Compensation Service expanded and updated the Intranet ships list website: https://vba.vba.va.gov/bl/21/rating/docs/shiplist.doc located at the Vietnam Era Navy Ship Agent Orange Exposure Development Site under “Rating Job Aids”. (Remember, you have to be inside VA’s firewall to access this website.) The website now includes additional ships based on evidence documenting inland waterway travel, shore/pier docking, or close coastal offshore operations with small boats and/or crew members going ashore. This website serves as a development tool for claims from veterans who served aboard ships operating on the offshore “blue water” of Vietnam.
Development procedures are explained in Training Letter (TL) 10-06, Adjudicating Disability Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure from U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Veterans of the Vietnam Era. Compensation Service is also working on an Internet website for this information and will notify the field when this has been completed.
When developing a claim using the ships list, remember that the same ship may appear at two different locations on the list, based on its activity during different time frames. A ship may be listed under the section on inland waterway travel with specific dates, but may also be listed under the section on close coastal offshore operations with more extended dates.
This distinction is necessary because different veterans may have served on the same ship at different times.
A veteran who served aboard a ship while it was operating temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways did not need to leave the ship in order for VA to concede Agent Orange herbicide exposure.
On the other hand, a veteran who served aboard a ship that docked or operated on the close coastal offshore waters must provide evidence of “visitation in Vietnam” with a lay statement attesting to the fact that he or she personally went ashore, in order for VA to concede Agent Orange exposure.