Some thoughts on where this has the potential of going. This is the final paragraph of an article found at http://www.bluewaternavy.org/commentaryrulemaking.htm
What is the VA really after? Here's some speculation.
Divide and Conquer
One other very serious potential that could arise from a VA win of the Haas Case, or a VA that can change the intent of Congress by the results of a mere Notice of Proposed Rule Making, is the concept of Divide And Conquer. If they are allowed to successfully classify the Blue Water Navy as a "new category" of veteran, they will be able to use that as precedent to pick and choose which veterans of the future get which types of benefits. They will be able to exclude any veteran from receiving full medical and compensation benefits simply by creating another sub-class of veteran, as they are attempting to do here.
Let's take a future war (or military action) as an example. In this Future War X, veterans serving on active duty, either in direct combat or in combat support, would all assume they would receive medical treatment and compensation for injuries sustained in the Future War X. But after Future War X is over and all the body bags have been shipped home, the Department of Veteran Affairs could proclaim that any veteran of the Future War X who served further than 12 miles (just an arbitrary number) from some arbitrary geographical point is not eligible for full veteran benefits, even though the enemy could and did detonate weapons up to 20 miles from the arbitrary point. Those veterans who were injured by those "out of bounds" detonations will be denied medical care and monetary compensation for any injuries sustained while on active duty during Future War X. This "boots on the ground" legal case will set that precedent. Is this how you want your children and perhaps their children to be treated by your government? Does that sound preposterous? That is exactly what is happening to the Blue Water Navy veterans of the Vietnam War. They are not being given the same medical care and compensation as the troops they supported, fought along side of, and died with. This is what the heart of the Haas Case is all about.