January 26, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in a January 2010 Compensation and Pension (C&P) Service Bulletin, announced a new initiative to collect data on Vietnam naval operations for the purpose of providing regional offices with information to assist with development in Haas-related disability claims based on herbicide exposure from Navy Veterans. To date, they have compiled verification from various sources showing that a number of offshore "blue water" naval vessels conducted operations on the inland "brown water" rivers and delta areas of Vietnam. VA has also identified certain vessel types that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways.

The ships and dates of inland waterway service are listed below. If a veteran's service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through military records during the time frames specified, then exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further development. This is an ongoing project and the list below is by no means complete. Therefore, veterans on vessels that traveled the inland waterways not identified below will need to submit evidence supporting brown water service.

The vessels currently identified via this program include:

• All vessels of Inshore Fire Support [IFS] Division 93 during their entire Vietnam tour: USS Carronade (IFS 1) , USS Clarion River (LSMR 409) [Landing Ship, Medium, Rocket], USS Francis River (LSMR 525) , USS White River (LSMR 536)

• All vessels with the designation LST [Landing Ship, Tank] during their entire tour

• [WWII ships converted to transport supplies on rivers and serve as barracks for brown water Mobile Riverine Forces]

• All vessels with the designation LCVP [Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel] during their entire tour

• All vessels with the designation PCF [Patrol Craft, Fast] during their entire tour [Also called Swift Boats, operating for enemy interdiction on close coastal waters]

• All vessels with the designation PBR [Patrol Boat, River] during their entire tour [Also called River Patrol Boats as part of the Mobile Riverine Forces operating on inland waterways and featured in the Vietnam film "Apocalypse Now"]

• USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, October 24-25, 1965]

• USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River August 8-19, 1967 and December 21-24, 1968]

• 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 Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, May 24-25, 1966]

• USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers, August 15-September 1, 1966]

• USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early August 1966]

• USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River, June 16-21, 1966]

• USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, July 13-19, 1966]

• USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during January 1964]

• USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River October 24-28, 1964]

• USS Okanogan (APA-220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River July 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and August 5-6, 1968]

• USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay, April 22-25, 1968]

Advocates are reminded of the provisions of the Nehmer decision, which recognized that veterans claims that had previously been denied under Agent Orange presumptions that are later granted by a change in policy through VA, such as the addition of a condition to the presumptive list, are entitled to an earlier effective date in accordance with the original claim filed, and not the reopened claim under the newer provisions. The Nehmer provisions apply in Vietnam Agent Orange claims, including Brown Water navy cases, adjudicated on or after September 25, 1985 where service connection was denied because the condition at issue was not on the Agent Orange presumptive list at the time but was later added to the list. Advocates should ensure that new claims granted using the new C&P databases on these vessels receive a proper effective date if the veteran had a previously denied claim as appropriate to the Nehmer provisions and not solely based on the newly reopened claim's effective date.

For more information contact Ian de Planque, Assistant Director, VA&R, at (202) 861-2700 or by e-mail. .



  1. ANy updated information on the following ship my deceased husband served on while in Viet Nam 1971-75
    USS Cochrane DDG 21

  2. my name is clifford english...i served on the cochrane from 1966-1969....made 3 cruises to vietnam...we were always off the shore of vietnam..right off the dmz quite often....close enough to see people running on the beach...we breathed the air...drank the water that we made from the area....and operated in close all the time...mostly under cover of darkness.....why the navy will not put the uss cochrane on this list is beyond me
    we were definately exposed to this toxin called agent
    orange....the crew of the uss cochrane needs to get
    together and protest this injustice....we all deserve
    better treatment.....god bless

  3. I was on the Cochrane from 70 - 72 and am certain we were exposed since we at times spun mud with the props

  4. Sandra, was your husband a Machinist Mate (MM1 Hoffman)? I was stationed on Cochrane from 1972 - 74.

  5. 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...........

  6. I have served on the USS Kearsarge, in the Gulf of Tonkin, in 1964. Since I have had cancer twice (squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue and now multiple myeloma)I am most interested in what the Navy might do for me if anything.

    Thank you for your great work and consideration.

  7. I served on the kearsarge 1964 and 1965 Iwas in the 3rd division my name c o'pry wright soon .w

  8. I was on the Coast Guard Cutter Klamath (WHEC 66) off the coast of Song Ong Doc from June 1969 to April 1970. I now have Parkinson's Disease. I'm sure agent orange had a lot to do with it. If there's anybody else aboard the Klamath during this time please with any health issues, please let me know.

    Chris Smith

  9. My husband was on the Kearsage, Mars and Oriskany from 1966 to 1968. Was in the Gulf of Tonkin and with the 1967 Westpac cruise.
    He died in 2008 from Multiple Myeloma and Prostate Cancer. Started filing papers before he died for Blue Waters. Now WE have to prove that he stepped on ground.
    Looking for anyone who was on the same ships at these times.


  11. I was on the Kearsarge AOE for a couple weeks before being transferred to the USS Mansfield DD 728 in Sept 65. On the Mansfield we traveled up the Saigon and DA Nang rivers and even sit in the harbors overnights. We are still fighting for our benefits, we never put boots on the ground but were sprayed while up river and yet we still fight for benefits.

  12. USS Kearsarge 1962-1966
    I had my prostate removed last year (cancer of course)and have heart disease, diabetes 2, heart attack-some dementia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, bilateral hearing loss-(acoustic trauma)-from motors, peripheral neuropathy, arthritis. Most is under control with meds.
    100% I tried for and received 10% for the hearing loss, had 20% for back injury, so I'm at 30% now, but couldn't prove I was in blue waters or exposed to Agent Orange-though the winds brought to the different ships. I remember being in those waters for a week or two, but they want me to prove it-jeez? I know we lost a lot of brave flyboys-taking out oil and supply depots, because I saw the pine boxes with their personal stuff that was being sent back home. I don't remember where we were parked at that time?
    That's my short bit, if you remember anything to show where we were, I'd appreciate a buzz back.

  13. I was stationed on the USS Kearsarge 1968 1969 and I have diab ISH and several more disabilities and donnot qualify no foot on ground they say it will eventually be added but WHEN

  14. I see you comment is 3 years old..have you been able to receive compensation since then? My first husband was on the Kearsarge the same time frame...he developed non-hodgkins lymphoma and eventually was able to receive compensation.

  15. I was aboard the Cochrane in 68-69. I now have multiple myeloma, had squamous cell carcinoma, and cancer in my tongue which part is missing.
    Cochrane should be on the blue water list. What can we do?

  16. I was on the USS Coral Sea and did two tours to Vietnam between 1973 to 1975. Does anyone know if the USS Coral Sea is on the blue water list or if these men that served during this time qualify for disability for Agent Orange.

  17. My brother was aboard the USS Kearsage CVS-33 in 1966-67 and aboard the USS Bennington CVS-20 in 1967. He died of multiple myeloma in 2011. He also had prostrate cancer, anal cancer, COPD, diabetes. Denied some burial benefits because cannot prove "foot on ground." Can anyone help?

  18. Member of 266th Chemical Platoon, US Army, attached to the 1st Infantry Division. We sprayed defoliants in the Mekong from river barges with Navy River Boat protection in the 1967-1968 time frame. My records were lost in the St Louis fire and I am having trouble proving participation in the months long operation. Does anyone remember such an operation? Also a navy corpsman treated me for a gunshot wound to the lower left leg. Thanks in advance, BH

  19. I served aboard the USS WALDRON DD699 was up and down the coast of veitnam in 1967 a lot of time we were in the gulf of Tonkin at times you could see people on the beaches once when we went to general quarters we ran right through some fishermans fish nets but yet we supposedly weren't close enough. we had people coming on board from shore all the time swiftboats would come alongside to those that were there and came home and to those that didn't GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!

  20. Mr. Hilden Sr.,
    I also served aboard the WALDRON DD699 during her deployment to the Tonkin
    Gulf and recall the events that you have mentioned along with our gunfire support at a river opening along the coast. I do not remember the exact name of that river but do recall the PBR boats coming along side. with their crew members coming aboard for supplies and standing around talking with them. I have also spent time wondering why the WALDRON never made the list of ships that served in the Tonkin Gulf. Please feel free to contact me in regards to this issue. My contact info is in the Alumni booklet HALF MOON.
    GOD BLESS for your service.

  21. I was on USS New Orleans during Operation End Sweep.We anchored in Haiphong harbor for 55 days in Feb 1973.I need to know if we were exposed to Agent Orange from the water that was made form Haiphong harbor water.

  22. I was on USS Chicago CG11 in 1966.

    I'm trying to find out if anyone was on this ship that's having medical problems.

    I've been diagnosed with CLL leukemia, hearing loss in both ears and a heart condition.

    Contact me at 318-229-7778.

  23. My name is George Hill I was on the USS Chicago CG11. I also have medical issues. Please call me at 360-496-8287

  24. I was abroad the USS Procyon AF-61 from December 1969 to September 1970. The Cargo Ref. ship was up and down the coast dropping food off at DaNang & other ships. I had PROSTATE CANCER, HEART SURGERY.

  25. My Husbans served on the USS Procyon from 1961-1970 in Vietnam need know whether this enter the inland water of Vietnam

  26. Aboard USS Bennington CVS-20 during her three tours in the Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam). Two years ago (2012) I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and needed surgery. Also, stent placed in my LAD. Because of all the nonsense with the VA, I decided not to look into anything. Looks like they hope we all die off before giving us Blue Water Sailors any kind of acknowledgement.

  27. Made two west pac on Bennington 1965 , 1967 Had prostate removed 2014 aggressive Stage 4 2010 type 2 Diabetes no family history

  28. USS Procyon AF-61 10-68 to Dec 70. Medical issues; 2 Stents, 1 triple coronary bypass, type II diabetes, COPD. Due to change in boots dry in 2011 I was determined to be agent orange presumptive by my local VA Hospital, and since declared to be 100% disabled. Unlike many others the Salt Lake VA has provided me with decent treatment.

  29. I was on the USS Kearsarge, 1969 WestPac tour in the Gulf of Tonkin. I have diabetes and other problems. I was constantly receiving the agent orange newsletter and after a period of time decided to go ahead and get checked. Made an appointment at VA for testing. All I can say about that is what a joke that is. I didn't see a doctor for testing but instead had a sit down conference with a psychiatrist. Needless to say, that didn't resolve anything. I really appreciate the VA for all they have done for me but this I really don't understand.

  30. my husband was in Viet Nam aboard the USS Boston 1967-1969...he has had history of prostate cancer with surgery..anyone one else aboard that ship having same issue?

  31. My husband Ron was on the navy ship USS Ticonderoga July'69-May'71 off shore Viet Nam.He died of lung cancer in 2013. I can't prove boots on the ground.Does anyone remember him?

  32. Would like to hear from anyone that was on the Uss Lenawee in april 1963 thur dec 1963. My brother and I were on this ship that was in the official water way of the Republic of Vietnam. we both are diabetics, and have ischemic heart problems, neropothy. My brother now has prostrate cancer. We received small arm fire on Saigon River .

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