Feb. 26, 2016 - Vietnam veterans need historical records to get Agent Orange benefits, but the documents are often scattered. Help us collect them in one spot.
Vietnam veteran Dale Worcester, who served aboard the gasoline tanker U.S.S. Tombigbee from 1966 to 1967, emailed ProPublica recently looking for a connection. He wrote: “Do you have any other Tombigbee crewmen that you have made contact with on this Agent Orange [inquiry]?”
The “inquiry” he referenced is a survey ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot launched to investigate the impact Agent Orange has had on the health of vets and their family members. Worcester was one of more than 800 Navy vets who have filled it out, with nearly 4,000 stories submitted in total. But a query to the database found only one entry for the Tombigbee. It was Worcester’s.
Yet, there’s information out there — on the Internet and in the veteran’s hands. A quick Google search of his ship produced a photo archive, a history of the ship and a crew roster spanning nearly two decades. These types of links have helped us connect with veterans similar to Worcester.
There is also more detailed information available, including deck logs, official command histories, and other documents that Vietnam veteran sailors often need to obtain Agent Orange benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Nearly 350 ships have been added to a list used by the VA to determine who is eligible for benefits; 40 years after the war, additional ships are still being added as new information is submitted to the VA.
This got us thinking about how we could organize information on specific ships or units in Vietnam, and invite veterans to help share their knowledge with us. read more>>>