Feb 062013

January 21, 2013 (Updated February 6, 2013)

Department Of Veterans Affairs
Regional Office
118 N Jefferson Street
Roanoke, VA 24016

Re: USS KIRK (DE-1087) (KIRK was a DE during Frequent Wind) possible exposure to Agent Orange in April/May 1975  {Update}

Dear Sir/Madame:

I asked Mr. Hugh Doyle to review my letter to you that I sent to you on January 21, 2013. He was a LT. USN, serving as Engineering Officer aboard KIRK in 1975. The update and clarification is below:

The USS KIRK (DE-1087) was part of Operation Frequent Wind in April 28-30, 1975 {and the subsequent voyage from Vietnam to the Philippines, May 1 through 7, 1975}. On the evening of April 30, 1975 the KIRK was directed to go along side the USS Blue Ridge to pick up a VIP by the name of Mr. Richard L. Armitage. He was key in making this rescue successful.  {(“Operation Frequent Wind” was the term assigned to the U. S. military operation to evacuate Vietnam after the fall of Saigon.)}

Read Admiral Donald Whitmire, Commander CTF-76 embarked in the USS Blue Ridge directed the KIRK to proceed back to Vietnam to Con Son Island to make an attempt to rescue the thirty two Vietnam Navy ships and fishing boats with approximately 32,000 refugees embarked. There was no written Operation Oder for this US Navy operation.

In 2010 the U. S. Navy made an official documentary about this untold story called “The Lucky Few”, a copy of which is enclosed for your review. In addition, please find the list of the officers and men who were assigned to be Vietnam Navy Ship riders, {which is also enclosed} for your review and consideration. The father of one of these men Petty Officer FTG3 Walter S. Johnson, informs me that his son passed away {due to complications} from “Agent Orange.”

I have recently become more knowledgeable about “Agent Orange” and its effects on our military personnel. I am convinced that the officers and men of KIRK who were sent to the Vietnam Navy ships for the transit from Con Son Island to Subic Bay in the Republic of the Philippines were required to consume potentially contaminated Vietnamese food and water and to live in close proximity to thousands of Vietnamese refugees for a protracted period of time during this 1,000 mile transit. In addition, many USS KIRK engineering officers, technical personnel, and medical teams went aboard these Vietnam Navy Ships to effect emergency repairs and to render sanitation and medical assistance.

 It is important to note that virtually all of these 32 Vietnam Navy ships were considered “brown water navy” ships, in that they spent their entire decades-long careers in Vietnam plying the rivers and canals and the immediate coastlines of Vietnam.  The rivers, canals, and coastline of Vietnam were, I believe, areas where “Agent Orange” defoliants were used in significant quantities for extended periods of time.  These 32 Vietnam Navy ships were exposed 24-hours a day, year in and year out,  to “Agent Orange” contamination for decades before being boarded by our USS KIRK personnel.

The KIRK, on the early morning May 1, 1975 arrived in the Bay of Con Son Island, approximately 3,000 yards {one and a half nautical miles} from the island, where the 32 Vietnam Navy ships were located awaiting to be rescued by the U. S. Navy.  {KIRK remained in close proximity to Con Son Island throughout the remainder of that day, rendering engineering and medical assistance to the Vietnam Navy ships that were being gathered into the “convoy” formation for the 1,000 mile voyage.}

I herby certify that the information I have given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief. If you have any questions you can email me at usskirkff1087@gmail.com or call me at 703-819-5957.


Paul H. Jacobs
Captain USN (Retired)
Commanding Officer, USS KIRK FF1087 {74-76}

 Posted by at 05:47

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

© USS Kirk FF1087 Association Hosted by Thorworx