M21-1, Part IIIFebruary 25, 2005
request code O99 only if a claim for DIC or death pension is received and it has been determined that death was not in line of duty or was the result of willful misconduct.
(1) In the free text section, enter the statement: “Please verify 2 years honorable active service on enlistment prior to death.”
(2) Request verification of service using request code S01 for any prior period of service, if not already of record, to determine if qualifying service existed prior to the serviceperson’s final enlistment.
d. Insanity. If insanity is an issue (part IV, paragraph, 11.05), develop the case by obtaining all service medical records that are in any way pertinent. Obtain complete transcripts of any court-martial or board proceedings that may be relevant. Use the free text request O99 and enter the following statement: “The issue of insanity has been raised.”
e. Verifying Vietnam Service for Claims Involving Exposure to Herbicide Agents.
(1) It may be necessary to determine if a veteran had “service in Vietnam” in connection with claims based on exposure to herbicide agents. A veteran must have actually served on land within the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) to qualify for the presumption of exposure to herbicides. 38 CFR Sec. 3.307(a)(6). The fact that a veteran has been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal does not prove that he or she was "in country." Service members who were stationed on ships off shore, or who flew missions over Vietnam, but never set foot in-country, were sometimes awarded the Vietnam Service Medal. To verify service in RVN, you should review the veteran's DD-214 to determine if it shows such service (e.g., "Foreign Service: Republic of Vietnam"). If not, you may need to obtain and review the veteran's other personnel records (e.g., Department of the Army Form 20 or equivalent). (VAOPGCPREC 7-93.)
(2) If a veteran claims service connection for exposure to herbicide agents, and alleges service on a ship in the waters offshore of Vietnam, review the record for evidence that the ship was in the waters off Vietnam and that the veteran’s service involved duty or visitation on land. If the veteran cannot produce evidence of this, request verification from the service department. Contact the US Armed Services Center for Unit Records Research (CURR) for verification only after the veteran and service department have been unable to determine such service. For Navy cases only, send a PIES request using request code O43. For all other branches, send a dictated letter. See M21-1, Part III, 5.14c(3)(a) for CURR’s mailing address.
Note: When contacting the service department or CURR for verification of offshore duty, furnish the name and number of the ship (e.g., USS Galveston (CLG 3)), and the specific dates (month, day, and year) that the veteran alleges to have been in the waters offshore of Vietnam.
f. Verification of Service of Affiants (Buddy Statements). If it is necessary to verify the evidence of an affiant who alleges personal knowledge of certain occurrences while in active service with the veteran, submit the PIES request with the original veteran’s information on Page 1 of the PIES request and the affiant’s name and service information on Page 2. Use request code O99 and state:
“Do the records of the department indicate that [name of affiant], [rank, organization and service number, if available], was present with his or her organization at or near [place] on or about [date]? Do the records of [name of hospital, vessel, dressing station, etc.] indicate that [name of veteran] [rank and organization] was receiving treatment for [disease or injury] on or about [date]?”