This page deals with the issue of exposure to Agent Orange by "blue water" sailors during the period 1965-1973 while serving with fleet operations near the coast of North and South Vietnam.

To see where we are at this point, view the research action logs.  To view the Deck Logs documenting the ship's presence in Danany Harbor, go to the Archives web page.

The debate about Navy units being exposed to Agent Orange while positioned off shore for gun file support operations, patrol duties, search and rescue, and other close-in operations is growing as more veterans who served on those units are developing systems consistent with exposure to chemical agents.

Many articles have been written about the blue water Navy's exposure potential.  The are too numerous to report here.  For the longest time, no one in the Federal government wanted to acknowledge any liability for fleet units of Task Force 75 and Task Force 77.  In particular, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Veterans Administration have vehemently denied any culpability. 

Given prime evidence in the form of official ship's logs and operational summaries, the VA is slowly acknowledging liability.  The list of ships and units that qualify for disability claims due to exposure to Agent Orange is growing.  This is not due to the diligence of the VA!  Individuals from the various ships and units must provide proof that they are entitled to consideration for disability claims.

The most interesting development is a recent report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) which proves the distillation process used to generate potable water from sea water did not remove Agent Orange from the water; it actually enhanced the effect of the Agent Orange dioxin by a factor of 10. Many professional organizations believe the IOM report provides strong evidence for extending the presumption of exposure to blue water veterans.

Therefore, the USS REEVES Association is joining forces with other units to obtain the documents and identify crew members who might have been exposed. 

Paul Richmond, a fellow double-ender (LEAHY), has become the go to guy for working this problem.  He recently returned from Washington D.C. where he was able to access the muster rolls for REEVES just prior to her extended deployment to WESTPAC in 1966.  As he put it when he sent me jpg copies of the documents...

"This completes the "muster rolls" for the officers and 1966 crew.

The question I have to you is have you ever spoken to anyone that has submitted the documentation to the VA so they can add the ship (and crew) on the Agent Orange list?

I performed one for the William V. Pratt and within 5 weeks it appeared in June of this year. They the VA actually answered my question...

Meanwhile, I'm doing one for the Halsey and King.

Last weekend I spoke with Rear Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann for just over an hour.

He was the CO of the Leahy before I got on her. The gentleman filled my ears.

I finally brought up the subject of what I'm trying to do which is to change the way the VA is preventing our vets from filling for disability because the ship that anchored in DaNang "didn't" qualify.  

Please read;  http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/not-on-list.asp

'A ship that anchored in an open water harbor, such as Da Nang Harbor, is not sufficient evidence for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure.'

This is where interviewing the officers that are still alive that can document what happened in DaNang. Any ship that pulled into DaNang sent at least one boat (mw boat, utility, or the CO's barge) ashore for a meeting that lasted for a couple of hours.

There can't be any controversy in which the evolution was performed.

I explained to Admiral Hoffmann that I personally met with Rory E. Riley who is the Staff Director and Counsel for the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. She works for the Honorable Jeff Miller US Congressman for Florida's 1's District. They are in the process of trying to get this Agent Orange thing applied to the Blue Water Navy. See; H.R. 1494.

I have contacts at the United States National Archives in College Park that will personally assist me in acquiring the necessary paperwork to file for any and all ships to get them on "the list".

The Admiral finally closed with "Get them all on the list". "

We are establishing a fund to help Paul with some of his expenses while traveling and gathering information.

Using the lists he brought back last month, our crew roster list grew by 253.  499 members are documented as being onboard for the '66 deployment.  Additionally, there are 559 crew members that were onboard during cruises dated from 1966 to 1973.  The names of those crew members are not listed here.

To check on a name, contact me, Mike Robertson, at michael@ussreeves.net.

 

 

 

2013 USS Reeves Association. All rights reserved. Last update: 9/16/2013