- Feb. 16, 2013 -
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association feels they are closer to obtaining the much needed, and formally promised, VA benefits for Vietnam vets who served offshore and were exposed to Agent Orange. On February 6th, 42 initial cosponsors joined Rep. Chris Gibson of New York in the re-introduction of The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange legislation, HR-543, in the House of Representatives. The Association feels, after years of battling for medical and financial benefits for Agent Orange-dioxin poisoned veterans, that they are one step closer to a win.
“Many Vietnam veterans are not getting the VA benefits readily available to all other Vietnam veterans, despite being contaminated by Agent Orange, because of a technicality in the current law,” said John Rossie, Executive Director of The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association. Every year that goes by that leaves thousands of Navy and Marine veterans suffering and dying with absolutely no assistance from the Veterans Administration. They were originally awarded Health Care and Compensation under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, but those were rescinded.
“This is a shameful reflection on the citizens of this country. All the current veteran problems are rooted in the mistreatment of Vietnam veterans. If we can get those problems straightened out, we will be helping many of the complaints of our current veterans. The VA should be taking care of our own, not figuring out loopholes that will deny Veterans medical and financial benefits.”
In 2002 the VA, in what The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association alleges as “possible selective discrimination”
, decided to limit health care and disability benefits only to “boots on the ground” service members. In 2011, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced legislation to ensure that more than 60,000 Navy and Marine veterans from the Vietnam War exposed to a powerful toxin in Agent Orange would be eligible to receive the disability and health care benefits they earned for diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure. Last year four cosponsors helped introduce the official legislation (now number HR-543) in the House. “So far this year the response has been very positive and strongly bipartisan. We are getting a lot of help championing our cause. I think the injustice of this is finally becoming obvious,” continued Rossie.
About: The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association has been helping all veterans obtain their earned VA benefits. The Association has a website, http://bluewaternavy.org/
, with an easy way to contact your legislators, a documentation library, news of the day corner, editorial and opinions tab, and a specific F.A.Q. section regarding the Agent Orange Equity Act. The organization is seeking the public’s support on this matter. John Rossie is available for interviews upon request.