Tuesday, May 26, 2015

URGENT! BWN Vets Needed for Senate Press Conference

From our good friends at Fleet Reserve Association: 
URGENT: Agent Orange Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans - NEED IMMEDIATE RESPONSE   

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), plans to hold a press conference in the near future on the Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy issue in one or more locations in Upstate New York. She is the sponsor of the  "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (S. 681) that would clarify a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to Agent Orange herbicide during the Vietnam War, that would include those who served off the coast of Vietnam. 

If you would like to participate at Senator Gillibrand's scheduled press conference to share your story about this issue, please call FRA (703) 683-1400 (x-127).

This legislation is currently in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) and is expected to be voted out of this Committee and sent to the Senate for further consideration. This bill and its House companion bill is listed on the Action Center and members are urged to ask their legislators for support.
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 © 2005-2015: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Eleventh 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, May 15, 2015

More great news from the FRA and the VFW - Updated

Update:  The VFW added their voice in support of S.681 at the same meeting.  Here is their statement:
In addition, Morosky [VFW Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky ]voiced the VFW’s strong support for S. 681, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2015. Introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), this critical bill would finally extend presumptive service connection for conditions related to Agent Orange exposure to Blue Water Navy Veterans. At the hearing, Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) indicated that the Committee will continue to move the bills through the legislative process, with a markup to be scheduled sometime in June. To view a video of the hearing and read the full transcript, visit:
Our good friends at the Fleet Reserve Association went to bat for us at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee when it took up the Senate version of the bill, S.681, introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  The Senator also made a plea to the committe to get the bill passed.

Here is the FRA's account of the meeting and its outcome.
Senate Panel Reviews Veterans’ Benefits Legislation
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) reviewed 12 pending legislative proposals pertaining to veterans’ benefits. Among the bills discussed at the hearing was the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (S. 681), which provides presumption for the “Blue Water Navy Veterans” for VA disability claims associated with exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam.
The sponsor of the Senate legislation, Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (N.Y.) testified about the bill, giving an impassioned plea for the committee to approve the legislation. FRA submitted a statement on many of the legislative proposals discussed at the hearing, with special focus on S. 681. The statement emphasized that many of these veterans are senior citizens and the time to help them is now! SVAC Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) indicated that the bill would be marked up, approved and sent to the Senate floor sometime in June. A copy of FRA’s statement is available on the FRA website (www.fra.org/testimony) and members are strongly urged to use the FRA Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to ask their legislators to support the “Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act” (S. 681) and its House companion bill (H.R. 969).
This bill may be passed in June and sent to the House for action.  This is closer that we have ever been.  Turn up the pressure on your Senators and your Representative.  Use the link to the FRA's action center. 

Our thanks to the good Senator and of course to one of out most steadfast and allies and staunchest support - The Fleet Reserve Association.  If you aren't a member yet, you should be.

VNVets

”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets

"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2005-2015: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Eleventh 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, May 01, 2015

Positive news for a change...

If your ship entered a Vietnamese bay, harbor or port and anchored, you may be eligible now thanks to the BWN-friendly U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals.  Shipmate Bob Gray has won a case as described below. 
Here is the great news from our good friends at FRA:

Veterans Appeals Court Rules in Favor of “Blue Water” Claim
The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has ruled that Navy veterans who served aboard ships in the harbors of Vietnam more than 40 years ago should not be arbitrarily excluded from Agent Orange claims—a significant step forward for these veterans.
Former Navy seaman Robert Gray has been denied multiple disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) based on the fact that he was aboard a ship—not on land—during the Vietnam War, when the herbicide Agent Orange was liberally sprayed by American forces to remove foliage and eliminate enemy cover. The chemical was later found to cause a myraid of health problems for service members who were exposed, but the federal government has denied disability claims to U.S. Navy sailors under the argument that the seamen were offshore and were not directly exposed.
FRA-supported proposals (HR 969/S. 681), introduced in both the House and Senate, which are pending in Congress, would give recognition to Navy personnel exposure to Agent Orange through ships’ water systems. Runoff containing the herbicide flowed into Da Nang harbor and other offshore waterways, infiltrating water systems on naval vessels.
Military Veterans Advocacy (MVA), a veteran’s rights organization based in Louisiana, has long sought recognition for these conditions and filed an amicus brief in this case. “This is an important step forward in restoring the benefits to those veterans who served offshore,” said retired Navy Commander John B. Wells, executive director of MVA. “When the VA stripped benefits from 174,000 Navy veterans, they left these veterans without health care and their families destitute. The VA now has a chance to restore the presumption of exposure to veterans who served aboard ships anchored in Da Nang and other harbors of Vietnam.”
The VA will probably appeal this decision, and Congress has not yet acted on Agent Orange/Blue Water legislation. FRA staff recently met with House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) staff to discuss the status of Agent Orange legislation (H.R. 969) and to request a HVAC hearing on this issue.
FRA has worked closely with MVA in the legislative arena, and members are urged to use the FRA Action Center (action.fra.org/action-center) to ask their legislators to support Agent Orange/Blue Water Navy proposals (H.R. 969/S. 681).
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 © 2005-2015: VNVets Blog -- Now in our Eleventh 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.