HAGERSTOWN, Md. — In a 9-2 decision on Procopio v. Wilkie, the court said those who served offshore in Vietnam should receive the same benefits as those who had "boots on the ground."
“It means that about 70,000 veterans potentially could be covered. Unfortunately about 20,000 have died during this process," said Military Veterans Advocacy Executive Director, John Wells.
One vet who would technically soon be covered (as soon as Veterans Affairs agrees on regulations) is Joe Lolley.
Lolley's story started innocently enough.
At 18, he was bright-eyed and eager to join the military, like pretty much everyone else he knew in town.
“Getting to see the world for a kid from south Alabama, it was a great thing," said Lolley.
What turned out not to be such a great thing are the lasting effects of Agent Orange that have completely changed this "blue water" Navy vet's life.
Lolley suffered a heart attack at the age of 48.
He had a severe acne condition on his chest when he returned to the states in '74.
He's undergone four prostate surgeries, has hypertension, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes--to name a handful.