Letter: Vietnam veterans need help

letters_flatTo the editor,

It 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 United States Navy and Fleet Marines who fought in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 may currently 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 House of Representatives, HR-543, that would re-establish Agent Orange benefits for these individuals following their removal by the VA from coverage under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. The VA removed them coverage 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.

You can help these disabled veterans regain their earned benefits by contacting your congressional representatives and demanding that HR-543 The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013 be passed into law while these veterans are still alive.

Raymond Melninkaitis

Beacon Falls

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