Hi Tim G, Please share some information on your ship (blue water) off the coast of Vietnam. I've applied for benefits re. my prostate cancer in the past but it was rejected. My ship was the USS Constellation (aircraft carrier) we were involved in the Tonkin Gulf incident off the coast of Vietnam. Just hate to jump through all the VA hoops again with little chance of success. Been dealing with my PCa for over 10 years now. Do you have any suggestions in working with the VA? Thanks, Chips1942
I went thru the same hoops in 2006 but was rejected. Previously, the VA had been allowing Blue Water sailors to get benefits, but a court ruled that they were no longer eligible. Fast forward to 2019, Congress passed a law granting benefits to Blue Water sailors with a number of conditions, including Prostate Cancer. I applied in February 2020 through the VA and throughout the review process had to submit some additional required documents. Lastly, they asked me when (1972) and where I was in Vietnam (everywhere off the coast, but mainly around the DMZ and North Vietnam) so they could verify records for my ship (USS Sample, DE 1048, a Destroyer Escort) . After that, I was evaluated by a VA physician and approved for benefits effective June 29. It really was not much of a hassle, considering the usual government bureaucracy.
The VA considers anyone serving in Vietnam (now including coastal U S Navy vessels) from 1962 through 1975 to have possible exposure to Agent Orange. Exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I would suggest that you call the VA directly 800-827-1000, and ask them to email the document required to apply for benefits. Since you have applied for disability benefits and been denied previously, as I was, there is a special form for re-application. The VA personnel were very helpful to me all the way thru the process. On average, the application and review process takes 3 to 6 months, but with Covid, all bets are off.
Because the law is so specific to Blue Water Navy veterans, you should be eligible for cancer-related disability benefits.
All the best to you. I hope, too, that you have had a successful recovery from prostate cancer.
P.S. We refueled many times from aircraft carriers, and every time it scared the liver out of me because of proximity of the two ships, the possibility of fuel lines snapping in rough seas and the difference in size between the ships with the aircraft carriers at 100,000 tons vs. 5,000 tons for our ship. We did bird-dogging for carriers until the North Vietnamese invasion of 30,000 troops across the DMZ during the Easter Offensive in 1972. You served at the beginning of the American involvement in Vietnam and I was there near the end.