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VA Claims Information

This graphic tells of reunion news.

Bruce Swanson     Richard Martinez     Newest VA pages on AO     VA Pilots Expedite Payments to Disabled Veterans   |   Propsed new Agent Orange benefits regulations on 3/25.   |   Ken Church, won   |   Gary Guinn's Help Request   |   VA BLUE WATER CLAIMS Update 05   |   A WON decision   |   Entitlement to Connection   |   Blue Water   |   Landing Party Question   |   A NOTE FROM PAUL   |   COURT EXPANDS AGENT ORANGE COVERAGE   |   INPORTANT INFORMATION CONCERNING THE VA AND AO   |   RAO Update15/04/06   |   A Buddy Letter Template   |   John Weatherred, AO denial by VA   |   SECNAV 1650 condensed (CR ribbon)   |   SECNAV1650 full zipped   |   Brad Hagan request   |   A letter from Wayne in Text   |   Need help understanding DD 293 and DD149   |   How do I start a claim with the VA?   |   Can you describe what elements have to be present in a claim for PTSD?   |   What if the VA denies my claim?   |   What is a VA Date Stamp?   |   Where are links to Veterans Benefits?   |   VA Seeks Chemically Exposed Vets
Mailto: he will try to answer your question

Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 6:13 pm
Name and Rate : Bruce (Swanee) Swanson
Email : sawman101@hotmail.com
Phone : 828-238-6514
I served aboard Vance 03/65-03/66. I was aboard, and remember the night we entered Qui Nhon on 01/20/1966. I have had kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and coronary artey disease, which I believe is connected to Agent Orange exposure. My claim is in process, and if any of my ship mates could support my claim with a letter, stating I was a crew member of Vance on that date, and entered inland SVN waters on that date, I would greatly appreciate it. My Special Sea And Anchor Detail station was anchor windlass brke operator, on the focsle, whenever we the detail was set, as it was that night. The personnell on the foc'sle the most exposed personell on board during that detail.

Thank you for your help, and as your former Association Chaplain, may God continue to blesss you all.

From: richardmartinez3@charter.net Joseph:
Do you know of any persons that received compensation from Agent Orange/Blue Water that served aboard the USS Vance during the time between January 9,1964 to December 8,1965?

This is being requested by my Veteran Representative he needs names of the shipmates so it can help my claim.

You told me at the beginning it would be a long process.It's been 21 months and they keep asking me for more information but I'm getting closer. Also if anyone has pictures of anything while we were patrolling in Vietnam coast line or inspecting junks during this time frame. If you can help it would be great.
Richard Martinez
My contact number is 951-616-9332
If anyone ask who is he. I operated the ships store during this time frame.
Thanks Again

As most Vietnam-era veterans know presumption for Agent Orange related health conditions are based upon the member having actually had "boots on the ground" for at least one day. Those serving aboard ships have been divided into two groups. In the Blue Water groups are those individuals who were considered not to have been in country and among the Brown Water group are those who worked primarily on the rivers and are already considered to qualify. A question by a veterans organization representative, at a previous quarterly meeting, has led the VA to slightly change the rule. Now if a service member can prove that he was aboard a ship that actually tied up to a pier in Vietnam and that can be proved, the member will be considered as being in country and the presumptive conditions can apply.

If you or someone you know meets these qualifications and has previously been turned down for Agent Orange related conditions, now is the time to re-open your case with the VA.

[Source: NAUS Weekly update 29 May 09 ++]

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association AO information

If your ship was in a port or harbor, or if it entered a river, so that it was inland of the coastline, it is considered in "inland waterways" and eligible for direct exposure as presumption.
If your ship moored, docked or anchored in a port or harbor, you are considered to have been "in country" and eligible for direct exposure as presumption. Please see http://bluewaternavy.org/strausspack.htm.

The VA is bound by their own internal regulations to designate you as in country direct exposure (by presumption)
if you were in port or up a river. If you or anyone you know has any problems with this, please let me know so that I can keep the Senate Committee up to speed on how this is working out in the real world.

John Paul Rossie, CEO
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association


P.S, When you respond, provide month and year you qualified (either in port or up river.)
A database is being compiled.
Vance's 1966 Decklogs shows the ship anchored and other useful information.
Vance DeckLogs and Muster lists

From: "Director, RAO Baguio"
Sent: Apr 14, 2006 8:34 PM
Subject: RAO Bulletin Update 15 April 2006
RAO Bulletin Update
15 April 2006



Date: Saturday, September 24, 2005 Time: 5:33 PM EST
John Weatherred SN

Served_From: Nam May- June 65
Ship: USS Vance DER 387

Comment: Was aboard when we reached Nam in 65 was transferred to Fleet Sonar School, but feel I could have been exposed to Agent Orange as part of motor whale boat crew doing board and search, and transporting advisors to and from shore. Nothing in service record to show having gone ashore or participated in these activities. Have type 2 Diabetes and loss of hearing, but VA says being on a Navy ship or not being a GM even though I say I was part of Mt31 gun crew does not show enough evidence to warrant medical disability. I am following up on second tour aboard USS Mullinnix but need all the help I can get.Thanks

John Weatherred
PO Box 2008
Glen Rose, Tx. 76043

Brad Hagan

I served on the Vance from Nov. 1965 to Oct. 1967. I am having problems establishing a claim for Agent Orange exposure. I have diabetes 2 with no family history and no dramatic health problems related to the diabetes.

The V.A. won't even acknowledge that the Vance was in Vietnam, let alone the possibility of Agent Orange exposure. It was my experience that we had ample opportunity for exposure.

Much of the historical information needed by the V.A. has disappeared somehow!

I would appreciate any assistance you may be able to offer. Thank you!

Brad Hagan ETR2 USNR
(Take note of this request. There are many of us whom served on Vance with the same problems.) Joe
Below are a few of the responses to Brad.

From Tim Cuttle:
It seems that we may have served on the Vance at about the same time. As an FTG2 I was the "Gunner's Mate Division Petty Officer".

Anyways in response to your question about the VA. I have a letter signed by Vice Admiral W.G. Bringle for the Secretary, awarding me the Navy Achievement Medal. It very clearly indicates that the award was given during "Combat Operations Against the Enemy" from 18 January 1968 to 15 July 1968. It further states that I was authorized to wear the Combat 'V".

I have pictures of various Vance boarding parties inspecting a variety of junks, shore bombing, Swift boats attached to the Vance at the DMZ and the Vance anchored in DaNang. Hope some of this helps our crewmates.

From Henry Weidman:
Your "hostile fire" pay stub; that may do the trick.

From Bob Reed:
It is strange, only reference to Vance in my record is that I was awarded Viet Nam service medal for service in Vance in 1965. Would the book Arnhieter Affair help?

From Michael Stainbrook:
Manual or instruction for award of medals should show periods of ship's service in Vietnam under the Vietnam Service Medal, and individual's personnel records should show periods of individual service on board to determine eligibility. I would think DD214's would provide sufficient evidence of service, but could be wrong. Let me know if you need any research here in the DC and I'll see what I can find.

VA Seeks Chemically Exposed Vets Date: Tue, 31 May 2005 22:36:41 -0400
The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) announced a national outreach campaign to locate veterans who were exposed to mustard gas or the chemical weapon Lewisite during their service. Most of these veterans participated in chemical testing programs during World War II. They were exposed to mustard agents, which includes sulfur mustard and nitrogen mustard and Lewisite, which is a blister-producing chemical that contains organic arsenic. The VA is mailing information to veterans and survivors within the first group of participants identified by DoD. . VA is continuing to seek addresses for additional veterans and survivors, and the VA invites veterans to file disability compensation claims for any condition-related to service, including exposure to mustard agents and Lewisite. Veterans or their survivors with questions about these benefits should contact VA at 1-800-749-8387.

Source: www.military.com (Veterans Report)

Date: Sunday, February 1, 2004 Time: 8:25 AM EST
Submitted by: Brian D Welsh E1
Email address:
Subject: VA Questions
Served_From: 81-83
Ship: VF-111
Comment: I am having trouble understanding form DD 293 and DD149 I have started a claim for disability any help would be helpful I am currently SSDI for bi-polar which I had in the Navy thank you
Brian D Welsh

Date: Sunday, February 9, 2003 Time: 9:30 PM EST
Submitted by: Joseph Betters
Email address:
Subject: VA Questions
Served_From: Dec 1965 to July 1968
Ship: USS Vance DER 387
Comment: How do I start a claim with the VA?
Once the claim is started what if the VA denies my claim?

You can start a claim in several ways. The nearest VA Regional Office has VA Benefits Counselors to assist you. That's one. Another is to find a Veterans Service Organization, (VSO).

The American Legion,(AL); Veterans of Foreign Wars,(VFW); American Veterans (AMVETS); Disabled American Veterans, (DAV); Paralyzed Veterans of America, (PVA); Purple Heart Veterans, and others.

You do not have to take out a membership, to get help. Some have requirements for a membership that you might not qualify for. Whichever you choose, you will give the VSO your Power-of-Attorney. Provide copies of what documentation you are asked for, if you have it. If not, ask the VSO to get it, for you.

They will represent you before the VA. You can cancel your Power-of-Attorney, if you think you aren't being represented well, or properly.

If you live too far from a VARO, they can mail you the claims paperwork. You would do best to have someone represent you, however. Once the process is started, be patient. Make all scheduled Medical, and other appointments; especially any Claims and Compensation, (C and P), exams.

If the VARO denies your claim, you have Rights of Appeal. If you believe their denial is wrong, follow the guidance the VA automatically sends you. This is attached to the correspondence about their decision. You have one year to file a Notice of Disagreement; for example. There are other rights, including Hearings. If they again deny, in response to your NOD; your next level is the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Date: Monday, February 10, 2003 Time: 11:06 PM EST
Submitted by: Richard wes Westersund
Email address:
Subject: VA Questions
Served_From: 1964-1966
Ship: USS Vance DER 387
Comment: Can you describe what elements have to be present in a claim for PTSD in order to have a viable claim?

Good question, Richard. Go to http://members.tripod.com/MrMrsSarge/PTSD.html

This site covers exactly what you asked about, in good detail. It also covers 'suggestions' that will prove very helpful to you, and anyone else, regarding PTSD.

Lastly, Use your search engine, and enter 38USC. This is 'Veterans Benefits'. You can search the law on PTSD, here. 38CFR search will give you the VA Regulations, that implement the law.

Not 'light' reading, but vital if you want to understand the process, and use it to your benefit.

FM: Publius
TO: Wes and any VANCE Claimants
There are six criteria:
Criterion A - Exposure to a traumatic stressor
Criterion B - Re-experiencing symptoms
Criterion C - Avoidance and numbing symptoms
Criterion D - Symptoms of increased arousal
Criterion E - Duration of at least one month
Criterion F - Significant distress or impairment of functioning

The www. article, "ptsd Basics" explains them.

PTSD is Rating Code 9411, under Schedule of Ratings - Mental Disorders (Anxiety Disorders), in 38CFR: Go to
Title Volume Chapter Browse Parts Regulatory Entity Title 38

If you earned the Navy Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), your partway there. In order to qualify for a 50% Rating for PTSD, there has to be "...clinical evidence that your ability to establish or maintain effective or favorable relationships with people is considerably impaired.

Your psychoneurotic symptoms must so affect your reliability, flexibility, and efficiency levels that there is a resultant considerable industrial impairment." (This is from one of my PTSD Rating Decisions).

There is so much matrial available now, on line, that selective reading is a must. I hope this is both selective and helpful.


When you file a claim with the VA, you are specifically stating a wrong, or harm, to you; for which you are requesting money (compensation). Anything less is not a claim.

The VA, or any federal agency, must provide information, called rules and regulations, to assist you in making a claim.

  |   The clock starts ticking on your claim when it is date-stamped. If you send a claim by mail, the VA mailroom stamps it. If you deliver a claim in person, someone in the VARO stamps it.

  |   If distance is a problem and you use mail, you might want to include a file copy, with a return envelope, for the VA to also stamp, and post back to you.

  |   If the VARO is nearby, take both copies with you. Ask the person who waits on you if they would please stamp your claims material, in front of you, including your file copy. Ask this before the papers 'change hands'.

  |   You are actually helping them, and they should be happy to accommodate you. If they agree, say fine. someone should then escort you to the nearby date-stamp machine.

  |   It is very important that each page of your material, be clearly stamped; their copy and your copy. I have never had a problem with the VA, on this kind of request.

  |   If, however, you have difficulty smiling, and the VA person decides to start reading your paperwork 'first', that is a problem.

When you cheerfully, politely ask them to date-stamp your claims papers, the normal assumptions are that you are submitting a legitimate claim, and they are there to serve you.

What you want is to get out of there with your date-stamped copy. And then go give a copy to your Representative of whichever organization that has your power of attorney.

  |   If they are merely checking for bona fides, such as the paper being dated and signed, and in a form acceptable, its no big deal. That only takes a moment.

  |   But they do not have a right, under law, to read claims material, before it is stamped. Reason? It isn't a claim until it is accepted (stamped).

  |   We are dealing with the law of Laches, here; (Delaying of claims). you should read 38 USC, Chapter 51: Claims, Effective Dates, and Payments.

  |  Here are 'two' direct links to Veterans Benefits law and agency rules: U.S. Code Search

Wait! Don't Click, yet! I have already expanded the link, below. Just put the direct link in your favorites. If you click on it, it will give you a page that has, as the bottom line, what is opened, in english, below.  |   You can click on, and save, that one too.

  |   When the page opens, just click on the "Search", radio button. Don't change anything I entered in the field; (Title Field =38. Chapter Field =51.

When the new page opens, it is the 'entire' Chapter 51, w/updates (read from 'Bottom' to 'Top').

  |   Save to your hard drive, Cd, Floppy. This is the "Law of the Land." This site is the 'Only' one that has to be current, by law.


Next, you need 38CFR (VA Rules & Regulations), in two volumes; parts 0-17 and 18-end. 0-17 18-end

Here, on your computer, is everything congress said, and everything, (almost), that VA says.




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