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

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