VA/Health Issues

VA/Health Issues

The intent of this page is to be a forum for Jerome County shipmates where we can share information with regards to the “ins and outs” of dealing with the VA with regards to health issues. It is hoped that shipmates will share their experiences so that it will facilitate the efforts of other shipmates who are facing the same challenges and obstacles.

Dennis Hager:

Dennis,
The process of getting a ship onto the Inland Water Service list is a matter of providing the proper documentation. In the case of the JEROME COUNTY LST-848, this ship and all crew
are already authorized for full presumption of exposure to herbicides for all time periods. You can find this under the listing of “Ships operating primarily or exclusively on Vietnam’s inland waterways”. Under that provision, “All vessels with the designation LST [Landing Ship, Tank].”
You can find this latest listing on the Blue Water Navy Association web site at <http://bluewaternavy.org/shiplist3.pdf>. You will find this information at the top of the second page of the release. This means that once an individual can show they were assigned to that vessel, their claim should be processed immediately with no further development required.
I hope this information is useful to you and your crew,
John Rossie, Executive Director
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association

Michael Giberson:

Thanks, but I found a copy of the letter in some of the stuff I downloaded off your computer.  The question is moot, however, in light of the link provided by Dennis Hager to documentation that declares, as of January 6, 2011, all LSTs in Vietnam are presumptively in-country units, and the crews stationed on them during their Vietnam deployments are “eligible for presumption for agent orange herbicide exposure based on operations of the veterans’ ship.”  (see http://bluewaternavy.org/shiplist3.pdf ).  Thus, members of the ship’s company of the Jerome County need only obtain and submit their service records with their VA claims to prove they were aboard the JC, instead of having to go through two years of hell like Dave Crowell did when he was forced to compile documentation that he actually set foot on land in Vietnam.  However, having said that, a crew member may find that his service record may be missing or incomplete (there was a huge fire in 1970 that destroyed vast numbers of the records of discharged veterans), in which case the veteran must compile and submit what evidence he may have, in the form of photos, ship’s documents, personal letters and written testimonials from fellow crew members, to establish his eligibility.  A case in point is the photo of the beach party in Cam Ranh Bay in 1966 that Dennis sent me, which clearly establishes the presence of Drew Finley and me and other members of the crew in-country.  Other examples of documentation include Captain Fischer’s Xmas letter and the diary entry of Col. Richard Parks I sent to you earlier in the week.  Everybody should retain every document, letter, and photo in their possession to help obtain a favorable ruling on their VA claims.

Michael Giberson:

If anyone is looking for documentation that the Jerome County was in-country and attached to NavSupGr Danang, this diary entry of Col. Richard P. Clark, Jr., who describes his visit aboard as a dinner guest of Captain Fischer in Saigon on 30 September 1965, should help…

Michael Giberson

Open Attachment The diary of Lieutenant Colonel Richard Paris Clark.doc Open

O.J. Joyce:

I keep forgetting to pass this along. If you have diabetes you are eligible for a 20% disability and approximately $300 per month. Apply at your local Veterans office, not the VA. You should inform then that you come under the Brown Navy, not the Blue Navy. If anyone requires more info, I would be glad to help. OJ

 

Dennis Hager:

A few personnel claimed to have experienced some strange effects during Operation Dominic (1962). According to a PN (Personnelman) who reported aboard after the Operation some of the crew who were on-board at the time said they were on deck and told to put their arms over their eyes.  Doing that, they could see the blood flow and the bones in their arms. This is similar to the report of an individual who was on Johnston Island at the time who reported seeing the bones in his hands even while wearing the dark goggles.  However an officer who was on the bridge of the Jerome County at the time said that when the missile exploded almost all the crew was inside and not on deck.  Anyone on deck was provided dark glasses and told not to take them off. He wore a detection device to measure radiation exposure but nothing above normal was noted. The government kept a list of the crew and contacted crew members over the years to make sure nothing unusual happened health-wise.