Friday, July 5, 2019

Secretary Wilkie has officially stayed all Blue Water Navy and Korea DMZ cases until January 1, 2020

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – President Trump signed into law, a bill that now makes tens of thousands of Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans eligible for health care and disability benefits.
The American Victory served in Vietnam. It converted sea water to fresh for crew’s consumption.
The law mandates veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia and those who served in the Korean DMZ between 1967 and 71 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange if they develop certain diseases.
Screw you! Wilkie to BWN Vets
But VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has ordered a stay on any claims decisions for these veterans until at least January 1, 2020. Wilkie’s order is contrary to a Federal Court of Appeals decision earlier this year granting Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans presumptive status.
 “I’m ecstatic,” Navy veteran Mike Kvintus said of the president signing what’s commonly called the Blue Water Navy bill. “This will affect all the Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans any veteran, Coast Guard, Marine, Air Force or Army who was on board any of the naval ships off South Vietnam.”
Kvintus, the National Vice Commander of the Blue Water Navy Association says he is frustrated that Secretary Wilkie ordered stays on the claims.
In 2002, the VA decided presumptive status should only be provided to military personnel who were boots on the ground in Vietnam. That excluded approximately 90,000 Blue Water Navy Veterans. For more than a decade the VA opposed efforts to provide presumptive status to Blue Water Navy Veterans.
Mike Kvintus was on the destroyer U.S.S. Buchanan. It anchored in Da Nang harbor when the military sprayed the area with Agent Orange.
The military sprayed millions of gallons of the toxic herbicide on Vietnam. Mixed with petroleum, it floated into rivers, harbors and offshore.
The Buchanan, like other ships, turned salt water into fresh. An Australian Navy study showed that the distillation process only enhanced the Agent Orange if the sea water was already contaminated.


  1. On July 1, 2019 Secretary Wilkie issued a Memo with the subject matter being “ Stay of Pending Claims under the Blue Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. Here is another example where something is being done that isn’t right. It seems the only reason it is being done is to hurt a certain group of Veterans that the VA has targeted before namely Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans.
    In the Memorandum it states “ The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (BWNVV) authorizes me to stay certain pending claims for benefits that may be affected by that Act until implementation of the statutory amendments Congress directed to go into effect on January 1, 2020. I exercise that authority. “
    There is a problem with the way he is doing it, everywhere in HR299 is talks about the Stay it also states that the effective Date of the Amendments is January 1, 2020.
    Now unless I over slept a little I believe it is still in the Month of July of the year 2019, so My question is How can he exercise his authority to do something that is not in effect yet.
    I would love to meet Secretary Wilkie and his advisors and ask them directly why are they doing this to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans had enough, We have been fighting for benefits since 2002 and now they want to drag it out even longer.
    If they think we are going to give up they are wrong. We will Continue the fight for veterans rights.

    Mike Yates
    National Commander
    Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association


  2. While passing HR299 it is a good thing and it will help many Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans, In is a sad state of affairs when something becomes Political when it shouldn’t. The latest example is the passing of HR299, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
    Here we have a Bill that is suppose to help Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange. Yes it has been signed into law and will take effect on January 1, 2020 and it will help some Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans but it won’t help others that were going to be helped after the Procopio Ruling was handed down.

    We have the Leadership of Congress and the large VSO running around patting themselves on their backs for passing of the Bill. However there are some groups missing, both MIlitary Veterans Advocacy and Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association are missing from all of the Media dealing with HR299. These are two of the groups that have worked the hardest and always stayed on course with the Bill, yet the Leadership in Congress and the large VSOs are ignoring them. Could this be because of the fact that they are the two groups pointing out the major problem with HR299, that will limit the Procopio Ruling just because of the word “Offshore” in HR299.

    We are the ones that haven’t changed the way we feel about this issue. In the last session of Congress we were pushing HR299 and the Big VSOs had a problem with the funding, well until it appeared that there was no stopping the Bill. They were fighting against it, if you don’t believe it check last year. They were against the Pay For. They fought it for the longest time until it appeared it was going to pass the House, then they came out for it. Why would they do that? Was it so they could take credit for it, or is it something else?

    Then this session of Congress after the Procopio Ruling was announced, the VSOs decides to start supporting HR299 when in fact HR299 was no longer needed. But the VSOs decided that they need to “PROTECT” the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans by putting in the Geographic Points. It doesn’t take a Legal Expert to see that by defining the Geographic Points and calling them “Offshore” will limit the Procopio Ruling. My question is, didn’t they have their Lawyers read the Bill and the Procopio Ruling, I don’t think so. They just wanted to show they are going to “PROTECT” the Blue Water Navy Vietnams and now it is going to hurt those that are covered under the Procopio Ruling. The Procopio Ruling states that “Offshore” is farther out than the Geographical Points known as the Territorial Seas.

    Could the actually reasons why they would not change the wording be due to money. Are Congress and the large VSO working together to make sure that the cost of the Bill doesn’t go any higher. Or are the two groups working together for other reasons, like I’ll scratch you back if you scratch mine.
    Now it gets even worse. On July 1, 2019 Secretary Wilkie of the VeteransAdministration decided to issue a Stay. In the VA statement, Secretary Wilkie states “VA is dedicated to ensuring that all veterans receive the benefits they have earned,” Wilkie said in a statement. “We are working to ensure that we have the proper resources in place to meet the needs of our Blue Water veteran community and MINIMIZE THE IMPACT ON ALL VETERANS FILING FOR DISABILITY COMPENSATION.” To me he is saying, just so we don’t impact other Veterans we are just going to delay The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans, AFTER ALL THEY ARE USED TO IT.

    I hope the large VSOs remember to take the credit when early next year when Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans find out that just because their ship was just outside by a couple of miles the Geographical Points that they are no longer covered but they would of been covered if Procopio Ruling, had S1195 passed or just changed the word “Offshore” in HR299.

    Mike Yates
    National Commander
    Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
    Continuing the fight for veterans rights