November 2012 Inland Water Ships List


The VA has posted an update to the list of Blue Water Navy ships that had crew members who have been granted the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange during their tour in Vietnam.

This List has been broken down into five categories where a Blue Water Navy sailor might qualify for this presumption. Please read this description to help you understand how and why these ships and their crew members were acknowledged to be eligible for receiving this presumptive status. Here is a reprint of the VA's explanation of what these five categories entail.


Statement from the Veterans Benefits Administration Regarding

Navy and Coast Guard Ships Associated with Service in Vietnam and Exposure to Herbicide Agents

VAVBAWAS/CO/211/AGENTORANGE
November 14, 2012


Background

This ships list is intended to provide VA regional offices with a resource for determining whether a particular US Navy or Coast Guard Veteran of the Vietnam era is eligible for the presumption of Agent Orange herbicide exposure based on operations of the Veteran’s ship

According to 38 CFR § 3.307(a)(6)(iii), eligibility for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure requires that a Veteran’s military service involved “duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam” between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. This includes service within the country of Vietnam itself or aboard a ship that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam. However, this does not include service aboard a large ocean-going ship that operated only on the offshore waters of Vietnam, unless evidence shows that a Veteran went ashore. Inland waterways include the rivers, canals, estuaries, delta areas, and enclosed bays of Vietnam. They do not include open deep-water harbors such as those at Da Nang, Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, or Vung Tau. These are considered to be part of the offshore waters of Vietnam because of their deep-water anchorage capabilities and open access to the South China Sea.

Ship Categories

The list contains five categories of ships that operated on the waters of Vietnam. A Ship is placed on this list when documentary evidence shows that it fits into a particular category. The required evidence can come from an official ship history, deck logs, cruise books, Captain’s letters, or similar documents. A specific ship may be listed in more than one category, based on its activities. Evidence requirements for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure may vary depending on what dates the Veteran was aboard and what ship activity occurred on those dates. Ship categories include:

I. Ships operating primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways
This category includes smaller naval vessels involved with patrolling and interdicting enemy activity on the inland waterways of Vietnam. It also includes ships supplying and supporting those operations. Examples of such vessels include swift boats, river patrol boats, and LSTs [landing ship, tank]. The inland waterways are often referred to as “brown waters” because of their muddy color and the naval vessels operating on them are referred to as the Brown Water Navy and/or the Mobile Riverine Force. All Veterans who served aboard these vessels are eligible for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure because their primary service was on the inland waterways of Vietnam.

II. Ships operating temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways
This category includes large ocean-going ships that operated primarily on Vietnam’s offshore waters for gunfire support of ground operations and interdiction of enemy vessels travelling along coastal waters. It also includes ships supplying and supporting these operations. Examples of such vessels include destroyers, cruisers, and cargo ships. The deep offshore waters are often referred to as “blue waters” and naval vessels operating on them are referred to as the Blue Water Navy. Ships in this category entered Vietnam’s inland waterways temporarily as part of their gunfire, interdiction, or support missions. All Veterans who served aboard these vessels at the time of entry into Vietnam’s inland waterways are eligible for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure.

III. Ships that docked to shore or pier in Vietnam
This category includes large ocean-going ships of the Blue Water Navy that entered an open water harbor and docked to a pier or otherwise docked to the shore of Vietnam. As a result of this docking, it is assumed that crewmembers had the opportunity to go ashore for a work detail or for liberty leave. Therefore, any Veteran aboard the ship at the time of docking will be eligible for the presumption of exposure if that Veteran provides a lay statement of personally going ashore.

IV. Ships operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that crew members went ashore
This category includes large ocean-going ships of the Blue Water Navy that conducted a variety of missions along the close coastal waters of Vietnam for extended periods of time. Documentary evidence has been obtained for all ships in this category showing that some crewmembers actually went ashore. Examples of such vessels include hospital ships, harbor repair ships, mine sweepers, and seaplane tenders. Also included are combat ships, such as destroyers, when evidence shows that crewmembers went ashore. Because shore activity of some crewmembers has been documented, any Veteran aboard the ship at the time of documented shore activity will be eligible for the presumption of exposure if that Veteran provides a lay statement of personally going ashore.

V. Ships operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that smaller craft from the ship regularly delivered supplies or troops ashore
This category includes large ocean-going ships of the Blue Water Navy that conducted supply missions to Vietnam or transported troops into and out of the country through use of smaller landing craft housed within the mother ship. Examples of such vessels include attack cargo ships, amphibious attack transports, and landing ship docks. The smaller landing vessels within these ships required a crew of from 3 to 14, depending on size, as they ferried supplies or troops to and from shore. Although official documents show that some crewmembers went ashore with the landing craft, they do not generally provide the names of these crewmembers. Additionally, many of these ships are listed for extended time frames because they routinely travelled back and forth between the US and Vietnam, and between Vietnam and other Asian Pacific ports, as they delivered supplies and troops to Vietnam. Therefore, military records should be checked to ensure that the Veteran was aboard when the ship was in Vietnamese waters (as shown by a PIES O34 request). Any Veteran aboard the mother ship during the time frame of offshore Vietnam landing craft activity will be eligible for the presumption of exposure if that Veteran provides a lay statement of personally going ashore with the landing craft.

Locating Ships on the List
In addition to its name, all US Navy and Coast Guard vessels are assigned letters and numbers, usually painted on the forward hull of the ship, that identify the ship type and the numerical order in which it was built. Ships on this list are arranged by these letter-number designations. Vessels within each category are arranged alphabetically by the ship type letter designations and then numerically by hull numbers within that ship type. As an example, for the USS Ingersoll (DD-652), “DD” represents the “destroyer” ship type and the number shows that this is the 652nd destroyer built for sea service. A computer search for specific ship names or letter-number designations can be done with the “Find” function located in the drop down menu of the toolbar “Edit” function.

This list is evolving and is not complete. Therefore, the presumption of Agent Orange exposure should not be denied solely because the Veteran’s ship is not on this list. All development procedures described in Training Letter 10-06 should be followed in cases involving ship activity, including sending a request to the Army and Joint Services Records Research Center for review of deck logs. When regional office personnel obtain evidence showing that a ship fits into any of these categories, the evidence should be forwarded to the Compensation Service Agent Orange Mailbox so that the ship can be added to the list [VAVBAWAS/CO/211/AGENTORANGE].



A List of the
CHANGES ONLY
appearing on this new release


Here is a list of the CHANGES ONLY that were made to the previous Ships List of January 2012. These CHANGES are incorporated into the full released list. This list is a breakout of the changes made to the previous list. Some of these ships may have been on the January 2012 List, but this would show any additional dates or activities that were added to that ship's original listing.

Navy and Coast Guard Ships Associated with Service in Vietnam and Exposure to Herbicide Agents

SHIPS LIST ADDITIONS ONLY

I. Ships operating primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways

Floating Base Platform (YRBM-21)

II. Ships operating temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways

USS Wrangell (AE-12) [Auxiliary Explosive, Ammunition Ship] entered Mekong River Delta to supply ammunition for US Coast Guard vessel on November 21, 1968

USS Pictor (AF-54) [Auxiliary Stores Ship] entered Cua Viet River while delivering supplies to Dong Ha during September 1967 (see other category)

USS Vega (AF-59) conducted resupply operations on inland Mekong River Delta area September 13, 1966 (see other category)

USS Estes (AGC-12) [Amphibious Force Flagship] entered inland Qui Nhon Bay during June 1965 and anchored in Mekong River during January 1967 (see other category)

USS Seminole (AKA/LKA-104) [Attack/Amphibious Cargo Ship] docked in Saigon during July 1962; operated on Saigon River channel on March 4, 1967; and entered Cua Viet River on May 26, 1967 (see other category)

USS Union (AKA/LKA-106) anchored in Hue River while conducting operations during April 1965 (see other category)

USS St. Louis (AKA/LKA-116) operated on inland Ganh Rai Bay during March 9, 1971 (see other category)

USS Cavalier (APA-37) entered inland waters of Qui Nhon Bay on February 2, 1968 (see other category)

USS Navarro (APA-215) transported Thai “Queen’s Cobras” troops from Thailand to Saigon via Saigon River during September 1967 (see other category)

USS Paul Revere (APA-248) assisted with salvage of the USS Card (ACV-11) in Saigon Harbor on Saigon River during May 1964 and transported Korean troops through inland waterway of Qui Nhon Bay during October-November 1965

USS Weiss (APD/LPR-135) [High Speed Transport/Small Amphibious Transport] conducted inland waterway troop-landing operations with Marine and SEAL units at various locations in the Mekong River Delta, Rung Sat Special Zone, and Saigon River and routinely surveyed river mouths and canal entrances for amphibious landings from November 1965 through February 1969

USS Currituck (AV-7) [Sea Plane Tender] travelled up Saigon River to Saigon during early 1964 and operated in Mekong River Delta during June 1965 (see other category)

USS Charles S. Sperry (DD-697) operated on Saigon River during December 1965 (see other category)

USS Lowry (DD-770) operated on Mekong River Delta during October 1968 (see other category)

USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779) operated on Ganh Rai Bay and Rung Sat Special Zone during March 16-20, 1969

USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823) operated on Mekong River Delta and Saigon River during December 1965

USS Myles C. Fox (DD-829) entered inland Qui Nhon Bay during February 1967

USS Vogelgesang (DD-862 ) provided gunfire support while in Thu Bong River during October 18-29, 1966 (see other category)

USS Perkins (DD-877) operated on inland Ganh Rai Bay during October 1967 and on Saigon River during June 1969

USS Turner Joy (DD-951) entered Cua Viet River channel on December 24, 1969

USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [Landing Ship Dock] delivered supplies up Saigon River to Nha Be during March-May 1967 and June 1968 (see other category)

USS Fort Marion (LSD-22) navigated Saigon River to dock in Saigon during February 1966

USS Whetstone (LSD-27) anchored as long term “boat haven” for repairs of smaller vessels on inland Qui Nhon Bay during June-July 1965 (see other category)

USS Point Defiance (LSD-31) entered inland Qui Nhon Bay to deliver troops during July 1965; operated on Saigon River during March 1967; and conducted several operations on Saigon River to Saigon Port during October and November 1968 (see other category)

USS Alamo (LSD-33) entered inland Qui Nhon Bay with Marines during July 1965 (see other category)

USS Anchorage (LSD-36) transported troops and supplies into inland waterway of Qui Nhon Bay Harbor during June 1970 and January 1972 (see other category)

USS Esteem (MSO-438) crewmembers painted a Vietnamese orphanage while docked at inland waterway Qui Nhon Bay/Harbor during December 1967 and again during March 1969

USS Illusive (MSO-448) conducted training with Vietnamese Navy on Saigon River from January through March 1962

USS Pledge (MSO-492) entered inland waterway of Qui Nhon Bay on May 8, 15, and 21, 1971 (see other category)

USS Breckinridge (T-AP-176) [Military Transport] entered inland waterway of Qui Nhon Bay Harbor on September 16-17, 1965

USS Geiger (T-AP-197) entered inland waterway of Qui Nhon Bay Harbor on November 23-26, 1965

III. Ships that docked to shore or pier in Vietnam

USS Pictor (AF-54) docked to pier at Da Nang during 1969 (see other category)

USS Aludra (AF-55), conducted in-port docking replenishments at Cam Ranh Bay, Vung Tau, An Thoi, and Da Nang during March-April 1969

USS Grapple (ARS-7) [Salvage Ship] conducted numerous repair and salvaging operations while moored to beach or piers at Da Nang, Chu Lai, Cam Ranh Bay, and Tan My during January 1967; November 1970 through April 1971; and August 1972 through January 1973

USS Dennis J Buckley (DD-808) docked to pier in Da Nang Harbor to deliver drone on December 15, 1969 (see other category)

USS Ozbourn (DD-846) docked briefly to piers in Da Nang Harbor on February 21, April 1, and April 11, 1971

USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875) docked to pier in Da Nang Harbor on September 12, 1971

USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7) [Guided Missile Destroyer] docked at Da Nang pier on April 2, 1967 and September 29, 1971

USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) [Landing Platform, helicopter] docked to pier at Da Nang on October 6, 1969 (see other category)

USS Pledge (MSO-492) docked to pier at Cam Ranh Bay intermittently from May 1-24 and June 26-July 31, 1971 (see other category)

IV. Ships operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that crew members went ashore

USS Estes (AGC-12) sent crewmembers ashore for beach picnic at Vung Tau during April 1968 (see other category)

USS Cavalier (APA-37) [Amphibious Attack Transport] served as Da Nang Harbor station ship, with crewmembers going ashore, from June-July 1966 (see other category)

USS Jason (AR-8) anchored in Vung Tau Harbor repairing other vessels with deck logs showing evidence of crewmembers going ashore June through August 1968, December 1969 through January 1970, and March through April 1971

USS Salisbury Sound (AV-13) anchored at Da Nang during February 1965, Con Son Island during May 1965, and Cam Ranh Bay for month long periods during 1966, to repair and tend to Navy sea planes, with evidence that crewmembers went ashore

USS Epperson (DD-719) while anchored off Phan Thiet on November 16, 1969, crewmembers went ashore for liberty leave

USS Lowry (DD-770) sent motorized whaleboat ashore at Phan Thiet on June 5, 1968 (see other category)

USS Stormes (DD-780) sent motorized whaleboat ashore to assist 2nd ARVN and 2nd US Advisory Group on September 17, 1966

USS Power (DD-839) sent Commanding Officer and others ashore in whaleboat for briefing while anchored in Da Nang Harbor on November 13, 1968

USS Vogelgesang (DD-862) anchored in Da Nang Harbor and sent 30 crewmembers ashore on August 15, 1966 (see other category)

USS Steinaker (DD-863) anchored off Phan Thiet July 25- August 3, 1968 with crewmembers going ashore to visit Junk Base

USS Fechteler (DD-870) while conducting night patrols of Da Nang Harbor, crewmembers went ashore for daytime liberty leave during October 1965

USS Hull (DD-945) sent small boats ashore while anchored off Nha Trang on February 17, 1968

USS Gray (DE-1054) sent motorized whaleboat ashore from Da Nang Harbor for mail pickup on October 7, 1972

USS Koiner (DER-331) [Destroyer Escort, Radar] crew had liberty leave at Vung Tau and survey parties were sent ashore at various locations while on Operation Market Time radar patrol during 1967

USS Forester (DER-334) crew had liberty leave at Nha Trang on June 28 and July 10 1965, with whale boat ashore for medical assistance on August 20, 1965

USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] sent a “group of personnel” ashore at Da Nang for a short tour of Monkey Mountain on October 6, 1968 (see other category)

USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [Landing Ship Dock] served four-month duty as “boat repair ship” in Da Nang Harbor during 1965, with evidence of crew members going ashore (see other category)

USS Whetstone (LSD-27) anchored as long term “boat haven” in Da Nang Harbor for repairs of smaller vessels, with evidence of crewmembers going ashore, during April-May 1965 (see other category)

USS Alamo (LSD-33) while anchored in Da Nang Harbor, sent crewmembers ashore for R&R beach parties during March-April 1969

V. Ships operating on Vietnam’s close coastal waters for extended periods with evidence that smaller craft from the ship regularly delivered supplies or troops ashore

USS Estes (AGC-12) [Amphibious Force Flagship] conducted troop and supply beach landings at Chu Lai and Da Nang during March-October 1965 (see other category)

USS Winston (AKA-94) [Attack Cargo Ship] conducted troop and supply beach landings during July 1965; April-August 1966; September-October 1967; and November 1968-May 1969

USS Seminole (AKA/LKA-104) [Attack/Amphibious Cargo Ship] conducted troop landings with small boats at Da Nang, Hoi An, and Quang Tri from March through August 1967, September 1968 through February 1969, and during January 1970 (see other category)

USS Union (AKA/LKA-106) conducted numerous troop and cargo “mike boat” beach landings at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, and Chu Lai from March 1965 to November 1969 (see other category)

USS St. Louis (AKA/LKA-116) conducted troop and cargo landings with small boats at Da Nang, Vung Tau, and Quang Nam Province during August-October 1970; January-March 1971; and April-November 1972 (see other category)

USS Cavalier (APA-37) conducted troop landings with mike boats at Chu Lai and Da Nang during March- August 1966 and January-May 1968 (see other category)

USS Vancouver (LPD-2) [Amphibious Transport Dock] while anchored offshore, conducted numerous amphibious troop beach landings with smaller “mike boats” in the areas of Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, Cua Viet River, and Mekong River Delta from August 1966 through 1971

USS Cleveland (LPD-7) while anchored offshore, sent “mike boats” up Cua Viet River and Hue River from November 1967 through 1968 and up Saigon River during September 1969

USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) [Landing Platform, Helicopter] operated as troop transport with helicopters and smaller vessels transporting troops on and off shore for amphibious assaults from May 1965 to August 1972 (see other category)

USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [Landing Ship Dock] while anchored offshore, conducted troop-landing operations with “mike boats” at Da Nang, Dong Ha, and other locations from July 1965 through November 1968 (see other category)

USS Whetstone (LSD-27) conducted numerous troop and supply landings with smaller mike boats at Da Nang, Hue, Phu Bai, and Dong Ha from March 1965 to September 1969 (see other category)

USS Alamo (LSD-33) conducted numerous troop, supply, and equipment landings with smaller boats at Da Nang, Vung Tau, Song Bo De, An Thoi, and Tan My between August 1964 and October 1972 (see other category)

USS Anchorage (LSD-36) transported troops and supplies to and from shore with smaller craft at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, Vung Tau, and An Thoi from February 1970 through July 1972 (see other category)