USS Grapple (ARS 7) Agent Orange Information Registration

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Shipmates, I recently sent out an email asking you to call your Congresspeople asking them to support and to encourage House Speaker Boehner to introduce H.R. 3423, the Agent Orange Extension Act of 2015. This act created a 2 year extension to the Agent Orange Act of 1991( expiring on September 3oth) and was necessary so that the final report from the National Academy of Science, not due until March 2016, would be reviewed by the VA and any additional diseases showing clear evidence linking them to Agent Orange exposure would be added to the Presumptive Disease List.

I am sorry to report that with information provided me by the Minnesota VFW Department that attempts to include hypertension with its many causes and forms to the list of presumptives proved to be far too costly to the VA and the Act of 1991 was allowed to expire. Unfortunately we became aware of the expiration of the 1991 Act as well as the existence of the extension bill in late August, far too late to launch an effective campaign to repair the damage.

What concerns me the most about this decision is the fact that there is much evidence to suggest that our exposure to Agent Orange can be affecting our offspring three generations passed us. To put it another way your children, grand and great grandchildren could find themselves dealing with the effects of YOUR Agent Orange Exposure! The report due next March may indicate that linkage, but as the original Act of 1991 doesn't require the VA to review that report or add any additional diseases to the presumptive list as indicated by that report once it has expired we may never know if they're indeed dealing with related issues. It is incredible to me that something this significant and potentially damaging to the future of our families was allowed to simply slip away. We do however have some actions we can take to rectify this situation.

Shipmates I see three actions we can take at this point. The first of which is to contact our Congresspeople and ask them to co sponsor and support H.R. 1769, The Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015.This bill establishes in the Department of Veterans Affairs a "National Center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the descendants of Veterans exposed to toxic substances during service in the Armed Forces that are related to that exposure, to establish an advisory board on such health conditions and for other purposes." A positive to this bill is that it appears that it includes Military personnel beyond Vietnam to the current situation. The negative as far as we Vietnam Vets are concerned is the fact that the data collected to this point by the National Academy may or may not be used further delaying recognition of ours our or familie's problems.

Item 2 is S. 681, a bill introduced in the Senate the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015. This is an act " To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain Veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes." Again, please contact your Senators asking them to co sponsor and support this important bill. Our flattop brethren as well as other various Blue Water Sailors have long been ignored in the Agent Orange exposure issue and they need our help bringing them into recognition and inclusion by the VA for illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

And finally I've been in contact with Stan Cook, our Bosun and friend and he agrees, it might be in our best interests to establish our own data base of Grapple Sailors. So, if you were aboard Grapple from November of 1970 through April of 1971 or August 1972 through January of 1973, or prior boots on the ground in country duty before or after Grapple you were exposed to Agent Orange. This exposure is recognized and acknowledged by the VA. What I'm asking is if you or members of your family are dealing with Agent Orange related diseases or you suspect exposure related problems please contact me at and I will begin compiling a list. These diseases could be health issues not part of your family history, to include your children as well as your grand and great grandchildren. If you are aware of any Shipmates who are not online or any of the websites please contact them so they may include themselves. And lastly, some of us have not survived and we want to include them as well. If you are aware of those that are now standing watch on the "Eternal Patrol" and you feel the death was caused by exposure please send their names as well.

We looked after one another while on the Grapple, a mission we all took seriously because our lives depended upon it. It looks like it still does.........

Rick Stoehr

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USS Grapple ARS 7 [Salvage Ship] conducted numerous repair and salvaging operations while moored to beach or piers at Da Nang, Chu Lai, Cam Ranh Bay and Tan My during January 1967, November 1970 through April 1971; and August 1972 through January 1973.

These are the dates that the VA recognizes us. If you were onboard during these dates indicate it as YES in the registration form. If you were not, indicate it with NO on the form but please fill out the form anyway to complete our records. Please make sure you click the Please Read button above for the main reason why this site exists.

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USS Grapple shipmates. This website has been organized to register those of us that were about during the above dates with service in Vietnam. During those deployments we were exposed to Agent Orange. This is a project of Rick Stoehr. For more information please click the Please Read orange button above. Then please click the Register button above. Once registered the data base will be available on this site but password protected. That password will be sent to you via our Google Groups email service.
For more information email Rick Stoehr
If you are not in our Google Groups email service contact Stan Cook
HERE. Just include your name and dates you were on Grapple.