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I have Plural plaquing an Asbestos related disease and have numerous prescriptions for my lungs from the VA. In September 1967 I was stationed on the USS Fremont APA44 as the ship was going through Asbestos removal while in the Newport News, VA shipyards. My DD-214 does not reflect that exposure to asbestos, even though the removal was conducted as we lived on the ship and had to clear asbestos off our bunks each night at taps. I also, have hearing aides, provided by the VA and sleep apnea with a CPAP provide by VA. I've been rejected 3 times, because my DD-214 doesn't reflect any injuries. Should I drop the issue? 

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A1:  It will not be on your DD-214. What you need to do is get your 201 File. Or all of your medical records while in the service. Get form SF-180 and fill it out and send it to the address noted. You can google that form, or thru VA.Gov, or pick one up at your VA Regional Office (NOT the hospital). Mailing in SF-180 will get you your medical forms needed. Were you hospitalized or did you seek medical attention back in 1967 while doing this work on the USS Fremont? If you did, you have a claim. For a claim you MUST be Service-Connected with something that happened to you then (and you have the medical records) to prove it and to tie you to the same problem now. Present X-rays would show the Asbestos that you got back then. For a claim you need ONE of Three things: A Disease, Injury or an Event....BUT you need Documentation. Good Luck, My Brother
Be Patient, BUT Persistent!  (RA)  2/6/19

A2:  If you don't have the evidence to prove your injuries, then you are barking up the wrong tree.  (AP)  2/6/19

A3:   Track down as many of your shipmates as possible.   Find out if any of them have similar circumstances, or if their DD 214s are different from yours.

I know a Vietnam vet who had no mention of exposure to agent orange on any of his discharge paperwork, but was able to prove exposure and receive benefits due to a buddy having a photo of him taking a shower in which a 55 gallon drum of agent orange had been re-purposed as a water tank with holes in the bottom.  (RF)  2/6/19

A4:  Lets examine each claim individually. Asbestos: check to see if any newspaper articles were written about the local newspapers. Also, any news articles that affected those who actually removed the asbestos. Additionally, search your records for any performance reports that were made by your supervisor while you were stationed at the. That will help you establish that you were at the shipyard while the asbestos was being removed. The newspaper articles will help you establish a cause and effect if you can prove that you were actually there. Please check www.asbestos-ships.com, it does list the Freemont as one of the ships and you may call 760-621-6147 for more information. Now let's attack the hearing loss claim. What did you do in the NAVY? Did you work in a high noise area such as the engine or boiler rooms, were you exposed explosions, small arms fire, or any other ordnance that required the use of ear plugs or headsets. Were you exposed to aircraft engine noise or worked on the flightline or on deck of an aircraft carrier? What you need need is a competent Veteran Service Officer (VSO) that will help you through the process of filing your claim. They can get you the forms and any other material needed to file your claim. Find a good one in your local area and good luck. (AB)  2/6/19

A5:  I don't know 'the answer', but a couple of thoughts came to me.
If you can appeal, include these items, with proof for each item:
1) the dates that the work was done on the ship;
2) the scope of the work,& any details about it (perhaps you'll find some mention of details in an old Annual Report for stock holders of the complany(-ies) that did the work, or track down someone still alive that DID the work, or contact some of your buddies that were there, too (maybe the VA has approved their claim);
3) proof that you were there (orders, letters you wrote, pics you or a buddy took, etc);
4) a resume that describes your civilian work/career that shows you had no other (likely) opportunity for exposure;
5) somehow get info about the VA's decision process & details of their conclusions, so that you can address each item specifically with overwhelming evidence;
5) contact your local Federal Congress-person & State's Senator & ask for help. Show them what info you have found & prepared;
6) do everything in writing & keep copies (on follow-up letters or emails, attach copies of previous letters, relies, & outcomes. For emails, consider posting all back-up online in PDF-formate & include the URL & connection instructions in each email - keep your own PC back-up files & hard copies of everything, too.
Be persistent - get angry that they are 'hoping' you'll die before they have to pay (!), if that's what it takes to motivate & energize you.
Also, continue networking, & asking for help.
Good luck.  (BE)  2/6/19

A6:  I would contact the NVLSP for a referral. I would also purchase The Veterans Benefits Manual from LexisNexis for about $250 and review laim. You can win but it may take a few years.  (RH)  2/6/19

A7:  Absolutely not!! There are outside lawyers that will only need a diagnosis and medical records.You don't need the VA.The is a 30 billion dollar fund available for this purpose.You can also get the DAV or other vet orgs that will work with you and your lawyers.Hope this info was helpful and GOOD LUCK!!!  (PD)  2/6/19

A8:  Google USS Fremont APA40 Asbestos Exposure and print that information. Take it to your local VA Hospital and speak with a Veterans Service Officer to file a claim to be added to your disability.  (JB)  2/6/19

A9:  Why are you referring to your DD-214? That form is to document your military service not your various illnesses caused by the military. What medical records do you have reflecting your illnesses especially related to your health issue? Do you have documents showing your were on this ship during the time of asbestos removal? Add that to your illness related to asbestos and you have a case. Keep in mind that the VA normally rejects you 3 times anyway as a S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure). Their goal is to frustrate you so you will give up your claim. You can engage a lawyer but they will complicate your case, slow it down, and will grab a huge chunk of your deserved money. They would be the last resort after you have done your own work. I suggest gathering up your documents and write your claim in clear text English and submit it to the Va and at the same time one of your U.S. Senators. I trust you have a just claim so do not give up. Although the doctors in the VA normally do a great job they are hesitate to help because it threatens their job. You might want to get an outside evaluation to fortify your case that your condition is a result of your military service. The cost would vary depending on where you live. There is more help in California than in a state like West Virginia. DO NOT GIVE UP AND GOOD LUCK.  (JD)  2/6/19

A10:   I would start by goggling 'Asbestos on Naval ships' and see if you can find the ship(s) you were on in the late 60s, to see if you can get the necessary evidence that Asbestos was on your ship(s). If so, then print out all materials addressing this ship so you can use it as evidence when submitting a new claim. Good luck.  (JL)  2/6/19

A11:  Do not quit. If you need to get a va lawyer,do so,however, don't quit.  (MH)  2/6/19

A12:  Do everything you can to find or locate someone else that either was serving with you on the ship, at the shipyard that will write a letter to verify this issue.  Your correct it is not on the DD214 since that document is to show where you served, not every detail of what you went through so finding another person or maybe find newspaper articles from Newsport that might list the repairs?  (LY)  2/8/19


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