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Aug-30-2011 13:18printcomments

Congress to Consider Legislation that Would Increase List to Include Blue Water Navy Vietnam Vets

"Our association is trying to extend the exposure presumption for Agent Orange from the current ‘boots on the ground' to at least the territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam" - New York Senator John Wells

Blue Water Navy
Photo courtesy: thenewnewinternet.com

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - A New York senator will soon introduce a short and simple bill into Congress that could have a large and far-reaching effect on tens of thousands of Vietnam War veterans and their families. According to Louisiana attorney John Wells, the proposed law would extend the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange to certain servicemembers who served aboard vessels at sea - the so-called Blue Water Navy - during the Vietnam War.

As the law now stands, only troops who served ashore "in country" or aboard river boats in Vietnam are entitled to compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for a number of ailments, including cancer, linked to exposure to the toxic herbicide.

Wells, a retired Navy Commander, is the director of legal and legislative affairs for the Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Association. He spoke of the proposed legislation at a meeting of The American Legion's National Legislative Commission during the organization's 93rd annual National Convention in Minneapolis. Wells explained the bill - "The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011" - by reciting the "elevator speech" he employs to educate members of Congress during his periodic trips to Washington.

"Our association is trying to extend the exposure presumption for Agent Orange from the current ‘boots on the ground' to at least the territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam," he said. "This would encompass the ships that were outside of the riverines but were actually very close to shore providing support to the troops ashore.

"What happened was that we would get a discharge of sediment that contained Agent Orange out into the South China Sea. (Ships there) would then bring the sediment into their distilling systems that changed salt water into potable water and the sailors would drink it. The Australians discovered back in 2002 that the Agent Orange in the salt water was actually co-distilled - not removed. So, these folks were drinking an enhanced Agent Orange cocktail, as it were. This was confirmed in an Institute of Medicine report that came out just this past May. The Institute of Medicine also found that there was a plausible pathway both by wind drift and by river discharges for Agent Orange to get into the South China Sea. As a result, we have a higher cancer incidence (among those ship's crew members theoretically exposed) than those troops who were ashore. The Australians, who have been paying Agent Orange-related benefits to their Blue Water Navy sailors for years, proved that in a study back in 2005."

Wells said he ends his short presentation with an appeal to his target member of Congress to support the bill. One who was impressed by his organization's argument was U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. She is expected to introduce "The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011" shortly after Congress reconvenes in September. Wells said the bill has drawn bipartisan support from several co-sponsors.

Special thanks to Paul Sutton

Originally published by: Agent Orange Zone




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Robert Erhard Sr. April 22, 2012 3:39 pm (Pacific time)

The VA does not conform to IOM REPORT minor Rev. 3 Jan. 2012 (yes, that's minor Rev, Jan. 2012). The VA does not conform to the 112th Congress Bill 2011-2012 H.R.812...Agent Orange Equity Act 2011...to include...more than...The Blue Water Navy. The VA does not conform to The 112th Congress 2011-2012 S.1629...Agent Orange Equity Act 2011...that provides compensation and health care benefits. The VA does not conform to Title 38 amendment. The VA does not conform to H.R.3612...the CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT of December 8.2011...READ...to THE VA. > Congress has the Power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 > The Congress shall have the Power * * * To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,and all other Powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States,or in any Department or Officer thereof. I am not a lawyer. My claim of having been exposed to agent orange is "THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING"...the blood sausage...that agent orange made out of my body over the past 42+ years.After 25 months,Mar.10,2012, THE VA denied my claim because SERVICE TREATMENT RECORDS do not contain complaints,treatment,or diagnosis. THE DECISION is "A FALSE TRUTH". THE DECISION is ridiculous. THE DECISION is nonsense...because...IT can take 20 to 40 years for symptoms and/or illnesses to surface.IT appears that for US suffering Veterans to get justice, US suffering veterans are going to have to file criminal charges against The Department(s)and Officers of THE VA for willfully and intentionally defying CONGRESS. The Constitutional Authority... of Congress does not require President Obama's Signature. The VA has created the most extensive form of PTSD imaginable, US suffering Veterans worst enemy was/is our own country.

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