USS Noxubee AOG56

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      Agent Orange
If you have more information on this,  please contact Dick
VA Adds USCG, USN Vessels to Agent Orange Exposure List

The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) strongly encourages all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard (USCG) Vietnam veterans to review an expanded list of vessels exposed to Agent Orange that was recently released by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The VA is continuously updating its list of offshore “blue water” vessels that conducted operations on the inland “brown water” rivers and delta areas of Vietnam, and the most recent additions include all USCG vessels with hull designations of WPB (patrol boat) and WHEC (high-endurance cutter) that served in Vietnam. If a veteran's service aboard one of these ships can be confirmed through his military records during the time frames specified, exposure to herbicide agents can be presumed without further proof, thus expediting claims for VA benefits.

“Thousands of Navy and Coast Guard veterans who served aboard ships during the Vietnam conflict experience health problems related to herbicide exposure, but their illnesses and disabilities are not automatically considered service-connected in the eyes of the VA,” explains Chris Slawinski, FRA’s national veterans’ service officer. “The VA restricts this type of presumptive service connection to vets who had ‘boots on the ground’ or can prove their ship operated on inland waterways. Each addition to the VA’s list of exposed vessels will make it easier for these veterans to prove exposure and will hopefully facilitate more timely determination of benefits.”

The first iteration of the list was released earlier this year. The most recent additions are categorized by those that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waterways of Vietnam or those that operated temporarily on the inland waterways or were moored at the shore. The comprehensive list is posted below.

If you or someone you know served aboard any of these vessels during the times indicated, a VA claim for exposure to an herbicide agent should be filed as soon as possible. To start a claim, contact your nearest VA Regional Office (click here for a list of offices) or contact Chris Slawinski at vafra@fra.org or 1-800-FRA-1924 (ext. 115).

FRA strongly supports pending legislation (H.R. 254 and S. 1939) that would grant presumptive status to all blue water Vietnam veterans exposed to herbicides, not just those who served inland. All veterans are encouraged to visit the FRA Action Center and ask their elected officials to support these measures.

Vessels that Operated in Vietnam
  • All U.S. Coast Guard Cutters with hull designation WPB [patrol boat] and WHEC [high endurance cutters]
  • USS Antelope (PG-86)
  • USS Asheville (PG-84) [patrol gunboat]
  • USS Askari ( ARL -30)
  • USS Basilone (DD-824) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River , May 24-25, 1966 ]
  • USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) [landing ship dock]
  • USS Benewah (APB-35)
  • USS Benewah (APB-35) [self-propelled barracks ship]
  • USS Bexar ( APA -237) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-20)
  • USS Black (DD-666) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River , July 13-19, 1966 ]
  • USS Bolster (ARS-38) [salvage ship] crew operated on land to extract USS Clark County (LST-601) from beach after grounding at Duc Pho from November 18 to December 1, 1967
  • USS Boxer (LPH-4) [amphibious assault ship] docked to pier at Cam Rahn Bay on September 9, 1965
  • USS Brule (AKL-28) Winnemucca (YTB-785) [harbor tug]
  • USS Buck (DD-761) operated on Mekong River Delta and Saigon River during October 1966
  • USS Canberra ( CAG -2) [guided missile cruiser] operated on Saigon River from March 31 through April 1, 1966 , on Cua Viet River during December 15, 1966 , and on Mekong Delta Ham Luong River, January 15, 1967
  • USS Canon (PG-90)
  • USS Card ( ACV -11) [escort carrier] mined, sunk, and salvaged in Saigon River Harbor during May 1964
  • USS Carter Hall (LSD-3) [landing ship dock] operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during December 1967
  • USS Cleveland (LPD-7) operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha, as well as Hue River, from November 1967 through 1968 and Saigon River during September 1969
  • USS Colleton (APB-36)
  • USS Comstock (LSD-19)
  • USS Conway (DD-507) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River, early August 1966]
  • USS Crockett (PG-88)
  • USS Dubuque (LPD-8) docked at Da Nang  on March 15, 1970
  • USS Duluth (LPD-6) [amphibious transport dock] docked to pier at Da Nang during March and October 1971
  • USS Dyess (DD-880) operated on Saigon River and Rung Sat Special Zone from June 19- July 1, 1966
  • USS Elkhorn ( AOG -7)
  • USS Epperson (DD-719) docked to Da Nang Pier on October 4, 1970
  • USS Fiske (DD-842) [Destroyer] [Operated on Mekong River , June 16-21, 1966 ]
  • USS Genesee ( AOG -8) Barracks Barge ( APL -26) [sleeping quarters]
  • USS Hamner (DD-718) [Destroyer] [Operated on Song Lon Tao and Long Song Tao Rivers , August 15- September 1, 1966 ]
  • USS Henrico ( APA -45) [amphibious attack transport] operated on Hue River during March 1965 and conducted numerous troop landing through March 1967
  • USS Indra ( ARL -37)
  • USS Ingersoll (DD-652) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River , October 24-25, 1965 ]
  • USS John W. Thomason (DD-760) operated on Nga Be River during 1969
  • USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) [guided missile destroyer] operated on Mekong River Delta and Ganh Rai Bay, November 7 and December 7, 1968
  • USS Kishwaukee ( AOG -9) Barracks Barge ( APL -30)
  • USS Krishna ( ARL -38)
  • USS Mahan (DLG-11) [Guided Missile Frigate] [Operated on Saigon River October 24-28, 1964 ]
  • USS Mansfield (DD-728) [Destroyer] [Operated on Saigon River August 8-19, 1967 and December 21-24, 1968 ]
  • USS Marathon (PG-89)
  • USS Mark (AKL-12) [light cargo ship]
  • USS Maury ( AGS -16) [mapping survey ship] conducted surveys of Mekong Delta and other coastal areas and rivers beginning November 1965 through 1969
  • USS Mercer (APB-39)
  • USS Gallop (PG-85)
  • USS Montrose ( APA -212) [attack transport] Floating Base Platform (YRBM-17) [repair, berthing, and messing barge]
  • USS Montrose ( APA -212) operated on Song Hue River during December 1965, operated on Long Tau River during March 1967, and operated on Cua Viet River and at Dong Ha during May 1967
  • USS Newell ( DER -322) [radar destroyer escort] docked at port of Nha Trang during December 22-24, 1965
  • USS Niagara Falls ( AFS -3) [Combat Stores Ship] [Unloaded supplies on Saigon River and Cam Rahn Bay , April 22-25, 1968 ]
  • USS Noxubee ( AOG -56)
  • USS Nueces (APB-40)
  • USS Okanogan ( APA -210) Floating Base Platform (YRBM-18)
  • USS Okanogan ( APA -220) [Attack Transport] [Operated on Saigon River July 22-23, 29-30, 1968 and August 5-6, 1968 ]
  • USS Orleck (DD-886) operated on Mekong River Delta during July 1969
  • USS Patapsco ( AOG -1) [gasoline tanker]
  • USS Perkins (DD-877) operated on Saigon River during June 1969
  • USS Picking (DD-685) operated on Saigon River during November 16, 1965
  • USS Preston (DD-795) operated on Mekong River Delta, Ganh Rai Bay, and Saigon River during September 28 -29 and December 27 -29, 1965
  • USS Providence (CLG-6) [Cruiser, Light, Guided Missile] [Operated on Saigon River 3 days during January 1964]
  • USS Ready (PG-87)
  • USS Richard E. Kraus (DD-849) [Destroyer] [Operated on coastal inlet north of Da Nang , June 2-5, 1966 , protecting Marines holding a bridge]
  • USS Satyr ( ARL -23) [repair ship]
  • USS Southerland (DD-743) operated on Song Nga Bay and Saigon River during July 1966
  • USS Sphinx ( ARL -24)
  • USS Sproston (DD-577) [destroyer] operated on Mekong Delta and Ganh Rai Bay during January 1966
  • USS Talladega ( APA -208) operated on Saigon River during October 1967
  • USS Tombigbee ( AOG -11)
  • USS Tortuga (LSD-26)
  • USS Tutuila ( ARG -4) [repair ship]
  • USS Waddell (DDG-24) operated on Cua Viet River during March 1967
  • USS Warrington (DD-843) operated on Mekong River Delta Rung Sat Special Zone, North of Vung Gahn Rai Bay during March 1967


Oct. 22, 2009

This VA website has additional information on Agent Orange as well as other information.


Oct. 16, 2009

The department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki announced a decision to establish a presumptive service-connection for Vietnam veterans who have B cell leukemia, Parkinson's disease or ischemic heart disease.  These diseases are all related to exposure to Agent Orange, a herbicide used in Vietnam.  Secretary Shinseki's decision was based upon the recently released Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that was mentioned in the July 31, 2009 edition of Newsbytes.

FRA is advocating for a broader Agent Orange service-connection, and this announcement is a major step in the right direction.  Many Navy veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam, so-called "blue water" veterans, have health problems frequently associated with herbicide exposure, but have endured lengthy legal struggles to prove these problems are service-related.  The Association has repeatedly pushed for a legislative remedy (UR2254) and has referenced this issue as a priority for 2009 during the military and veterans' service organization meetings with the House and Senate VA committees.

To read the VA press release with links to more information on each service-connected illness, visit 


October 3, 2009

VBA has a toll-free telephone number (800-749-8387) dedicated to assisting veterans and members of the public who have questions regarding Agent Orange.  VA representatives answer questions and assist veterans in applying for VA benefits.

From FRA Newsbytes 07-31-2009
Study on Agent Orange Supports Blue Water Navy Coverage
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released the "Veterans and Agent Orange: Health Effects of Herbicides Used in Vietnam (VAO)" report that recommends the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) change its definition of Vietnam service. Evidence referenced included a study conducted by the Royal Australian Navy, which supports a broader definition.  The report recommends that members of the Blue Water Navy be included in "the set of Vietnam-era veterans with presumed exposure."  FRA has long opposed the VA's current restrictive policy of "boots on the ground" for granting veterans for service connected disorders under the presumptive classification of herbicide exposure. Members are urged to go to the FRA Action Center (
www.fra.org) to ask their US Representative to support H.R. 2254, sponsored by Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.) that will reverse the VA's decision that prevents the "Blue Water Navy" military retirees and veterans from claiming presumptive status for the diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.
RA Newsbytes 07-31-2009


May 26, 2009

Received this from Cliff Barth, and it may be helpful to some shipmates in their fight for coverage involving Agent Orange.  It is in .pdf format.  Click Here.

May 9, 2009
Shipmates take action.
From FRA (Fleet Reserve Newsbytes)  05-08-2009
Bill Introduced to Benefit Veterans Exposed to Toxins
Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee, introduced a measure (H.R. 2254) that would authorize VA medical care to veterans exposed to toxins during the Vietnam and Gulf War eras. Although the text of the bill is not yet available, FRA has learned that veterans who served in the surrounding waters off the coast of Vietnam and in the skies above will be allowed to file a claim for exposure to Agent Orange if the measure is enacted. (The VA currently only acknowledges service-connection for vets who served within the borders of Vietnam.) Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center at
www.fra.org to ask their representative to co-sponsor this important legislation.

Shipmates take action.  If not a member of The FRA you may write directly to your Representatives asking them to support this measure. We also urge family members to write.

Received this note from Russ Myers.
Russ Myers, 69-70. I was on deck force and a cook on the Noxubee at this time. I am responding to the March newsletter re-agent orange update. In 1995 I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and had to have it removed. There was a ruling not far after that in the Veterans Wellness mag. stating the Agent Orange prostate cancer link. I filled with the VA and thru many years and still fighting I am now receiving benefits. There was a similar ruling a few years ago that stated crews did not have to actually be on land to file any claim. I send this because although the VA is really a big pain to deal with, this info is out there. I have been all thru it. Hope this is some help.


Bryan Rainville was on the Noxubee 1969-70. He needs contact from anyone who saw him at China Beach, knew he went to get mail, or was with him at the Bob Hope Show in Da Nang. His contact information is on the shipmates page or contact Dick Barber.
There are two ways to get an award for agent orange; prove you had boots on the ground, or your unit received an award for agent orange.  For more information contact Lawrence Smith.  His contact info is on the shipmates page.
Ron Lynch is trying to get treatment for Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War. If you are receiving treatment or can help, please contact Ron Lynch.  His contact information is on the shipmates page or contact Dick Barber.