CA 70 / CAG 2
Agent Orange And VA Claims
Many of our shipmates were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Others have other service connected health claims that need attention. This section is mostly about Agent Orange and getting support for VA claims. If you have some other illness attributed to your service, you can use parts of this to help in getting your claims through the Veterans Administration's cumbersome and confusing claims process.
From the VFW Website: http://www.vfw.org/NVS/ Filing a VA Claim
As the largest organization of combat veterans, the VFW understands the frustrations that can arise when filing a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The claims process can be confusing and one that service members and veterans shouldn't try to navigate alone. That's why the VFW's National Veterans Service (NVS) was created. NVS consists of a nationwide network of service officers who are experts in dealing with the claims process and help thousands of veterans cut through the bureaucratic red tape every year. They are the key to success, recovering approximately $1 billion in earned benefits and compensation for veterans each year. VFW Service Officers are trained experts, helping veterans develop their case with ease by reviewing and applying current law, pertinent legislation, regulations and medical histories. As skilled professionals, they assist in filing for disability compensation, rehabilitation and education programs, pension and death benefits, and employment and training programs. Furthermore, they won’t hesitate to request hearings before the VA and the Board of Veterans Appeals to present oral arguments when needed. VFW Service Officers are with America's veterans every step of the way once they're ready to file a claim. This is a service the VFW is proud to offer--free of charge--to anyone seeking assistance with the claims process. It's a service our veterans have earned and deserve.
Agent Orange Update: From the 15 May 2015 RAO Bulletin
The Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims has made a landmark ruling that will help many Navy and Coast Guard vets who have been classified as Blue Water Sailors. The case was Gray vs McDonald and was decided on April 24, 2015. This will greatly benefit many Vietnam Navy veterans effected by Agent Orange. In it they declared that the Harbors of Danang, Cam Ranh Bay and Vung Tau must now be classified Brown water instead of Blue water. Basically the court said these ports were classified as deep-water, but should have been classified as being in the spray area and not by the fact that large vessels could enter them. The VA must now declare all vessels that entered these harbors as dioxin (AO) exposed and compensate the sailors on them that have presumptive diseases that are recognized as having their genesis in AO exposure. In regard to service in mouth of rivers, such as minesweepers, the court said that even the VA Secretary declared that there is no definite boundaries of a river mouths, therefore they cannot just make a decision by “flipping a coin” as to what vessels were exposed and which were not. The court further stated that inland water service cannot be limited to the ships that are on their “official” ship’s list. The emphasis should be on the likelihood of exposure to herbicide and that the fact that a large river’s brown water plume can extend far out to sea. It stated that the use of “mouth” and “borders” around Vietnam may extend well beyond the physical land mass of a river and the VA’s current interpretation of the code of Federal Regulations that cover this area are “arbitrary and capricious”. To put the icing on the cake, the court ruled that the VA’s reliance on the IOM’s (Institute of Medicine) 2011 report on dioxin exposure is unacceptable because the IOM was “too general and inconclusive in nature”. This means that the VA’s rating system cannot conclusively contend that some offshore vessels were NOT contaminated by AO. Finally, the court ordered the VA to redraw its lines and rules as to what are the proper boundaries and “exercise its fair and considered judgment to define inland waterways in a manner consistent with the regulations with emphasis on the probability of exposure”. In essence they said the present methods are patently unfair. This ruling should bode well for sailors and Coast Guardsmen who sailed and flew into areas that should have been considered contaminated long ago. However, for all vets who may have a claim in the works, the regulations are going to have to be promulgated by the VA and they must decide if they wish to honor past claims as they may look at this as new rules that did not apply when the original case was denied. The VA can be very obtuse about how they honor a change of the code of Federal Regulations. They also have a right to appeal this to the U.S. District Court, but that is very doubtful.
Good Morning Friends;
Again, thanks for your help and to those too numerous too mention by name who have fought the good fight on behalf of veterans everywhere. In the event that this is read by the spouse please pass it along to my brothers with my deepest love and respect.
I am pleased to inform you that the Department of Veterans Affairs has added April 1965 to those dates already specified for the USS Canberra on the list of ships associated with service in the waters of Vietnam and potential Agent Orange exposure.
My coworker, Brian Lueth, worked closely with some of you on obtaining the information necessary for Congressman Ribble to make the request to the VA. Thank you for your help!
Please see the attached letter, and share with those who will benefit.
Request for Documentation of Early 1965 Cruise to DaNang Harbor
Congressman Reid Ribble is assisting constituent and USS Canberra sailor Wayne Damp and others who served in establishing that the USS Canberra entered Vietnam’s inland waterways on a number of occasions in March and April 1965.
Currently, deck logs from April 9 reference sailing “in the vicinity of ‘Cape Tourane’” and disembarking a Commander Ackerman. A reference is also made on April 15, 1965 to commence “maneuvering at various courses and speeds to enter DaNang Bay, Vietnam.”
Congressman Ribble has previously worked with Vietnam Navy Veterans to coordinate deck logs and veteran testimonials and was successful in having another vessel – the USS Gurke -- added to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) registry for Agent Orange benefit purposes.
Our office respectfully requests documentation, including but not limited to recollections or photos of the USS Canberra sailors’ experiences in and around DaNang Harbor.
Please feel free to forward items to:
If you have questions, please feel free to call Kerry in the Green Bay office at 920-471-1950.
Agent Orange Update for Sept 1968 to Jan 1969 WestPac Cruise
This message was received from shipmate Bob Wiltse on January 29, 2014. Bob was a BM-3 in 3rd Division.
My name is Bob Wiltse. I served aboard the U.S.S. Canberra CAG-2 (CA-70) from September 1968 thru February 1970. I was a crewmember for the '68 WestPac cruise to the gun Line off the coast of Vietnam. The U.S.S. Canberra departed San Diego, CA on September 5, 1968 for Naval Support Combat duty from Hoi An, South Vietnam to Hon Mott and Haiphong, North Vietnam.
Over the past 5 – 6 years I have consistently and diligently fought the hard fight with the VA over my Prostate Cancer claim and now have been granted "Military Service Connection for Prostate Cancer and ED" as I was able to prove through a lot of hard work and validate to the VA that the Canberra did indeed enter Vietnam's Inland Waterways at Longitude – (16*- 54.2'N by Latitude – 107* -11.0'E) on Dec 10th, 1968 for an H & I (8" - .55 Cal) Fire support mission on a VC occupied area for the 3rd U.S. Marines just north of Cua Viet, South Vietnam along the "Song Thach Hai River".
VA DRO's 12/23/2013 Decision:
"Based on the Deck Logs from the U.S.S. Canberra from December 10, 1968 that listed that the ship was at 16°-54.2'N by 107°-11.0'E. The latitude and longitude coordinates puts the ship on the Vietnam inland waterways. Therefore exposure to Agent Orange has been conceded."
It is my intention today to provide to all of you that served on the U.S.S. Canberra CAG-2 (CA-70) for that ’68 tour of duty on the gun line off the coast of Vietnam from September 5, 1968 thru January 6, 1969, the assistance you require and only the evidence that you will need to connect the dots for the VA and successfully bring your claim for any of the diseases from the “Presumptive List” to closure.
Here is the VA.GOV website that posts the Ships that the VA recognizes that you will need and their following response:
Re: Fw: [EXTERNAL] Submission of Evidence - U.S.S. Canberra CA-70 - 12/10/1968 - Add to the A/O Ships List
I have added the December 10, 1968, date to the other dates for the USS Canberra (CAG-2). This is based on evidence that “latitude 16 – longitude 107” is in the vicinity of the Cua Viet River, South of DaNang, as well as your deck logs showing that the ship encountered a US Army river dredge on that date. Additionally, I previously received the ship’s 1968 Command History, showing the ship provided medical assistance on December 9, 1968, to a LCM (Landing Craft, Mechanized), which was a small vessel generally used on the inland rivers. The weight of this evidence indicates inland waterway activity and is sufficient to add the new date.
USS Canberra (CAG-2) [Guided Missile Cruiser] operated on Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966, on Mekong Delta Ham Luong River during January 15, 1967, and on Cua Viet River (Song Thach Han) during December 10, 1968.
Canberra (CAG-2) - Operated on Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966, on Mekong Delta Ham Luong River during January 15, 1967, and on Cua Viet River (Song Thach Han) during December 10, 1968
If you have a pending claim for “any” disease or health issue that is currently on the “PRESUMPTIVE LIST” the addition of the U.S.S. Canberra CAG-2 (CA-70) to that list for the date of 12/10/1968 will now prove Military Service Connection to Agent Orange due to the Canberra did indeed enter an “Inland Waterway” on 12/10/1968.
If you have yet to file a claim for any of the Agent Orange “Presumptive List” diseases or health issues because it has been such an enormous task and process nightmare to get through with the VA, contact Ken at this website and he will forward your contact info to me and I will do everything I can based on my personal experience with the correct documents in hand to get you through the process...........successfully!
This evidence is now conclusive and validated by the VA.
Thank you for your service to this nation and remember to always help a fellow Veteran!
USS Canberra & Agent Orange
There are about 15 diseases recognized by VA that were caused by Agent Orange.
Please contact your local DAV office for help filing your paperwork.
John E Dorsey
USS Canberra Winter 2012 Newsletter - Agent Orange Update
The USS Canberra (CAG-2) operated on the Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966, on the Cua Viet River during December 15, 1966, and on the Mekong Delta Ham Luong River during January 15, 1967.
For the purposes of VA compensation benefits, Veterans who served anywhere in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to herbicides, as specified in the Agent Orange Act of 1991. These Veterans do not need to show that they were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides in order to get disability compensation for diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.
Service in Vietnam means service on land in Vietnam or on the inland waterways of Vietnam. This includes Veterans who:Set foot in Vietnam. (This includes brief visits
The Veteran further must provide a statement of personally going ashore.) Served on a ship while it operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam.
Blue Water Veterans are not presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides unless they set foot in Vietnam or served aboard ships that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
Note: Since the above was published, another date has been added to the above:
USS Canberra Winter 2012 Newsletter - Veterans of Foreign Wars - VFW National Veterans Service
As the largest organization of combat veterans, we understand the frustrations that can arise with making a VA claim. That’s why our National Veterans Service (NVS) was created. Our nationwide network of skilled VFW Veterans Service Officers helps you wade through all the bureaucratic red tape, offering you a better opportunity to get the disability claim you deserve.
As a veteran, this is a service you’ve earned.
Go to: http://www.vfw.org/NVS/
USS Canberra Winter 2012 Newsletter - The American Legion
Q. How do I know if I have a claim for Agent Orange?
A. Many Vietnam War veterans are concerned that they have been exposed to Agent Orange, the chemical herbicide used to destroy jungle foliage in order to expose enemy troops. Public Law 107-103 provides a presumption of exposure to herbicides for all veterans who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam era. You do not have to prove you were sprayed or in an area that was sprayed if you served in Vietnam from Jan. 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975. However, before you begin to file a claim, you must have proof of service in Vietnam during the war time and medical documentation of the condition(s) officially recognized by VA.
The following is a list of diseases that VA recognizes as related to Agent Orange exposure:
Learn more about the diseases: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/diseases.asp
Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for an Agent Orange registry health exam, health care benefits and disability compensation. Contact your local American Legion accredited service officer to discuss possible benefits and file a claim: www.legion.org/serviceofficers
Note: This was written in 2012. Other diseases may have been added!
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