Thursday, May 11, 2017

Time for direct action

Our good friends have done it again.  Since Congress apparently has had the lights go out due to the placement of their heads, FRA has bypassed Congress and added a direct appeal to Secretary of the VA David Shulkin.

Please take this seriously and take action today.  If the Secretary rescinds the 2002 rule change it will automatically revert to providing presumptive exposure to all on the basis of two things alone: receipt of the Vietnam Service medal [or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service in Vietnam] and a disease on the VA's list of AO related diseases.

What this avenue would do is a thousand times better than the bills in Congress, and far less expensive.  Those with prior denied Blue Water Navy claims will see them reversed and granted.  New claims will be far easier to process since they will not have to spend money and time on researching which ships entered territorial waters, how long they stayed, where they were inside territorial waters, and will have to do that for every time the ship entered territorial waters.   Multiply that by the 500 or so ships that earned the VSM or the AFEM-VN and you can see clearly that it would take years to accomplish the research. 

Instead, you present your claim with a DD 214, and a Page 4 of the Personnel Record, which you should have gotten, and a doctor's statement of diagnosis of a disease on the VA's list of AO Related diseases.  Instead of months, or years waiting on claims if the territorial waters are made a requirement, the claim wait time could take anywhere from weeks to several months.

This approach set up by the Fleet Reserve Association is the way to go.  Get your documentation together.

AND BY ALL MEANS USED THE FRA's ACTION CENTER TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO SECRETARY SHULKIN.  Be nice.  It isn't his fault, but he can fix it.

Here is the FRA's announcement:

Ask VA Secretary to Help "Blue Water" Vietnam Veterans
FRA supports the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (H.R. 299 & S. 422) 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. Studies demonstrate that the desalinization process used on Australian and U.S. Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam magnified the exposure of the Agent Orange in the water.

The VA Secretary could help these veterans by implementing a regulation. FRA has met with the VA Secretary and we have been informed that he is reviewing the policy. Please use the Action Center to ask the VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin to implement a regulation giving these veterans a presumption for filing disability claims with the VA for ailments associated with exposure to the Agent Orange herbicide.

Click here to reach the BWN Action Page and send a message to the VA Secretary.

Go do it now.  It takes less than three minutes.  I did it in two.  

We keep saying this, but if you aren't a member of FRA, you should be.  No other organization has pushed the BWN fight as far as FRAClick here to reach the FRA Membership Page.

Join 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 © 2005-2017: 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, April 28, 2017

New Action by FRA

Our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association have taken a major step toward restoring Blue Water Navy benefits.  Here is the latest:
FRA Staff and VA Secretary Discuss Agent Orange Blue Water Navy Issue
FRA Assistant Director of Veteran Programs Brian Condon, along with representatives from other veteran organizations, met with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin to discuss the effects the toxin Agent Orange had on Vietnam veterans who served on ships in the Da Nang and Nha Trang Harbors. The discussion ranged from the shallow harbors and how sediment at the bottom was stirred up by ship propellers to how traces of the toxin can still be found there two decades later. The toxin found its way on board ships in the harbors through rainwater wash off, currents, tides and the numerous other ways. 

Representatives stressed that authorizing Blue Water Vietnam Veterans be put on the presumptive list for conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure. It would not be granting any new benefits, but rather returning benefits previously granted to Vietnam Veterans. The VA Secretary can authorize this by regulation. At the conclusion of the discussion, Secretary Shulkin was provided a packet of letters written by Blue Water Veterans. There were more than 30 one-page, written letters that spoke about financial struggles and personal frustrations with the long and agonizing wait. The authors urged the secretary to authorize the VA to provide care for those who served. Shulkin listened inquisitively and asked pertinent questions. He acknowledged there was much he had to learn about the Agent Orange Blue Water Navy issue, but he considered it important and he wanted to learn more. FRA will continue to also work on a legislative remedy and members are urged to use the FRA Action Center.
Going directly to the Secretary of the VA is a major step.  Secretary Shulkin could restore the benefits by issuing a change which would require putting the change out for public comment for a period of time [usually 60-90 days].  Subsequent to that, the VA could/should return the BWN to presumptive eligibility for exposure to herbicides.

On the other hand, Congress could stop dithering around and pass the bill and be done with it...finally!

Help them to get off their butts in DC and use the link in the FRA report for the Action Center.

If you thought the FRA was just another Veterans Organization, should should know by now that is isn't.  If you are not a member, you should be.  Join today.  Click here to join!

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 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, 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.