Comments on above resource by G:
This week the VA awarded my claim for CLL related service
I have been aware of the CLL/Agent Orange connection for at
least ten years. But if you surf the VA webpages regarding AO,
it mostly covers boots-on-the-ground and brown water Navy vets.
I always thought that it is was caused by airborne exposure;
thus, as a blue water Navy vet (Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club -- Class
of 65), I did not think that my CLL was caused by that service.
I recently learned that the Australian Navy also operated in the
Vietnamese offshore waters in that era. They noticed that a
significant number of their sailors, 50% above the statistical
norm of the general
population, were being diagnosed with NHL. Their study of the
root cause determined that the most likely connection was that
the Orange haze settled into the sea and then into the potable
water. Their shipboard
distillers in that era did not filter out the toxins.
The distillers on American ships during the war were similar.
Based on the Australian result, the CDC also attributed NHL to
toxins in the water. In June 2011, the VA ruled that NHL in blue
water Navy Vietnam Veterans was a presumptive condition
connected with service in Vietnamese offshore waters and does
not required proof of exposure (see 38 CFR 3.313).
This ruling is also found in the VA training manual, M21-1MR,
Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section C. Item 10u in that
section reiterates 38 CFR 3.313. In item 10v, the subcategories
of NHL that are included in this ruling are outlined; CLL and
SLL are listed in 10v. You need this information when you talk
to the VA or a Veterans Service Organization (VSO)
representative because many of them are not familiar with this
ruling; also, it is difficult to find it in the fine print of
the VA webpages.
I will be happy to help and advise, as best I can, any fellow
blue water vets who find themselves in this same boat, pun
intended. It is critical that you use the right wording and
supply the correct info when
applying. At first the VA will steer you in the boots-on-ground
or brown water direction; you need to immediately redirect their
processing to 3.313. I cannot say how fast a normal 3.313
application is processed,
but I have heard six or more months. It is important that you
don't consider it as Agent Orange connected; it is NHL related
and covered under 3.313. After the initial hiccup in claim
direction, my claim was awarded in less than three months, but I
think that there was an invisible hand helping in the process.
I special thanks to Pat whose advice and knowledge
motivated me while pursuing the claim. I also receive
significant help and advice form the Blue Water Navy Vietnam
Great information, G
I also was a blue water Navy vet, on a hospital ship directly
off the coast and sometimes in harbor in I Corps. I was
diagnosed in 1999 with SLL/CLL but did not apply for disability
until around 2005. The claim was substantiated, but payments
were declined due to a 0% disability rating due to a remission.
I reapplied in 2009 when my remission ended and I needed
treatment again. At that point I was found 100% disabled. A year
later, a judge in a class action suit (Nehmer v. US) ruled that
benefits retroactive to my first application were required. That
later review took about 4 months.