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Agent Orange and Navy Ship's Drinking Water

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The ship I was on went to Vietnam in 1967 before I went aboard. The ship came back from Vietnam in May 1967 and and I went on board in Nov. 1967. The ship was in Vietnam waters and took on water to be distilled for drinking, bathing, cooking and for boiler feed water. The ship went out for a Med. and North Atlantic Cruise in early 1968.  After coming back from the cruise it went to the Boston shipyard to have some work done. After the work was done it went for a shakedown cruise to Guantamano Bay, Cuba. The ship came back to the U.S. and I left the ship 1969.

There have been studies done by the Australian Navy on Agent Orange and drinking water distilled in Vietnam waters. They reported that many Australian sailors came down with diseases associated with Agent Orange, but they never set foot in Vietnam. The connection was the distilled Vietnam waters polluted with Agent Orange. They also found out that when the Agent Orange was superheated it became more volatile. The Australian Navy ships used the same type of distillation plants as the U.S. Navy ships. As far as I know the U.S. Navy has never conducted studies on what happened when our U.S. Navy ships distilled Vietnam water for use on board the ships. Plus as far as I know the U.S. Navy did not check to see if residue from Agent Orange stayed in the distillation plants or drinking water tanks. The Agent Orange residue may have stayed in there until the ships were taken out of service and the distillation plants and water tanks were never cleaned out. It could be that sailors who went onboard the ships that came back from Vietnam got exposed to Agent Orange if the residue was was never cleaned out from the distillation plants and water tanks.

Has anyone heard of any U.S. studies on Agent Orange and the distilled Vietnam waters. Anyone have any thoughts on what wrote? It may seem far fetched, but to me it amy be something our government should look into now with the PACT ACT.      

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This is new news to me but this theory may have merit.  Do a Google search using key words such as Agent Orange, Navy, distilled water, Vietnam, etc. and may find more info.

I believe the VA was forced to recognize and service connect air force/navy personnel who were exposed to Agent Orange at the Corpus Christi aircraft maintenance depot who worked on the returning C-123/119 Ranch Hand aircraft that sprayed AO in Vietnam.  Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Free services of lawyers for the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) may be of great assist to you.  Try them.





Edited by Dustoff1970
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Thanks for the reply. I'll see if I send NOVA an email. 

There may may be many sailors and other service members who may have Agent Orange exposure related illnesses, but the VA has looked the other way for too long. 

The following is one of the studies I was referring to:

Media Release from Former Minister - The Hon. De-Anne Kelly MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence
Former Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Wednesday 18 December 2002 VA169
The Federal Government will ask the Repatriation Medical Authority to review its principles for
veteran compensation claims for exposure to dioxins, after a study found that Royal Australian Navy
and some Australian Army personnel serving in Vietnam may have been exposed to dioxins through
contaminated drinking water.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Danna Vale, said
she had also asked the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to undertake further research into the study
findings, using the results in the current Vietnam Veterans Mortality and Cancer Incidence Study.
“The Government commissioned the study in response to concerns from Navy veterans following the
1997 Vietnam Veterans Mortality Study, which showed an elevated mortality rate among RAN
personnel, particularly RAN Logistic Support personnel,” the Minister said.
“Herbicide exposure through the evaporative water distillation processes used on ships while in
Vietnamese waters was identified as one potential cause. Tests by the National Research Centre on
Environmental Toxicology have now shown that dioxins can pass through the evaporative distillation
“If contaminated water were used in this process, the study indicates it is likely that the consumption
of drinking water exposed personnel to dioxin levels that exceeded safe levels proposed by the
National Health and Medical Research Council.
“This is a matter of concern to the Government in fulfilling our commitment to care for those who
served during the Vietnam War. It potentially affects not only Navy veterans but those who served on
Army small ships or travelled as passengers from Vietnam on HMAS Sydney.”
Minister Vale said she had received the assurance of the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie,
that it was unlikely that the problems that may have been experienced in Vietnam would occur now.
“The majority of RAN ships are now fitted with alternative desalination units and, in any case, current
operating procedures require that, under ordinary circumstances, production of water for domestic
use is not to be undertaken in estuaries, or in seawater which is likely to be contaminated.”
Navy continues to refine its potable water standards and to assess the effectiveness of its
desalination equipment.
Minister Vale said all Australians who served in Vietnam were already entitled to treatment and
compensation for war-caused conditions related to exposure to dioxins. She encouraged veterans
who believed they might need assistance for such conditions to contact the Department of Veterans’
Affairs on 133 254.
”These results may have implications for the Statements of Principles that govern determination of
the links between wartime service and these conditions,” Minister Vale said.
“I have asked that the study findings be referred to the independent Repatriation Medical Authority to
consider whether any changes are necessary to these Principles,” Minister Vale said.
“The findings will be taken into account in the latest mortality study of Vietnam veterans, which is
also investigating rates of cancer among Australians who served in Vietnam.
“Health research is a vital part of meeting the health care needs of our veterans. Considerable effort
has gone into researching the health of Vietnam veterans in particular and these findings add

http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2002/12_dec/va169.htm (1 of 2)11/5/2005 10:58:33 AM

Media Release from Former Minister - The Hon. De-Anne Kelly MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence
significantly to the scientific knowledge available to help provide the support they need.
“This research has always been conducted with strong support from the veteran community and I
would like to express my appreciation to the many Vietnam veterans who assisted this study,” the
Minister said.
“The findings of the study are available on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at www.dva.
Media Contact: Rachael Thompson (02) 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289

http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2002/12_dec/va169.htm (2 of 2)11/5/2005 10:58:33 AM

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I think dustoff means send an email to NVLSP, not NOVA.  

Allow me to explain the difference here, no offense to dustoff, I often get the alphabet soup wrong.  

NOVA.  National Association of Veterans Advocates.  This is primarily for locating an attorney, and an organazation funded by attorneys who represent Veterans.  The NOVA advocate directory is very useful for your search for an attorney.  



NVLSP National Veterans Legal service Plan.  This is a non profit organization where "Veterans who have been wronged" by the VA can seek a lawyer pro bono.  (at no cost).  

Often certain VSO's "refer the Veteran" to the NVLSP, when representation "goes beyond the scope" of VSO's.  This generally means at the CAVC or above, which is "way out of the league" of VSO representation.  

Also, the Veteran can seek help with free legal assistance in specific cases:

1.  Nehmer.  This is a class action won by NVLSP, and the VA has to pay attorney fees for eligible Vets.  No brainer, if you have trouble with Nehmer issues contact NVLSP.  

2.  Upgrade your discharge.  Its well known VA kicked troops out, giving them "bad paper discharge" when the real problem was service connected PTSD, and that is not the Veterans fault.  If you have been denied do to Bad paper (dishonorable or other discharge which prevents you from getting full benefits) contact NVLSP.  

3.  Many, many other reasons that VA is giving you trouble.  That is, they have denied you.  Agent orange, burn pitts, etc. etc.  Go to NVLSP website if in doubt. https://www.nvlsp.org/


BOTH of these organizations have lawyers who may represent you at no cost to the Veteran.  

With NOVA, while these are "for pay" attorneys when an attorney represents you at the CAVC, the eaja normally pays the fees, so there is little or no cost to Veteran.  


Im pretty sure the NVLSP never charges Veterans (tho they may also collect eaja fees from the government, that is up to them).  

Both of these groups are highly pro Veteran.  And Usefull.  But they are different.  A NOVA attorney generally will charge you 20 to 30 percent of the retro at the BVA level.  But NVLSP, if they agree to repsent you, does not charge Veterans.  

The NVLSP is "more limited" on the cases they accept.  You have to meet their criteria.  

NVLSP website advertises they got Veterans $5.4 billion dollars, and charged the Veteran $0.00.  https://www.nvlsp.org/

You may or may not meet NVLSP criteria, but you can still hire your own attorney at NOVA, regardless.  


Edited by broncovet
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Yes NVLSP is first choice but try both plus the VVA or Vietnam Veterans of America who was very crucial in obtaining Agent Orange legislation in the early years.  All three or anyone of the 3 may be of great assist.


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