A new step forward is achieved for the Blue Water Navy of the Vietnam War. Vietnam Navy veterans who are infected with presumptive exposure of Agent Orange Dioxin soon may realize benefits from Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation for agent orange disability.
Those Navy veterans, known as Blue Water sailors, who never had boots-on-ground, hopefully will see daylight at the end of the tunnel. The realization of the VA benefits for disability is based solely on the Legislative passage of a new Congressional Bill.
On Dec. 8, Congressmen Chris Gibson (R-NY), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) announced the introduction of House Bill HR-3612, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2011. This is a companion Bill to Senate Bill S.1629, The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011. It was previously introduced by Senators Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The new House Bill offers a compromise to the Senate Bill.
The compromise would enable those Veteran Navy men to receive VA benefits who can show proof of Naval service up to 12 miles off-shore of Vietnam. They must also provide medical evidence that they have in the past or do suffer from any of diseases the U.S. Government has linked to agent orange exposure.Those diseases can be found on the VA's web site at www.va.gov.
I am a Navy Vietnam Veteran who served onboard ship in the waters of Vietnam. I too am presuming exposure to agent orange. I have fought three cancers, presently fighting a fourth cancer. Two of my cancers are on the VA's list of diseases.
The American people needs to be aware of how this horrible herbicide has infected thousands of Naval personnel. We served onboard ship in the Vietnam war zone. We too were infected by agent orange dioxin. Many of us have died, many of us who still live are now sick with diseases associated with this herbicide. We Navy Veterans deserve equal treatment for our service in this horrible war.
Write, call, email your respective members of Congress. Urge them to support House Bill HR-3612. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.
(John J. Bury, U.S. Navy/retired, is a Vietnam veteran from Media and a Somerset visitor.)
Vietnam Blue Water Navy one step closer for VA benefits
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