I don’t often do this, but thought it was worth asking this question for a new follower of the blog.
As a long time Submariner, I am sure that many of the environmental factors we were exposed to have long term effects. You should see my medical history. But I know that the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam created many more issues that any of us could have been aware of at the time.
So here we go… I will collect any inputs and pass them to our shipmate who has asked to remain anonymous for the time being. You can also ask for anonymity since I don’t want you to end up getting a million spam emails as well from lawyers and hacks.
I recently joined your blog and would appreciate your thoughts about a health issue potentially effecting old diesel boat sailors.
I, as well as several thousand other submariners sailed on at least 46 diesel boats during Westpac trips between the early 60’s and early 70’s. During much of these trips we’re submerged, snorkeling during nighttime hours, performing “special operations”. I did two Westpac trips in 1965 and 1966, including one continuous submerged period of 93 days, because our relief didn’t arrive. At the time, the normal special operations snorkeling period was about 6 weeks.
List of submarines that served in Vietnam
After chemo I’m now in remission. Because of its rarity doctors were interested in my past life to determine, why me.
I’ve learned my Leukemia is one of 14 determined by the VA that can be caused by Agent Orange exposure. How much Agent Orange could have been ingested from the air and distilled water consumed by diesel boat sailors while snorkeling? Who knows, as no public information is available because boat locations are not listed in Deck Logs during special operations. Apparently, after 50 plus years, these old Westpac operations are still classified. Without locations, the VA cannot determine whether any submarine qualifies or not for inclusion in the Blue Water ship list. Congress has granted Agent Orange presumed contamination benefits to the Blue Water ships.
I’ve not been involved in any Navy or submarine related activities since I left the Navy in 1967 except for remaining in touch with some of my old shipmates. My local VA representative has been excellent but all his leads and recommendations have accomplished little.
I’ve got lots more stuff but I don’t want to beat a dead horse if no one else is interested.
- How many of these old guys were exposed to Agent Orange?
- How many of these old guys have become sick from one of the 14 illnesses on the VA Agent Orange list?
- Did they tell their medical provider of potential Agent Orange exposure?
- Did anyone file a claim with the VA to obtain medical help and care?
- How many of these old guys would like to know about this issue so they could discuss their medical history with their health care provider, VA, and family?