Dear Ms. Maul,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We suggest that she request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) in order to determine which ships he served on. OMPFs and individual medical reports for those who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002. Next of kin also may use eVetRecs to request records. See eVetRecs Help for instructions. We suggest that the form be submitted by his widow to avoid redactions. You may assist her if necessary. For more information see Request Military Service Records.
Due to the coronavirus public health emergency, the National Personnel Records Center is servicing only urgent requests related to homeless veterans, medical emergencies, and funerals which may be faxed to 314-801-0764. We thank you for your patience and look forward to resuming normal operations when the public health emergency has ended.
After she has determined which ships he was assigned to and on which dates, she can then request the relevant deck logs. We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941 - 1983 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) that include the deck logs of US Navy aircraft carriers from 1971 through 1973. For access to and/or copies of logs of specific ships, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
Please note that under the Blue Water program, ships did not have to be docked in a Vietnamese port to qualify. Instead, they needed to have come within 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia as defined in Public Law 116-23. You may wish to contact the nearest VA Office or a Veterans advocacy organization such as the Blue Water Navy Association for assistance with interpreting the terms of the program as they apply to your brother-in-law's service.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!