Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More on Brown Water/Blue Water Claims

The Captain of the USS Ingersoll DD 652 went to war with the DVA and won benefits for his crew that served aboard Ingersoll while she was at anchor for shore bombardment in the Saigon River in Vietnam. The Secretary of the DVA authorized benefits for those crewmembers who were on board.

Here is the citation from the VA website:

The USS Ingersoll (DD 652) operated as a Navy destroyer gunship providing fire support for military ground operations along the Vietnam coast during 1965. In addition to coastal duty, the USS Ingersoll traveled up the Saigon River on October 24th and 25th of 1965 to fire on enemy bases. C&P Service has reviewed the ship’s deck logs, located at the National Archives and Records Administration, and confirmed this service in the “inland waterways” of Vietnam. As a result, the presumption of herbicide exposure, as described in 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6)(i), should be extended to any crewmember who served aboard ship during October of 1965. This presumption is authorized by M21-1MR section IV.ii.2.C.10.b. Regional offices should reevaluate any disability claim based on herbicide exposure from one of these veterans that has been denied.
It follows, then, that if your ship went up a river, you should be entitled to the same benefits as the crew members of the USS Ingersoll. Additionally, since the DVA opened this can of worms for themselves, if you were in any land locked harbor or bay, or in the delta of any of Vietnam's rivers, and at anchor, you should be eligible for benefits under the Agent Orange Act of 1991 and the Secretary's announcement in the Addendum Compensation & Pension Service Bulletin issued July 31, 2007. The Secretary has established a precedent for this type of service.

Go, do not walk, run to your VARO and get them to pull your case. If you do not have deck logs, get them, but do not wait for them. The DVA should get them for you, like they did for the Ingersoll.

I only wish other skippers would go to bat like the Ingersoll's skipper did.


”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Bush Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows than as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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  1. Marcie00:00

    Carl's ship was the USS BOSTON and it docked in DaNang twice in 1967. (deck logs submitted to VA) He also went on shore in DaNang. All this evidence went to the VA and his case was denied. He has asked several times to be removed from the Blue Water HAAS stay but no results. At his appeal hearing he told the Hearing Officer he didn't know why the case was being held under HAAS as he was in DaNang Harbor and also went on shore. Almost 2 years later- still nothing. We did receive a letter stating that being docked and anchored in DaNang were two separate things. They had a record his ship was ANCHORED but not DOCKED. Well to say the least- we are still waiting for an appeal decision from the hearing officer. At this time- I don't think the VA cares if you are Blue Water or Brown Water.

  2. No, they care, but not enough to separate the two types of cases. What they are doing is clearly violating the terms of the Court ordered stay. And they do so with impunity.
    Someone should call them out publicly for this abuse of power, malfeasance in office, and violation of a court order.

  3. Marcella19:45

    Who would you contact? I have notified our Congressmen and Senators and even their letters have not done anything to make the VA separate the case from Blue Water. Two other shipmates have won their cases-yet this one is in the stay.

  4. We have repeatedly given this advice, and feedback from those who have wound up using this approach has shown it to be the correct way to proceed:

    Get an attorney to go with you to the VARO.

    If you cannot afford an attorney, find the very best and toughest Veterans Service Officer [we recommend DAV or FRA] to go with you to the VARO.

    Once there, ask to see a manager, and have your attorey or VSO ask them to pull the case from the Haas stay and process it imediately for Brown Water benefits.

    Of course this means you must have all your documentation, probably deck logs, buddy statements, and what ever other documentary proof of Brown Water Status you can lay your hands on. If the VARO Manager refuses, have your attorney primed ahead of time to be prepared to go nose to nose with the manager. Threats of law suits, financial sanctions, and possible criminal proceedings for intentionally violating a court order should be enough to work. If not, get the attorney to file a writ of mandamus to show cause why the claim is in Haas stay.