U.S. Navy

Blue Water veterans study in the works

Denise Williams, The American Legion assistant director for Health Policy, attended the first meeting of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans May 3. The committee will conduct a study and prepare a report on whether the Vietnam veterans in the Blue Water Navy experienced a comparable range of exposures to the herbicides and their contaminants as the Brown Water Navy Vietnam veterans and those on the ground in Vietnam.

This project is proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a better understanding of exposures to, and the potential health risks from, exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides. Blue Water Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War on ships offshore from Vietnam have long maintained they should have access to the same presumption of herbicide exposure available to Vietnam War veterans who served on the ground. The American Legion will continue to attend these committee meetings to keep abreast of any updated information regarding this issue.


  1. Are there any updates regarding either AO exposure for Sailors who served on the USS Galveston during Vietnam and/or asbestos exposure?
  2. A year ago I was diagnosed with CLL. My best friend is a few years into a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Both have been connected to AO exposure. We both served on aircraft carriers in the Tonkin Gulf. Have read on internet health sites of many others in blue water navy with similar problems. Drank and bathed in sea water, sometimes shower water not even desalinated. Cleaned and worked on aircraft that had landed in-country and covered with dust. Seems to me that we must have been at risk too, even if odds were better.
  3. We were in Okinawa in the early 60s to 72 More info coming out thru the Japanese govt as well as vets and dependents on exposure.Dependents worked summer hire in these areas. Lots of them are now gone as the parents dying from a list of ailments and some dependents suffering ongoing disease. Where does this leave us now that our Vet Dads are now gone? My Dad was also a two time war vet who had to fight disability until he died only receiving a small portion of disabilty. Guam has now been added to the list..and they are still fighting on Okinawa on it. I see no recourse now that our fathers are gone. I will say I feel its a shame how my Dad was treated as it was obvious to all but a young Dr in a VA hospital that he was fully disabled.
  4. "The American Legion will continue to attend these committee meetings to keep abreast of any updated information regarding this issue." We need more than attending meetings! We need active and forceful support for blue water sailors from OUR American Legion! WestPac 64/65 Connie
  5. Every two years, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviews the body of peer reviewed scientific data about a wide variety of medical conditions and determines what, if any, causative link can be made between these conditions and the herbicide Agent Orange.The findings of the IOM are published in the "Veterans and Agent Orange Update". Conditions can be found to fall under several categories including Sufficient Evidence of an Association, Limited or Suggestive Evidence of an Association, and Inadequate or Insufficient Evidence to Determine an Association. Conditions previously found to be classified in a category can be upgraded to a higher category if later peer reviewed research supports the classification.
  6. The forgotten Navy!! These two hospital ships have been completely igored by the Navy, VA and yes you. The Sanctuary and Repose were non-rotating hospital ships which operated from DaNang, Hue/Quang Tri and China Beach. Not Blue Water Navy not Brown Water Navy but Agent Orange exposed YES!!Exposed daily for years so the Brown Water/Blue Water Navy concept is flawed at the very least. All that is asked is for some one to do the reseach...............
  7. I was aboard the USS constellation CVA64 in 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, was diagnosed with CLL in 06. I worked in the hanger bay and on the flight deck. I made my claim and was denied. Will we ever get our benifits for what we have endured for fighting for our country.
  8. Repeatedly articles are written completely overlooking a valid exposure issue; it's never mentioned in any report. I served aboard USS TUTUILA ARG-4; in-country anchored at Nha Be (CORPS III spray zone), and on Phu Quoc Island at An Thoi, (CORPS IV spray zone) '70-71'. While anchored at Nha Be we de-sal'd the contaminated in-country river water; i.e., Orange Kool-Aide. We drank, showered, cooked food, and wore uniforms washed in it. Departing Nha Be fresh water compartments were not decontaminated! Deployed to An Thoi on the south of Phu Quoc Island she carried a belly full of AO contaminated fresh water; draw your own conclusion! Crew members who served at Phu Quoc were exposed to AO! Today, w/o other documentation proving feet on the ground they suffer without VA medical benefits & coverage! WHY? What's wrong that the #$@##%@...#$%...#$#$ Congressional committee's can't get this right?
  9. I completed 5 tours of Vietnam between 1965 and 1973. I have set in Danang harbor firing H & I and call fire. I have been within a thousand yards of the beach in S. Vietnam and on the beach as well. My time on the beach was TAD and not documented well. We just didn't know then it would make any difference. We drank water that had been purified(?) from the salt water along the coast which undoubtedly contained contaminants from AO. I have been fortunate enough to not have any problems. My story can be repeated by many others who have not been so lucky. Something needs to be done in this regard. The failure of the government to deal with this problem is legendary from the start. I can't help but believe there is a thought in some minds that if they wait long enough we will be gone and nothing more will be heard. Lets not be quiet about this. If you know someone who suffers from this and was blue water, post their situation here so those in DC will have it when they go to the hearings.
  10. I served aboard the USS Fred T. Berry (DD-858)for a tour in Vietnam in 1966 .. I have already notified the VA asking why we excluded among the 21 vessels they identified in their list. Our ship was deployed at the same time frame as several of those vessels.
  11. What was your name when on the Fred T Berry...i am alvin e thomas ET on the Berry in NAM email aethomasthomas@netscape.net
  12. Adding to the LIST of Left out of BWN ships, I served on th USS Princeton (LPH5) from 1964 to 1967. During this period of time we were involved in numerous combat operations with the Marines. We also served as the first line of Medical/Mortuary during these operations and came into contact both directly and indirectly with AO. The Princeton as well as other LPH's well within total visual contact with in country activities. I have several medical conditions which have been attributed to AO and now have been rated by the VA as unemployable. Any Vet who served this nation in Nam or in the waters both Brown or Blue should be approved as serving in Nam.
  13. I made 3 westpac tours of duty and each one was stationed on the gunline so close to shore at times that I could see the palm trees blowing in the wind as well as some military activity going on near the beach. I also watched B-52 bomb runs and it would stir up the dust on land which drifted our way. I also was anchored in Danang harbor at night firing H&I missions all night long and then leave in the morning for several river mouths during the day. At one time we fired over 3,000 rounds of 6" 54 ammunition. This was done for about 10 nights and days. I also was involved in attacking enemy ships above the DMZ near Hiphong Harbor. I looked at the list of ships that are recognized as being exposed to AO, but my ships were not listed. The following are the ships that I was on from 1968 to 1972, USS Galveston CLG-3, USS Benner DD-807 and the USS George K. McKenzie DD-836. I would assume that during 1968 through 1972 that these ships were at times in areas were AO exposure is possible.
  14. Did 2 tours in the gulf. Saw the shore line on more than onece. Lost my prostate to cancer 4 years ago, and now have CLL.
  15. USS Kitty Hawk, Tonkin Gulf so close to shore you could see the bombs going off, the breeze from land had a smell...Agent Orange...I remember it well!
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