Showing posts with label Agent Orange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agent Orange. Show all posts

Monday, August 1, 2022

Read the Burn Pit bill yourself and know what else was in it, they voted against!

Veterans have been camping out on the Capitol steps after GOP blocks burn pit bill

By Scott Wong, Ali Vitali and Frank Thorp V
August 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — Jen Burch, 35, a retired staff sergeant in the Air Force, looks strong and healthy from the outside. She says that inside, however, she’s suffering from ailments that she believes are related to her service during the Afghanistan war more than a decade ago.

While they were in Kandahar, Burch and her fellow service members were exposed to “burn pits, incinerators and poo ponds,” she said. When she left, she battled pneumonia and bronchitis. And in the years since then, she has been “in and out of ERs” and has struggled with intense migraine headaches and shortness of breath whenever she climbs a flight of stairs.

“I actually ended up trying to take my life because I just can’t handle it anymore. I just go crazy in my head,” Burch said at a rally Monday outside the U.S. Capitol.
read more here

This is the link to the PACT ACT
Among the things that are in the bill are provisions for those who served at Fort McClellan
(Sec. 801) The VA must conduct an epidemiological study on the health trends of veterans who served at Fort McClellan at any time between January 1, 1935, and May 20, 1999.

Veterans that served in Palomares, Spain and hule Air Force Base, Greenland
(Sec. 402) This section includes veterans who participated in the cleanup of radioactive materials at Palomares, Spain, or in the response effort following the on-board fire and crash of a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber in the vicinity of Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, as radiation-exposed veterans for purposes of the presumption of service-connection for specified cancers.

Vietnam veterans
Veterans Agent Orange Exposure Equity Act of 2022
(Sec. 403) This section expands the presumption of service-connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents for veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Specifically, the bill expands the presumption to cover veterans who served during specified time frames in Thailand at any U.S. or Royal Thai bases, Laos, Cambodia, Guam or American Samoa or the waters thereof, or on Johnson Atoll. Under the bill, such veterans are eligible for VA hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care.

Read the bill yourself and know that those that voted against this, are lying about the bill.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Vietnam-Era Veterans Were Exposed to Agent Orange on Guam

Report Claims Vietnam-Era Veterans Were Exposed to Agent Orange on Guam
By Patricia Kime
May 11, 2020

"We conclude that existing evidence establishes that it is, at the very least, 'as likely as not' that veterans who served in Guam from 1962 to 1975 were exposed to Agent Orange and other dioxin-containing herbicides," wrote NVLSP Executive Director Bart Stichman and several law students and attorneys.

A U.S. Huey helicopter sprays Agent Orange over Vietnam. The U.S. military used at least 11 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam from 1961 to 1972. Wikimedia Commons
New research could help Vietnam-era veterans who served in Guam and who have diseases linked to Agent Orange file for disability with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Two veterans advocacy groups published a policy paper Monday saying that veterans who served on Guam between 1962 and 1975 likely were exposed to herbicides disposed of on the Pacific island or used for vegetation control.

The groups -- the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School -- say their link meets the VA's legal criteria for awarding affected veterans Agent Orange-related benefits.
read it here

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Columbus Vietnam Veteran got last wish to ride "on Sunday, a group of riders made his dream possible"

Motorcycle clubs come together to offer Vietnam vet one last ride

NBC 4 News
by: Danielle Avitable
Posted: Feb 23, 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A local Vietnam veteran had one last wish while in hospice care, and that was to ride a motorcycle one more time.
On Sunday, a group of riders made his dream possible.
Vietnam veteran Roger L. Smith was wheeled out of the house, surrounded by loved ones and riders. 

“I said I want to get on a bike at least one time before I die,” said Smith. And that’s what he got. “He requested a last ride and, for us, it’s veterans helping veterans,” said Steve Murray of Combat Veterans Motorcycle Club.
In addition to Combat Veteran, other groups taking part in the ride included Ohio Patriot Bikers and Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Smith’s health has been declining over the last three weeks. read it here

Monday, January 27, 2020

Is your state on list where Agent Orange was tested and used?

VA releases updated DOD list identifying Agent Orange sites outside of Vietnam

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released in January an updated Department of Defense (DOD) list of locations outside of Vietnam where tactical herbicides were used, tested or stored by the United States military.

“This update was necessary to improve accuracy and communication of information,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA depends on DOD to provide information regarding in-service environmental exposure for disability claims based on exposure to herbicides outside of Vietnam."

DOD conducted a thorough review of research, reports and government publications in response to a November 2018 Government Accountability Office report.

“DOD will continue to be responsive to the needs of our interagency partners in all matters related to taking care of both current and former service members,” said Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. “The updated list includes Agents Orange, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue and White and other chemicals and will be updated as verifiable information becomes available.”

Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including an Agent Orange Registry health exam, health care and disability compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.

States included in this











Friday, January 24, 2020

Veterans who served in Thailand during Vietnam War denied benefits

Thailand veterans contend they are scientific evidence VA claims it needs to grant benefits

WFLA 8 News
by: Steve Andrews
Posted: Jan 23, 2020
Because their job descriptions didn’t place them on base perimeters, the VA denied their claims for disability.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A top VA official in the Tampa Bay area told 8 On Your Side this week the Department of Veterans Affairs has come a long way.

Margarita Devlin, principal deputy undersecretary for veterans benefits contends there is no longer a huge back-log of veterans waiting for their claims to be processed and completed.

However, claims languish for veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War and were exposed to a dangerous herbicide known as Agent Orange.

Most U.S. bombing missions over North Vietnam originated in Thailand.

Tampa Veterans like Dan Tolly and Paul Devane supported the war effort from Thai bases.
At Korat, Paul remembers the toxic herbicide Agent Orange landed on him as he worked near the flight line.
Dan Tolly served in the Air Force in Thailand.
read it here

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Vietnam Veterans Memorial to include those who died from Agent Orange....and PTSD

Memorial a fitting tribute for all Vietnam War veterans

Observer Dispatch
Posted Jan 22, 2020

On May 27, 2019, Phase 1 of a Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated at Griffiss Business and Technology Park. Several hundred people turned out for the solemn ceremony and tribute that Memorial Day as the monument was dedicated at the intersection of Griffiss Veterans Memorial Highway and Ellsworth Road.

Now begins Phase 2.

It is fitting that we honor our Vietnam War veterans whenever possible. Those who remember the turbulent times of that war will recall the general lack of respect shown our returning soldiers by a country that was deeply divided.

The Vietnam War claimed more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. Even those numbers pale when compared to the more than 300,000 who later died as a result of Agent Orange and those who suffer other last lasting effects from that war by way of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

But instead of the parades and accolades that greeted returning veterans of World War II, many who returned from Vietnam were met with hostility.

“We were spit on,” said Vietnam veteran Jerry Miller of Camden, who attended last May’s Memorial Day dedication ceremony, saying that it was about time Vietnam veterans were remembered in an appropriate way.

He’s absolutely right.

Memorials like the one in Rome can help with the healing. It’s a project that was undertaken by The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Inc., said Rick Falcone, one of the original six veterans who initiated the effort more than 20 years ago. They raised between $130,000 and $140,000 to complete Phase 1, and figure it’ll cost nearly $100,000 for Phase 2.

Falcone says they have about $35,000 for Phase 2 so far, and hope to ramp up fundraising efforts and begin work in the spring. It will include a stone remembering the 300,000 victims of Agent Orange as well as a stone honoring the women who served in Vietnam. Centerpiece for the display will be a restored Vietnam era UH-1 Huey helicopter. Five flagpoles displaying military service flags will surround the helicopter.
read it here

Friday, January 10, 2020

Vietnam veteran lost both legs twice...after they were repossessed

UPDATE After uproar, 'a ray of sunshine:' VA promises vet new prosthetic legs

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it will make a new pair of prosthetic legs for a Mississippi veteran after his were repossessed two days before Christmas.

Jerry Holliman, a 69-year-old, two-time Bronze Star recipient, had his legs amputated over the past two years after his diabetes worsened.

Without legs, the once-independent Hattiesburg resident was resigned to a nursing home. Anxiety and depression dimmed his hope, Holliman said, and he felt trapped.
read it here

A company repossessed and returned a vet's prosthetic legs. He still can't use them

Mississippi Clarion Ledger
Giacomo Bologna
Jan. 9, 2020
Holliman served active duty in the U.S. Army twice — as an 18-year-old specialist who volunteered to fight in Vietnam and as a 53-year-old master sergeant in Iraq. He earned Bronze Stars in both wars, according to his discharge papers. Between active duty and the U.S Army National Guard, Holliman said he served 40 years in the military.

Veteran says his prosthetic legs were taken, then returned, but he still can't use them ... and go home
COLLINS — A man walked into a nursing home for military veterans two days before Christmas, picked up Jerry Holliman's legs and left.

Holliman, 69, had hopes of moving back to his home in Hattiesburg and returning to an independent lifestyle with his new prosthetic legs.

Then they were repossessed.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wouldn't pay for his prosthetic legs, Holliman said, and Medicare wanted him on the hook for co-pays. As Holliman tried to navigate what felt like a maze of paperwork, it felt like his country was forgetting him.

"Medicare did not send me to Vietnam," Holliman said. "I was sent there by my country... with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA."

On Dec. 23, an employee from Hanger came to the Veterans Home to see Holliman. Holliman said the man was adjusting his prosthetic legs, then asked himto sign some paperwork for Medicare.

Holliman said he declined because the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should pay for the legs in full.

"This is their responsibility," Holliman said.

The man responded by taking the legs and leaving.
read it here

Monday, August 26, 2019

After Hurricane Harvey, disabled veteran still homeless two years later

Disabled veteran finds little help 2 years after Hurricane Harvey

Victoria Advocate
By Elena Anita Watts
Aug 24, 2019
“It’s very uncomfortable with no kitchen and no fridge; I eat out all of the time, and I’m tired of it,” Ruiz said. “It’s stressful, and I have PTSD, which makes it worse.”
Rain poured down the old shingle walls of the Callis Street house owned by Jesus Ruiz Jr., 67, when Hurricane Harvey hit two years ago.
A green tarp is still stretched across the roof of Jesus Ruiz Jr.’s home in the Silver City neighborhood of Victoria. Ruiz, 67, was ineligible to receive aid after Hurricane Harvey because he is purchasing the home through owner finance. The Homeowner Assistance Program recently changed its assistance criteria to accept these types of ownership agreements. Ruiz will have to reapply, which will take four to six months. Evan Lewis |

Harvey had blown into town with wind gusts that reached 83 miles per hour, and before they died down, they cracked and carried shards of glass and sheets of rain into Ruiz’s house.

Two years later, Ruiz, a disabled veteran, remains essentially homeless.

Ruiz, who lives alone in the house, evacuated before the storm hit and returned when the flooding subsided and the roads were passable again. He found numerous damaged trees in his yard, which he and friends immediately began clearing. Shingles were missing from his roof, windows were blown in and his walls were waterlogged. He has since torn out the cabinets, countertops and particle board flooring in his kitchen and has lived without a functional place to prepare a meal.
Ruiz served as a structural mechanic in the Marine Aircraft Wing from 1970 to 1974. He served in several countries and across the United States, but on April 14, 1974, he fell mysteriously ill. He spent about six months in a hospital in Japan where he ran a high fever and dropped down to 95 pounds. Bedridden, he was sent back to the United States on a stretcher with a service-connected disability.

Ruiz had worked for about seven months on aircraft used to spray Agent Orange during the war. His health improved enough that he was able to leave the hospital, but he has been sick ever since. And many of his symptoms have worsened with age. He suffers from fibromyalgia, insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and he takes 14 medications a day.
read it here

Friday, August 16, 2019

Seriously bad reporting on this about Blue Water Vietnam veterans

Seriously bad reporting on this about Blue Water Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange

Lawmakers are urging Veterans Affairs officials to move ahead with some elderly “blue water” veterans’ disability benefits claims now instead of waiting until next year, saying in some cases the assistance cannot afford another delay.
Meanwhile, a group of advocates upset over the decision to hold off on paying those claims for another five months has filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding quicker action on the cases.

At issue is a decision earlier this month by VA officials to delay processing of claims from “blue water” Vietnam veterans — former sailors who served in ships off the coast of the country during the war — until January, as outlined under legislation passed by Congress earlier this summer.
read it here
Now you know what is behind all of know more than the reporter did.

Lowcountry widow of Vietnam veteran says benefits needed now
ABC 4 News
by Brodie Hart
August 14th 2019

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Lawmakers are pushing to expedite a new law that extends disability benefits to Vietnam Veterans exposed to the chemical Agent Orange.

"Quite frankly some of our veterans don’t have time to wait they need help today," said Representative Joe Cunningham. Cunningham is on the Veterans Affairs Committee and says he helped push a new bill through Congress in June.

The bill extends disability benefits to veterans known as Blue Water Navy Veterans who served offshore in the Vietnam War, but it doesn't go into effect until January 2019. Those benefits were previously extended to veterans who fought on the ground in Vietnam.
read it here

That was not my typo for a change. Congress approved it but the VA is the one delaying it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blue Water Veterans Filed Lawsuit Against VA Comp Delay

Lawsuit filed against VA secretary over delaying benefits for Blue Water Navy vets

Published: July 22, 2019
“These veterans are dying at a high rate every single day,” the complaint reads. “[They] deserve the peace of mind and sense of closure that accompanies a granted claim for earned benefits.”
Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie testifies during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 26, 2019. CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES
WASHINGTON — A lawsuit was filed Monday against Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie over his decision to delay claims processing for tens of thousands of “Blue Water” Navy veterans until next year.

Military Veterans Advocacy and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, arguing Wilkie doesn’t have the authority to delay work on the claims until Jan. 1, 2020 — a decision he announced earlier this month.

Blue Water Navy veterans served aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships in the territorial seas of Vietnam and fought for years to prove they were exposed to the chemical herbicide Agent Orange. Because of a federal court case and a new law passed by Congress, they became eligible in June for VA disability compensation.

Advocates stressed in their complaint that the veterans can’t afford to wait for benefits. The lawsuits names one veteran, Johnnie Harper of Louisiana, who “is not expected to survive” until 2020.
read it here

Monday, July 1, 2019

90,000 Navy "Blue Water" veterans have the law on their side now

update ‘Blue water’ veterans’ claims delayed until next year

“Time is of the essence in this matter. Blue Water Navy Veterans are dying every day,” John Wells, retired Navy commander and the executive director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, wrote in a letter to Wilkie Monday morning. “These veterans have waited long enough.”

President Trump signs Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans bill into law

Connecting Vets
JUNE 26, 2019

President Donald Trump has signed into law the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act," requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide disability benefits to veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam.

The bill is just one more provision in a decades-long fight to guarantee the same benefits to nearly 90,000 Navy veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam that their land and brown-water comrades are entitled to after potentially being exposed to toxic Agent Orange.

Two weeks ago, the Senate passed the bill unanimously and the House passed it unanimously before Memorial Day.

Earlier this month, the final legal battle for Blue Water veterans to qualify for VA disability benefits for exposure to the cancer-causing toxin appeared to be over.
read it here

Friday, June 21, 2019

Veteran behind Blue Water case sees its resolution after 13 years

A bittersweet victory: Veteran behind Blue Water case sees its resolution after 13 years

Published: June 20, 2019
The name “Procopio” now represents a major victory for tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans thanks to the case, Procopio v. Wilkie.

WASHINGTON – Alfred Procopio Jr. said he learned perseverance from his parents, who “never took no for an answer.”

“He was very tenacious,” Procopio said of his father. “He didn’t give up. My mother, she was a fighter, too. I was raised that way — to stand up for what you believe.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., signs the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. At right looking on are Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and the committee's Ranking Member Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.CARLOS BONGIOANNI/STARS AND STRIPES

It’s that spirit that kept Procopio pursuing his case, through years of rejection, to prove to the federal government that his chronic illnesses were caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his service in the Vietnam War. Procopio, a so-called Blue Water Navy veteran, worked aboard the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier that went into the territorial seas off the coast of Vietnam.

Blue Water veterans — who served on open sea ships off the shore of Vietnam but did not step foot on land — have been blocked for decades from the same Department of Veterans Affairs benefits afforded those who served in Vietnam or its inland waterways. The government argued there wasn’t enough evidence that poisonous herbicides contaminated the water used on their ships.

That changed in January, when Procopio won his case.

The Department of Justice decided in May to not challenge the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Blue Water veterans. Congress approved legislation last week clarifying that those veterans are eligible for VA disability benefits. Lawmakers sent the bill to the White House on Tuesday, where it’s awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.

The name “Procopio” now represents a major victory for tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans thanks to the case, Procopio v. Wilkie.

The man himself is happy about the court decision but unsure whether he’ll be around long enough to witness much of its payoff. He was 61 when this process began. Next month, he’ll be 74.

“They appealed it so many times, I thought, ‘How long are they going to deny it? Until we’re all gone?’” Procopio said. “There were a lot of guys who I served with who were older than me, and I know they’re not around.”
read more here

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Blue Water Veterans urged to get claims in ASAP

Senate Passes Blue Water Navy Bill, Cementing Victory for Ill Vietnam Veterans
By Patricia Kime
13 Jun 2019
"If they get their claim in, it may be grandfathered," Wells said. "If you were on a ship, especially a carrier that served on the fringe of the territorial sea, it's imperative that they get their claim in now."

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11) steams in the South China Sea on Sept. 13, 1966, with aircraft of Attack Carrier Air Wing 10 (CVW-10) parked on the flight deck. CVW-10 was assigned to the Intrepid for a deployment to Vietnam from April 4 to Nov. 21, 1966. V.O. McColley/Navy

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to extend disability benefits to veterans who served on Navy ships off the coast of Vietnam, signaling the end of a decades-long fight for these former sailors and Marines to receive compensation for diseases presumed to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange and other defoliants used during the Vietnam War.

Following similar approval by the House last month, the Senate vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

The legislation could affect up to 90,000 veterans, although Retired Navy Cmdr. John Wells, an attorney with Military Veterans Advocacy who represented Alfred Procopio Jr., the plaintiff in the case decided in January, said the way the bill is written may limit awards, excluding as many as 55,000 service members, including many assigned to aircraft carriers that operated farther out to sea.
read more here

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Vietnam veteran Robert Earl Hanson life remembered after Agent Orange

Winter Park Vietnam War veteran, who died from Agent Orange effects, to be honored in Washington, D.C.

JUN 13, 2019

Just months after Robert Earl Hanson graduated from Colonial High School in 1966, the outgoing young man known as “Bobby” found himself thrust into the jungles of Vietnam as an Army private carrying a teletype machine and a rifle.
Patricia Hanson holds an old photo of her and her late husband, Robert Earl Hanson, who died in June 2018 of cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. (Martin E. Comas / Orlando Sentinel)

At the time, U.S. military planes were spraying millions of gallons of the defoliant Agent Orange across the Vietnamese countryside to expose enemy soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Hanson, like millions of other American and Vietnamese soldiers, was exposed to the dangerous herbicide. It led to Hanson’s malignant lung cancer decades later and ultimately caused his death on June 29, 2018, at the age of 69, according to doctors.

On Saturday, Hanson will be among 536 deceased veterans — including 13 from Florida — who will be inducted into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s “In Memory Program” as part of an annual three-day ceremony held every June in Washington, D.C.
read more here

Friday, May 24, 2019

Agent Orange and the generational cost of service

Generations of Veterans Dealing With Invisible Wounds of Vietnam War

May 23, 2019
“Most all families have no clue that it can go on past one generation," Cowherd said at a Glasgow town hall. "I’ve talked to people where it’s skipped generations and gone into grandchildren. They say, ‘Now I know why my child is so sick all the time. Something finally makes sense."
Hardin County veteran Denzil Lile flips through a scrapbook, recalling his service in Vietnam. CREDIT LISA AUTRY
Monday is Memorial Day, a time when the nation will pause to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military. More than four decades after the Vietnam War, some veterans in Kentucky and elsewhere say the conflict is still claiming casualties.

“This guy here, he and I were on the same team in Vietnam, said Hardin County veteran Denzil Lile. "That’s Billy Smith, he was the first one to get killed from Metcalfe County. Me and him was drafted on the same day.”

Denzil Lile looked through a scrapbook at the kitchen table in his apartment in Elizabethtown. There's one of him with a black Labrador Retriever.

“I was a dog handler. His name was Joey B-388, which he came from the British and was called the queen’s dog, Lile said. "They tracked. They worked more off of a ground scent.”

Lile is one of about 125,000 Kentuckians who served in the military during the Vietnam War and many were exposed to a harmful herbicide known as Agent Orange. The U.S. military sprayed the chemical to clear vegetation so Viet Cong wouldn’t have a hiding place, but the toxic chemicals did more than that. Agent Orange left a medical legacy for veterans and their families.

“I had a little blister to come up under my watch while I was in Vietnam, and for the next several years, my face would tan in different colors," recalled Lile. "I never thought much about it because it was just another thing you got in the jungle, until we got to hearing about it (Agent Orange) later on. I had a basal melanoma taken off my nose right here.”
read more here

Thursday, April 18, 2019

#SprayedAndBetrayed Blue Water Veterans still waiting for justtice

Will the benefits for ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans be settled soon?

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
April 17, 2019
“Even though the court has ruled that the VA must provide these benefits, there is no guarantee it will happen,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Congress must create a permanent legislative fix.”
Troops from the First Cavalry Air Mobile Division watch the carrier USS Boxer after arrival at Qui Nhon, Vietnam, on Sept. 12, 1965. (AP file photo)
The fate of disability benefits for “blue water” Vietnam veterans will be among the key topics lawmakers tackle when they return from their district break at the end of the month.

In January, a federal court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs for years has used faulty reasoning to deny disability benefits to veterans who served in ships off the waters of Vietnam. VA officials had argued that extending the benefits to an additional 90,000 veterans would cost as much as $5 billion over 10 years, a figure that advocates have disputed.

This week, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced plans to reinforce that ruling and establish a permanent fix for those veterans, who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants has caused a host of rare cancers and respirator illnesses.

Already the chairman and ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have introduced similar plans, and that House panel is preparing for an expansive hearing on the topic early next month.
read more here

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Will Get Benefits

VA to Drop Fight Against Blue Water Navy Veterans
By Patricia Kime
26 Mar 2019

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not appeal a January court ruling that ordered it to provide health care and disability benefits for 90,000 veterans who served on Navy ships during the Vietnam War, likely paving the way for "Blue Water Navy" sailors and Marines to receive Agent Orange-related compensation and VA-paid health care benefits.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday that he will recommend the Justice Department not fight the decision, handing a victory to ill former service members who fought for years to have their diseases recognized as related to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

Last year, the House unanimously passed a bill, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, to provide benefits to affected service members. But Wilkie objected, saying the science does not prove that they were exposed to Agent Orange. Veterans and their advocates had argued that the ships' distilling systems used Agent Orange-tainted seawater, exposing sailors on board to concentrated levels of dioxin.

However, the bill failed in the Senate when two Republicans, Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming and Mike Lee of Utah, said they wanted to wait for a vote pending the outcome of a current study on Agent Orange exposure.
Committee chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, also promised a hearing later this year on burn pits and other environmental exposures some troops say left them with lifelong illnesses, including cancers -- some fatal -- and respiratory diseases.
read more here

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Shocker WWP supporting Vietnam Veterans and TAPS

Wounded Warrior Project Announces Support for TAPS and Vietnam Veterans of America

Wounded Warrior Project
Mar 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) announces a grant and collaborative partnership with Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to raise awareness and collect data on the impact of toxic exposure on the long-term health of veterans. This $200,000 grant supports VVA and TAPS' joint advocacy and tracking of toxic exposure illness among post-9/11 veterans. Many veterans of this generation have reported experiencing various illnesses resulting from exposure to contaminants on the battlefield such as burn pit smoke, depleted uranium, and industrial chemicals.
Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) announces a grant and collaborative partnership with Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to raise awareness and collect data on the impact of toxic exposure on the long-term health of veterans.

"Toxic exposure is one of our top policy priorities for 2019," said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. "Working together with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and Vietnam Veterans of America will enable our collective legislative advocacy and provide resources to veterans and family members who have incurred an illness due to toxic exposure during military service. We're proud to partner with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and Vietnam Veterans of America to learn more about this issue and ensure veterans' health care needs are addressed."

"We are profoundly grateful for the critical grant funding WWP has provided to TAPS," said Bonnie Carroll, TAPS President and Founder. "Over the past decade, TAPS has seen a dramatic increase in the number of deaths due to illness and cancers related to toxic exposures. These service members and veterans leave behind grieving families who deserve the same care and support all service members and veterans receive. Together with WWP and VVA, we will honor those who are ill and have died by caring for all those who they loved and left behind."

"Though our war ended more than 40 years ago, we continue to battle for justice and answers for veterans exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic substances, which have been passed on to their families," said John Rowan, VVA National President. "And now, tragically, post-9/11 veterans have been exposed to a range of biological and chemical toxic substances. Whether from burn pits emitting dioxin and other toxicants; from depleted uranium; or from toxicants yet to be identified, they are dying young from uncommon illnesses, and their children are sick as well. We cannot stand idly by as this newest generation of veterans is faced with the same culture of denial as they struggle to access health care and compensation from the VA. We are glad for the opportunity to work in partnership with Wounded Warrior Project and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to share our lessons learned and to advocate for our younger veterans and their families."

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Son of Vietnam veteran knows what "my brother's keeper" really means

‘Somebody’s Gotta Do Something’: RV Salesman Spends Spare Time Making Watches to Raise Money for Vets

By Tré Goins-Phillips
March 14, 2019
“Why create another [charity]? Why not just come up with a way to generate some money to help charities that are already out there doing good work?” Carey asked.

“They don’t understand why I’m doing this,” Carey said, noting he is constantly explaining to those around him why he chooses to sacrifice his own income for the greater good.
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. While he’s not particularly religious, that’s the biblical principal that inspires one watchmaker in Illinois to donate his profits to different veterans charities around the country.

In 2012, Thomas Carey and his dad started Minuteman Watches, a company they created with the sole purpose of giving back to those who have served in the military.

Though his father — a Vietnam veteran — is permanently disabled as a result of Agent Orange, Carey has continued the work.

During the day, Carey sells RVs. But in his free time, he’s building and shipping out watches to people around the country, choosing not to pocket the money that comes in. Instead, he gives it away.

Carey told Faithwire his extracurricular effort often leaves his coworkers dumbfounded.
read more here

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blue Water Veterans Closer to Justice

'Blue water' Vietnam veterans may finally be able to seek help with Agent Orange side effects

WCPO 9 News
Craig McKee
February 19, 2019

A Jan. 29 federal appeals court ruling could expand the pool of Vietnam veterans able to claim disability benefits connected to Agent Orange, a chemical weapon known to cause serious health problems in those exposed.

“It’s about time,” veteran John Ranson said Monday.
That category — those exposed — for years did not technically include Navy veterans like him.

Agent Orange was a defoliant herbicide American soldiers deployed to thin out the Vietnamese jungle, depriving guerilla insurgents of both cover and food. When its deadly long-term health impacts became clear, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to provide some financial relief for all those who served.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs repeatedly denied the claims of so-called “Blue Water Veterans,” claiming only soldiers present on the Vietnamese mainland could reasonably claim to have interacted with the substance.

That’s not what Rex Settlemore, who served from 1967 to 1998 and spent two tours in Vietnam, thinks. He watched from the U.S.S. Durham and U.S.S. Richard S. Edwards as airplanes releases chemical weapons overhead, and he remembers how close to the shore both ships sailed.

Agent Orange particles must have made it into the ocean water he and the rest of the crew used, he said, if not the air they breathed. He believes some of the early deaths among his comrades from that time are connected to that exposure.

“Ships who ingested the sea water, even if the sea water was distilled for fresh water on board, would still contain the Agent Orange contaminants,” he said.
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Will the US do the right thing finally after Australia did it for their Vietnam veterans?