Since the signing into law of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (referred further here as the “Blue Water Law”) on June 25, 2019, your Yorktown Association leadership has been busy trying to determine as best we can what this law may mean to those of you who are USS Yorktown CVS-10 Vietnam War Veterans, or descendants of deceased USS Yorktown CVS-10 Vietnam War Veterans.
In simple terms, the Veterans Administration (VA) asks three primary questions when determining eligibility for benefit claims relating to this Blue Water Law.
Unfortunately, although the questions are fairly straight forward and simple, the answers you sometimes need to provide the VA can be quite complex and difficult.
These are three primary questions the Veterans Administration (VA) will ask a USS Yorktown Vietnam era veteran relating to the Blue Water Law:
( 1)Are you a Vietnam War Veteran, as defined by the VA? This question is typically answered by submitting a DD214 along with your application to the VA. If you don’t have a DD214, you will have to seek assistance and guidance from the VA or other related government agencies.
(2)Do you have any of the ailments that are spelled out by the Act? This question also requires significant direct interaction and involvement between you and the VA, which can be quite complex and involved.
Concerning questions (1) and (2) above, the Yorktown Association can not help you with either.
- Did the ship which you served on during the Vietnam War operate within the territorial waters of Vietnam as defined by the Act. This is a question that the Association leadership has been researching since the Blue Water Navy Act became law.
According to information we have to date is that the Yorktown did operate within the 12 nautical mile boundaries of the territorial waters of Vietnam as defined by the Act within the time frame as specified by the Act.
Our current findings are that there are two Deck Log reports documenting that the Yorktown operated in the above mentioned Vietnam territorial waters. The official source for these Deck Log reports is the National Archives. Ref. (2) below.
At this time, to the best of our knowledge the National Archives has complete USS Yorktown CVS 10 Deck Log information for the years 1966 and 1968, but so far has not released any information relating to the Deck Logs covering operations off of Vietnam for Yorktown’s deployment in 1965.
There are a variety of sources for ship position reports relating to the the Blue Water Navy Law available on the internet. For our purposes, we will only use the Deck Logs referenced above as the sole source of our information.
From the text of the Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, Sec. 116A;
Determination of offshore
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for purposes of this section, the Secretary shall treat a location as being offshore of Vietnam if the location is not more than 12 nautical miles seaward of a line commencing on the southwestern demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia and intersecting the following points:
|Points Geographic Names||Latitude |
|At Hon Nhan Island, Tho Chu Archipelago Kien Giang Province||9°15.0′||103°27.0′|
|At Hon Da Island southeast of Hon Khoai Island Minh Hai Province||8°22.8′||104°52.4′|
|At Tai Lon Islet, Con Dao Islet in Con Dao-Vung Toa Special Sector||8°37.8′||106°37.5′|
|At Bong Lai Islet, Con Dao Islet||8°38.9′||106°40.3′|
|At Bay Canh Islet, Con Dao Islet||8°39.7′||106°42.1′|
|At Hon Hai Islet (Phu Qui group of islands) Thuan Hai Province||9°58.0′||109°5.0′|
|At Hon Doi Islet, Thuan Hai Province||12°39.0′||109°28.0′|
|At Dai Lanh point, Phu Khanh Province||12°53.8′||109°27.2′|
|At Ong Can Islet, Phu Khanh Province||13°54.0′||109°21.0′|
|At Ly Son Islet, Nghia Binh Province||15°23.1′||109° 9.0′|
|At Con Co Island, Binh Tri Thien Province||17°10.0′||107°20.6|
As you can see from the above Deck Logs, the USS Yorktown CVS 10 was inside of Vietnam territorial waters (as described by this law) on February 26, 1966 (position 16° 52’N 107° 45’E), and May 25, 1968 (position 16° 38’N 107° 51’E).
USS Yorktown Association, Inc.
Ref: (1) Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Act of 019
(2) National Archives website