Its official, the Hermitage has been listed on the list of ships exposed to Agent Orange during the VietNam cruise in 1967.  This means that any shipmate who was on that cruise (prove with your DD214, or the cruise book) and has any one of the Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure, is eligible for a disability compensation pension and medical care by the VA.  There have already been four or five shipmates who have been awarded pensions because of exposure to Agent Orange.  The sooner you file, the sooner you can begin getting benefits.  If you have any of the Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure, find an advocate to help with your claim.  There are a lot of advocates.  I used one with AMVETS, but others found advocates with the VFW and other veteran’s related groups.  DO NOT try to file a claim without an advocate.  Give the advocate the link to the list of ships, your DD214 and a letter saying you were on the ship on June 2 and 3, 1967.

. This is latest Ships Listed for Agent Orange .
Agent Orange: Disability Compensation for Related Diseases .
Agent Orange: Diseases Related to Agent Orange Exposure
. page30_2I am always available to assist and with your claim.  Your valid claim cannot be rejected now that the ship has been listed, and also based on those of us who have already been awarded disability pensions.  Contact me or have your advocate call me if you need help.

Steve Mitchell 727-934-1188

. ETN3 Robert Collier comments:

I wrote you a few months ago about being a crew member of the Hermitage and that I was on the 1967 Vietnam cruise. I also mentioned that I had applied for veterans disability compensation for diabetes type 2 due to agent orange exposure.

I have been working on this with my advocate, the county Director of Veterans Affairs since June 2007. I have sent the Veterans Affairs copies of the detailed text description from our Vietnam cruise book listing each operation we participated in with dates and locations obtained via the internet. I also sent them the actual ships deck logs for the period of time we were in Vietnamese waters, which is actually very vague and useless. I sent them detailed information about the village of Vinh Nien where we installed children's playground equipment and also had many of the villagers tour our ship. I thought that the amount of evidence that I provided over the years would eventually get to someone that would make the right decision.

In January 2012, I received a phone call from my advocate informing me that he had found a shipmate that was awarded disability and he would forward that information to the people at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I did not want to get my hopes up to only be disappointed again, so I decided to wait and see what came of it. I received notification yesterday that I have been awarded disability compensation that will be backdated to June 2007. It is a wonder to me that I have finally succeeded after all of the years trying.

I also wrote Steve Mitchell today about this. (20 March 2012).

Robert Collier, ETN3 was in the Operations Department from September 1966 to September 1968. He resides in Davenport, Iowa.