Friday, December 09, 2011

HR 3612 Introduced in House!

We are pleased to announce that HR 3612, a companion to S.1629, the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011, Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, has been introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Chris Gibson of New York. Like Senator Gillibrand's bill, HR 3612 was introduced with bipartisan cosponsors.

Folks, these two bills, along with the fact that the DVA has requested the National Archives and Records Administration to post on the internet the Deck Logs of US ships that were deployed to Vietnam during the war, lead us to the hope that the time has finally arrived for the restoration of presumptive exposure to the Blue Water Navy Veterans of the Vietnam War.

The bipartisan support for both bills is icing on the cake.

We have added a tracker for HR 3612 at the top right of the page.

We at VASVW have just concluded our grass roots campaign where every member got two personalized letters to each of their Senators, to sign and fax and then mail. We will be conducting our campaign in the House on behalf of HR 3612 in early January!

Join us at VASVW [ Register ]. Numbers do help. Congress knows us from last year and that helps.

Folks, this is the best shot yet at getting the benefits restored. Pray, cross your fingers and toes, and keep pushing your Congressional delegation to sign on, support and fund, and pass these bills!

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 © 2005-2012: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, November 26, 2011

FRA: URGENT! Take Action on Amendments on Senate Defense Bill

John R. Davis of the Fleet Reserve Association sent out this alert:

Take Action on Amendments to Senate NDAA

Senate consideration of the Senate version of the FY 2012 Defense Authorization bill (S. 1867) has begun and consideration of floor amendments are scheduled to occur next week. Please use the Action Center to ask your Senators to oppose Senator John McCain’s (Ariz.) amendment that would eliminate the percentage cap on future TRICARE Prime increases to the percentage increase in a retiree’s annual COLA increase. The McCain amendment would allow future TRICARE Prime increases to be based on a DoD index that would measure health care inflation.

Also ask your Senators to support several key FRA-supported amendments that include:

Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid’s (NV) two amendments to expand concurrent receipt for disabled retirees;

Senator Bill Nelson’s (Fla.) amendment to stop the deduction of VA death benefits (DIC) from SBP survivor benefits;

Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (N.J.) amendment that codifies into law that military retirees have at least in-part earned their TRICARE coverage with twenty or more years of arduous military service;

Senator Mark Pryor’s (Ark.) amendment that would authorize “veteran’s status” for service members who served twenty or more years in the Reserve Component;

Senator Carl Levin’s (Mich.) amendment to allow early retirement to reduce inequities during the expected reduction in end strength; and

Barbara Boxer’s amendment that urges DoD to provide service members with flexible spending accounts to pay out-of-pocket health and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

Please use this Action Center to contact your Senators on these important amendments.

Many thanks to the ever vigilant and action oriented Fleet Reserve Association.

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 © 2005-2012: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Alert: Benefits threatened after Supercommittee fails

This is just in from the VFW:

M E M O R A N D U M

To: National Officers, National Council of Administration,
Department Commanders, Department Adjutants, Past Commander-in-Chiefs, National Legislative Committee, Action Corps, VFW Ladies Auxiliary and VFW Management Team

From: Bob Wallace, Executive Director VFW Washington Office

Date: November 22, 2011

Re: What does Super Committee’s Failure mean to VFW?

The congressional Super Committee has thrown in the towel and admitted they cannot reach a bipartisan agreement to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade. Under the law passed this summer, mandatory cuts will now take place across all federal departments and agencies beginning January 2013.

Where and how much, however, is still to be determined.

Each cabinet secretary will decide where the cuts will be made after the White House Office of Management and Budget identifies which, if any, programs are exempt. Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare have been mentioned as being exempt, as have veterans programs, but no one has yet identified which veterans programs.

The VFW believes that veterans’ healthcare programs and benefits will be exempt from any cuts. Questions remain, however, about increased co-payments for visits and prescriptions, as well as charging VA category 7 and 8 veterans an annual enrollment fee. We will continue to monitor and report any new developments as they occur.

Over at the Defense Department are recommendations to change the pay and benefits of those currently serving and military retirees. The threats include changing the military retirement system for future enlistees, limiting retiree healthcare program enrollment, and imposing or increasing healthcare fees on all TRICARE programs, regardless of age. These proposals are in addition to possible reductions in force and cuts to other quality of life programs. The budget crisis has also forced defense hawks to choose between supporting people programs and new weapon systems development. Sadly, some have forgotten that it still takes people to occupy territory and to operate their shiny new aircraft, ships and tanks.

Our nation hollowed out its force after Vietnam and again after the first Gulf War. If the past 10 years have proven anything, it is that the All Volunteer Force works, but it comes with a price and a promise to maintain the quality of life programs for those few who serve. Since 9/11, many of the less than 1 percent of the population who volunteered to serve their nation have been deployed into the fight numerous times. The service-connected disabilities thousands have already received will require a strong and viable military healthcare system to return them to duty, and a strong and viable VA healthcare system to meet their lifetime care needs.

Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress, amputations, and the risk of suicide are predominate issues of a military force at war. The preservation of military and veteran benefits, improved quality and accessible healthcare, and continued medical research into alternative treatments is how our nation can properly repay those who go into harm's way.

Over the next year, many in Congress as well as thousands of registered lobbyists will be working hard to protect their special interests and programs. We must all work hard to protect the Department of Veterans Affairs health, benefits and cemetery administrations, as well as all military quality of life programs for the troops, their families and military retirees.

I ask each of you to contact your respective members of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to demand that these programs be protected. State Commanders and members of the National Legislative Committee must arrange individual face-to-face meetings with every member of their Congressional Delegation to alert them to our concerns. These meetings should be in addition to your visits to your Congressional delegations during the March 2012 Legislative Conference. I also ask that you report the responses you receive back to the VFW Action Corps at vfwac@vfw.org.

These meetings will be in addition to a massive outreach campaign to the entire U.S. Congress that I ask National Legislative Committee members to spearhead in each state and department. We need Congress to be flooded with letters and phone calls to protect veterans' programs and military quality of life programs from any cuts. This is an obligation of every member of the VFW and their families to keep the faith with our comrades who need us to be their collective voice in Washington. Please refer to the VFW website for constant updates and the "10 for 10" issues we have raised, along with sample letters for your use.

The VFW needs you to make your voice heard now, because the most powerful message Congress can receive is from the folks who employ them — their voting constituents.

Thank you for your continued support of America’s heroes.

ROBERT E. WALLACE
Executive Director
VFW Washington Office

Contact your Senators and your Representative immediately and get on them to prevent Veterans and Social Security Benefits from being cut.

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 © 2005-2012: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, November 10, 2011

Veterans Compensation COLA Signed!

Senator Patty Murray’s Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011 [S.894] was signed into law yesterday by President Obama. Veterans receiving Compensation or Pension from the DVA will receive a 3.6% increase starting in January [benefits paid on December 30 for January 2012].

This is in line with the COLA passed earlier for Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance.

Many thanks to one of the best friends the American Veteran has in Congress, Senator Patty Murray from Washington State.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Congress passes Veterans COLA

Congress passed the COLA for Veterans Compensation and Pension today, sending the bill to the White House where the President is expected to sign it.

The Veterans COLA for 2012 is the same as that for Social Security Benefits, 3.6%, and is the first increase in three years.

That said, Veterans and Social Security recipients should be aware that the Congressional Debt Reduction Committee is considering reductions in Veterans COLAs in the future by using a different method to compute them. This would mean lower increases if the economy indicates an increase is due.

There are members of Congress who are gearing up for a fight to protect some entitlement programs.

God forbid that Congress would start cutting by doing so to itself!

The committee must come up with a plan by November 23rd, and then Congress must approve it. Should any plan they come up with not be approved by Congress by December 23rd of this year, then $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect, including Veterans Benefits and Social Security benefits.

We strongly urge you to contact your Congressman and BOTH your Senators and put them on notice that benefits to Veterans and Social Security Benefits must not be cut…must be protected.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, October 22, 2011

Wherefore art thou VVA?

So, where is the Vietnam Veterans of America [VVA] on these issues we’ve been dealing with over the past few weeks? We have done some digging and find that the VVA, on their website, under Legislative issues, lists and provides information for HR 812, and HR 2634, but S.1629, a bill exclusively for a large segment of their constituency, is missing. Bills introduced in the Senate later than Senator Gillibrand and Graham’s Bill are listed, but not their Agent Orange Act of 2011. Instead they list the bill that would provide money via the State Department to care for affected children in Vietnam, and in the US [children of Vietnamese origin and children of Vietnam Veterans], and Bob Filner’s financially bloated repeat of last year’s no-movement bill.

It’s kind of hard to go through the VVA’s capwiz support system to send messages to your representative and your Senators about S.1629 when it is not listed on the bill list. In contrast, The Fleet Reserve Association [FRA] keeps one open on their Action page.

The American Legion has been exceptionally supportive by publishing several informative articles in their magazine.

To be fair, the VVA presented testimony on its legislative agenda back in March of this year including two paragraphs about Blue Water Navy’s need for justice.

But we need to ask, what is the VVA doing to help the Blue Water Navy Veterans on a daily basis?

Restoration of benefits to the Blue Water Navy sailors from the Vietnam War is as simple as a short bill directing Congress to accept the Vietnam Service Medal, or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam [the two are interchangeable…indeed, the AFEM, granted before the creation of the VSM, is exchangeable for the VSM], as the requisite criteria to establish presumptive eligibility for benefits under the Agent Orange Act of 1991.

It really is that simple. And we would remind folks that the Department of Veterans Affairs acted outside the law each time they changed their policy to exclude certain Veterans from presumptive eligibility, starting in 1991 with the Veterans of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia [TLC], then in 1993 with USAF Veterans of Vietnam, and finally in 2002 with the exclusion of the Blue Water Navy from eligibility. Each time they failed to put their changes out for public comment, as is required by the Administrative Procedures Act. Indeed, legally, all three groups are still eligible. By making the medal the qualifying criteria, it clears the DVA of continued illegality and restores the rightful benefits to their proper Veterans.

We have made several attempts to reach out to the legislative folks at VVA, and unlike other Veterans Service Organizations, the door has been repeatedly slammed in our face. No explanation, no reason, simply no response whatsoever. How could a Veterans Organization refuse to work with groups of their very own constituency?

We suspect it is because of our stance on the Blue Water Navy bill in the Senate, and our stance on Filner’s bill last year and this year. We also suspect it is the “Old Boys Network.” Indeed, the folks we’ve been writing about lately constitute an “Old Boys Network”, and operate in support of each other.  Yesterday’s Ed Mattson article was forwarded by none other than self-styled Chief Bozo himself, Paul Sutton. We have crossed electrons with Mr. Sutton on occasion, as one of the prime perpetrators of those who fill Veterans email boxes with a lot of really good information, but also with far too much that is irrelevant to the American Veteran.

He is another one, like Ed Mattson, who demands the whole apple at once…one bill to cover everyone everywhere who was ever exposed to dioxin containing herbicides. His particular niche is Guam. Doesn’t matter, he will try to latch on and get expanded any bill that deals with “Agent Orange”.

We’ve seen no evidence, no record whatsoever that either Mr. Mattson or Mr. Sutton has ever brought a bill of their own before the public, or Congress, dealing with compensation and medical coverage for anyone exposed to “Agent Orange”. They are content to keep their little hamster wheel running at full tilt leaving everyone behind by hijacking the bills of others.

And that is exactly what their approach to all of this is doing: leaving everyone behind!

Their first mistake is in lumping the Blue Water Navy in with everyone else. BWN once was eligible. Now BWN is seeking restoration of those benefits. There is a strong possibility that the appropriation for BWN is still in place.

They fail to see the strategy that if a small subset is successful, it makes the next subset more attractive to a Congress trying to cut benefits because:
1. Subsequent groups will be smaller by the numbers of the successful previous groups. Therefore, subsequent bills will be less expensive than a catch-all bill.

2. Once successful, there is an awareness in Congress to the issue as a whole and it will require less “education" of Representatives and Senators and their staffs.
As for the VVA’s legislative efforts on behalf of the missing pieces from the original Agent Orange Bill, the recent sum total of their efforts [and those of others] has yielded two consecutive bills introduced by Bob Filner that includes Johnston Island, and adds the Vietnam Campaign Medal as a qualifier. The inclusion of Johnston Island invites other locations where Vietnam Era Veterans served and were exposed, like Guam, Okinawa, Korea, and the Philippine, for starters, and anyone who received the Vietnam Campaign Medal [that is the green and white ribbon], to jump on board. This makes the bill prohibitively expensive, especially in the current fiscal atmosphere in Congress.

It makes those efforts irresponsible, doomed to failure from the start. Filner had 267 co-sponsors last session, more than enough to pass the bill, especially in a House controlled by his own party. He never lifted a finger to move it from the Sub-Committee where it was buried, and sat, gathering dust until it died 19 months after he introduced it.

By their own statement after a 2009 joint VA Committee hearing, VVA was trying at that time to craft a bill to cover Blue Water Navy AND the folks on Guam, Johnston Island, etc.

Yes indeed, their constituents served in those locations. And yes indeed their constituents served in the waters off Vietnam.

Sadly, these facts collectively forced Blue Water Sailors of the War in Vietnam to form small subgroups unaffiliated with any of the larger Veterans Service Organizations. We were not getting enough advocacy from the VVA, among others.

And so, we were “…left to fend…” for ourselves.

The Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War is publicly pledged to fight for Agent Orange benefits for all who have been contaminated, and if we get our group restored, we will not go away. We remain a viable grassroots movement with strength. Our advocacy strategies and tactics are somewhat unique, but effective. We have always advocated for the common sense approach to getting legislation enacted, meaning small bites of the apple. In the long run, it will be faster, more effective, and more complete than the opposite approach.

We certainly expect nothing from the Bozos that would indicate a sudden acceptance of our strategy. We would be shocked if it came. But we want our readers, and our members to know who is doing what, who isn’t, and why our bills aren’t getting passed.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, October 21, 2011

In Response to one of The Bozos

As anticipated, the Bozos have responded. Indeed one, named Ed Mattson, started off by using an unattributed quotation that was inferred to have come from this blog.

He wrote an accusation of our writing the following quote: 
“go get your own bill and fend for yourselves”.
Well, I defy anyone to find those words here on this blog. He further denigrates the Blue Water Navy [BWN] community by saying 10% of them do all the work. That’s how little he knows. Between the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association [BWNVVA] and the Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War [VASVW] last year’s bill was given 267 Co-Sponsors almost exclusively the grassroots work of the members of those organizations.

Then he writes:
”… S-1629 may address issues of the Blue Water Navy… but it certainly isn’t a bill exclusively for Navy and Marine Corps veterans…”
Well, Mr. Mattson doesn’t know what he is talking about. Here is the ENTIRE text of S.1629:
112th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1629
To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
September 23, 2011
Mrs. GILLIBRAND (for herself and Mr. GRAHAM) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
________________________________________
A BILL
To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify presumptions relating to the exposure of certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, and for other purposes.
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 of 2011'.
SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF PRESUMPTIONS OF EXPOSURE FOR VETERANS WHO SERVED IN VICINITY OF REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM.
(a) Compensation- Subsections (a)(1) and (f) of section 1116 of title 38, United States Code, are amended by inserting `(including the territorial seas of such Republic)' after `served in the Republic of Vietnam' each place it appears.
(b) Health Care- Section 1710(e)(4) of such title is amended by inserting `(including the territorial seas of such Republic)' after `served on active duty in the Republic of Vietnam'.
(c) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect as of September 25, 1985.
Does anyone see anyone else in here besides Blue Water Navy and Fleet Marines, and some Coast Guard Veterans? That is the sum total of the meaning of the words, “…inserting `(including the territorial seas of such Republic)' after `served in the Republic of Vietnam' each place it appears.”

Mr. Mattson then goes on to muddy the waters by launching into a rather disjointed and long winded explanation of how politics work…or his view of politics. He states:
”The strategy includes:
“* breaking up power alliances into smaller chunks that are easier to subdue/manage
“* preventing small power groups from linking up and becoming more powerful

“Hey, if I am wrong here, somebody please tell me. You can’t just make this up.”
Well, yes, you are wrong Mr. Mattson, and yes, to a large extent you are making things up here. Here is another example:
”So I beg to differ with the email I received telling me that Senate Bill S-1629 is just a bill for the Blue Water Navy, and for everyone else to go away. Yes…pursuing this line of thought by letting the government keep us separated on the issue of Agent Orange, on the issue of class warfare; and on the political highway the current administration is driving us down, I am afraid we are all destined to “go away”…our way of life, our freedom, our sense of what is right and wrong, with only a memory of what America once was.”
That’s an awful lot of hooey you have attributed to us, Mr. Mattson. And it is so far off base to be laughable. We have NEVER, EVER, indicated that we prefer “everyone else to go away.” We defy you to show where we asserted that wish. Had we done that, we would never, ever have written a bill and offered it to the Veterans who did not serve in Vietnam, yet were exposed to dioxin containing herbicides. We have repeatedly, on this blog, made that offer, and have the bill posted for anyone to read, download and try to get introduced in Congress, including three days ago:
“Not satisfied with the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act, the advocates want to pile onto S.1629 as well, and once again make the bill so expensive it will fail.

“In other words, in their attempts to leave no Veteran behind they are, for the third time, leaving everyone behind.

“We have repeatedly offered these groups and individuals a bill of their own. We have done so with the offer that we want no credit for the bill, they may claim it for themselves, modify it, and/or do whatever they want with it. We have emailed it to Veterans who were stationed on Guam and Okinawa, and are sick with dioxin related diseases, and we went to great lengths to advise them on how to organize and effectively campaign for their benefits. We are convinced that this is their best shot. And we understand that it will, if it happens, not do so until a year or more from now.”
Mr. Mattson, then said:
”The whole issue is not that the government can’t afford to rectify the Agent Orange problem. It’s that it cannot rectify the situation in its current fiscal state.”
Hmmm, where have I heard that before? Two days ago we wrote:
”You obviously do not have the ability to understand there is nowhere near the money to pay for everyone who has been exposed at one time.

“We’ll repeat that for you, and type it slower this time so you can keep up:

“You obviously do not have the ability to understand there is nowhere near the money to pay for everyone who has been exposed at one time.”
So, our assessment of the Bozos is that they do not know how to read, try to smear anyone who crosses their way of thinking by innuendo and outright distortions, and still just do not get it. The “it” they do not get is the fact that they are clamoring for something unattainable in one lump. If they had any cojones they’d climb aboard HR 2634, the Agent Orange Relief Act.

Oh, and as expected, Mr. Mattson threw in the obligatory “pity me” picture of disfigured Vietnamese children. Well, we do pity them, and apparently so does the US Government, hence, HR 2634, which you can read by clicking a link in the box for that bill at the top right of the page. It is for the most part, a bill for the State Department to provide aid for just such children, and the children of US Veterans who also are disfigured or stricken with hereditary diseases as a result of one or both parents being exposed to dioxin containing herbicides.

Feel free to read Mr. Mattson’s error-riddled diatribe at:

http://www.examiner.com/military-affairs-in-national/so-what-s-the-problem

Be sure to take in the “pity me” photograph at the left top of the page. It’s reminiscent of those starving African and abused animal commercials on cable channels that are designed to play on your guilt for having so much while what you are seeing is going on.

Mr. Mattson is described in his bio as a “medical researcher”. We would highly recommend that Mr. Mattson invest some time in researching what he is attacking rather than making things up out of thin air.

Certainly we disagree with Mr. Mattson’s approach to the Agent Orange issue. His is a global approach, while ours is a more focused approach. He is advocating something new, while we advocate for the restoration of benefits that were illegally removed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is advocating a one-shot cures all approach, which we believe defies all reason and reality. Unable to accept smaller bites, he and his fellow Bozos will continue to throw their weight around killing Veterans in the process. Apparently, Mr. Mattson feels it is better for US Veterans to die without benefits than for the deformed Vietnamese children to go untreated.

That, shipmates, is the crux of the issue. Unfortunately, he is only one of the Bozos. There are many more out there, writing articles in the Salem News, and the Examiner, and filling your inbox with stuff that is irrelevant to a Blue Water Sailor dying of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, October 20, 2011

Be Careful of the Company You Keep

A little history lesson is appropriate here. Back in the day…around the early 1970s, a couple of civilians, one of whom is a prominent economist today, and the other of whom is still leading dissent against wars, got together with a couple of disgruntled Vietnam Veterans who had formed a group called Citizens Commission of Inquiry [into alleged war crimes committed by the US troops during the Vietnam War] and formed a plan called The Winter Soldier Investigation [WSI], sponsored by that sterling group, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW—not to be confused with the VVA or the VFW]. WSI was funded in part by the efforts of, among others, that person we all know so well as Hanoi Jane Fonda. Don’t act surprised.

Essentially, The Winter Soldier Investigation was a massive 3-day press conference held in Detroit [close to Canada, of course], at which press coverage was almost non-existent. However, a video was made and released in 1972. Testifying at this ‘press conference’ were many Vietnam Veterans, all of whom talked of atrocities and war crimes.

Subsequent to this, one of the most vocal and visible members of VVAW, Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade John Kerry [yes, THE John Kerry who is now a US Senator and ran unsuccessfully for President in 2004], wearing green fatigues, and his medals, testified before Congress and in the process made assertions based on testimony he heard at the Winter Soldier Investigation, that atrocities and war crimes were committed as a matter of course every day during the war…yes, that’s correct, atrocities were every day occurrences. He blamed the entire corps of officers ranked above himself as knowing about the crimes and atrocities and turning a blind eye toward it, leading him to the further assertion that such crimes and atrocities were US policy! Later, he even pointed the finger at himself for atrocities like…free fire zones, and using .50 caliber machine guns…really? The next day Kerry, when he was certain there was plenty of press around, joined a group of Veterans who threw their medals over a fence at the Capitol. [We quite frankly wonder where this stroke of conscience was while he was serving in Vietnam?]

And many of you wonder why you were shunned, and spit on, and called "baby killer" when you returned from the war, and why sometimes you had to sneak through an airport in civvies to make it home without being confronted by some bozos who bought into all this.

Well, a good many of those Bozos we have been writing about in the last two entries here are still at it. Some are running legal services for deserters and other troops who are accused of crimes, and celebrating victories like when the Army recently dropped plans to jail a trooper for a year for being AWOL. There’s a victory to be proud of!

Far too many of these folks likely found their way into the Department of Veterans Affairs [DVA], which could explain why the DVA has fought against Agent Orange benefits since the war was still going on.

Still far too many others are now very visible and vocal members of the Internet Veterans world, cranking out email after email filled with the most minute details of AO stories, and studies and research and investigative reports, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam. They aren’t just about what happened to the US Veterans who were exposed, these are the folks that are beating the drums to give benefits to EVERYONE who was EVER exposed to dioxin-containing herbicides. They are quite happy to revolt you with pictures of the grossly disfigured Vietnamese children. And as we made quite clear yesterday, there is no money to pay for such coverage for everybody.

So, why are they doing it? Well, they have to know Uncle Sam’s pockets have been picked clean by Congress after Congress, corporate greed, a bloated housing market, and a world wide recession. There is no money to be had for such a grandiose scheme.

But God help you if you have worked hard, and belong to a subset of exposed persons who successfully banded together and pressed for legislation of a far lower cost to cover just your group. You will be hard pressed to keep those other groups away from your bill, and every group that gets added to the bill pulls tens of thousands of dollars, or more, out of the US Treasury per person added. Billions per group: That’s Guam = $billions! That’s Okinawa = $billions more! There’s the Philippines = still $billions more! There’s Johnston Island = many $billions more!

Get the picture?

Many of these folks will not own up to having been members of VVAW. Some, however, still proudly put their membership in VVAW right underneath their USMC rank on the articles they send out.

VVAW was the group of Veterans who, while most of us were off fighting the war, fulfilling our duty, were back home joining demonstrations against the war, taking advantage of the "free love" generation, and undermining what we were doing over there.

Were they right? Well, is there any substantial difference between what we did in Iraq, and Kuwait and Vietnam? Our collective Uncle Sugar, who is currently about as broke as the guy who lost his mortgage on the last race at Churchill Downs, has this habit of stepping in to help the little guy. A dozen or so years after the truce was signed at Panmunjom ending the Korean War, or at least temporarily stopping it, we stepped in to help the South Vietnamese, because of the very real presence of a communist backed insurgency there. How is that different in principle from rescuing Kuwait from a Saddam Hussein takeover, or Afghanistan from the Taliban?

Well, perhaps it was different…maybe we were all over there indiscriminately shooting the place up, dumping 20 million gallons of what the government knew was highly toxic poison all over the country, burning out villages, executing and torturing civilians and the like. And we were, of course, the only ones doing any of that atrocity stuff. Weren’t we?

Not a justification, but quite frankly, I think the whole Winter Soldier thing and John Kerry's 'testimony' was 95% bulls**t.

Doesn’t matter, for our VVAW and other ‘peacenik’ friends are still making us pay for doing our duty.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bozos have erupted!

As expected, the accusations are flying in. As has been displayed in the past, the Bozos simply do not have the ability to read. But worse than that, is their attempt to smear with lies about what is posted here.

The difference is they do it in email. What we post here stays here for the entire world to see.

So here’s the message loud and clear:

Instead of fighting between groups over the internet, GET THE BALLS to introduce your own legislation. We don’t care whose deaths you invoke, as we can invoke plenty of our Blue Water Navy shipmates who have died waiting for benefits because the Bozos keep sinking the Blue Water Navy Bills.

You obviously do not have the ability to understand there is nowhere near the money to pay for everyone who has been exposed at one time.

We’ll repeat that for you, and type it slower this time so you can keep up:

You obviously do not have the ability to understand there is nowhere near the money to pay for everyone who has been exposed at one time.

So, what does this mean? Well, pay attention here…

It means that the cost of providing compensation and medical treatment for everyone exposed to dioxin containing herbicides will be so high as to never receive serious consideration by Congress.

It means there is not enough money available to cover the cost.

It means the United States is essentially broke right now, and Congress is considering CUTTING VETERANS AND MILITARY BENEFITS!

So, for the Bozos out there, and mostly you know who you are, we ask:

What is it about the government not having enough money to pay everyone that you fail to comprehend?

So, now we return to our offer…you know…the offer the Bozos refuse to take.

Bozos, wipe the spittle off your screens and follow the reasoning:

If there is not enough money to cover everybody, what is the next best option? Take smaller bites of the apple! See, that was easy, so easy even a Bozo can grasp it.

Small bites mean separate bills. Blue Water Navy has its bill and that bill is S.1629 at the moment.

There is no excuse in the world for other Vets not to have their own bill. We have offered one for several years, or they could have, should have drafted their own. As we mentioned the proposed Agent Orange Supplemental Act is free to any who wants to use it, change it claim it for their own. We don’t care. No strings attached.

There is no apparent leadership among the Bozos. Oh, there are plenty who are good at inciting their mobs to inundate with nasty accusatory emails filed with distortions, but there are no leaders. There is no one to unite them and focus them into one single group so that Congress can consider THEIR bite of the apple. It would be new to Congress. They would need time to study it, get the numbers right, find out who gets compensation and who does not, and then, if there is money by then, figure out the appropriations.

[But we have said all this before. We have been saying it repeatedly for years. And a few Bozo inciters have tried to make a mockery of the common sense truth. Some have even lied to Congress in an effort to discredit us.]

There simply is not enough money to pay everyone right now. So stop ruining what those who have organized and gone for the small bite can get! Organize yourselves, find a leader.

We will tell you that Congress will be a tough adversary as will the DVA. The DVA will lie and distort numbers. We witnessed them do it in open Federal Court in the Haas case. We witnessed them do it before the Institute of Medicine. And they’ve been doing it for half a century to avoid US government responsibility for dioxin poisoning, what amounts to a crime against humanity. It isn’t just the DVA, it is the Department of Defense, the State Department, and all the administrations since the war – that’s from Johnson to Obama and all who went in between.

Why? The enormous cost, of course. It’s all about the money and the liability that goes along with admitting to the crime. Why do you think they have fought so hard to avoid paying the Blue Water Navy? It isn’t because we weren’t exposed, it’s because they want to contain liability to the physical land limits of what was South Vietnam. They’ll pay reparations rather than pay us Veterans.

How sick is that? Oh, we do not suggest in any way at all that those reparations should not be paid, and they will in the form of massive foreign aid grants to Vietnam, ostensibly for cleanup, and the establishment of some medical assessment of contaminated areas and the children of Vietnamese who were exposed. But our own Veterans have been without as have their children.

US Veterans MUST come first.

So, we warn the Bozos that are fueling all of this, including Carlo, and some very popularly read ex-Marines named Paul to climb off. If you cannot be part of the solution, then stop being part of the problem and GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!

Let some real leaders step up and organize Vietnam Era Veterans and point them in the right direction.

This is really not that difficult. It is simply common sense.

Take the proposed bill. Use it. Get someone in Congress to introduce it. What a shame the so called ‘leaders’ of the Vietnam Era Vets [most of whom either have their benefits already or weren’t even Veterans to begin with!] have wasted so much time spinning their wheels jockeying for positions of influence with the online Veteran community. What enormous disrespect for America’s Veterans! We are in awe of the hubris and bombast these so called “web leaders” have displayed toward the Vietnam Veterans of this country. As a result of their campaigns, years have been wasted, Veterans have died, widows have gone without. They are worse than Congress as Congress at least allows some progress now and then. These Bozos have created a hamster wheel much more frustrating that that of the DVA.

Shame on them all for they have misled the very people they purport to help. Shame on them. Shame!

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Silent No More

There seems to be a conspiracy among certain groups of Veterans that is exceptionally damaging to any and all efforts to get compensation and treatment for exposure to Agent Orange – all people who were exposed to Agent Orange. We are not just talking about US Veterans, we are talking about Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, and Laotian nationals who were exposed, and the subsequent damage to many of their children.

Essentially, many of these who advocate for this in the US Veterans community are Marine and Army Veterans, most of whom are already receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs [DVA]. Some of them are members of the liberal group that called themselves Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW]. Others are highly placed in various major Veterans Service Organizations, and some others are simply members of small focused Veterans groups like the dog handlers who walked the perimeter of those US bases in Thailand, and another Blue Water Navy group.

They all write letters to the editors, and sometimes manage to get a small ‘op-ed’ type piece into a small newspaper.

And they all are clamoring to expand or combine three bills currently in Congress:

1. HR 812, a repeat of the Agent Orange Equity Act, introduced by Bob Filner [D-CA] during the previous two Congresses, and both loaded down by groups who wanted added to the bill, making it simply too expensive to pass. This version is identical to the one last session that was so expensive that Filner let it die in Sub-Committee, even though it had over 160 co-sponsors…more than sufficient to pass the bill.

2. HR 2634, The Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act, also introduced by Bob Filner. This bill aims: “To direct the Secretary of State to provide assistance for certain individuals affected by exposure to Agent Orange and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enhance the availability of medical care for descendants of veterans of the Vietnam era, and for other purposes.” This would provide money to the government of Vietnam to do cleanups of dioxin hotspots, and do medical treatments of the disfigured children of those Vietnamese exposed to dioxin. This is an enormously expensive bill.

3. S.1629, The Agent Orange Equity Act, co-introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY] and Senator Lindsey Graham [R-SC]. This bill, as currently written, would restore benefits to the Blue Water Navy Veterans who served off the shore of Vietnam, but restricted to those who’s vessels sailed inside the territorial waters of the then-Republic of Vietnam.

We have posted trackers for all three of these bills at the top of the right hand column. You can read the latest version of the legislation by clicking on the top link in each block.

Not satisfied with the Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act, the advocates want to pile onto S.1629 as well, and once again make the bill so expensive it will fail.

In other words, in their attempts to leave no Veteran behind they are, for the third time, leaving everyone behind.

We have repeatedly offered these groups and individuals a bill of their own. We have done so with the offer that we want no credit for the bill, they may claim it for themselves, modify it, and/or do whatever they want with it. We have emailed it to Veterans who were stationed on Guam and Okinawa, and are sick with dioxin related diseases, and we went to great lengths to advise them on how to organize and effectively campaign for their benefits. We are convinced that this is their best shot. And we understand that it will, if it happens, not do so until a year or more from now.

We call S.1629 a ‘restoration’ bill because from 1991 until 2002 any member of the Blue Water Navy who received the Vietnam Service Medal was entitled to presumtive exposure to herbicides benefits, but in 2002. the DVA illegally removed the Blue Water Navy from presumptive eligibility.  Our preference for S.1629, which seeks to restore those benefits, is to expand the physical limits of the waters to include the entire 'Combat Zone', and to add those Veterans who served in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Most of those who served in Laos and Cambodia, and many of those who served in Thailand are already eligible for presumptive eligibility since they also served in Vietnam itself. In other words we want to see the Vietnam Service Medal restored as the qualifying criteria for presumptive exposure to dioxin-containing herbicides.

What these bozos, and they ARE bozos cannot grasp is that there is not enough money to pay for it all- for everyone in the world who was exposed during the Vietnam War. One span of 5 minutes near the top of any network news broadcast should be enough to convince even a bozo that the nation's economy is headed down hill and has been for several years. So, we ask the bozos here, publicly, where is the money to come from for benefits and medical care for all these Vietnam Era Veterans, and the foreign nationals who were exposed?

We have, from the start in 2008, when legislation was first introduced, advocated small bites of the apple. S.1629 is NOT an expensive bill at less than $2 billion total, but when you add ALL the Vietnam Era Veterans who served on Guam, Okinawa, at Subic Bay, in Korea, Panama, Hawaii, Johnston Island, and elsewhere, you are likely talking about up to $2 trillion.   Adding the foreign nationals who were exposed will drive the cost up perhaps as high as $10 trillion!!!!

Where is Congress going to get that money when they are trying to reduce the deficit, and reduce the nation's debt?

Part of the mission of the Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War [Join VASVW now] is, after the Blue Water Navy bill is passed, to continue advocating for benefits for Vietnam Era Veterans.

All those Veterans deserve benefits and medical coverage. The only valid question is how can they be paid for.

It is painfully obvious that the bozos simply plunge blindly onward trying to latch onto any and all bills that even mention Agent Orange. They give no thought to getting their own bill introduced.

In their effort to see that no Veteran is left behind, they repeatedly leave everyone behind. Its a vicious circle and they continue to insert themselves into it rather than using common sense.

In the right hand column is a section titled Proposed Agent Orange Legislation Links. In that section are two links. We hereby issue this challenge to these bozos: to take a copy of the Supplemental Act and get it introduced in Congress. We doubt they will do it, so after a reasonable time has passed and they have not backed off their efforts to load their groups onto S.1629, we will publish a list of the bozos' names and organizations. Folks will be surprised at some of the names on that list. Very high ups in the Veterans Service Organizations. 

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Wives

[Note: This is a reposted and updated entry that needs to be put up over and over to remind folks of the role played by the wives in all of this struggle.]

They write. They call. They fax. They file form after form. They drive wherever they need to go in order to document, present, appeal, or argue their case. And they are frequently shut out.

No sailor wants to make that last voyage without providing for his widow, and/or his family. One of the ways to do so is to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. Unfortunately, and apparently illegally, the DVA stopped approving claims in 2002 for Navy Veterans who served in the “off shore waters of Vietnam”.

…John was hospitalized three nights ago with what has been diagnosed as pneumonia resulting from multiple myeloma. The doctors aren’t holding out much hope. What can I do? We’re out of money. John’s claim was denied because he did not set foot on the ground…

In many cases, those sailors with pending claims died before their claims were decided. Their claims died with them. Their widows got…absolutely nothing.

In 2002, the DVA modified their procedural manual to stipulate that a veteran filing for Agent Orange Presumptive benefits must provide proof that he actually set foot on the ground in the Republic of Vietnam. The DVA made this change after issuing a “precedential opinion” in 1997 from their own office of General Council. They did all of this on their own, without any instigation from Congress, or the various Veterans Service Organizations. But they also made the manual change without offering it up for public comment first.

…My husband served three tours on Destroyers off the coast of Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. He never set foot on the ground there. In 1998 Bob was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, and a year later with cancer of the prostate. They operated, and he tested clear of the cancer for a while, but in 2005 his PSA suddenly skyrocketed. He went in for tests and they found the cancer was back and it had spread throughout his body. They removed one of his lungs late last year, but by summer the other was full of cancer. He was hospitalized repeatedly. None of the treatments really worked. They sent him home last week, in time for his 60th birthday, with days to live. His claim with the VA died with Bob this morning at 5:17 AM. I have no idea what I will do now…

I receive four to seven of these a week. Every week. Fifty two weeks a year. I read them through my tears, and theirs. God! How could so many sailors have been so blessed with such strong wives!?

How could an agency of the United States Government act in such a crass and inhumane manner? Not only was their action illegally done, it was unjustified and unjustifiable, and we felt confident the court would say that in its decision in the Haas case. It was a cruel and heartless action, done coldly. My first claim was rejected in 2003 with the words, “You did not serve in Vietnam.” I have the medals, and the cruise book, and the envelopes and letters sent home free from the combat zone to prove it.

To be perfectly honest, I pray that people like Anthony Principi, Jim Nicholson, and the author of the precedent that was used to change the manual, Mary Lou Keener, rot in the lowest level of Hell for all eternity. So grievous were their actions that even that fate may be too good for them.

…he had been treated for heart disease and other problems for about five years, all after being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Yesterday after lunch he went in to take a short nap. When I went to wake him for our afternoon walk, he was gone. He should have gotten VA benefits, but he was denied and never appealed it. The Lord knows we could use the money for his funeral, and to pay off the mortgage on the house. I don’t want to lose this place. It has too many memories of us in it…

They come in emails, and in their words, through our tears, I see theirs. And in their words I see behind their tears an aura of nobility, grace and strength. These are not women to be trifled with, to be shunted aside with barely a glance, or ignored completely.

These women fulfilled a compact with their sailors, and because their sailors fulfilled a compact with their government, and died as a result of that compact, their wives must be compensated, even though their husbands were not.

We strongly urge the citizens of this nation to take up this cause and make it one of their goals, to see that justice is done for these good and strong women – the wives, widows, and daughters of our Blue Water Naval Veterans of the Vietnam War.

What the DVA did in 2002 was not only illegal, but because it was illegal, it was stupid. Because they did not follow due process of the law, they made a clear and unmistakable error in changing their policy without asking for public comment first, as required by law. Any of their actions subsequent to that policy change are therefore illegal if the DVA personnel followed that policy in the changed manual section.

The Courts, or better yet, Congress, which could save the Veterans and their Wive's a lot of unnecessary legal action, should issue a law connecting prior claims denied under these illegal changes. Because the DVA erred, anything that was ruled subsequent to that error based on that error, must be reviewed and overturned and benefits issued retroactive to the date of the claim. That includes any claims that died when the claimant died, any claims that were rejected based on the erroneous policy change, and appeals that were denied based on that change. Everything in those categories should be reconnected and reprocessed back to the date of the original claim, non-severed by any failure to appeal as well. It was the DVA that erred, not the claimants.

The court or Congress, should also rule that all these claims should be processed to the issuance of benefits within 6 months, including retroactive benefits.

…God gave me thirty wonderful years with my sailor, and I treasure every second of those years. Even the cross words that were sometimes exchanged will be sorely missed. When he took that final voyage last spring, the VA had not completed his claim. Now they won’t even answer my letters and calls. I had to put the house up for sale last summer, and am now living in a small apartment downtown so I can get around. But it is a dangerous neighborhood. I’ve been mugged twice, but all they got was a few dollars. They could have asked me for it and I would have given them the money. Ralphie would have given them each a bloody nose for their trouble. Sometimes, when I am trying to make a decision, I think, “what would he have done?” I was a housewife, I get no retirement from Social Security. I have a little bit left from Ralph’s IRA, and from the sale of the house, but that will be gone in a few years. I don’t know what I’ll do then…

We owe these courageous women a debt that goes far beyond mere gratitude. In many cases, we owe them our lives. Not many of us are financially secure. The presence of VA Benefits will go along way toward building that financial security for us to leave behind. Our wives, and children deserve it because we earned it, and they did, too. They care for us in our pain and illness, they comfort us, they haul us around to doctors, clinics, labs, and offices, and in between all that other stuff they write, phone, fax, and email on our behalf.

Gentlemen, Attention on Deck! To the indomitable and courageous wives, widows, sweethearts, and daughters of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans, hand salute!

Two!

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

"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 © 2005-2011 VNVets Blog -- Now in our Sixth Year of Service toVeterans; All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

DVA Delivers Slap in the Face to Veterans

Back on September 1st we received a press release from the DVA. After reading it, we were incensed at the misguided, misdirected efforts and spending by the DVA. We were so angry we decided to wait and calm down before writing about it here.

The DVA conducted a study of its own doctors to measure job satisfaction.

Well, la-di-da! We are so overjoyed that their doctors are happiest doing research on us Veterans, rather than simply treating us, that we almost wet ourselves.

Here is one of the statements from the press release:

VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert A. Petzel added, "With physician job satisfaction vital to both workforce retention and better patient outcomes, the study holds important implications for maintaining a high performance health system."

Petzel, along with VA Chief Academic Affiliations Officer Dr. Malcolm Cox, VA Chief Research and Development Officer Dr. Joel Kupersmith, and VA Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert L. Jesse, co-authored a related commentary to the study, "Building Human Capital: Discovery, Learning and Professional Satisfaction," also published in the August issue of Academic Medicine.

And this, although it was the lead paragraph, details the conclusions drawn from the study:

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians who spend at least 20 percent of their time in research activities are more likely to have greater job satisfaction and report more favorable job characteristics, according to an article published July 27 in the August issue of Academic Medicine. The study, "Job Characteristics and Job Satisfaction among Physicians Involved with Research in the Veterans Health Administration," also shows higher job satisfaction among physicians conducting research in VA facilities located on the same campus or within walking distance of an affiliated medical school.

We are not upset that the doctors are performing research, indeed, the DVA medical staff has made very important discoveries in treatment of many different injuries, wounds and diseases. It is a record that should instill pride in anyone attached to that staff.

No, what lights our fire is that the DVA had to spend money to conduct a useless study. Common sense could have told any rational person the outcome of the study, that doctors doing what doctors do, especially research, leads to a contented employee. And to have staff wasting their time and the taxpayers money to not only conduct this study, but to also write a journal article about it is hideously ludicrous! The waste of time, and money here is inexcusable. Not that the DVA is known for not wasting money.

And the raters in the regional offices get bonuses for denying claims and thereby saving the taxpayer money! And that money goes to projects like these to be squandered?

We have advocated here on more than one occasion that the DVA conduct a comprehensive study of Vietnam Veterans, determining by where they served during the Vietnam War, compared to their rates and types of diseases, what the relationship to their health is to the use of tactical herbicides in Vietnam. We offer a model for such a study. Click to view a copy of our proposed study: Morbidity and Mortality among Vietnam Veterans and Vietnam Era Veterans.

The DVA will never agree to commission such a study, however, as it’s outcome will show the Department-wide conspiracy to deny benefits to Vietnam Veterans that goes back over 40 years.

Such a bias is driven by two divergent political philosophies: a liberal philosophy that wants nothing to do with “that dirty Vietnam War!”, and a conservative philosophy that is in place to protect the chemical companies – each a giant corporation [think: Dow, Monsanto, Hercules, Diamond Shamrock, DuPont], that, were the truth told, would cripple the chemical industry, affect the agri-business industry, and have a very adverse effect on the economy. Both political sides also fear the repercussions of the ultimate culpability and liability falling on the United States government for what has become a crime against humanity.

As you can probably tell by now, we are even more incensed than we were initially at the gross negligence, no…make that gross criminal negligence by a Cabinet Department that has the mission to care for the Veterans of this nation, and another Cabinet Department that ill uses those men and women while they become Veterans. Do not believe for one moment that the Department of Veterans Affairs is alone in this, for the Department of Defense has been complicit all along, to cover up their criminal acts when contracting for the manufacture, packaging, delivery and use of tactical herbicides.

It’s time to pay the piper.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, October 07, 2011

Records Research Options

Veterans have any number of options open to them to locate and obtain copies of their military records, including their personnel file, medical records, and ships’ deck logs.

Our recent posts call for Veterans to do most of their own legwork. Granted, that is indeed the best idea. However, it may not be the most practical method of gaining those documents that would support a claim.

Some of these documents will fall directly to the Veterans to take the steps necessary to obtain. We will start with these.

Your Military Personnel File:

Start here: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/

The National Archives and Records Administration [NARA] in St. Louis is now the repository of the military records of millions of Veterans. At the site linked above, you can request your records online. There is a form that you MUST download, sign, and fax back to them, and instructions for doing so are provided. It should not take as long as it used to when the Navy held the records [also in St. Louis…the place had a catastrophic fire a few decades ago which is now the source of excuses for missing records, and has been for thirty years]. You should get your military medical records at the same time.

Your Ship’s Deck Logs:

http://www.strangearchives.com/Site/About_Strange_Archives.html

email Susan Strange

email Cliff Callahan

First, note that Cliff Callahan is a separate researcher from Susan Strange. Cliff does not have a website.

The first thing you must do is narrow down the dates. If you have a copy of a Cruise Book, which can help as it often contains a chronological list of events, look for dates when your ship operated within sight of land. Not radar sight, but visible sighting of the landmass of the Republic of Vietnam, otherwise known as RVN, South Vietnam, or in our context, just Vietnam. If you could see the coastline from the deck of your ship, odds are that you were within the territorial waters of RVN. The higher that deck was from the waterline, the less chance that you were within territorial waters. In other words, Aircraft Carriers, ships like the USS Sacramento AOE 1, and some of the LSDs had high decks. Smaller Navy Ships and Coast Guard ships were more likely to have spent time in territorial waters, and actually many were within hundreds of yards from the beach.

Look first for anchorage of your ship. Obviously, if you were anchored in any bay, inlet, cove, harbor, or estuary along the coast of RVN, you were well within territorial waters. Find the dates and ask your researcher for just those dates. It will save you a lot of money by saving the researcher time and effort to narrow down your search. If you can say, “It was probably in the first half of August in 1970 that we anchored.”, it would be a very easy and narrow search for the researcher, and the more exact the narrowing the more you save. Those are the pages of the Deck Logs you want copied.

If you go to NARA’s Modern Military Branch located at Adelphi, Maryland [right next to College Park and just off the Washington Beltway], [where most ship’s deck logs are stored] to research for yourself, here are some tips:

Go Early. The earlier you get your request in for the records to go through, the sooner you will get them retrieved for you, which maximizes the time you have to go through them, and make copies. [Note, when you log in, if you want copies, you must post an advance from a credit card as part of the check in process. SECURITY IS EXTREMELY TIGHT at NARA.

Narrow your search parameters. Use the method described above to narrow your search parameters.

Be smart. If you think your ship made multiple trips inside territorial waters in the course of a deployment, ask for the entire span, not the separate months [for example, May, August, September, December of 1968 and January of 1969, ask for the span March, 1968-March, 1969]. That is more for you to go through, but much faster and easier for those who work the repository to pull the records. By padding the start and finish you can cover any times you might have missed…it’s been over 40 years, you know.
Be careful. Your deck logs are THE original smooth copies and are large pages, 11 X 17 inches. They are very hard to copy. [Our own experience was to get a month done in one hour, with some damage to the originals, so we stopped and bit the bullet, and contracted with NARA to provide copies that covered our entire deployment. It cost about $300 for 8 full months, and it took three months to get them. But we have them, and every page is marked as an official copy from NARA.]
Other Sources for Deck Logs [CHECK THESE FIRST!]:

http://vasvw.org/Decklogs.htm  [VASVW’s small collection but these are all exclusively Vietnam War Deployments. There is also a place to upload copies of ship’s deck logs that can be added to the collection.]

http://veteransinfo.org/deck_logs.html   [Steve Burns Veterans Info pages contain this short list of deck logs that can be downloaded.]

Cruise Books:

Cruise Books can be of immeasurable help with photos, and chronological lists of events during a deployment, ports visited, anchorages, combat actions, flight ops, SAR actions, recreational activities, and so on -- also statistics. The Department of Veterans Affairs accepts evidence from Cruise Books as valid.

Here are some resources for cruise books:

http://navysite.de/cruisebooks/  [free access]

http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2348&o_iid=48167&o_lid=48167&o_sch=Web+Property [While this appears to require membership in Ancestry.com, these SHOULD be free. No one should charge for access to veterans Records.]

http://www.history.navy.mil/library/special/cruise_main.htm  [The US Navy Repository and it has an enormous library of Cruise Books. You cannot scan them, but you can take photos of them. If you do not live in range of Washington, DC, you can get one shipped to your local library – instructions are on the page at this link. Otherwise, get a researcher to go to the Washington Navy Yard to research the book AFTER you ascertain that one exists and is in their collection.]

http://www.e-yearbook.com/navy_cruise_books.html [a limited collection that you can look at online as they are scanned images of the pages, but you must be a member…may be a fee.]

Other Information:

The United States Navy History and Heritage Command can be accessed through this portal page:

http://www.history.navy.mil/index.html  [You can find all sorts of records, including After Action Reports, and the annual ship’s histories required as of 1965 [???] to be submitted by the Commanding Officer of every ship in the Navy, giving a narrative of all the ship experienced during the previous calendar year. Also, there is a great repository of photographs of Naval Ships online at this site.]

http://www.navsource.org/  [A treasure trove of photographs of almost every single ship the US Navy ever commissioned after photography was invented. Also, you can find on each ship’s page all kinds of info from radio and signal flag call signs, to awards, and technical details about the ship. The photos are usually chronological from launch to the end of the ship’s life, and where possible the source of the photo and location of it is listed. THIS IS A FANTASTIC FREE SITE.]

Photographic evidence, when properly sourced and verified, is excellent evidence for your claim.

So, there you have some resources to delve into to gather any available evidence you may need.

You may also find helpful this repost of an older post on this Blog that deals with gathering and handling documents. It’s the handling of the documents you should pay attention to, as it is essential that you mark your documents properly, and care for them, send the proper versions to the DVA, and so on.

http://vnvets.blogspot.com/2011/06/repost-obtaining-and-using-documents-to.html

Good luck and good hunting!

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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, October 06, 2011

More from a Sailor Veteran of the Vietnam War

We have heard more from John Morrow. Here is some excellent advice from him on filing claims with the DVA:

I dug through old records today to find the office in Washington, DC that shipped ship's official logs to me from the USS Fort Marion LSD 22. Here is the address.

[VNVets note: Navy ship Deck Logs are held at the Modern Military Branch of the National Archives, Adelphi, Maryland. That would be the first stop for any Blue Water Sailor. This office below does not maintain records, but instead they go where the records are and research.]

Director
Department of the Army
U.S. Army Joint Services Records Research Center
7701 Telegraph Road
Kingman Building, Room 2C08
Alexandria, VA 22315

The Director was kind enough to send me a very specific letter on his letterhead and state that I was where I said was on a specific date (the date of my "stressor" for PTSD and a day that I have relived many, many times). This letter clearly carried weight with my reviewer at the DVA because it had government stationary, real places and dates and lists of other commands affected (US Navy groups in Danang and USMC combat marine commands).

I do not know if this address and contact will help efforts for vets to make progress on their claims but I hope so.

The REAL message to individuals is, in my opinion, to:

  • Carry their OWN torch.
  • Do their OWN research. You do not get something for nothing.
  • Do not make up ANYTHING because they think they should get VA Disability Checks like a buddy of theirs.
  • If you were not "in the shit" do not pretend you were!
  • You must learn the ropes of carrying your OWN claim forward (there is no magic or superman to do the work for you (service advocates only "file" your claim...they do not research and substantiate it. That is YOUR job).
  • Lying in your filings is a FEDERAL offense -- do not do it!
  • Make LOTS of phone calls or personal calls to people in the right offices and departments. That's LOTS of phone calls. Each person they talk to can be a pointer to a better resource OR be THE person to give you some progress.
  • People will HELP you. Do not take advantage of them and do not stretch any truths to them.
I do remember that ships logs can be retrieved in person. That means you go to the right facility in Washington, get the actual documents and do the copying yourself in their office. Otherwise you pay a buck or two per page and have to wait your turn (months) for some clerk to do the copying for you. If your claim is important enough to you then go there, or have a friend who can, go there. You can get all the real details of accomplishing record retrieval from the people in DC and then you "do it". It is not your right that this will be done for you. The gentleman I got this letter from explained all this to me and then he volunteered to actually do this stuff for me...incredible. I was more than impressed with his feelings for a veteran even though he had never served. He felt he wanted to do something himself for a guy that had served.

Too many vets are waiting for the whole thing to just change...don't we all wish! Again, I hope some piece of this can be used productively. I believe in us veterans and wish to help in my own little way if possible.
You have indeed, John. Thank you again.

Good advice folks.

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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Letter from a Sailor Veteran of the Vietnam War

We received this letter today from a Vietnam Veteran of Naval Service. We think it speaks for itself.

My name is John J. Morrow. I live in Marion, Iowa and I served onboard the USS Fort Marion LSD-22 in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. Our mission was to land and retrieve landing assaults-- USMC, US SEAL teams, UDT teams, Beach Jumpers, SeaBees (and we did lots of them). My knowledge is relatively personal of AO instances because I was a navy quartermaster. My job (with a couple others) was to record all and any instances that, in my judgment, needed to be written into the official ship's log. Therefore I needed to know exactly where we were, what operation we were taking part in, who and what vessels came and went into our amphibious well deck and at what times, etc. This gave me an up close view of our missions, unlike most of the 100 or so other crew members I served with.

Those ships log records were then "scrubbed" at the end of each month of operation and some things were removed for the official records. They were then sent to Washington (they are still there, even for an old flat-bottomed tub like the one we were on). They were rewritten in personal hand written form on board our ship--all capital letters (re-done by the quartermaster with the nicest hand printing). Those were signed by the old man and sent through the chain of command to permanent record in Washington, DC. I have in my possession most of the permanent ships log records (from the 1968-1969 deployment) in copy format from the office that maintains them. These are the official Fort Marion record.

No one ever put our ship on THE "AO exposed list"...in my opinion that is some kind of joke. We anchored nightly in Danang harbor, had personnel in and out of in-country missions (myself included), spent nights anchored in the barrier islands of Vietnam, and were on and above the DMZ near Qua Viet, were fired upon by the artillery emplacement in Cap Lai (roughly six miles north of Cua Viet river). That event was 18 April, 1969 and did NOT remain in the ship's log....go figure!!! On another event in the barrier islands, we sent our guys at 2am to rescue a SEAL Team extraction gone very wrong -- never was left for permanent record!!??

I think "the record" is BS, but it is what it is. You simply cannot erase real fear, memory and strange events from one's mind. Those still remain. Particulars of dates and "the record" may have been cleansed of certain events for some reason or reasons but I know my fellow squids and I still have OUR memories. And those memories involved guys being in and among a lot of AO territory and waters.

Further I can remember seeing virtually all the attack boats and landing craft we loaded in and out on the beaches carried 55 gallon drums that they confiscated and painted with Olive Drab paint. Those drums, one or two on each craft, carried additional diesel fuel. Those were like having a can of gas in the trunk of your car for emergencies. Most of those drums came from locations where they were emptied of their original AO liquids (MILLIONS of gallons). When diesel fuel was loaded from those drums into the fuel tanks of those boats it burned old AO in the exhaust fumes as long as it was refilled and emptied - laced with the poison of Agent Orange. I think it is well known that some of the first incidences of AO exposure were seen in the poor babies born to brown water sailors and their wives, with birth defects. There were lots of early exposures in this manner.

I personally have had five heart attacks, five way heart by pass surgery, serious lung disorders, diabetes, neuropathy, joint disorders, skin disorders, liver disorders -- the only thing I have not had (thank God) is cancer. Also included are hearing loss and PTSD. Nobody is telling me that I don't have the scars that bear witness!!! The DVA has given me 100% coverage only because I had pictures of me "on the ground" in Vietnam. They will NOT state Agent Orange in my records...they only refer to the diseases related to Agent Orange by specific name (heart disease, diabetes, etc). Seems strange I have the EXACT stuff that is officially listed as AO symptoms! It is pure crap and my buddies with the SAME symptoms are left wanting.

I saw your article and read that you wanted email instances of AO so here it is...my first chance to VENT. Some guys were drafted into service but many, many more volunteered to go. Myself, and others, counted ourselves as believers of injustice to Vietnam’s citizens and believers in the rights of the Constitution (virtually) to all people! To come back to the disrespect we did, and now to have this injustice exist, is so incredibly wrong. I read your articles monthly and in many cases reread them again. It is shameful that our lawmakers and government turn their heads on vets because "there are so many affected that the VA cannot afford to make things right".

There is an old saying, "Kill them all and let God sort them out!". Who could have known that to the government that included Vets and Agent Orange victims of all kinds? Vietnam Veterans are now so old that few remember what we did. Couple that with the fact that people don't seem to WANT to remember, and others yet seem to feel that we were "baby killers" in the frenzy of war and human tragedy. Our messages are the voices of "old men" and are lost in the din of today’s world.

May God have mercy on us and may those to whom we now look for assistance with our older years war wound care see clear to do right! Keep your powder dry, for the battle continues!!!

John J Morrow QM3 USN
USS Fort Marion LSD 22

Thank you John Morrow, for your Service, and for your most eloquent and touching letter.

It grows less easy every day to conjure up the memories from back then. Sometimes they are too painful, other times it is simply too far back to go. But sometimes they come back on their own. Painful or not, they belong to us, and only we can know them. We own them. They are ours alone. Each of us; and when we die, a large portion of the facts, the truth, dies with us. If you can, for the sake of all your children and grandchildren, so that they may know the truth about that war, write those memories down. Leave them with someone who will know what to do with them – to whom they should be given. It is important.

Bravo Zulu, John, Bravo Zulu.


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 © 2005-2011: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Seventh 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.