By Andy Gero
Vietnam Blue Water Sailors who are seeking disability benefits from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs for Agent Orange exposure can expedite their claim by sharing the dates, time and the name of their ship. Without this information the VA will need to dig through the archives for your records, which takes time.
To start with they pulled the list of eligible ships off its website: “The list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships associated with military service in Vietnam and possible exposure to Agent Orange is currently being updated.”
However, all across the country sailors are banding together and swapping ship information. There’s a good chance that if one sailor is approved for a certain ship in a certain location at the same time, others on that ship may also qualify.
Even if you’re not working on a claim you can help. If you have old logs of your ship, dig them out. If you kept a journal or made notes on a calendar and noted where you were and when, go on the Blue Water Sailor website and share this information. Find your ship’s website and read the posts. If anyone is looking for a specific location and date in order to complete a claim, this information will be invaluable to them.
Go online to bluewaternavy.org and scroll to Update Logs. Click and look around. See the NARA On-Line Deck Logs of Vietnam Era Ships spreadsheet. The National Archives and Records Administration has ship logs in archives as it gets them scanned, or call the NARA at (866) 272-6272.
Andy Gero is a life member of the American Legion Post 288 and the VFW Post 1614. He may be reached through the CV Weekly at (818) 248-2740. Or write Crescenta Valley Weekly at 3800 La Crescenta Ave., Suite 101, La Crescenta, CA 91214.