Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bilirakis Seeks Help for ‘Blue Water’ Navy Veterans

“Blue Water Veterans” are those who served on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
WASHINGTON, DC – As a follow-up to his recent request of Secretary David Shulkin to act in accordance with judicial directives and use his administrative authority to extend Agent Orange presumption to Blue Water Navy Veterans, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis has reached out to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
In a letter Wednesday (Dec. 20), Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, asked that Mulvaneygrant the budgetary flexibility to speed up Shulkin’s ability to extend Agent Orange presumption to those vets.
Blue Water Navy Veterans served in the hostile territorial waters of Vietnam, providing mission critical direct combat support operations. The Veterans Administration has already included presumptive status to those who served on land and waterways close to land, but it has failed to include this small group of Blue Water Navy Veterans, despite the fact that they are suffering from the same diseases as those who served closer to the origin of the toxins.
“This issue boils down to a matter of fairness and equitable treatment of those who have bravely defended our country during war time. They are suffering and deserve the care and benefits they have earned. I will not stop fighting on their behalf until this injustice is rectified,” Bilirakis said.
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

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