Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What it will take to pass HR 6562

We asked for help in identifying some good folks who attended the introduction last week of HR 6562. Thankfully, they contacted us with details, and have consented to the posting of some of their information.

We want you all to get an idea of what is in store for you in terms of effort to get HR 6562 enacted, in whatever form Congress turns out.


Meet Randy and Karen Johnson. Randy is a Veteran off the USS Porterfield DD 682. The Johnsons live in the upper part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. They got themselves down to DC in plenty of time to make all the events of last Wednesday morning. It could not have been easy, as you can see. That is Randy on the left in a wheel chair, and his lovely wife Karen in red behind him. It was important to them to be there.

This is the kind of effort it will take from as many of you as possible to get this bill passed.

It will require face to face discussions with your Representative [find your Representative and send him an email demanding support for HR 6562 by going to the "Write to Congress" box down on the right sidebar here.], and your Senators. You need to do this in August - as early as possible, when they are home on recess, and before they go to the conventions.

The Democratic Convention is August 25-28 in Denver. If your Reps and Senators are Democrats, concentrate on them for the first three weeks in August. Arrange a meeting. Have coffee with them. Invite them to a picnic your Legion post is having. You've got the idea.

The Republican Convention is in Minneapolis from September 1-4. Same deal, get to these people during August and wring promises of support for 6562 out of them. Make the Senators promise to introduce and sponsor a concurrent version of HR 6562 into the Senate so it can be enacted before the election.

There is no time to lose. They must fast track this through Congress.

Make the kind of effort the Johnsons made. It's your bill, it's your benefits, it's your future. Don't leave it in somebody else's hands. Go see your Congress Critters yourself.

And after you do, when the Bill is enacted, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment at helping to make that happen. It is, after all, the very essence of American Democracy.

What a great thing to celebrate at Thanksgiving!

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Request

Just a short post to make a request.

At last week's press conference there was a BWNVet and his wife present. The Vet served on the USS Porterfield, and was wearing a t-shirt. He and his wife were from the upper midwest, if I recall correctly.

If they would be so kind as to contact me using the "email me" link on the left side bar, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now Hear This! If your claim is in Haas Stay...

Folks, I cannot begin to tell you how many Vets have contacted me to say something like this:

I, for one, plan to make sure my claim (Diabetes, Prostate Cancer) is up-to-date and that I have all the supporting documentation I need (or MAY need). In the event the DVA tries to throw any crap about "inside the 12-mile limit" (as if NGFS could be performed any further out from a DD) I have log entries showing times the ship actually was inport at Vung Tau, Cam Rhan Bay, and Danang. I'd advise everyone else who has a claim in to do the same. If you don't have a claim in........I'd say "get hot!"
NOW HEAR THIS!:

If you are in a similar situation, that is, you have a claim pending and likely held under the Haas stay, but your ship visited ports in Vietnam, anchored in bays, harbors, or estuaries, or went up rivers, you must take immediate action!

You must get your Veterans Service Officer, to IMMEDIATELY contact your VARO [VA Regional Office] and have them pull your claim and process it immediately! Your claim does NOT qualify for the Haas stay and the VA is screwing you. If necessary, have your VSO contact their organization's state HQ to get funding, or a staff attorney to file a writ of mandamus to get the VA moving on your claim.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT. DO NOT LET THE VA GET AWAY WITH THIS!

Turn to, men! You should not have to wait any longer than necessary, and besides, we need to get your claims processed and out of the way before HR 6562 is enacted so the VA will get to our claims sooner!

Good luck sailors!

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

VNVets Address at Press Conference

Well folks, what a fascinating, energizing day! As usual "Foggy Bottom" was as humid as the Amazon Rain Forest, and about as inviting. But inside the Cannon House Office Building we were made to feel most welcome!

HR 6562 changes the language in the original location of the definition of service in Vietnam in Title 38 US Code to include both Blue Sky Air Force and Blue Water Navy Veterans, and does so retroactive to 1985. This overrides the recent court decision in the Haas case, and everything the DVA has done, and forces them to begin processing our claims, as soon as the bill is enacted.

We were fortunate enough to be asked to speak after Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Below, along with some photos, is the text of our remarks to the press.

"Chairman Filner, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

"Good Afternoon. My name is William Davis. I served on a destroyer off Vietnam in 1966. My shipmates and I who are here today are a few of the men who served on board the more than 600 United States Navy and Coast Guard Vessels off the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. We have come here today to support the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008. Most of us, however, could not come today because of physical and financial limitations.

"Speaking for all of us, we owe a debt of gratitude to Chairman Filner and his staff for pressing forward with this important piece of legislation. Thank you Chairman Filner.

"I would be remiss if I did not mention some of the people who were instrumental in getting us to this day. The wonderful folks at the National Veterans Legal Services Program, and our contact there, Rick Spataro; John Rossie, the head of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, and all their fine members; our Steering Committee attorneys, John Wells and Mark Weitz; three wonderful ladies who have been in this fight for many years, Mrs. Taura King, Mrs. Susie Belanger, Mrs. Carol Olszanecki and the wives and widows of Blue Water Navy Veterans who have proven themselves a steady, powerful force to be reckoned with; to “Bluesman” and all those Blue Water Veterans who could not be here today.

"The Agent Orange Equity Act, as written, will restore to Navy Veterans of the Vietnam War presumptive exposure to Agent Orange, and thus service connection for any of the diseases accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs as being Agent Orange caused.

"Not only does this legislation restore benefits taken from Sailors in 2002, it also restores the legacies we can leave behind us. I speak not only of the financial and medical benefits the Act will open to us, but also of the historical legacy. No more will a Blue Water, or Blue Sky Veteran receive the claim rejection letter with the words, “You did not serve in Vietnam.” We did serve there, and proudly. This is as important to us as are the benefits.

"We will continue to support this bill all the way through the legislative process, providing whatever help our resources can, and offering our prayers for its successful enactment.

"Once again we wish to thank Chairman Filner and his staff for their fine work in formulating and introducing the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008.
Thank you!"

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

House Bill 6562

110TH CONGRESS
2D SESSION H. R. 6562

To amend title 38, United States Code, relating to presumptions of exposure
for veterans who served in the vicinity of Vietnam.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. FILNER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on

A BILL
To amend title 38, United States Code, relating to presumptions of exposure for veterans who served in the vicinity of Vietnam.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Agent Orange Equity Act’’.

SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF PRESUMPTIONS OF EXPOSURE FOR VETERANS WHO SERVED IN THE VICINITY OF VIETNAM.
Effective on and after September 25, 1985, subsections (a) and (f) of section 1116 of title 38, United States Code, are each amended by inserting after ‘‘Republic of Vietnam’’ each place it appears the following: ‘‘including the inland waterways of such Republic, the waters offshore of such Republic, and the airspace above such Republic’’.

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Attention Those who are attending Wednesday!

Just a note with recommendations that those Veterans who are planning to attend the Introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 on Wednesday: If you are a member of the Order of the Silver Rose, please wear your medal.

Regardless, wear your pins and miniatures, or if you still have them, wear your full size Medals! Ball caps are also advised.

Folks, I cannot tell you how excited I am for this event. This is the real deal! We intend to post a report sometime Wednesday late afternoon, more likely Wednesday evening, and provide at least some photos. We will post the text of the Bill, and as much detail of the event as we can garner.

To those of you who are coming, thank you!

To those of you who cannot come, you will be remembered by those of us there. I'll see to that.

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Filner Press Release: Veterans Cheated of Their Benefits

CHAIRMAN BOB FILNER
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS
MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2008

http://veterans.house.gov/
Veterans Cheated of Their Benefits
VA and Courts Ignore Promises Made to Veterans: CONGRESS MUST ACT
Washington, D.C. – Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will hold a press conference on Wednesday, July 23 at NOON on the Cannon Terrace to announce the introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act. The bill restores equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange.

Who:
  • Chairman Bob Filner, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
  • William G. Jeff Davis, Blue Water Veteran
  • Ron Abrams, Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Services Program
  • John Rowan, Vietnam Veterans of America
What:
  • Introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act, a bill to ensure that veterans receive their earned benefits
When:
  • Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at Noon
Where:
  • Cannon House Office Building Terrace
    The intersection of New Jersey and Independence Avenues, S.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20515.
“We owe it to our veterans to fulfill the promises made to them as a result of their service,” said Chairman Filner (D-CA). “If, as a result of service, a veteran was exposed to Agent Orange and it has resulted in failing health, this country has a moral obligation to care for each veteran the way we promised we would. And as a country at war, we must prove that we will be there for all of our veterans, no matter when they serve. The courts have turned their backs on our veterans, but I believe this Congress will not allow our veterans to be cheated of their earned benefits.”

The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 would clarify the laws related to VA benefits provided to Vietnam War veterans suffering from the ravages of Agent Orange exposure. In order to try to gain a better military vantage point, Agent Orange, which we now know is a highly toxic cocktail of herbicide agents, was widely sprayed for defoliation and crop destruction purposes all over the Vietnam War Battlefield, as well as nearby nations. It was also stored on U.S. vessels and used for vegetation clearing purposes around U.S. bases, landing zones and lines of communication.

Currently, VA requires Vietnam veterans to prove “foot on land” in order to qualify for the presumptions of service-connection for herbicide-exposure related illnesses afforded under current law. This issue has been the subject of much litigation and on May 8, 2008, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld VA’s overly narrow interpretation. Congress clearly did not intend to exclude these veterans from compensation based on arbitrary geographic line drawing by VA.

The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 is intended to clarify the law so that every service member awarded the Vietnam Service medal, or who otherwise deployed to land, sea or air, in the Republic of Vietnam is fully covered by the comprehensive Agent Orange laws Congress passed in 1991. If enacted, this bill will make it easier for VA to process Vietnam War veterans’ claims for service-connected conditions that scientists have conclusively linked to toxic exposures during the Vietnam War and that are identified in current law. With this legislation, Congress will leave no doubt that the “Blue Water Navy” and all combat veterans of Vietnam are intended to be covered and compensated; thus ensuring that these veterans will receive the disability benefits they earned and deserve for exposure to Agent Orange.
####
End of Press Release

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 18, 2008

Details of Wednesday's Intro of Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008

Congressman Bob Filner [D-CA], Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is introducing the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 on Wednesday at noon, on the Cannon Terrace, Cannon Office Building, adjacent to the Capitol, Washington D.C.

The bill will fully restore Agent Orange Presumption to Blue Water Navy Veterans and Air Force Veterans of the Vietnam War. [hooray!] It will override the recent decision in Haas, and do much more.

The day's events will begin at 10 AM with a screening of the film "All the Way Home", about Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. At 11, a Q&A session about the film, followed by a Meet & Greet with Congressman Filner, the guests and Congressional staffers.

At noon, action moves to the Cannon Terrace for the public introduction of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008.

These events are open to the public, and Veterans are encouraged to attend.

Blue Water Navy Veterans should contact us at the VNVets Blog email address on the left sidebar, with their name, email address, and home town if they plan to attend. We need a good turnout for this occasion.

This is the victory that we have been fighting for over the past five years.

House Committee on Veterans Affairs:
334 Cannon House Office Building

[located southeast of the Capitol on a site bounded by Independence Avenue, First Street, New Jersey Avenue, and C St. SE]

Suggest you find parking in large parking garages as close as you can.

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Urgent: Filner to release Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008!!

This just in: Representative Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee is looking to schedule a release of the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2008 next Wednesday, July 23, at the Capitol.

We need to have a presence there to support this legislation and Representative Filner's efforts. I will be attending, and am looking for as many more Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans as we can get to muster on station at the Capitol next Wednesday.

If you can go, please contact me ASAP via the "email Me" link on the sidebar.

NOTE: This is still in the planning stage, and may not come off until after the summer Congressional recess in August, but we are shooting for next Wednesday!

Please include an email address, your name, and your hometown. Come on folks, this will be worth the trip!

Ladies and Gents, this is our chance...this is our hour. Let's make the most of it.

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

VA Announces On-Line Claims Applications

The following is a VA Press Release:

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2008) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that on-line applications are now accepted from veterans, survivors and other claimants filing initial applications for disability compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits without the additional requirement to submit a signed paper copy of the application.

Effective immediately, VA will now process applications received through its on-line application website (VONAPP) without the claimant's signature. The electronic application will be sufficient authentication of the claimant's application for benefits. Normal development procedures and rules of evidence will still apply to all VONAPP applications.

VONAPP (www.va.gov/onlineapps.htm) is a Web-based system that benefits both internal and external users. Veterans, survivors and other claimants seeking compensation, pension, education, or vocational rehabilitation benefits can apply electronically without the constraints of location, postage cost, and time delays in mail delivery.

VONAPP reduces the number of incomplete applications received by VA, decreasing the need for additional development by VA claims processors. The on-line application also provides a link to apply for VA health care benefits and much more.

Over 3.7 million veterans and beneficiaries receive compensation and pension benefits from VA and approximately 523,000 students receive education benefits. Approximately 90,000 disabled veterans participate in VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

For more information about VA benefits, go to VA's website at www.va.gov or call our toll-free number at 1-800-827-1000.
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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Attn: Blue Water Vets with NHL or CLL

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL)
If you are a Blue Water Veteran of the Vietnam War and you have been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma [NHL], you need to understand that you are in a different category than the rest of us. You do not have to prove exposure to Agent Orange, and you do not have to prove "feet on the ground"!

Paragraph 3.307 of 38 CFR states
(iii) A veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, shall be presumed to have been exposed during such service to an herbicide agent, unless there is affirmative evidence to establish that the veteran was not exposed to any such agent during that service. The last date on which such a veteran shall be presumed to have been exposed to an herbicide agent shall be the last date on which he or she served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975. “Service in the Republic of Vietnam” includes service in the waters offshore and service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam.
Notice there is no comma in '“Service in the Republic of Vietnam” includes service in the waters offshore and service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam.' The VA uses this paragraph to deny Agent Orange benefits to Blue Water NAvy Veterans who have not set foot on the ground.

Paragraph 3.313 38 CFR states
Claims based on service in Vietnam.

(a) Service in Vietnam. “Service in Vietnam” includes service in the waters offshore, or service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam.
(b) Service connection based on service in Vietnam. Service in Vietnam during the Vietnam Era together with the development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma manifested subsequent to such service is sufficient to establish service connection for that disease. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))
Again, notice the comma in the phrase '“Service in Vietnam” includes service in the waters offshore, or service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in Vietnam." Because the other phrase, without the comma, is used to deny benefits to the Blue Water Navy Veterans, this phrase, with the comma cannot be used the same way. Since this definition refers exclusively to NHL [see the second paragraph (b)], then NHL Veterans must be presumptively eligible for benefits.

If you have a claim pending and you have been diagnosed with NHL, get your Veterans Service Officer to get the VA moving on your case under this provision: Title 38, Part 3, Subpart A, Paragraph 3.313.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
We have reason to believe that if you have been diagnosed with CLL, at some point it may develope into NHL. See your doctor and ask for tests specific to NHL.

If you should become diagnosed with NHL get your Veterans Service Officer to pound the VA to process your claim for that under Title 38, Part 3, Subpart A, Paragraph 3.313.

We do not wish any of the Agent Orange diseases on anyone, but in their presence, the Veteran should take advantage of what is available. Perhaps once your claim is approved the removal of the stress involved in dealing with the VA will help alleviate symptoms.

Best of luck, Sailors!


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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2008: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Need a Military Record Researcher?

We have been contacted by a college trained archive researcher who performs research at such places as the Naval Historical Center, the National Archives, and so on. Tim Frank will, for example, research and if possible, obtain copies of documents you may need to pursue your claim with the VA.

Please pay very close attention to this:

You very likely noticed something in the comments filed during the VA's Public Comment Period for re-defining the meaning of "service in Vietnam," and in the legal briefs recently filed as part of the motion to request a review of the recent Haas decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Claims. Like it or not, there has been a lot of talk about the "12 mile limit," and if and when a favorable resolution of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans issue arrives, it may be limited to the 12 mile limit of sovereign territory recognized by the international community. That may be the best we can get. [We don't think so, and we don't hope that is all, but we must be ready for that if it comes!]

How would you prove that your ship sailed within the 12 mile limit during combat ops off Vietnam?

The best way would be with your ship's deck logs. These are not the green notebooks you used when you were standing in-port watches, and the ship's quartermaster used when underway. These are the smooth copies with entries made by a rotating set of junior officers which showed positions, courses and speed when engaged, and noon sightings for navigational purposes, and major activities of the ship and crew. Your XO's Mast for being a half-hour late coming back from liberty will not be in there. But the counter battery fire from your ship's guns while a mile off the coast of North Vietnam will be in there.

Additionally, there are other documents that can help prove your claim. Many ships have a detailed ship's history in the Dictionary of Naval Fighting Ships, or DANFS. This is available online at the Naval Historical Center's website.

Other documents that can be helpful include After Action Reports, Incident Reports, and other records the ship produced when operating under combat conditions off the coast of 'Nam. Finally, each ship's captain was tasked with providing a year-end ship's history, a narrative of all the ship did that year, and submitting that history to the CNO.

Any, or all of such documents can augment your personnel files in supplying documentary proof for your claim.

Do yourself a favor and start working on obtaining this stuff now. Because most of you would find it difficult to get to the Washington, D.C. area, we have decided to recommend a research service. That service is
Tim Frank. Tim has a website at Military Research Associates, LLC. You can browse his website to get his rates, and contact him with any questions you might have.

If you are serious about your claim, and see the potential for needing the kind of information mentioned above, as we can see it, then we recommend contracting a service such as
Tim Frank's. His rates are very reasonable, he lives in the area, and has established a rapport with the people who keep the records. [This is something very important when doing historical research. We know this because we do such research in an area not related to the Blue Water Navy.]

We will add this post to the list of helpful posts on the sidebar, and we will also add a picture ad for
Tim Frank's Military Research Associates.

We know it should not come to this, but we would rather see you prepared in advance, rather than sitting there waiting several months to get the proof you need so your claim can proceed.

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 Bush 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

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

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