Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last hope for blue water Vietnam vets

Last hope for blue water vets

Veterans Corner

Bobbye C. Jerone — Veterans Corner

Like the Cavalry in an old western movie, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner [D-CA] has ridden to the rescue of the ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans. These are Veterans who have been excluded from receiving any disability compensation due to exposure to Agent Orange and the other toxic chemicals sprayed in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Rep. Filner has introduced a new law [H.R. 2254] which, if passed, will restore equity to all Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange.

Before 2002, it didn’t matter where a person served in the Vietnam War. If a person became disabled due to the exposure to the terrible poisons in the air and waterways, VA would pay disability compensation. In February 2002, Congress decided to ‘save our taxpayers money’ and ordered VA to implement a ‘foot on the ground’ policy. After this policy revision, only service members who actually set foot on the ground in Vietnam could get paid for the terrible medical conditions from Agent Orange and the other herbicides that were routinely sprayed. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and the China Sea were exempt from payment even though they were contaminated by these toxins just like their brothers in arms who served on the ground, in Vietnam itself.
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