By the implementation of changes as set forth in the Federal Register, April 16, 2008, regarding "Definition of Service in the Republic of Vietnam," for the purpose of clarifying eligibility for presumption of exposure to herbicides status, the DVA very clearly states and reiterates its stance that "38 CFR 2.307(e)(6)(iii) does not provide a presumption of herbicide exposure to a Vietnam Era veteran who never set foot on land in the Republic of Vietnam and did not service on its inland waterways." What this action accomplishes, in addition to the relationship to herbicide exposure, is a re-designation of all veterans into two clearly distinct categories: Vietnam War veterans and Vietnam Era veterans. The VA is careful to keep this distinction of Vietnam Era veterans when referring to veterans who "never set foot on land in the Republic of Vietnam."
This re-writing of history began at least 4 years ago and can be seen quite clearly in a presentation made by Dan Brown, Director of the Environmental Agents Service, in November, 2004 in the "Science for Judges" Symposium, held annually at Brooklyn Law School. In that presentation, Brown says that those veterans not covered by the Agent Orange Act of 1991 are "non-Vietnam veterans" and "non-Vietnam War veterans." These are not typographical errors on the part of the VA. They are well thought out titles developed in their new emphasis on who is covered by the Agent Orange Act and who is not. They are titles meant to separate "boots-on-the-ground veterans" (often referred to as in-country veterans) from all other Armed Forces participants in that Southeast Asian War. Read this carefully. It is the creation of a very well-defined rift, a division, within the ranks of Vietnam War veterans. It is part of a campaign to "divide and conquer" which will have immense negative impact on these veterans as well as all present and future veterans. It gives the DVA the power to segment groups of veterans for the purpose of withholding or bestowing VA benefits on selected groups from any current or future armed conflict.
All aircraft pilots who flew off aircraft carriers during the time of the Vietnam War, as stipulated by the DVA to be January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975, are therefore Vietnam Era veterans, as they are all Blue Water Navy veterans. They are also non-Vietnam War veterans. All jet fighter pilots who may have flown in the "airspace above" the Republic of Vietnam, or above North Vietnam or any of the surrounding countries, are also exempt from herbicide coverage and therefore are titled Vietnam Era veterans. Furthermore, all US Navy pilots who were shot down over North Vietnam, who landed by parachute in North Vietnam, and were not fortunate to have landed in the Republic of Vietnam, fall under this re-written definition of Vietnam Era veterans. A pilot from an aircraft carrier who became a POW and was kept in captivity anywhere but on the soil of the Republic of Vietnam, is now officially referred to as non-Vietnam War veterans. All POWs who spent time in the prison called the Hanoi Hilton, or any other place not located in South Vietnam, receive this new title as well.
John McCain, Jim Stockdale and all others in this predicament have been re-classified by the Department of Veterans Affairs as Vietnam Era veterans. Public reference to them as Vietnam War veterans is incorrect, per the new re-written history presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our Presidential Candidate should no longer refer to himself as a veteran of the Vietnam War. This title is being stripped from him by the DVA. And just imagine the embarrassment of having to remove names chiseled in the stone the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
The DVA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on April 16, 2008 to change the "definition of Service in the Republic of Vietnam". The Public Response period on that NPRM ended June 18. A copy of that entire Federal Register Notice is here --> http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-8091.pdf . At this point in time, it is projected that this rule will be published and become DVA doctrine before the end of the month of July and probably be back dated to 6/19/2008 - unless some special intervention takes place.
In the Federal Register NPRM of April 16, (link given above) in the middle of the first paragraph of the section "Supplementary Information" you will find reference to "...a Vietnam Era veteran who never set foot on land...." The language is very specific of a pattern that has been showing itself over recent years. The DVA has been moving in this direction since it "illegally" removed Blue Water Navy veterans (Navy, Coast Guard, Marine and some Air Force veterans) from eligibility for receipt of service-connected VA Health Care as well as from receipt of any service-connected compensation for disabilities from the "presumptive eligibility" status for effects of dioxin, which is found in Agent Orange. The initial withdrawal of that presumptive eligibility status for a specific class of Vietnam veteran actually occurred in February, 2002. This was done despite the fact that several studies, including one by the CDC, indicated that water-born veterans had a higher incidence of dioxin-caused disease and disability by a factor in excess of 20%.
Both the latest VA NPRM on the "definition of service in the Republic of Vietnam" and a 2004 presentation of VA Director Dan Brown specifically indicate that, upon implementation of the Proposed Rule, the DVA will also be puting into play a nomenclature change of great significance.
According to the Brown presentation of 2004, only individuals who served with "boots on the ground" in South Vietnam would be referred to as "Vietnam War veterans." All others in the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1975, would be referred to as Vietnam Era veterans or non-Vietnam War veterans.
Click the hyper link in the discussion of Dan Brown's paper found at http://www.bluewaternavy.org/brownpaper.htm and then find and click on the following statement, below the bulleted paragraph, which contains the name of his presentation:
"The Role of Science in Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation Policies for Environmental and Occupational Illnesses and Injuries. It appears in Vol. XIII No. 2 Journal of Law & Policy (2005). "
You will be taken to a copy of Brown's paper. On Page 604 (Journal of Law and Policy) you will find his explanation for usage of this distinctive new name for two classes of veterans. This language has been carefully crafted to be in lock step with their Master Plan which has unfolded over the past six years.
It strips everyone whose feet did not touch the soil of "the Republic of Vietnam," which refers to South Vietnam, of the title of a War veteran as well as strips them of the benefits of a War veteran.