I'm afraid I have to revisit this post. I am very familiar with the generalities of getting VB to install and working.
That is not the problem. The problem is, like going way back, even after testing VB and found it working perfectly still no USB.
The Welcome menu for LMDE shows Linux version as Linux Mint Debian 1.
I have been running Linux Mint (Ubuntu) long enough to remember when no USB was common and all fixes suggested didn't work.
I also have recently upgraded from Linux Mint 11 to LMDE. USB has been working without problems there for at least 3 years.
Again thanks for the help. I hope this will help get us closer to the answer.