Citation Nr: 18123986
Decision Date: 08/03/18	Archive Date: 08/03/18

DOCKET NO. 14-37 291
DATE:	August 3, 2018
Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus, due to exposure to a herbicide agent, to include Agent Orange, is remanded.
The Veteran had active duty service in the United States Navy from August 1964 to October 1970.
The Veteran testified at a Travel Board hearing in May 2018 before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.  A transcript of the hearing has been associated with the claims file.
Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus, due to exposure to a herbicide agent, to include Agent Orange.
The Veteran asserts in-service exposure to a herbicide agent, to include Agent Orange, while serving aboard USS BAINBRIDGE.  The Veteran has submitted statements and testified at the May 2018 Board hearing that the BAINBRIDGE entered and anchored in Saigon Harbor, in the Republic of Vietnam, on at least two occasions during the period of his service on the ship, specifically during 1969 and 1970.  The Veteran further asserts that he left the ship on one occasion as part of a 15 to 20-man detail, which went ashore for several hours to retrieve boxes from a storage or holding facility and brought them back to the ship.
The remaining evidence of record does not indicate that the BAINBRIDGE made port visits to the Republic of Vietnam at any point during the relevant period.  In addition, the BAINBRIDGE is not a listed ship in VA’s memorandum, “Navy and Coast Guard Ships Associated with Service in Vietnam and Exposure to Herbicide Agents.”  However, the Veteran has asserted more than once that the BAINBRIDGE’S deck logs will confirm his assertions of landing on the shores of the Republic of Vietnam.  He reportedly attempted to obtain the records but was unsuccessful.  In light of the Veteran’s detailed and consistent written statements and testimony, the record is otherwise insufficient to provide either affirmative or negative evidence of the Veteran’s exposure to a herbicide agent, to include Agent Orange.  
For these reasons, the matter is remanded specifically for obtaining the deck logs of USS BAINBRIDGE for the relevant periods.  
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Contact the appropriate agency, or administrative entity and request the deck logs of USS BAINBRIDGE for the period of January 1, 1969 through and including December 31, 1970. 
Obtain the deck logs and associate them with the claims file.  Any necessary assistance of the Veteran and/or his representative should be sought.  All attempts to obtain records should be documented in the claims file.
If any requested records are not available, or the search for any such records otherwise yields negative results, that fact must clearly be documented in the claims file.  Efforts to obtain these records must continue until it is determined that they do not exist or that further attempts to obtain them would be futile.  The non-existence or unavailability of such records must be verified and this should be documented for the record.  Required notice must be provided to the Veteran and his representative.
2. After development is accomplished, determine that all appropriate efforts were made.  If not take corrective action and return the case to the Board after appropriate review, as needed.
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	P. Franke, Associate Counsel

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