Shipmate Issues

Most health issues relate to questions dealing with Asbestos exposure, Agent Orange encountered during Vietnam or radiation exposure encountered during Nuclear testing at the Christmas Islands. Additional issues may be encountered while dealing with the VA. Check out  it is a great web site that lets you ask other vets questions on problems with VA claims.

17 thoughts on “Shipmate Issues

  1. Hi My husband Harry Telles He was on the USS Gurke, from 1968-1972 ? Not really sure. Has recently died due to cancer Sarcoma. I need help in proving to the VA that he died as a result of being in a ship near Vietnam. He died within 3 months of discovering the cancer so we did not have a chance of talking about it and i am financially strapped. So I need some help in proving that he was in Vietnam waters and or did he step foot in Vietnam. He was only 61. He had just retired from the military so i do get his 55% retirement, not much these days. But still grateful. He left 3 beautiful grandchildren. If anybody can help me please. I would really appreciate it.
    Lucy Telles

    • I spoke with Lucy on 3/18/16. She got her award in 2013. A friend of Harry’s aboard the Gurke helped with logs.

      • Sorry for your Los he was a friend of mine I was a little older than him I was there in 69 and also looking for information my name is Christopher Hernandez

  2. I was on the Gurke from 1969=1971. If anyone has any information about what rivers in Vietnam we went up on the 1970 Westpac, it would be very much appreciated to help me with my agent orange case at the VA. Thank You Bobby Dowd

    • All Gurke vets in October 1966 and October 1969 we were all exposed to agent orange on the Mekong and Saigon Rivers, Va has a list of all ships that were exposed to agent orange and the medical conditions caused by exposure here is some health issues it can cause…heart disease diabetes and all types of cancer. If you have any questions you can call me at 251-923-7674.

  3. Bob, The Gurke had 2 anchorage sites, one day time and one night time, both on the “Saigon River”. You and I were on the Gurke together during that period. Our RMC was “Harold R. Clarke” and the OPS boss was LT Bruckner. The CO was CDR Ronald L. Berger (I met up with CDR Berger in FTG GITMO in the early 80s when I was stationed at FTG GITMO as an RM instructor).Those Westpac tours were a lot of fun. I remember going to Sasebo Japan then to Hong Kong as station ship for 14 days, then on to Subic, a lot of fun was had at the “New Jolo Bar” at the far end of the main street in Olongapo! We also visited Caushun Twain then the trip back to the states, stopping at Midway Island. I retired as an RMC in DEC 1988 off the USS SAN DIEGO AFS-6 (22 years). I was originally was only going to enlist for 4 years active with 2 years inactive. Well $10K bonus, a lot of money back then, changed my mind.

    The address shown in the log book for me is wrong. I no longer live in Virginia, I left that expensive state long ago, I now live in Oklahoma.

    Michael Waldrop RMC(SW) RET

  4. It makes me proud to know that all of you did what you did and made things safe for our country. I was at your reunion back in 97 in SD with my dad Frank Hickam and had a blast. Now that I’m retired at 42 after 22.5 years I understand the Brotherhood of being a Chief even more and the sense of family that I have. I did electronics like my Dad aviation side on Intruders then after the whole Clinton era, had to switch up to Ordnance to stay in…. did not study like I should have but the Ordies accepted me with open arms… they had someone who could read to them and do math.. ha ha.. anyway I want to say thank you to all of you Tin Can Sailors who made the seas safe for us BirdFarm guys and wish you well. I would love to attend your next party and swap stories. IYAOYAS!!!!

  5. I am surprised I don’t see more comments concerning the ’65 and ’66 tour to Vietnam waters. I for one recall our duty in the waters of the Me Kong Delta. I remember a call to general quarters because it was thought we might have divers under the Gurke. This is in the log book of the ship. It turned out to be a bilge pump pumping air. I would like to hear from my shipmates concerning their experience with qualifying for VA benefits because of our exposure to Agent Orange. If one sailor on the Gurke during the “65 and “66 tours of Vietnam have had success with qualifying then all aboard should qualify. It seems from my research that the common health issue has been Prostate Cancer. I survived. But lost my prostate. We were literally drinking Agent Orange. We showered, had our food cooked with the contaminated water, washed our laundry it the same water. Agent Orange was not removed from the water as it was pumped out of the “dirty water” source during distillation. The VA has no apparent responsibility to notify those affected by this contamination. I believe we have qualified since ’96 after a Congressional acceptance of the evidence. Prostate cancer is silent. I had no symptoms or discomfort. During a routine exam it was found but to late. Get an exam today if you haven’t.

      • Hi Brian,
        This is Bobby Dowd
        Were you on the Gurke during the 1970. I have alot of medical problems related to agent orange. I have the ships logs for Nov.
        1970 when we were on the gunline. Michael Waldrop got back to me, and said he remembers that well and described it all about going up the river for fire support.I am having a hard time trying to prove it . I need to have more people to notify me with information. Because the records for 1970 are not available. Thank you for getting back to me. pls send me your e-mail address

  6. I came aboard the Gurke in October 1969 and Was discharged in Jan 1971. We did the WESTPAC tour and spent the first few weeks up in the Gulf of Tonkin, radaring planes coming out of North Vietnam. I worked in the forward boiler room and didn’t get much exposure to the sun, but whenever one could, we would be sticking our heads in the air duct coming down for some cooler 85 degree air. I remember going down to Cambodia for some special orders but don’t remember going up any rivers. We were in a delta region and quite a few of us were given M-1’s and grenades to to make a circle around the deck and watch for divers. Some PBR’s were circling us and we gave them a 5 gallon bucket of ice cream. I often think about them and hope they all made it home safe. River patrols had some of the highest casualty rates. I feel lucky to be in fairly good health but have had a fatigue factor for the last forty years or so. could use more info on getting some stipend, if possible, from this agent orange bull crap we were all subjected to. Thanks and God bless all of you and your service.

  7. I was on the Gurke when we went up river-we fired on areas called in by Marines we emptied our magazines and reloaded at sea. I made 2 cruises one we went up river and one we escorted carriers. I also had prostat cancer -was lucky and had seed implants. Terry Bailey mm2 aft eng room

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