What are Blue Water Navy Veterans?
Blue Water Navy Veterans are those who served in the open coastal waters of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War era.
Public Law 116-23, The Blue Water Navy Veteran’s Act of 2019, created a presumption for certain illnesses due to Agent Orange exposure for those 50-90,000 veterans who served on a US Navy or Coast Guard ship between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, no further than 12 miles from the coast of Vietnam. Just as Brown Water Veterans, who were typically on patrol boats, were awarded by the Agent Orange Act of 1991, finally, 28 years later, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act now states that Blue Water veterans are eligible for disability benefits due to presumption of exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide agent, just as those veterans who had “boots on the ground” on Vietnamese soil.
What Are Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases?
The following conditions are presumptive to those who the Department of Veterans Affairs has conceded Agent Orange exposure and herbicide exposure to. This presumptive conditions list used to include only those who served boots on the ground or within the inland waterways of Vietnam, but now includes Blue Water veterans who served in the US Navy ships that were in open waters within the 12-mile radius of the coastline of Vietnam:
|Chronic B-cell Leukemia
||Soft Tissue Sarcomas
|Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
||Ischemic Heart Disease
|Early Onset Peripheral Neuropathy* (CIDP)
||Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
All United States crewmembers and personnel on Navy and Coast Guard ships who have a diagnosis of one or more of the above conditions, as well as any secondary conditions, and can prove they served within the 12-mile range of the coastal waters of Vietnam are now eligible for the presumption of service connection for these conditions as well as VA health care under the new law. The map above will allow you to put in the name of the ship and the year served and, based on National Archive deck logs, cruise books, and ship history currently available for naval vessels, veterans will be able to see if their ship falls into the category of Blue Water Navy Ships during the period they served.
*CIDP: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy is presumptive within (1) year of exposure. This means that symptoms must be present within 1 year of service on the ship, not necessarily a diagnosis.
U.S. Navy Ships in Vietnam
The Blue Water Navy Veteran’s Act of 2019 Map provides a way for veterans to determine if their ship entered the zone created by the law. Our team extensively researched ways to simplify the process of verifying whether coordinates from ships’ logs were inside the zone. We settled on using the Google Maps API and used the points identified by the law and then extended those 12 nautical miles seaward as defined by the law.
Veterans can access Vietnam-era ship logs on the National Archives and Records Administration website, archives.gov site. The Navy deck logs and Coast Guard deck logs are scanned by ship name and date. Our team is working hard to enter coordinates from ship logs, building a database of ships, dates, and coordinates to facilitate searches from this time period. Accessibility to this information is so important to us and we are grateful to have had many ship logs extracted and imported in large part from the compilation work of Ed Ball, Director of Research of MVA & BWNA.
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans can select their ship from the list to see the points and dates that we have entered so far for that ship.
What if I still have my ships’ logs and logbooks?
Maps can be saved and resumed for later review by clicking the Save button. This will provide you with a URL that can be saved as a bookmark or electronically shared with others. If you have any comments or ways that we can improve this resource, or you would like to help us complete our database of ship log entries, please visit our Research page.
If while using this page you discover that you were inside the zone, please contact us for a free case evaluation. Many service members who served outside the 12-mile zone may still be eligible for disability compensation and VA benefits for direct service connection through exposures to other toxins such as asbestos, benzenes, solvents, and other chemical exposures found on Navy ships or due to their MOS.