SummaryIf you served on the waters of Vietnam between January 1962 and May 1975, you might get Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation for 14 medical conditions that are now presumed to have something to do with exposure to Agent Orange. However you MUST apply for the compensation; as always, if you do nothing, then nothing will happen.
What's the Problem?For you younger kids, Agent Orange was a poison we sprayed on Vietnam to make it harder for the enemy to hide in the jungle. The poison got on our guys too and causes all sorts of problems, like cancer years later. The surviving veterans deserve care for their wounds because the damage was inflicted while they were serving out country, but some of the wounded were on watercraft and there used to be a rule saying you weren't "in" Vietnam if you hadn't set foot on land. That rule got fixed but a lot of people don't know they may now be eligible for treatment.
The VA is now playing catch-up; this is from their website:
Learn more at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/index.asp
"Agent Orange: U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Ships in VietnamVA has released a list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships associated with military service in Vietnam and possible exposure to Agent Orange based on military records.
This evolving list will help Veterans who served aboard ships, including “Blue Water Veterans,” find out if they may qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure.
Veterans must meet VA's criteria for service in Vietnam, which includes aboard boats on the inland waterways or brief visits ashore, to be presumed to have been exposed to herbicides.
Veterans who qualify for presumption of herbicide exposure are not required to show they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides when seeking VA compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.
During your Vietnam tour, did your ship or boat have one of the following designations?
- LCM (Landing Craft, Mechanized)
- LCU (Landing Craft, Utility)
- LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel)
- LST (Landing Ship, Tank)
- PBR (Patrol Boat, River)
- PCF (Patrol Craft, Fast or Swift Boat)
- PG (Patrol Gunboat)
- WAK (Cargo Vessel)
- WHEC (High Endurance Cutter)
- WLB (Buoy Tender)
- WPB (Patrol Boat)
- YFU (Harbor Utility Craft)
Alphabetized Ship ListIf your vessel is not included in the Mobile Riverine Force, ISF Division 93 or above designations, check VA's Alphabetized Ship List.
Need Help Determining Qualifying Service?VA will help determine qualifying service in Vietnam when you file a claim for compensation benefits. To contact VA:
If your vessel is not included in the Mobile Riverine Force, ISF Division 93 or listed designations (see "Find Your Ship"), check the alphabetized list of ships below.To search for your ship, look under the first letter of the formal ship name. For example, if your ship's name is Dennis J. Buckley, look under the letter "D" for Dennis.
- Call 1-800-827-1000 or 1-800-829-4833 (TDD for hearing impaired)
- Go to your nearest VA benefits office
Ships will be regularly added to the list based on information confirmed in official records of ship operations. Ship not on the list and you think it should be?
Questions about your eligibility for compensation benefits? Contact your nearest VA benefits office."
And thanks for the head's up from military.com.