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Apr-02-2013 13:51printcomments

Agent Orange Aboard the USS White Plains

What legacy do we leave behind for our children and grandchildren?

Agent Orange Barrels
Agent Orange Barrels - photo courtesy of John J. Bury, USN, retired

(MEDIA, PA) - Agent Orange herbicide being lifted off the deck of the USS White Plains (AFS-4) for delivery by an HC-3 helicopter during a 1970 deployment to Vietnam. This is evidence that Blue Water Navy indeed carried and transported barrels of agent orange onboard US Navy commissioned ships to ports in Vietnam. Note the Orange band on the barrels a color code denoting contents.

The Department of the Navy and Department of Defense denies that any tactical herbicides were ever transported onboard any US Naval commissioned ship. The photograph pictured above proves differently.

Accidents do happen onboard ship. Some times barrels such as shown get damaged causing a spill. Sailors then clean up the spill without protective clothing. Hence, they come in contact with the herbicide. They are drenched with the chemical and breath in the fumes. Years later, many come down with agent orange poisoning causing a variety of diseases that are life threatening leading to death and crippling health conditions. Yet, many of these sailors can not get VA benefits, ie, medical and compensation. Why, because they are termed as Blue Water Navy never having boots on ground, Vietnam. Yet, they were there serving their Country in that war. To date, our Congress has refused to give recognition to the Blue Water Navy for presumptive exposure to agent orange dioxin. Over past years, Legislative Bills have been introduced to award VA health and compensation benefits, to no avail as these Bills continue to fail in Congress. It seems our Congress does not care about Navy Vietnam Veterans, we are forgotten. Since the failure of our Congress to pass legislation a new House Bill has been introduced to the 113th Congress HR-543 The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. I ask our Congress, what is a veterans life worth? What legacy do we leave behind for our children and grandchildren? Contact your members of Congress to pass this Bill.

By: John J. Bury, US Navy, retired, Vietnam war veteran Media, Pa.

For immediate press release: all media can republish.

John Bury represents both his interests and those of military veterans, with an emphasis on the U.S. Navy, and specific interest in health-related issues stemming from Agent Orange contamination; a rampant problem affecting so many who didn't necessarily have the deadly chemical dropped on their heads while fighting in Vietnam's jungles. John was onboard the USS Sacramento (AOE-1) a fast combat support ship from Oct. 1967 to Feb. 1972, making four deployments to Vietnam waters.

Now an activist and writer, John lives in the aptly named Pennsylvania city, Media, where he continues to seek justice while becoming a larger and larger voice of the movement. John has a college degree (AS) Management from Delaware County Community College, and he taught disciplines of engineering at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades. When he isn't writing articles, performing research or rallying support for his fellow military veterans, John enjoys fishing; he is an amateur artist, and also spends time gardening and traveling. You can write to John Bury at Email:

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Edward May 23, 2016 7:35 am (Pacific time)

I serve on White Plains, AFS-4. 1981-1983. SR-BM3 Cole, Edward, 1st./Fwd. Division and Stream/Rase Fwd and Aft. My question: has any other Boatwainmates are disabled now from Agent Orange? I am 70%, but never thought from this. AO.

Bob March 21, 2014 11:05 am (Pacific time)

As an Army vet in Quang Tri Province I saw a lot od Agent Orange usage. Exposed to it while I was there in 70-71 were members of the Army, Marines, Air Force, CIA, Navy, and yes there were also some Coast Guard in our AO. Anyone that says that they served on shore was definately exposed and those off shore more than likely were exposed. And for some idiot gettiing onto this site and saying "Why didn't you just go to Canada" is horrendous. Idiots like this is what is making our country go down the drain. What he must be a politician to make a comment like that.

JD January 12, 2014 12:55 pm (Pacific time)

Regarding agent orange on ships by Mr. John Bury: I somehow survived a related catastrophic health event (ruptured aortic aneurysm).

Vietnam vet 197-=73 October 23, 2013 6:14 pm (Pacific time)

Mr Bury I am currently trying to get disability from serving on the USS White Plain AFS-4 1970-73 and have been for the last 5 years. I was in our VBA office today and we came across your article.Thanks for exposing this as it may help in my case.I am going throught the Seattle VBA which is known as the arm pit and other body parts for the veteran disability claims. I was a Hull Tech and did alot of welding back were the elevator were that brought this stuff up on the flight deck.During flight operation R division the one I was with had to do rescue crew detail and was on the flight deck anytime they were flying. To the idiot with the fruitcake remark I would bet without a doubt you are a real loser in civilian life.We all stuck together back then and most vietnam vets still do.If the truth came out I would bet you were not even there. Thanks again for Mr.Bury for your article.

Phil August 19, 2013 1:05 pm (Pacific time)

Served aboard in 69-70. Have cancer linked to Agent Orange. Took a long time but did recieve disability. Thanks to all who served

A Vietnam Navy Veteran April 22, 2013 5:26 am (Pacific time)

To Anonymous April 10, 2013: Well sir I at least fougt for my Country that gives you the freedom to say as you please. I would give you a hug, but I don't want to get dirty....

Anonymous April 10, 2013 6:27 pm (Pacific time)

Should have stayed out of the service and gone to Canada. No one cares about you guys, hell disability is for those who actually fought in the war, not some navy fruitcakes.

Editor: Every time I read something as sad as this, it shoves me father into supporting our Navy Vets. I was a Marine, I suspect most of you who write things like this didn't see combat either, instead safely in the rear with the gear. Semper fi to those who served, wherever they served

Ron Chadderton, AKA Dirty Bill. April 7, 2013 3:09 am (Pacific time)

I was a deck ape on the USS White Plains AFS -4 during the time we shipped Agent Orange out of Subic Bay. We carried full strength stuff , and the choppers dropped it more than once . We also found leaking barrels on the deck. We drove fork lifts through it walked it down below , and did untold damage. Many of us are sick or dead. There are not many plank owners left. The ship is now classed brown water, yet the VA still denies many of us.

Joe April 4, 2013 11:22 am (Pacific time)

Something else I noticed in the photo. Those two 55 gallon barrels are NOT the "original" barrels from the manufacturers. Those orange stripes are between the roller rims and NOT 3 inches wide as was how they were painted on by DOW or Monsanto. Those barrels were hand painted in the field which means those barrels were used to tranfere AO from the original barrels. Why is this important to point out? Makes one wonder how well the handling of this toxic chemical was being controlled by command.

Joe April 4, 2013 10:34 am (Pacific time)

I feel the need to point out that the specific phrase/words "Tactical Herbicide(s)" was never "offically" used during the Vietnam War era. Army Filed Manual 3-3 states "Tactical EMPLOYMENT OF Herbicides". Alvin Young invented the prhase "Tactical Herbicides" in a report he made (and was paid by the DoD for) in 2006. Eliminating a couple of words changes the meaning of the original intended "official" written dialogue.

Bill Miltenberger April 3, 2013 4:42 pm (Pacific time)

The USS White Plains AFS-4 is one of the ships on the DVA's presumed exposed to Agent Orange list. "Conducted on shore supply replenishments with helicopters and small boats at Da Nang, Cam Ranh Bay, Vung Tau, and An Thoi from January 1969 to March 1973"

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