Our Vietnam veterans need your help

Op-ed submit bugIt appears that very few members of the military-veteran community or the general public are aware of problems still faced by veterans of the Vietnam War.

Nearly half the surviving 100,000 members of the U.S. Navy and Fleet Marines who fought in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 may be suffering disabilities from the effects of Agent Orange/dioxin. Yet, these veterans are being denied all service-connected health care and disability compensation for these diseases.

There currently is legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, HR-543, that would re-establish Agent Orange benefits for these individuals following their removal by the Veterans Administration from coverage under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The VA removed coverage for them because they did not have their “boots on ground” in Vietnam, as if the herbicide and its dioxin contaminant stayed completely out of the water and the air and off the thousands of tons of supplies that transited through Vietnam to the ships offshore. The likelihood of that is absolutely zero.

State Rep. Theresa Conroy, D-Seymour, has introduced a Connecticut Blue Water Navy Resolution. This outlines the facts involved and calls for the president, U.S. Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to restore the presumptions of exposure taken away from the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans in 2002 by the DVA.

This resolution is now being considered in committee.

Please write your CT representatives and let them know you support this resolution.

Raymond Melninkaitis of Beacon Falls is a disabled Vietnam Blue Water veteran.

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