Okay, we already have quite a few deck logs and command histories provided by Jane Babcock and others. I thought Jane was pursuing this with the VA and that the Surfbird's inclusion on the Agent Orange List was imminent, but I guess not. I didn't want to start making duplicate inquiries/requests and therefore interfere with what someone else might be doing and slow the process down. When the Surfbird does make the list, the VA will identify the dates that she qualifies for agent orange exposure. A veteran seeking disability will have to prove that he was a member of the crew during those periods. So it's important to document as many qualifying dates as possible. As I have time I'll do a little research and see how many deck logs we still need, if any. If there are some that are still missing I'll make a request to the National Archives unless Larry McMaster has already done this. Then I'll see if I can put a package together making a request that the surfbird be added to the list. I think it might be best to keep it simple and just provide the deck logs, command histories, Commander Williams' statement, maybe a picture or two and a cover letter. In trying to add a ship to the list the VA says in their web site, "You must scan your documentary evidence and email it to the Veterans Benefits Administration's Compensation Service...". I'm not sure I can get all this information attached to an email, it might be too big. Anyway, I'll get started on this as I have time, it might take a little while.
By the way, nice job on adding all the reunion info to the website! I enjoyed looking through the pictures. Cheers,
From: Don Gillispie
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2014 10:09 AM
To: John Childers
Cc: Bruce Stevens
Subject: RE: Agent Orange List of Ships
Sorry to hear that the Surfbird did not make the list again. To answer your question about someone working on this, I don't recall that anyone saying that they would look into it. Command Williams has been very active in providing information about his tour as CO and there were others (including you) that have provided information they have obtained. Larry and Dee Dee McMaster said that they were planning a trip from where they live in PA down to Wash DC to see if they could get copies of Deck Logs and Command Histories that we did not already have. I assume that they will get logs to me as soon as they have them so I can post them on the website. Sorry that I could not give you more encouraging information, but CDR Williams may know more if you contact him.
Every now and then I check the VA's list of agent orange ships to see if there has been an update and whether the Surfbird has been added to the list. Just checked and the list was updated in January. The Surfbird has still not been included.
Wasn't somebody working on this? Is it possible to get an update on the status? It sure would make it a lot easier for Surfbird vets to qualify for benefits if the Surfbird was on the list!
Hope all is well with you and your family.