USS Galveston

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A Call to Action ... Again

09 Jan 2017 21:22 | Deleted user

UPDATE on agent orange benefits for the Blue Water Sailors.  The bill referenced on in the May post here never did get approval in both houses of the Congressional 2015-2016 Session, so it's back to step one with the new 2017-2018 Session.

Here's some of the latest info I found:

From a nonprofit government policy review site --

Whether to make naval veterans who served off the coast of Vietnam eligible for benefits.

Though most didn’t step foot in Vietnam, some 90,000 Navy vets who served offshore may have been exposed to the Agent Orange and are seeking benefits. Advocates for the so-called Blue Water Navy veterans have been asking the VA for more than a decade to broaden the policy to include them. They say that they were exposed to Agent Orange because their ships sucked in potentially contaminated water and distilled it for showering, drinking, laundry and cooking. Experts have said the distillation process could have actually concentrated the Agent Orange.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in April 2015 struck down VA rules that denied compensation for sailors whose ships docked at certain harbors in South Vietnam, including Da Nang. Those ports, the court determined, may have been in the Agent Orange spraying area. The court ordered the VA to review its policy.

But in February, the VA largely stood by its old policy and once again asserted that there’s no scientific justification or legal requirement for covering veterans who served off the coast. A bill in Congress to change that had 336 sponsors in the House and 47 in the Senate. But it did not become law. Advocates have said they will try again.

ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot have written about these naval vets, documenting their efforts to prove their ships came into Vietnam’s rivers or sent their crews ashore, for even a day, making them eligible for benefits under VA policy.

NEXT is a link to the Fleet Reserve Association website that supports this issue and provides a link to assist you with contacting your congressional representative

  LINK to FRA 

Hopefully this time, because time is running out ...

Bob Rank

CLG3 Assn Secretary


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