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Operation End Sweep

On 27 January 1973, American and North Vietnamese officials signed a protocol to the Paris agreement that called for the United States to neutralize the mines that the Navy had dropped in North Vietnam's coastal and inland waterways.

Veterans: 22
Latest Activity: Dec 8

Discussion Forum

Help with a VA Claim

Started by Bradley Gordon Matthews. Last reply by Mike Ayars Feb 21. 9 Replies


Started by William Lee Bragg. Last reply by Tom Hensch Sep 28, 2016. 2 Replies


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Comment by Alton Ray Adams on December 7, 2017 at 12:56pm

Mike and Jeff, I've been a member of this site since I joined. I have recently retired and I'm just getting back to following this group. Everything I have read and followed is what the two of you are doing to help those who served during Operation End Sweep to get the recognation they deserved. What you said about McCain is true and has been showing his rino side more and more over the last few years. I wish you both well and a blessed Christmas and New Year and fair seas.

Comment by Michael Austin on December 7, 2017 at 1:12am

Jeff, thanks for the nice words and holiday wishes.  I also hope our shipmates and their families enjoy the holidays.

There isn't a single person in government worthy of worship:  never has been and never will be.  I  agree with you that although Senator McCain is worthy of great respect, specifically for the toll he has taken and for his many achievements.  Senator McCain has made some great decisions and has a net positive effect on our government, but on some issues, he screwed the pooch, and I'd say the End Sweep/VSM issue is one of them.  So criticisms of McCain can be justified, and your criticisms of him fall far short of disrespectful.  If anyone got their feelings hurt by your comments ... oh, well.

Mr. Adams, I sincerely hope you and the rest of the Blue Water bunch are successful in your fight with the VA.  It's been a long haul for many.

Comment by Jeff Puritz on December 6, 2017 at 3:37pm
Mr. Adams you got a big heart man! Happy holidays to you and yours. Michael-same thoughts go out to you. Compared to the Viet Man days of old, today's problems, like North Korea seems so muc So in closing Happy Holidays to all shipmates everywhereh worse!
Comment by Alton Ray Adams on December 6, 2017 at 1:09pm

Thanks for the info. I’ll start hammering my state reps to get off their butts and support this bill.

Comment by Jeff Puritz on December 5, 2017 at 1:40pm
To anyone who may despise me for casting aspersions on Sen Mccain let me say this. He has given speeches to Mayaguez vets and Endsweep Vets where he has commended them for contributing to the Vietnam War on one hand and has then voted them down in the Senate when it came to awarding them the Vietnam Service Medal. I just wish people would stop worshipping this guy. If he recovers he will continue to do so. So hate me if you will but at least I have the guys to call a spade a spade
Comment by Jeff Puritz on December 5, 2017 at 7:38am
Alton I agree completely. Having a VSM will be compulsory to receive any benefits once blue water sailors get their rights back. It has been my theory that this is why They re trying to prevent creating any more official vietnam vets. The senate therefore, will cancel all endsweep or mayaguez legislation until the rottenness is gone from the Senate.
Comment by Michael Austin on December 4, 2017 at 3:10pm

Hi Mr. Adams,

Sorry to hear about your problems with the VA, but none of us are surprised.  It's an old, sad story.

The Operation End Sweep/VSM issue discussed in this forum may not be much help with VA benefits, especially concerning Agent Orange.  Once upon a time, the VA considered the VSM as qualifying evidence for presumptive Agent Orange exposure.  That ended around 2002 when the VA decided a good way to fund outrageous executive bonuses would be to exclude Blue Water Navy sailors and set the criteria for AO presumption as "boots on the ground"  (the bonuses part is my cynical interpretation, but it's surely not far of the mark).  Hence, even if we are awarded VSM for participating in Operation End Sweep, it's not likely to help with VA claims, at least not now and not for AO.  But who knows?  Maybe the criteria for AO presumption will someday be reset to include VSM, but I'm not optimistic.

Better information about your situation (and mine) can be found with the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.  There are two Facebook groups, "Blue Water Navy Awareness" and "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association", that may be helpful.

Meanwhile, it would be helpful to both issues, Op. End Sweep/VSM and Blue Water Navy AO, if you call your congressman and senator and ask for their continued support.  Too late this fiscal year for congress to do anything about End Sweep, so we shall try again next fiscal year.  However, please call your US Senators and ask them to support  S.422 - Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017.

Comment by Alton Ray Adams on December 4, 2017 at 1:47pm

Mr. Austin, Mr. Puritz I would like to become someone to help with this problem.

I live in New Mexico and have been fighting the VA over issues caused by AO from the water we drank aboard the Tripoli and the Ogden. This state will not do anything to help with medical issues unless you have a VSM on your DD214. Please count me in on contacting any senator or representative that needs to be called.

Comment by Jeff Puritz on December 4, 2017 at 1:37pm
Wow Michael - you are very coherent and I understand and agree. I'll contact the legislative guy 28th some supportive quotes like the one from then sec of joint chief of staff admiral moorer Thank you for all you did in this matter most endsweep vets are too apathetic or embarrassed to beg for what we've deserved for 44 years.
Comment by Michael Austin on December 4, 2017 at 12:42pm

Jeff, here's the latest.  We were unsuccessful in having an amendment included in the NDAA for this fiscal year.  The House of Representatives had our amendment firmly in place, but during the conference process it was struck from the final version by the Senate.

Strong support for the amendment throughout the House, much support from the Senate, but Senator McCain decided he wasn't having it.  I am still stunned that McCain, of all people, would be the obstructionist.

My congressman's legislative assistant, Kevin O'Keefe, has been our champion for this issue.  He tells me various VSOs offer their support, including Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, AmVets, VFW and others.  Also he has received calls from other congressmen expressing support for the Op. End Sweep/VSM initiative, so somehow the word seems to be spreading, perhaps helped along at least in part by this form.  Kevin would like to hear from anyone who supports the initiative, regardless of their home congressional district, so please call him if you have anything helpful to say about it.  Contact the office of  Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) at 202-225-3901 and ask for Mr. Kevin O'Keefe.  Email is

Personal disclaimer:  at this moment I am dazed and loopy thanks to a concoction of opioids and other strange brews.  I'm not even sure if I'm writing in English or Klingon, so apologies for any odd and incoherent expressions.  I'm recovering from lumbar fusion surgery, authorized through the VA's Veteran's Choice program.  I mention this because VA approvals for the surgery were, as you might expect, choked up at various points in the process.  One telephone call to Congressman Grave's office, and within 48 hours the logjams disappeared.  Certain elements of Congress may deserve the daily criticisms you hear.  Some do not, because they know how to fight and get things done, even if it takes time.  


Veterans (22)


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