Vet seeks Agent Orange info
March 20, 2012
Veteran seeks info about ships exposed to Agent Orange
Dear Sgt. Shaft:
Knowing not who to contact, I thought you might be able to lead me in
the right direction. I served onboard the Prichett during 1967 and 1968,
and the ship was recently (in January 2012) added to the list of ships
in the "brown water" but for the year 1969. This now entitles the
sailors on her in 1969 to qualify for Agent Orange-caused diseases. How do I go
about getting the information to the proper place as to being in the
Tonkin Gulf, Mekong River Delta and Da Nang Harbor in 1968? Any help
will be greatly appreciated.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is collecting information and
will add ships to the list based upon evidence. Evidence of this ship's
Mekong delta operations will get the ship on the list. You can send
evidence by email directly to the VA mailbox, which was created to
receive documented objective evidence (deck logs, ship history, cruise
book, etc.) that a Navy ship operated on the rivers or other inland
waterways of Vietnam, docked to shore, or otherwise sent crew members
ashore in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.
The VA does not have access to these documents. You must obtain them
yourself from the National Archives and Records Administration in
College Park, Md., or from other sources, and send them to this mailbox.
If the documented evidence you send meets the above requirements, the
ship will be added to the Agent Orange exposure list. Do not send
documents showing that a ship anchored offshore in a harbor such as Da
Nang. Harbors are not inland waterways and will not be the basis for the
presumption of Agent Orange exposure or the basis for adding a ship to
the Agent Orange exposure list.
If you want to file a disability claim, go to the VA Internet
website for instructions or contact your local VA Regional Office. If
you are a Navy veteran and file a disability claim based on Agent Orange
exposure, VA will conduct research on your ship. The current ships list
is published on the VA Public Health Internet website.
Congratulations, the National Association of Manufacturers and an
international software developer who along with a major university have
been honored by the VA for their contributions to a new digital badge
program that will make it easier for veterans to document the skills
they learned in uniform for civilian employers and institutions of
"We strive to support the men and women who served in uniform as they
make their transitions to good jobs and advanced education," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, "Our Badges for Vets
program will offer veterans a handy tool to demonstrate their experience
to employers and educators."
"Badges recognize the skills that members of our military are
learning in the field – making veterans the real winners of this
competition," said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These grantees
will help to put veterans on a fast track toward earning a
degree or certificate and will let employers know they
have workforce-ready skills."
Last November, VA announced a nationwide competition to create
digital "badges" to help veterans translate their
military skills into civilian jobs or to receive advance
credit in higher education.
Finalists in the contest are:
• The Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National
Association of Manufacturers, which will incorporate badges in its
online jobs-and-talent-matching platform.
• TopCoder Inc., an international information technology
consulting company, which will issue badges representing military
training and experience and use them to qualify a veteran for a
• Western Governors University, a national, nonprofit
university sponsored by 19 governors, which will award academic transfer
credit to veterans who have earned digital badges representing
corresponding military training. The university's initial focus will be
in its IT and health-care degree programs.
The finalists will now compete in the second phase of the contest to
see which organization best implements its badges program by the end of
May. VA will announce the final winner of the contest shortly after
A digital "badge" recognizes skills obtained through learning outside
traditional classrooms, such as work-related training and experience.
Digital badge credentials are issued by organizations such as schools,
universities, employers or trade associations. Badges can be displayed
and validated electronically on the Web or presented on a resume.
Like any credential or academic credit, a digital badge can lead to a
job or advanced academic standing.
VA was joined by the departments of Education, Energy, and Labor to
sponsor the contest. The Badges for Vets contest is part of the Badges
for Lifelong Learning Competition, which aims to build digital badge
systems and explore the ways badges can be used to help people learn,
demonstrate skills and knowledge, and unlock job, educational and civic
The competition is held in collaboration with Mozilla, supported by
the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and administered by
the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory.
"The U.S. military offers some of the highest quality training
available," said Jonah Czerwinski, director of VA's Innovations
Initiative (VAi2), which administered the contest. "Badges for Vets will
deliver a return on our national investment in military training and
VA solicited the most promising ideas from VA employees, the private
sector, nonprofit organizations and academia to increase veterans'
access to VA services, improve the quality of those services, enhance
the performance of VA operations and deliver services more
Information about the Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition: Click
http://www.dmlcompetition.net or http://challenge.gov/VAi2/262-badges-for-vets.
Information about the VA Innovations Initiative: www.va.gov/vai2/.
Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900,
Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or