I would like to ask everyone reading this and other veterans a big favor. We need you to contact the White House at whitehouse.gov/contact or 855-948-2311 in support of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans.
Here is some history. In 1993, a bill passed in Congress call the Agent Orange Act of 1993 giving VA benefits to Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans who were suffering from certain diseases. The list has been updated since then. In 2002, the general consul of the VA ruled that Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans didn't qualify for these benefits. Since that time, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans have been fighting to get these benefits back.
You may ask why this is important. Veterans like myself who served on ships while serving in Vietnam were actually exposed to a higher level of the dioxin that is in Agent Orange than their fellow veterans who served "boots on the ground." This is due to the fact that the distillations system used on the ships actually enhanced the dioxins instead of removing them. This has led to many of these veterans suffering from diseases related to Agent Orange exposure like myself who now suffer from prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, heart problems, COPD, emphysema and skin cancer.
Right now, there is a bill in Congress called the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (H.R.299 & S.422) that would cover us. We have 75 percent of Congress supporting the bill, yet we can't get the bill brought to the floor for a vote because they do not have a way to fund the bill. The cost of the bill is around $1 billion over 10 years. Now to add insult to injury, our own government has spent over $1.1 billion cleaning up Vietnam of Agent Orange.
I am asking everyone reading this to please contact the White House and ask them to find the funds to fund the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (H.R.299 & S.422) and please share this letter.
We are also looking into taking our case to the Supreme Court. We will be making the final decision after May 5. Due to this, we are looking for donations to help with our cost. If you are willing to donate (tax deductible), please do so at bwnvva.org/membership.html online or you can send a check to:
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
8651 John J Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060
If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran, please feel free to join us on our Blue Water Navy Association Facebook page.
Mike Yates, national commander of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association