Sunday, December 08, 2013

HR 543, HR 1494, The IOM, The VA, and the House of Representatives

BT

Let’s take a look at how the IOM report [click here to read the previous post about the IOM report] fits with what the House of Representatives has been doing. 

You are, of course, familiar with the US House of Representatives, aren’t you?  For the past two years it has been Republican led, which means as a body, they abhor spending and waste, and the House does all in its power to avoid as much spending as possible.  Keep that in mind as you read on. 

The IOM report essentially says it cannot find scientific or documentary evidence one way or another, to prove or disprove whether herbicides used in Vietnam did or did not poison the now-Veterans of the US Blue Water Navy. 

“Although serum TCDD measurements in only a small portion of Vietnam-era veterans are available, the observed distributions of these most reliable measures of exposure make it clear that they cannot be used as a standard for partitioning veterans into discrete exposure groups, such as service on Vietnamese soil, service in the Blue Water Navy, and service elsewhere in Southeast Asia. For example, many TCDD values observed in the comparison group from the AFHS exceeded US background concentrations and overlapped considerably with those of the Ranch Hand subjects.”

…and…

“In recent years, there has been concern about dioxin exposure among personnel who served offshore but within the territorial limits of the Republic of Vietnam. It has been hypothesized that in addition to possibly experiencing drift from herbicide spray missions, personnel on these ships that converted seawater by distillation may have been exposed via drinking water. Those concerns were heightened by findings from an Australian study (Muller et al., 2002) that showed that TCDD could be enriched in a simulation of the potable-water distillation process that was used on the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships during the Vietnam War era. The National Academies convened the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure Committee to address that specific issue; its report (IOM, 2011) found that information to determine the extent of exposure experienced by Blue Water Navy personnel was inadequate, but that there were possible routes of exposure.”

By law [you can find it in Title 38 United States Code, in several significant Veterans Court cases, and in tons of Bureau of Veterans Appeals rulings] when the VA is presented with a situation that can be neither proven nor disproven, it MUST decide in favor of the Veteran. 

By this ruling, then, the VA MUST decide in favor of the Blue Water Navy Veterans who have filed claims for presumptive exposure to herbicides during service in the Vietnam War. 

The Blue Water Navy Veterans have never been studied as a class, and compared to other classes who served in-country, and still other classes who did not serve in the war at all.  We made a formal request of the IOM to ask Congress to authorize and fund such a study when the IOM’s Committee on Veterans and Agent Orange had their first meeting in D.C. in June of 2012. 

Nor has the VA ever provided one shred of proof, scientific or documentary, that Blue Water Navy Veterans were not exposed to herbicides during service in the Vietnam War, particularly in a fashion demonstrated by the Australian government in its scientific study of its own Blue Water Navy Veterans, which found them to likely be contaminated via the ships’ desalinization process which uses heat to desalinize and then superheat to decontaminate and further demineralize the water used on board Navy ships for cooking, cleaning, drinking, bathing, shaving, brushing teeth, etc. 

Therefore, in the absence of proof one way or the other, the DVA MUST rule in favor of the Veteran.  Right? 

Wrong.  The DVA claims the right to unilaterally and without any basis in science or in fact, redefine the meaning of “service in Vietnam” in order to exclude the Blue Water Navy, the Blue Sky Air Force, and those poor souls who served on Okinawa, Johnston Island, and other locations where tactical herbicides were stored, used, or shipped through, that were outside the Combat Zone/Theater of Vietnam.  The US Federal Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has told us so [Haas vs. Peake, 2007-7037, October 09, 2008].

So what does the House of Representatives, that august body of legislators assembled to make laws, appropriate money, have to do with all of this?

There are two bills in Congress, HR 543, the Blue Water Navy AO Act, and HR 1494, a bill authorizing the Department of Defense to research which US Naval commissioned vessels were ever inside the waters defined at the time of the war as Territorial Waters of the Republic of Vietnam [South Vietnam], and details dates and locations and durations of the vessel’s stay inside those territorial waters.  Then the DoD is to provide that information to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, ostensibly to provide easy verification of eligibility for claims processors in the VA system once HR 543 is passed. 

Ummm, can you imagine what that research project will cost, and how long it will take to track and chart those roughly 550 ships to determine when and for how long, and where they were inside the RVN Territorial Waters? 

Having seen a number of ships “Deck Logs” [smooth logs rewritten with salient entries from those green canvas covered log books you remember from the pilot house and the quarterdeck] the information is not all there.  


It is, however, in those green canvas log books.  Every course change, speed change, maneuver, incident, accident, evolution, event, or happenstance that occurred throughout each day is in those green canvas covered logs.  Every navigational sighting is recorded, as were landmarks.  In some cases targets were noted, and records of expended ammo recorded. And more…much more.  

Who wrote those logs?  Every officer and enlisted man on watch duty charged with making entries.  Indeed, that would include, the Officer of the Deck, Junior Officer of the Deck, Executive Officer, Commanding Officer, Navigator, quartermasters, boatswainsmates of the watch and even, on some ships, the lowly messenger of the watch, and on occasion, others who wrote in those books, in port and underway.

Those books were full of coffee stains, cigarette burns, cross-outs, misspellings, chicken scrawl, and on special occasions, even some poetry!  Pages were sometimes, against orders, ripped out and started over.  Sometimes, the books would get soaked on the quarterdeck in port due to heavy rain. 

Why would the House of Representatives appropriate money for this project, and risk excluding Veterans who could not provide proof of being in a ship’s billet at the date and time of that ship’s entry inside the Territorial Limits of the Republic of Vietnam?  Even now we get news of Veterans who’s ship has been added to the VA’s list of ships approved for presumptive exposure eligibility,being forced by the VA to provide buddy statements verifying that they were indeed on board said ship while it was on said mission up a river! 

Why waste the taxpayer’s money on such a research project that will open the research up to failures, and not be an essentially trustworthy source of verification. 

For the same or less money, the VA can serve a lot more Veterans by simply reverting to its former policy of granting presumption to those who received the Vietnam Service Medal, or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Service in Vietnam.  Think of the time and money saved by those claims processors in the VA.  The administrative savings alone should cover the cost of the additional granted claims, and the DoD research would not be necessary.  We have advocated this since the first introduction of a bill requiring presence inside territorial waters.  The administrative costs of this HR 1494 approach are sky  high, and will result in many Veterans not getting benefits who may be entitled.  Using the VSM as the qualifier will grant benefits to some not legitimately eligible, but will ensure that all who are eligible will receive benefits. 

Here is what the Father of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt said in his 1990 report that was eventually used by Congress to create that bill:

“COMPENSATION FOR SERVICE RELATED ILLNESSES

“Alternative 1:
Any Vietnam Veteran, or Vietnam Veteran’s child who has a birth defect, should be presumed to have a service—connected health effect if that person suffers from the type of health effects consistent with dioxin exposure and the Veteran’ s health or service record establishes 1) abnormally high TCDD in blood tests; or 2) the veteran’s presence within 20 kilometers and 30 days of a known sprayed area (as shown by HERBs tapes and corresponding company records); or 3) the Veteran’ s presence at fire base perimeters or brown water operations where there is reason believe Agent Orange have- occurred.

“Under this alternative compensation would not be provided for those veterans whose exposure came from TCDD by way of the food chain; silt runoff from sprayed areas into unsprayed waterways; some unrecorded U.S. or allied Agent Orange sprayings; inaccurately recorded sprayings; or sprayings whose wind drift was greater than 20 kilometers. Predictably, problems generated by the foregoing oversights, the mass of data to be analyzed as claims were filed, and the known loss of many service records would invalidate many veterans’ legitimate claims

“Alternative 2:
Any Vietnam Veteran or child of a Vietnam Veteran who experiences a TCDD—like health effect shall be presumed to have a service—connected disability. This alternative is admittedly broader than the first, and would provide benefits for some veterans who were not exposed to Agent Orange and whose disabilities are not presumably truly service-connected.  Nevertheless, it is the only alternative that will not unfairly preclude receipt of benefits by a TCDD exposed Vietnam Veteran.

“Furthermore, this alternative is consistent with the Secretary’s decision regarding the Service-connection of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as legal precedent with respect to other diseases presumed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be connected to one or more factors related to military service (i.e. veterans exposed to atomic radiation and POW’s with spastic colon).”
As you can plainly see from the above, we believe Admiral Zumwalt’s intent here to be the fairest, but most importantly, the most inclusive…it covers any Vietnam Veteran for benefits. 

And, in the absence of proof to the contrary, the VA MUST NOT say the Blue Water Navy Veterans were NOT exposed. 

Contact your Representative, and your Senators [both] and tell them to drop the territorial waters requirement and the wasteful, error laden DoD project of ship location validation.  Tell them to use the money to avert the furtherance of errors in judgment by the Veterans Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs, and the US Congress and create a revision to the Agent Orange Act that leaves no one behind. 

BT


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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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, December 07, 2013

Just in: IOM Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012

The Institute of Medicine has released its ninth biennial update report on Veterans and Agent Orange recently.  Here are the relevant sections as pertain to Blue Water Navy Veterans [link to download the 800 page + pdf can be found at the bottom of this post]: 
 
IOM Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012 

------------------------------------------------

Increased Risk in Vietnam Veterans
When all the available epidemiologic evidence has been evaluated, it is presumed that Vietnam veterans are at increased risk for a specific health outcome if there is evidence of a positive association between one or more of the COIs and the outcome. The best measure of potency for the quantification of risk to veterans would be the rate of the outcome in exposed Vietnam veterans compared with the rate in nonexposed veterans, adjusted for the degree to which any other factors that differ between exposed and nonexposed veterans might influence those rates. Conley and Heerwig (2012) have noted, however, that elements of bias may have been involved in the selection of service members for deployment. A dose–response relationship established in another human population suitably adjusted for such factors would be similarly suitable.

It is difficult to quantify risk when exposures of a population have not been measured accurately. Recent serum TCDD concentrations are available only for subgroups enrolled in the Air Force Health Study (AFHS) (the Ranch Hand veterans and Southeast Asia comparison subjects) and from VA’s study of deployed and nondeployed members of the Army Chemical Corps. Pharmacokinetic models, with their own set of assumptions, must be applied to extrapolate from contemporary readings to obtain presumably accurate estimates of original exposure of Vietnam-era veterans. The absence of reliable measures of exposure of Vietnam veterans to the COIs limits the committee’s ability to quantify risks of specific diseases in this population.

Although serum TCDD measurements in only a small portion of Vietnam-era veterans are available, the observed distributions of these most reliable measures of exposure make it clear that they cannot be used as a standard for partitioning veterans into discrete exposure groups, such as service on Vietnamese soil, service in the Blue Water Navy, and service elsewhere in Southeast Asia. For example, many TCDD values observed in the comparison group from the AFHS exceeded US background concentrations and overlapped considerably with those of the Ranch Hand subjects.

As explained in Chapter 1, the committee for Update 2006 decided to make a general statement about its continuing inability to address that aspect of its charge quantitatively rather than to reiterate a disclaimer in the concluding section for every health outcome, and the present committee has retained that approach. p. 35
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US Navy riverine units are known to have used herbicides while patrolling inland waterways (IOM, 1994; Zumwalt, 1993), and it is generally acknowledged that estuarine waters became contaminated with herbicides and dioxin as a result of shoreline spraying and runoff from spraying on land, particularly in heavily sprayed areas that experienced frequent flooding. Thus, military personnel who did not serve on land could have been among those exposed to the chemicals during the Vietnam conflict. In recent years, there has been concern about dioxin exposure among personnel who served offshore but within the territorial limits of the Republic of Vietnam. It has been hypothesized that in addition to possibly experiencing drift from herbicide spray missions, personnel on these ships that converted seawater by distillation may have been exposed via drinking water. Those concerns were heightened by findings from an Australian study (Muller et al., 2002) that showed that TCDD could be enriched in a simulation of the potable-water distillation process that was used on the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy ships during the Vietnam War era. The National Academies convened the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange Exposure Committee to address that specific issue; its report (IOM, 2011) found that information to determine the extent of exposure experienced by Blue Water Navy personnel was inadequate, but that there were possible routes of exposure. P. 55
------------------------------------------------
Australian Vietnam Veterans
The Australian Vietnam Veterans study population corresponds to the cohort defined by the “Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans,” which lists Australians who served on land or in Vietnamese waters from May 23, 1962, to July 1, 1973, including military and some nonmilitary personnel of both sexes. People who served in all branches of service in the “defence forces” and “Citizen Military Forces” (such as diplomatic, medical, and entertainment personnel) were considered. The comprehensive studies, however, are limited to male members of the military and most of the analyses focus on men in the “defence forces”—the Army (41,084), the Navy (13,538), and the Air Force (4,570). Association of Vietnam service with cancer incidence (ADVA, 2005b) was sought by comparing diagnoses from 1982–2000 among male Vietnam veterans with those in the general population of Australia. The results in this report supersede those in the report of the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs (CDVA 1998a). Morbidity in all female Vietnam veterans had been studied in an earlier report (CDVA, 1998b). Additional case-control studies of the incidence of adrenal gland cancers, leukemia, and NHL were conducted in this population (AIHW, 1999, 2000, 2001). p. 139

A related report (ADVA, 2005a) considered the causes of death of men in all branches of service through 2001. The numbers of deaths were 4,045 in the Army, 1,435 in the Navy, and 686 in the Air Force. The mortality experience of military personnel serving in Vietnam was compared with that of the general population of Australia and reported by branch of service. The findings of this study supersede those in the report on mortality from 1980 to 1994 (CDVA, 1997a). There had been several earlier studies of mortality among Australian Vietnam veterans (CIH, 1984a,b,c; Crane et al., 1997a,b; Evatt, 1985; Fett et al., 1987a,b; Forcier et al., 1987). p.140

------------------------------------------------

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2014. Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2012.  Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18395 

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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, December 04, 2013

New Cosponsors for Blue Water Navy Bills

We are finally getting some Republicans to sign on to the bill - HR 543.  Two in the last two days have added their names as co-sponsors, one from North Dakota and the other from Indiana.  Let's hear it for the Heartland!  We now have 159 Cosponsors, less than a third of which are Republicans...a real disaster in a House with a Republican majority.  Let's get cracking out there folks!  Congress will be at home soon.  GO SEE  YOUR REP!

Additionally, the companion bill, HR 1494 has also picked up two new cosponsors from the Right side of the aisle.  This brings to 40 the number of cosponsors for this bill.  This bill requires the DoD to review the logs of all ships operating in or near Vietnam to record the dates and locations of each ship's presence inside the territorial waters of VIetnam.

This bill seems to signal that the VA will eventually allow Congress to pass HR 543, but likely not until next year.

All the more reason to GO SEE YOUR REP and get in his ear about BOTH bills!  Call to make an appointment to see him at his closest office to you.  Don't write, it takes months for letters to reach them.  CALL!  Make an appointment.  KEEP the appointment!  Don't leave his office until you have HIS COMMITMENT to becoming a cosponsor for BOTH BILLS!

If your Rep has already signed on, send him a "thank you" in a Christmas Card, and tell him it is for HR 543 and HR 1494.

FACE TO FACE IS THE ONLY THING THAT REALLY WORKS!

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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.

VA Disability Rates Posted for 2014

2014 rates for Disability and other VA compensation benefits have been posted.  Note they are effective 12/1/1013 which means Veterans will see the increase in their January issuance.

Also new this year is that the VA will  no longer round benefits increases down to the nearest dollar.  They do appear to round up to the nearest penny however.  Regardless, there will be change in your checks!

Visit this site for the 2014 VA Disability Pension Rates

Visit this site for links to other types of pensions and compensation

And thank you for your service!

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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 23, 2013

VA Warns of Fraud


Our friends at the National Association of Uniformed Services have alerted us to a potentially harmful situation:
-----------------------------------------


The VA alerted NAUS this week about a new scam aimed at veterans.


FRAUD ALERT:  Veterans should be aware of a marketing scam targeting callers trying to reach the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Call Center or GI Bill Call Center.  A marketing company has established two fraudulent numbers that differ from the two official VA call center numbers by one digit.  If the fraudulent number is dialed by mistake, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain personal and financial information, including credit card information, from the caller.  The answering party may even transfer the caller to the VA after the caller’s information is obtained.  Note that VA will never ask you for a credit card number or banking information over the phone. 

Before giving personal sensitive information over the phone make sure you know who you are taking to.


The correct numbers to call are:

VA National Call Center number is 800-827-1000

VA GI Bill Call Center number is 888-442-4551


VA has notified law enforcement authorities to address this situation.  Please pass this information along to other veterans you know.


-----------------------------------------


Our thanks to the good folks at NAUS for this info!

Let’s be careful out there!

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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, November 22, 2013

2014 Federal Benefit Disbursement Schedule

For those receiving any kind of Federal benefits issued by the United States Department of the Treasury, such as Federal Civil Service Retirement, VA Pensions, or Social Security Disability or Retirement, here is a link to the 2014 schedule for when those benefits will be issued.  It is in Adobe Portable Document Format -- .pdf.

http://www.fms.treas.gov/greenbook/2014pay.pdf 

You must have a program that opens .pdf files.  Get a free Adobe Acrobat Reader here.

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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 16, 2013

URGENT! Support Senate NDAA Amendments! (S. 1197)



Our friends at the Fleet Reserve Association have once again reached out for our assistance:

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Senate Debates and Amends Defense Authorization Bill
The Senate version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA-S. 1197) is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate. The House approved its version of the Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1960) in June. One of the major differences between the two bills is that the House version provides a 1.8 percent active duty/Reserve pay increase and the current Senate bill provides for only a 1 percent increase.  FRA strongly supports a pay increase that at least keeps pace with pay increases in the civilian pay increases (1.8 percent) and would support a Senate floor amendment to increase the pay increase to 1.8 percent. FRA will be supporting other key floor amendments that include:

  • Expanding concurrent receipt for immediate payment of full military retired pay and veteran’s disability compensation for all disabled retirees (sponsored by Senator Harry Reid-NV);
  • Providing a one-time offer for TRICARE Prime beneficiaries to keep their current coverage even though they live outside the reduced Prime Service Area (PSA) 40 mile radius of an Military Treatment Facility (MTF) or BRAC site (sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar-Minn.); and
  • Eliminating the Survivor Benefit Program (SBP) Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset for military widows (sponsored by Senator Bill Nelson-Fla.).

Members are urged to use the Action Center to ask their Senators to support these critical amendments.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use the following link to automatically send your support for Senate Amendments to the NDAA Senate Bill 1197


Thanks Shipmates!

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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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, November 01, 2013

In Memoriam: Douglas DeWitt

His user name was djdewitt, but he was much more than that. He was a charter member of BWSVW, and a Blue Water Navy Veteran of the Vietnam War. The Blue Water  Sailors of the Vietnam War mourns the passing of Douglas DeWitt. Doug was a sailor, valiantly serving off Vietnam in the years 1963 to 1967 aboard the USS Valley Forge LPH 8. He will be missed.

 In Psalm 107, at verse 23, we read:

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.
Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act I, Scene ii, we read this song, sung by the character Ariel, a spirit rescued by the Magician Prospero and therefore bound to his bidding:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell
And so we bid farewell to Sailor Doug DeWitt, Veteran, now embarked on his Eternal Voyage to his desired haven.

Ding-dong. Hark! I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.

Ship’s Company: Attention on Deck!

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 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 © 2005-2013: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Ninth 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 10, 2013

Our Friends at FRA need our help!

This message just in from the great folks at the Fleet Reserve Association:
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Pay Military Death Benefits Now!!!
Tell the Senate to Pass H. J. Res. 91 now!

The Pentagon is not paying military death benefits to families of those who have made the ultimate sacrfice in defense of our nation. This delay violates the solenm vow that this nation  take care of the families of those men and women in uniform who have been killed fighting the war on terror. The House unanimously passed (425-0) a measure (H.J. Res. 91) to require the the Pentagon to these benefits immediately. Please use the Action Center to tell your Senators to approve this measure and tell the President to sign it into law immediately. 
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Let us honor this request from John Davis, FRA Director of Legislative Programs


Feel free to unload on them...they've apparently turned a blind eye to the needs of the people. 

Thanks Shipmates! 

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

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