Many Americans believe all Vietnam Veterans receive health care from VA hospitals. They are wrong! The VA denies service-connected health care and lost wage compensation to all Vietnam Veterans whose feet did not touch the ground or who did not patrol the inland waterways of that country.
Navy and Fleet Marine personnel served in the offshore waters on battle stations providing continuous naval gunfire support, search and rescue, and aircraft carrier support and protection. They also served on submarines in the offshore Vietnam waters.
In January of 1991, the United States Congress, by unanimous consent of both House and Senate, passed a law acknowledging that components of herbicides (mainly Agent Orange) extensively sprayed over the Vietnamese countryside were the cause of major health problems to all of the men who fought that War.
In 2002, without consulting Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs revoked the eligibility of Blue Water Navy veterans to receive VA benefits for service-connected disabilities granted by that law. Since that time, the list of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses has grown and the number of Vietnam War veterans who have succumbed to these major medical conditions has increased at an alarming rate.
These offshore Veterans are currently dying in poverty because of medical bills that should have been covered by their VA benefits. They are dying without the dignity and respect they deserve as disabled American veterans and casualties of war.
This is an issue the American Public needs to know about so they can demand their Congressional representatives to support legislation currently before the House (HR-299) and Senate (S-422) that would restore these lost VA benefits. All Americans should be ashamed of how our government is treating Veterans, from Vietnam to our current conflicts.
Only the American Public can bring about the needed changes by contacting their Senators and Representatives and demanding they take action. Tell them to vote for S-422 and HR-299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, which will help solve the problem of the offshore Vietnam Veterans while they are still alive.