Help Those Who Were In ‘Blue Water Navy

Editor, News-Register:

A Congressional Bill, HR-543, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of

2013, introduced Feb. 6 by Rep. Christopher P. Gibson (NY-19), is stuck in

committee. To date only 148 members of Congress have co-sponsored this


The bill, if passed, would recognize Navy and Marines who served at

sea for Veterans Administration benefits including compensation. What is wrong with Congress when it comes to our veterans? Is Congress broken or do they just not


As it stands now, the VA only recognizes one disease for Blue Water Navy,

Lymphoma non-Hodgkin’s, of the approximately 12 non-cancerous and 38

cancerous diseases.

The Agent Orange Act of 1991 afforded VA benefits including compensation to 534,000 Navy and Marine veterans. In 2002 the VA stopped awarding benefits to this group of veterans. There are

approximately 170,000 of these veterans known to still be living.

If a Navy or Marine Vietnam veteran can not prove boots on ground or prove

actual contact with Agent Orange, they would be denied. At sea in the

territorial waters of Vietnam, Navy and Marines did come in contact with

the herbicide Agent Orange dioxin in their drinking water. Mists of the herbicide as it drifted out to sea have been linked to harmful life-threatening health effects.

Vietnam veterans need help; many suffer today with no resolve. The voice

of the American people can help. Call, write, e-mail your members of the

U.S. Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the bill and pass legislation for


John J. Bury, U.S. Navy, retired

Vietnam War veteran

Media, Pa.