The "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" was introduced in both the House and Senate (H.R.299 & S.422 respectively) again last year and has been there since 2002 that I am aware of. The act clarifies service members who served off the coast of Vietnam during the conflict have a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

The "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" was introduced in both the House and Senate (H.R.299 & S.422 respectively) again last year and has been there since 2002 that I am aware of. The act clarifies service members who served off the coast of Vietnam during the conflict have a presumption for filing disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for ailments associated with exposure to Agent Orange.

All veteran service organizations believe congress should recognize the so-called "blue water" veterans were exposed to the herbicide and authorize presumptive status for disability claims. Presumption of service connection exists for Vietnam veterans who served in country, on land and inland waterways. Enactment of H.R.299/S.422 will bring a degree of justice to tens of thousands of Navy personnel who have been denied VA services since 2002.

The VA has gone so far as to ask veterans receiving disability to give the cents of their monthly checks to pay for this benefit. I think they know the law should pass but have no money to pay these veterans. Everyone is urged to ask their legislators to support the "Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act" (H.R.299/S.422).

For more information, contact Sandra Van Zant at the Veterans Service Office at 602 Strong Ave. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or call 325-365-3612.