When the sailor first applied in 2010 for benefits for ischemic heart disease due to AO exposure, the response was typical: The VA said no because he’d been on a carrier out at sea. He continued to appeal. And appeal. And appeal.
The VA finally told him to either go away or go to court. Naturally he chose court and got an attorney. The VA was ordered to take another look at the facts and finally decided that 100 percent disability for ischemic heart disease due to AO exposure was appropriate, backdated to when symptoms first appeared, many years earlier.
If you were on a ship near Vietnam, the questions to consider are: If you were assigned to a ship and were flown out to it, where had the plane been? Was the plane contaminated and bringing AO every time it landed on a carrier? Did you unload cargo from those planes or work on them? Did the ship ever bring on fresh fruits and vegetables? Did the ship ever dock? Did it take on water for distillation inside the 12-mile limit? Did your mail and supplies sit on the runway near the AO storage area in Da Nang?
Meanwhile, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR-969) was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. The legislation will give AO presumptives to sailors and Marines who served in offshore waters of Vietnam.
If you’re fighting the VA, go online to The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program [www.vetsprobono.org]. You can hook up with a specially trained attorney – for free – who will take your case. You’ll pay nothing unless you win back entitlement.