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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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How to Prove Boots on Ground or Ship Docked to Pier


Hi, my dad was in the navy on USS Ranger from 1969-1975, and he is positive that Ranger docked to pier in Vietnam on numerous occasions, and that he went off ship on work details, so he did have boots on ground. However, the USS Ranger is not on the VA's presumptive ship list. I am brand new to all things VA. I only have his DD-214, which says nothing useful.  Is there any way I can gather evidence that either a) he had boots on ground, or b) Ranger docked to pier in Vietnam?

One person at VA suggested reviewing the ship logs in the national archives, but that mostly only lists coordinates and has very little detail. Alternatively, an environmental health coordinator at the VA said when we go in for the AO Registry Exam, they'll ask him about having boots on ground and decide on the spot whether he qualifies -- that didn't seem like a great prospect, given that Ranger is not on the ship list.  Any input from anyone who has been in a similar situation would be helpful. Thank you! 

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I believe his ship had 13 battle stars for service  during the Vietnam War.

The USS Ranger was a Foresstal – class supercarrier and a brief search of her history gives no indication she ever docked in Vietnam. This type of ship is enormous and also was equiped with long range firing capability-

which means -why would it dock in Vietnam?

I found only one case at the BVA for AO due to USS Ranger but the veteran was denied as he had provided no evidence at all that the ship had docked in Vietnam.

However- where else did your father serve? And what was his MOS

The VA has service connected veterans due to AO exposure in many parts of the world- Okinawa, Guam, Thailand, Korea, and even 2 veterans who were exposed to AO in the USA.

I answered one of your other posts here and see there is one more- it is best to keep this issue in one specific topic.



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They could have come in-county on a smaller vessel  those bigger ships I think stayed out away from Vietnam COAST LINE,or close but far enough away &  if the personal stayed on the ship that would not count as boots on the ground.

Does he have military travel orders for in-country? Itinerary or any military documents that puts him on the Ground in Vietnam? 

 Jbasser would know I think he was on a large ship while he was in the military but not sure if his ship was docked closed to Vietnam?...but he would know if they docked close and had to pick up supplies or deliver some? And took a smaller Vessel? in-country??

  Then if they take a smaller vessel in-country if he did then he needs the names  and ship # for that vessel  even the name of his commander  and dates would help

Back in 1970 the Navy Ships I seen in Saigon were mostly supply ships  the bigger ships that had the big guns on them and the ones with s.t.a. missiles stayed way out from the coastline.....so I am thinking maybe he did go in-country from his bigger ship and went in-county on a smaller ship/boat.??


Now in 1975  I believe a destroyer got orders to turn around and head back to Vietnam  because they forgot some refuges and South Vietnam Military Navy Personal

The USS Kirk went back to con-son to rescue some of the south Vietnamese  Navy


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USS Ranger I believe had a major rescue operation too-----but that might have involved something at tme of the Pueblo incident-

This is a stunning story of a Vietnamese man the USS Ranger saved:


This veteran and his daughter have a lot of research to do-

I dont think Vietnam had any ports or docks that could hold the ship-

and dont know any reason it would be close to the shores because of the range of it's firepower----I think it targeted Hanoi- so that means it was north of the DMZ  when in the Pacific.


I do suggest the veteran apply for a DD 215- because his DD 214 might not show all of his awards.

The DD 149 form to do that is here under a search.Just put "not applicable "on the Injustice part and tell them you want to make sure your DD 214 is correct.

He might want to check this out-


She was Highly decorated with some Unit awards that maybe should be on his DD214.It depends on the sdates of the ship's awards and when he was actualy onboard.




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Wow, thank you so much to you both. This is very helpful information! Apologies, Berta, for posting in multiple places - I found what looked like more appropriate forums as I went along...

My dad is positive that he docked AND went on shore in Cam Ranh Bay and Da Nang Harbor.  Maybe you're right that it involved a smaller vessel. I will have to ask.  I don't know his MOS - just that he worked in data, data security, and electronics. 

Would his service records necessarily show that he went aboard a smaller vessel or that he went on land?  So far I only have his DD-214. It is one page and lists no locations. Am I missing something? I will apply for the DD-215. Are there any other records I should seek out? Berta, you mentioned SMRS and inservice personnel records -- where would I get those? 

He says his assignment on land in Cam Ranh involved loading and unloading of supplies or equipment, and Da Nang involved the transfer of injured servicemembers, as well as something to do with electronics. He says he spent a few nights on land as part of these assignments.  He also says he was aboard an aircraft that went onto land as part of one or more of these tasks.  He is not well, and his military service has never been a topic he has wanted to talk about or re-live, so we talk about this in small bursts before he gets tired out.  I'm still trying to gather a better picture of everything, while trying not to cause any undue stress -- although he's starting to wonder why I'm so interested, LOL.  

Thinking about research strategy -- From what I understand about the Blue Water guidelines,  Ranger would not qualify if it merely docked in Cam Ranh or Da Nang, since those are open/deep water bays? But if he: (a) was aboard a smaller vessel that is on the list, or (b) can come up with some evidence that he went on shore, then he could qualify?  

What about his memory of going onto land via aircraft? Does that sound like something I could potentially find evidence to support?

As far as other locations, I don't know everything because I have no records showing any locations. But I know he spent time in the Philippines and I believe, Japan.  We have records of a few medals, ribbons, and a commendation letter. 

Berta - what does Nehmer Footnote One refer to? And thanks for the helpful links! I have reached out to the Ranger unit club.  They have copies of the Cruise Books. Would that potentially be helpful to me?

Thank you again for the info and your advocacy! 

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I hope for  that when the Bluewater Navy Veterans gets the approval for A.O.  Soon

I hope they get this passed ASAP  because even out on a large Ship They could have breath in this Contaminant A.O. just thru the AIR.

Hadit member and hadit pod cast radio show engineer Strech..passed away from this HORRIBLE  A.O.   Not sure he ever got any presumption claims in or not before he passed? maybe his spouse is or still working his claims?


Edited by Buck52

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