The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, a Littleton, CO based veteran advocacy 501c3 organization, is sponsoring a Rally in Washington, DC on May 18th in support of legislation that will return benefits of Health Care and Compensation to veterans who served offshore during the Vietnam War. Members and even non-members are being invited to attend this event.
Although granted to them by the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the Department of Veterans Affairs removed this group from receiving their benefits for disabilities related to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange. The herbicide defoliant contains dioxin, which has caused a number of cancers and other disabling conditions.
In 2002, the VA literally redefined a “Vietnam veteran” to mean only those who serviced with boots-on-ground. Those who served in combat positions offshore and within the bays and harbors are no longer eligible for the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange. The VA continues to provide those benefits to veterans who had boots-on-ground. But the VA claims all herbicide, whether water-borne in the streams and rivers or air-borne from spray drift and the blowing dust and debris known to travel in the atmosphere for thousands of miles, did not go further than a line they drew along the coastline of Vietnam. Since this belief defies common sense and the laws of nature, there is legislation in both the House of Representatives (HR-969) and in the Senate (S-681) to declare this regulation unreasonable. Passing this legislation would return presumption of exposure to those who served offshore or in bays and Harbors if they suffer from the identical diseases that plague the veterans with who served with boot-on-ground.
“A government agency must have regulation regarding its activities,” says John Rossie, Executive Director of the Blue Water Navy Association, “but we all expect those regulations to maintain some semblance of rationality. Declaring no exposure to the sick and disabled men who never touched the ground because a line was drawn on a map doesn’t fit that category. We have attempted to work with the VA to get this regulation changed. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has ruled these regulations as “arbitrary and capricious.” But the leadership of the VA is sticking to their guns on this issue. Directing them by legislation is the only way we can get this changed.”
The contact for this event is John Rossie who receives his email at firstname.lastname@example.org.