, but things are definitely headed in the right direction. Here is the staggering number though. According to the Military Times, as many as 90,000 sailors may now be able to receive Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits. That is the best news of all.

If you would like to know more about Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits, or if you’d like to know about VA Disability in general, call us today for a Free Consultation. Our Toll Free Number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be contacted at your convenience, fill out this form to schedule a time.

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New Air Force Veterans May Be Eligible for Agent Orange Presumptive Benefits

Air Force PatchLate last month new reports surfaced regarding Air Force Veterans and Agent Orange exposure. While the news received a lot of attention, and some new Vets will be eligible for presumptive benefits, it’s important to focus on the actual Veterans effected by this change. Too often people get lost on the positive spin put on stories when an organization like the VA is desperate for some positive attention.

So, what happened? Essentially a report found that Air Force and Air Force Reserve Veterans who served stateside are now eligible to file VA Disability claims as a result of exposure to Agent Orange. As many Veterans know, in order to qualify for Agent Orange presumptive benefits, one must traditionally be considered “boots on ground” in Vietnam. Granted, there are a lot of exceptions to this rule, but the majority of Veterans who file these claims are those who served in Vietnam. On occasion, the VA releases other areas in which Agent Orange was used throughout the years. This includes bases in the US and Puerto Rico as well as countries like Korea and Thailand. This recent announcement follows in that same tradition, but pertains more to the aircraft that were used while in Vietnam. In this case the VA is being very specific about the aircraft. The only plane that is a part of this is the C-123.

The report also states that only about 1500-2100 new Air Force Veterans will likely be found eligible as a result of this study. Further, the VA stated in their news release that:“Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.” In other words, not every Veteran who served in the Air Force at the bases listed below is eligible. For Veterans who serve in Vietnam, as long as you were boots on ground, and have a presumptive disability, you are eligible. In the case of these new Air Force requirements, you have to meet the specific criteria.

“Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide.”

You’re likely still wandering who this really effects. The VA actually supplied a very detailed list that should alleviate any question as to who was exposed. On a personal note, I found that an uncle of mine could possibly be one of the Airmen eligible. He was actually stationed at one of the bases listed during the time period. For everyone else, here are the dates and areas affected that will determine eligibility.

Dates: Air Force and Air Force Reserve Veterans must have served from 1969-1985

Reservist must have served here:

  • Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron),
  • Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport ( 758th Airlift Squadron)

The VA states that if you were in the Active Air Force during this time, you may qualify for benefits if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You served in a regular Air Force unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned.
  • You had regular and repeated contact with C-123 aircraft through flight, ground, or medical duties.
  • You have an Agent Orange-related disability.

To see a full list of Active Air Force Units that may qualify, click here.

One of the most important factors to keep in mind here is that the same rules apply for these new Veterans regarding Agent Orange claims as previous Vets who were eligible. In other words, you must have a disability that is on the presumptive list in order to qualify for compensation. The VA does not compensate based on exposure. You must instead be diagnosed with one of the conditions on the official VA list.

If you are an Air Force Veteran who meets the criteria listed above, give us a call today regarding your VA disability claim. We can help you determine your eligibility and help get you the benefits you deserve. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. You can also contact us by filling out this form and we will reach you at a later time.

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