Sunday, June 27, 2010

VA Adds USCG, USN Vessels to Agent Orange Exposure List

VA Adds USCG, USN Vessels to Agent Orange Exposure List

The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) strongly encourages all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard (USCG) Vietnam veterans to review an expanded list of vessels exposed to Agent Orange that was recently released by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The VA is continuously updating its list of offshore “blue water” vessels that conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam, and the most recent additions include all USCG vessels with hull designations of WPB (patrol boat) and WHEC (high-endurance cutter) that served in Vietnam. If a veteran's service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through his military records during the time frames specified, exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further proof, thus expediting claims for VA benefits.
“Thousands of Navy and Coast Guard veterans who served aboard ships during the Vietnam conflict experience health problems related to herbicide exposure, but their illnesses and disabilities are not automatically considered service-connected in the eyes of the VA,” explains Chris Slawinski, FRA’s national veterans’ service officer. “The VA restricts this type of presumptive service connection to vets who had ‘boots on the ground’ or can prove their ship operated on inland waterways. Each addition to the VA’s list of exposed vessels will make it easier for these veterans to prove exposure and will hopefully facilitate more timely determination of benefits.”
The first iteration of the list was released earlier this year. The most recent additions are categorized by those that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways of Vietnam or those that operated temporarily on the inland waterways or were moored at the shore. The comprehensive list is posted below.
If you or someone you know served aboard any of these vessels during the times indicated, a VA claim for exposure to an herbicide agent should be filed as soon as possible. To start a claim, contact your nearest VA Regional Office (click here for a list of offices) or contact Chris Slawinski at or 1-800-FRA-1924 (ext. 115).
FRA strongly supports pending legislation (H.R. 254 and S. 1939) that would grant presumptive status to all blue water Vietnamveterans exposed to herbicides, not just those who served inland. All veterans are encouraged to visit the FRA Action Center and ask their elected officials to support these measures.

Vessels that Operated in Vietnam 
  • All U.S. Coast Guard Cutters with hull designation WPB [patrol boat] and WHEC [high endurance cutters]
  • USS Antelope (PG-86)
  • USS Asheville (PG-84) [patrol gunboat]
  • USS Askari (ARL-30)
  • USS Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, May 24-25, 1966]
  • USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) [landing ship dock] 
  • USS Benewah (APB-35) [self-propelled barracks ship]
  • USS Bexar (APA-237) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-20)
  • USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, July 13-19, 1966]
  • USS Bolster (ARS-38) [salvage ship] crew operated on land to extract USS Clark County (LST-601) from beach after grounding at Duc Pho from November 18 to December 1, 1967
  • USS Boxer (LPH-4) [amphibious assault ship] docked to pier at Cam Rahn Bay on September 9, 1965
  • USS Brule (AKL-28) Winnemucca (YTB-785) [harbor tug]
  • USS Buck (DD-761) operated on Mekong River Delta and Saigon River during October 1966
  • USS Canberra (CAG-2) [guided missile cruiser] operated on Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966, on Cua Viet River during December 15, 1966, and on Mekong Delta Ham Luong River, January 15, 1967
  • USS Canon (PG-90)
  • USS Card (ACV-11) [escort carrier] mined, sunk, and salvaged in Saigon River Harbor during May 1964
  • USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [landing ship dock] operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during December 1967
  • USS Cleveland (LPD-7) operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha, as well as Hue River, from November 1967 through 1968 and Saigon River during September 1969
  • USS Colleton (APB-36)
  • USS Comstock (LSD-19)
  • USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early August 1966]
  • USS Crockett (PG-88)
  • USS Dubuque (LPD-8) docked at Da Nang on March 15, 1970
  • USS Duluth (LPD-6) [amphibious transport dock] docked to pier at Da Nangduring March and October 1971
  • USS Dyess (DD-880) operated on Saigon River and Rung Sat Special Zone from June 19-July 1, 1966
  • USS Elkhorn (AOG-7)
  • USS Epperson (DD-719) docked to Da Nang Pier on October 4, 1970
  • USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River, June 16-21, 1966]
  • USS Genesee (AOG-8) Barracks Barge (APL-26) [sleeping quarters]
  • USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers, August 15-September 1, 1966]
  • USS Henrico (APA-45) [amphibious attack transport] operated on Hue River during March 1965 and conducted numerous troop landing through March 1967
  • USS Indra (ARL-37)
  • USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, October 24-25, 1965]
  • USS John W. Thomason (DD-760) operated on Nga Be River during 1969
  • USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) [guided missile destroyer] operated on Mekong River Delta and Ganh Rai Bay, November 7 and December 7, 1968
  • USS Kishwaukee (AOG-9) Barracks Barge (APL-30)
  • USS Krishna (ARL-38)
  • USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River October 24-28, 1964]
  • USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River August 8-19, 1967 and December 21-24, 1968]
  • USS Marathon (PG-89)
  • USS Mark (AKL-12) [light cargo ship]
  • USS Maury (AGS-16) [mapping survey ship] conducted surveys of Mekong Delta and other coastal areas and rivers beginning November 1965 through 1969
  • USS Mercer (APB-39)
  • USS Gallop (PG-85)
  • USS Montrose (APA-212) [attack transport] Floating Base Platform (YRBM-17) [repair, berthing, and messing barge]
  • USS Montrose (APA-212) operated on Song Hue River during December 1965, operated on Long Tau River during March 1967, and operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during May 1967
  • USS Newell (DER-322) [radar destroyer escort] docked at port of Nha Trang during December 22-24, 1965
  • USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay, April 22-25, 1968]
  • USS Noxubee (AOG-56)
  • USS Nueces (APB-40)
  • USS Okanogan (APA-210) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-18)
  • USS Okanogan (APA-220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River July 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and August 5-6, 1968]
  • USS Orleck (DD-886) operated on Mekong River Delta during July 1969
  • USS Patapsco (AOG-1) [gasoline tanker]
  • USS Perkins (DD-877) operated on Saigon River during June 1969
  • USS Picking (DD-685) operated on Saigon River during November 16, 1965
  • USS Preston (DD-795) operated on Mekong River Delta, Ganh Rai Bay, and Saigon River during September 28 -29 and December 27 -29, 1965
  • USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during January 1964]
  • USS Ready (PG-87)
  • 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 Satyr (ARL-23) [repair ship]
  • USS Southerland (DD-743) operated on Song Nga Bay and Saigon River during July 1966
  • USS Sphinx (ARL-24)
  • USS Sproston (DD-577) [destroyer] operated on Mekong Delta and Ganh Rai Bay during January 1966
  • USS Talladega (APA-208) operated on Saigon River during October 1967
  • USS Tombigbee (AOG-11)
  • USS Tortuga (LSD-26)
  • USS Tutuila (ARG-4) [repair ship]
  • USS Waddell (DDG-24) operated on Cua Viet River during March 1967
  • USS Warrington (DD-843) operated on Mekong River Delta Rung Sat Special Zone, North of Vung Gahn Rai Bay during March 1967


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