Is This the Final Insult or the Last Gasp of Stupidity?
(LITTLETON, Co.) - Vietnam War veterans are a fine lot: they suffered through the War; they suffered the abuse of an ungrateful nation upon their return; they continue to suffer the indignity of an incompetent and antagonistic Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA); and they are the fastest dying group of veterans of any war we've fought. By the end of 2009, only about 30% of all Vietnam War veterans were still alive. At that rate, the last of the Vietnam War veterans will be buried by the surviving soldiers of WWII.
One group of Vietnam War veterans that have had more than their share of hard knocks are those Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine personnel who served offshore Vietnam. We refer to this group as the Blue Water Navy (BWN). The VA currently refers to them as Vietnam Era veterans, to clearly separate them from those who served in the Vietnam War, which requires having had one's "boots on ground." That is now the definition of a Vietnam War veteran.
Previous generations of soldiers were promised the treatment so eloquently stated in Abraham Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address: "...to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan..." Such care was offered up through WWII, began to wane with the Korean War, and completely disappeared for the Vietnam War veteran (which from hereon includes the BWN.)