Senators Gillibrand and Graham introduced S-1629 as legislation to once again include the military personnel who served offshore Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 under the providions of
the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) unilaterally changed their regulations to exclude these veterans from eligibility for Veteran Benefits, including
Health Care and lost wage Compensation, that are awarded by presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to all other Vietnam Veterans who served on land in Vietnam.
The "Dear Collegue" letter from Senator Gillibrand and Senator Graham was released at the time the Bill was introduced on Sept. 30, 2011.
Here is the proposed wording of Bill S-1629 as it was introduced.
The statements that follow were provided by Veteran Organizations who agree that Blue Water Navy veterans, including Navy, Coast Guard and Fleet Marines, are lawfully entitled to the same
benefits as those who served with "boots-on-ground" during the Vietnam War, as was intended by Congress in the original Agent Orange Act of 1991.
The Fleet Reserve Association.
The American Legion. What is included here is their opening page of a much longer document and the pertinent page addressing the Blue Water Navy issue.
The following 28 independent organizations of the Military Coalition signed a letter of Thanks to Senator Gillibrand for introducing S-1629, in favor of including Blue Water Navy veterans under the presumption of herbicide exposure:
- Air Force Association
- Air Force Serteants Association (AFSA)
- Air Force Woman Officers Associated
- Association of the US Army
- Association of the United States Navy
- Commissioned Officers Assn. of the US Public Health Service, Inc.
- Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the US
- Fleet Reserve Association Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
- Jewish War Veterans of the USA
- Marine Corps League
- Marine Corps Reserve Association
- Military Officers Assn. of America
- National Association for Uniformed Services
- National Buard Association of the US
- National Military Family Association
- Non-Commissioned Officers Association of the United States of America
- Reserve Enlisted Association
- Reserve Officers Association
- Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Fores
- The Military Chaplains Association of the USA
- The Retired Enlisted Association
- USCG Chief Petty Officers Association
- US Army Warrant Officers Association
- Veterans of Forwign Wars of the US
- Vietnam Veterans of America
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.
The Reserve Officers Association of the United States and
The Reserve Enlisted Association of the United States.
Association of the United States Navy