Saturday, March 18, 2017

Take Action on BWN Benefits

Once again our friends at the Fleet Reserve Association have issued a call for help to get the benefits going.  This time it is for the Bill H.R.299, and also for a petition on the White House website:  Let's get moving to get the petition signed ASAP.  It is more inclusive than the bill in Congress.  The petition asks to rescind the action made effective in 2002 that took us out of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, and that would reverse the action and automatically open the gates for ALL BWN Vets who received the Vietnam Service Medal, not just the ones who served inside the ten mile limit as H.R.299 stipulates.

You Carrier vets need to get your association shipmates to the White House petition site to sign on.  Details provided below from the FRA! 
White House Petition on Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy Issue
A petition has been put on the White House website asking President Trump to direct the VA to rescind the exclusion of Blue Water Navy Veterans, who served in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam, from the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange.  The petition is available here
FRA is seeking a legislative remedy by supporting the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (H.R. 299/S. 422) that will bring a degree of justice to several thousand Navy personnel who have been denied service connection by the VA since 2002. They will no longer have to prove direct exposure to Agent Orange, and they will receive expedited consideration for VA benefits if they are afflicted with any of the health conditions associated with exposure to this defoliant. The herbicide was used to destroy foliage on river shore used by the Viet Cong to hide and shoot at passing ships.  The chemical got into rivers that ran out to sea. Ships used water for bathing and drinking.  It has been proven the desalinization process for water intensified toxicity of the small amounts of herbicide in water.  Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to contact their legislators and voice their support.
  While you are at the action center, please explore the FRA website.  If you aren't a member, you should be! 

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Update on BWN Bill - HR 299

We have an update on the Blue Water Navy Bill H.R. 299.  There are now 159 co-sponsors to the bill. 

Also, we have added a link so you can go directly to the Congressional website at any time and see the current status of the bill.  It is at the top of the right side column.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

FRA: Support Blue Water Vietnam Veterans

A message from our great friends at the Fleet Reserve Association [FRA]

"Rep. David Valadao (Calif.) has introduced the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (H.R. 299) that would clarify that service members serving off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam conflict have a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to the Agent Orange herbicide. FRA believes Congress should recognize that so-called “Blue water” veterans were exposed to Agent Orange herbicide and authorize presumptive status for VA disability claims associated with this exposure."






"Please use the Action Center link above to ask your Representative to support this important legislation."

Once again, if you aren’t a member of this fine organization you should be.  




VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

BWN Bill introduced in the US House!

The following is a press release from the office of Representative David Valadao [R-California]

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to expand benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans. Joined by lead cosponsors, Representatives Timothy J. Walz (D-MN), Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY), and Joe Courtney (D-CT), H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act works to grant presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to U.S. military personnel who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Author of the legislation, Congressman David G. Valadao stated, “Ensuring our veterans have access to proper medical care is a small, yet important, symbol of gratitude for their service, especially when their medical conditions are a result of active service.” He continued, “I am proud to introduce this legislation today, and as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs, I will continue to fight for the men and women of our Armed Forces and for our selfless veterans.” 

“This is about our Nation fulfilling its sacred duty of caring for those who have served and their families,” said Rep. Tim Walz. “We have an indelible obligation to help Blue Water Navy veterans from the Vietnam War get the benefits they deserve. This is not something we can pass off or ignore. We must be data driven. When the Congress allowed the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to expire, the need for this Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans legislation became absolutely critical. Our Nation must exhaust every effort to identify, prevent, and heal the injuries, illnesses, and wounds our military service personnel received during their service.”

“It’s critical that we ensure our brave Blue Water Vietnam Vets get the care they need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This important legislation extends VA coverage to these brave warriors. As the representative of more veterans than any Congressional district in New York State, I am proud to support this critical bill to ensure that we never leave behind our veterans who have served heroically.”

“As the VA continues to deny care and benefits to Blue Water Vietnam Veterans, it is about time that Congress steps in to protect these vets and provide them with the care they deserve,” said Congressman Courtney. “I am urging my colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to put differences aside and pass the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. This bill will ensure that all those who served on naval ships in the waters surrounding Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange get the appropriate care for a arrange of medical issues directly related to this chemical. Like many veterans in my district who regularly share their concerns about this issue, I am deeply disappointed in the VA’s continued refusal to act. It is long past time to right this wrong, and our bill will fix this problem once and for all by specifying in law that those who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam are included in the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange.”

Congressman Ross said, “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this important legislation because we need to ensure our selfless and courageous veterans receive the care and respect they deserve. Many of my very own constituents have been denied claims by the VA in regards to Agent Orange exposure diseases, and it is completely unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason those veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam and currently suffer from diseases related to Agent Orange exposure should not qualify for current VA care. As we have decried for too many years now, the VA needs to be much more responsive to our veterans. They are the backbone of the freedom and prosperity America has enjoyed for more than two hundred years, and I refuse to let their sacrifices and service go undervalued and unnoticed. Turning our backs on them is truly un-American, bottom line.”
H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would grant presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to U.S. service members who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. This would enable eligible veterans to receive expedited consideration for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits if they suffer from any of the diseases the U.S. Government has linked to Agent Orange.

The measure has received support from various veteran’s organizations including the Association of the United States Navy, the Fleet Reserve Association, Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc., and the Blue Water Navy Association. Original cosponsors of the legislation include Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Frank A. LoBiondo (R-NJ), Dennis A. Ross (R-FL), Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY), and Timothy J. Walz (D-MN).

Background:
  • During the Vietnam War, more than 20 million gallons of the herbicide “Agent Orange” were sprayed to remove jungle foliage. A toxic chemical in the herbicide has since been linked to devastating health effects, including non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL), various cancers, Type II Diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. 
  • The Agent Orange Act of 1991 (AOA) empowered the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to declare certain illnesses “presumptive” to exposure to Agent Orange and enabled veterans to receive disability compensation for these related conditions. 
  • However, in 2002, the VA stopped giving benefits to blue water veterans and limited the scope of the AOA to only those veterans who could provide proof of “boots on the ground” in Vietnam. As a result, veterans who served in the waters off of the Vietnamese coast or in bays and harbors were required to file individual claims to restore their benefits, which have then been decided on a case-by-case basis. 
Key Provisions:
  • This bill restores the presumptive coverage for those who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam that existed prior to 2002 and lifts the burden from the individual veteran to prove direct exposure to Agent Orange.
  • The presumption currently exists for veterans who served on land and inland waterways, and therefore the bill places Navy personnel on the same playing field as those who served in country. The legislation would also reduce backlogged VA claims for veterans who are suffering from diseases the U.S. government has linked to Agent Orange, therefore reducing the overall VA backlog.
More information about H.R. 299 including a summary of the legislation and bill text can be found here.

Congressman David G. Valadao represents the 21st Congressional District, which includes Kings County and portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2017: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Thirteenth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.

Friday, September 30, 2016

More on BWN BIll from FRA

From our great friends at the Fleet Reserve Association [FRA]
Sense of Congress on Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy Issue Introduced
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (Rep. N.Y.) and Senator Chuck Grassley (Sen. Iowa) have introduced a non-binding Sense of Congress (H. Con. Res. 161 and S. Con. Res. 51 respectively) expressing support for those who served in the bays, harbors, and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Service members should be presumed to have been exposed to the toxin Agent Orange and should be eligible for all related Federal benefits that come with such presumption under the Agent Orange Act of 1991.
These non-binding measures, if passed, would show Congressional support for the Blue Water Navy veterans and hopefully, will convince the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide this presumption by regulation.
FRA is also still supporting the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (H.R. 969/ S. 961) sponsored by Congressman Chris Gibson (Rep. N.Y.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Sen. N.Y.) respectively. The House bill has 335 co-sponsors, more than any other bill currently in the House.
Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to weigh in on House and Senate Sense of Congress (H. Con. Res. 161 and S. Con. Res. 51) and pending legislation (S. 681/H.R. 969).
Once again, if you are not a member of this outstanding organization you should be! 
 
Join FRA today! 
 
VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2016: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Twelfth Year of Service to Veterans; All Rights Reserved. Reprinting or copying of the contents of this blog without the express permission of the author is unlawful.