Complete text of email from Merv Cecil <> regarding the Hopewell and Agent Orange Claims documents and help with VA.

Dear Mr. Chew,

In an e-mail response from Ken Davis regarding dissemination of information of toxic herbicide exposure while aboard Hopewell off the coast of Vietnam, Ken indicated I should contact you, also. I see he CC'ed you in the response, so I'll assume you have the background on the matter.

If you would be willing to help getting out the word to those of the 1966 & '67 crews via the reunion website, I would be very grateful. There is a good amount of information I can share from source documentation, to the fundamentals of the claims process, to key points necessary for a successful claim, et al.

I'll attach two PDF files which established the basis of presumption to exposure for my claim. These will be the Hopewell deck logs for June 15 & 16, 1966 (see 0800-1200 entry for both) and a BVA directive dated Sept. 9, 2010 instructing all VA Regional Offices to include in the adjudication process. The significant passage is on document page 7, which states:

"When deck logs refer to entering or anchoring in the “mouth” of one of these locations, or any other identifiable river location, C&P Service has determined that this is sufficient to establish service on the inland waterways. It is not practical to establish a bright dividing line between a river entrance and the South China Sea. Therefore, the benefit-of-the-doubt doctrine is applicable and evidence of the vessel's presence in a river's mouth is sufficient to establish the presumption of exposure for Veterans aboard that ship."

The proof of presence aboard Hopewell on those dates, plus the deck logs, plus the directive, form the nexus for presumption to exposure for the presumptive diseases AND any secondary conditions of the presumptive medical conditions. This is key to all claims of the Hopewell crew of that time for now. Until such time that Hopewell is added to the Agent Orange Ship List maintained by the VA, these documents will be necessary for inclusion in a VA compensation claim for Hopewell crew onboard on those dates.

I'll close this now for your review and consideration. I look forward to working with you in the future to help some of our shipmates receive what they have earned in their service to our Nation.

Merv Cecil

PDF Files you need:

June 15-16 1966 Deck log and Adjudicating Disability Claims:




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