Need proof that USS Inchon was within 12 NM of Vietnam - Deck logs

Hello,

I am trying to help my father get proof that his ship the USS Inchon was off the coast of Haiphong Harbor 1972 -1973, but the US Navy has no records that the Inchon was there. I have photos, but I need deck logs or something to help my dads Comp Case with the VA.

  • Stephanie,

    What was the nut and bolts or reason for denial. You should have received a response. Let me reiterate congressional inquires are not always the best case scenario for veterans. You should really be working with your state/local county veterans service office or (VSO). Please provide us with additional details.

  • Stephanie,

    Please copy and paste case law into your computer. https://www.va.gov/vetapp10/files3/1029247.txt

    Its states that from basically 2004-2008 attempts were made by the VA to obtain those records from NARA. It further states the following from the VA case law determining compensation. Anytime you see (RO) it refers to the VA Regional Office. The information highlighted in bold letters are directly from the particulars of the individuals case.

    "In February 2004, the U. S. Naval Historical Association stated

    that the logs from the USS Inchon had been transferred to the

    National Archives and Records Administration, Modern Records

    Branch in College Park, Maryland.  The U. S. Naval Historical

    Association noted that any questions concerning the existence and

    availability of such records should be directed to that agency".

    "In November 2007 the RO requested the deck logs from the USS

    Inchon for the months of June and July 1973 from the National

    Archives and Records Administration".

    " In October 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration informed the RO that they did not receive the 1973 deck logs when the records were accessioned into the National Archives. The deck logs went missing during the transfer process".

    "The command history for the USS Inchon noted a June 18, 1973

    arrival at Haiphong Harbor Roadstead for minesweeping operations. 

    A June 26, 1973 note indicated that the USS Inchon went enroute

    to an area off Vinh, Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) for

    minesweeping operations. 

    On July 6, 1973, it shifted anchorage to vicinity Hon-La, DRV,

    for minesweeping operations, and then on July 12, 1973, it

    anchored in Haiphong Roadstead for control of C-130 aircraft

    enroute to and from Cubi Point Naval Air Station.

    A command chronology from January 1, 1973 to June 30, 1973 for

    the Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group

    24 1st Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, made no mention of

    coming under fire during that period. The Board notes that

    records for July 1973 were not provided".

    I would re-ask NARA what the basis for the missing June-July 1973 deck logs and if their was an investigation into the missing so called 1973 deck logs for the USS Inchon. Plus I would request other months to determine if the whole 12 months of 1973 for the USS Inchon are missing.

    I would then note and refer to trying to obtain the USS Inchon

  • Stephanie,

    I am sorry that you are having so much trouble with your father’s VA claim.  I have a couple of suggestions to help resolve the problem.

    First, I would ask Jason, Rachael, or Lisha to contact the National Declassification Center (NDC) to see if the Inchon March 1973 logs are in the classified stacks.  The Navy was (and still is) sensitive about mine countermeasures, and they could have classified the logs for Inchon’s participation in Operation End Sweep.  The classified logs were separated from the unclassified ones, and NARA had to accession the classified logs accordingly.  That being said, based on my archival experience in accessioning deck logs in the 2003-2009 timeframe, the Navy did not necessarily hand over all the logs that they were supposed to.  So NARA indeed may not have the Inchon March 1973 log.

    Second, you may be able to use another ship’s deck log to substantiate your claim.  I offer the beginning of the 1 March 1973 0000-0400 log entry for USS Tripoli (LPH-10):

    "UNDERWAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH CTF 78 SAILORD STEAMING IN FORMATION 51A IN COMPANY WITH USS OGDEN (LPD-5), USS CLEVELAND (LPD-7), AND USS INCHON (LPH-12). FORMATION COURSE IS 240 DEGREES T, FORMATION AXIS IS 000 DEGREES T, FORMATION SPEED IS 8 KNOTS.”

    The log page notes the location as Haiphong Harbor with the 0800 position being 19 degrees 30.1 minutes North, 107 degrees 11 minutes East, the 1200 position being 19 degrees 20.4 minutes North, 107 degrees 6.4 minutes East, and the 2000 position being 19 degrees 15.5 minutes North, 107 degrees 10.5 minutes East.  I have not worked claims with the VA before, so I have no idea how using this information will help your claim, but I think it may be worth a try.  It is official, and it places the Inchon in North Vietnamese waters.

    I apologize for the complexity of this post, but this is a complex subject.  I hope you will find this information useful.  

    I wish you the best of luck in gaining a successful claim.

    A. J.

  • Elliot Schneider    Just as a side note  -  It sounds as if the referenced VA claim is related to agent orange exposure.  Presumed AO exposure is only granted by VA if the vessel/veteran was within coastal waters waters of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).  Presence off the coast of The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). would NOT be "presumed exposed" to AO..  It still possible (but much more difficult) to present a  "direct exposure" vs a "presumed exposure" claim.   You would definitely need the assistance of a VSO or VA certified veterans claims attorney. to have a reasonable chance of a successful claim.

    Ernest Davidson

    Former LT USN

    USS Brinkley Bass DD887 1969-73

    8 yrs public service experience locating & researching over 8,000 deck logs

  • I'm still encountering the same issues.  i can place the Inchon at Haiphong Harbor and some other locations, but they are all North Vietnamese waters and the VA does not give us presumption there, only the South Vietnamese waters. I'll keep looking and will update this group if I'm successful, I hope everyone else keeps fighting and let us know if you have success.  Thanks, and again, best luck to your Dad.

  • I do not want to get your hopes up, but the December 1972 Inchon Deck Log is online at NARA.  https://catalog.archives.gov/id/266685625?objectPage=64  We made a quick read through it, and in the last week of December 1972 Inchon was returning from Singapore to the Gulf of Tonkin where she presumably took up her mine sweeping duties.

    The route from Singapore to the Gulf of Tonkin requires a  sweeping arc north along the coast of South Vietnam.  We did a quick plot of the daily position reports but did not find any that fell within the "coastal waters" designated as presumed AO exposed.  However,  on several occasions on the afternoon and evening of December 31, Inchon was reported as close as 2.5 nautical miles from the AO presumed exposure zone. (See below image of approx track in yellow. Exposure zone in red.)

    Note - The long straight yellow line is simply a direct line between two position reports and does NOT take into account course changes between those two points.

    To get evidence of her actually crossing the line, we will need to very carefully do what is known as "dead reckoning" plot which does take into account all of the various course and speed changes and plots any crossings into the zone in between the 4 daily position reports.  This will take several days and perhaps a week to do.  If we find she did enter the zone we will prepare a detailed analysis of the track and the entry point(s)  suitable for submitting to VA as evidence of exposure.  We will post it here at History Hub, but if you will email me at [Moderator Note:  Personal email removed. See How To: Contact Another User for instructions on contacting another user.] I can keep you updated that way as well.

    Again, please do not get your hopes to far as it is a long shot at best.  And even if it does prove out, VA does not always accept dead reckoning evidence and it might require a lengthy appeal and the assistance of VA accredited veterans law attorney to push it through.  And even then perhaps unsuccessful.

    Patience please and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    Regards,

    Ernest (Brad) Davidson

    LT USN

    USS Brinkley Bass DD887  1969-73

  • Ms Johnston

    We have finished the dead reckoning plot on the USS Inchon LPH12 based on the available deck log for December 1972.  On two occasions, the plot shows Inchon came extremely close to AO exposure boundary, first within about 400 yds at 3 am on 29 December and again about 0.9 nautical miles on 31 December at 1920 hrs .  (We've attached screen shots of both events.)

    In summary, even though very close, our plots by themselves are not going to be useful as evidence for exposure.  There are other options you can explore but they are outside the scope of History Hub.  If you would like to discuss them I'd suggest we proceed by email.  Under HH rules, I can only provide my email address if we are "following" each other on History Hub.  The procedure for that is found at the below History Hub link, in the lower half of our 27 January post.   I am already "following" you.

                 

    In any case I'm sorry we were unsuccessful but wish you the best of luck pursuing the claim.

    Sincerely

    Brad Davidson

    (Yellow line is the DR plot.  Red line is the boundary of the AO exposure area.)

  • Oh wow!

    This is the most info I have been able to come across. Thank you for helping us with this. I am trying to find a lawyer to help since the VA is extremely difficult.

    It looks like they removed your email, but I will try and find it on your profile.

  • Hi,

    I was wondering if there was a way to prove the fact that agent orange helicopters were on the Inchon and used to go back and forth.

    Would that not have caused exposure?

    Not only directly but by wind, spray down, or by repurposing of the below saltwater to freshwater for drinking and powering the ships ?

  • Stephanie,

    I’m sorry to say that Inchon’s embarked helicopters were not used for AO spray missions—in fact no Navy/Marine Corps aircraft ever did during the Vietnam War.  They were never equipped to do so, and AO was never carried aboard any of the Navy aviation ships.  The helicopters on board Inchon for Operation End Sweep were used for clearing mines in Haiphong harbor—either looking for the mines or sweeping for the mines.

    I wish I could deliver better news.

    A. J.