Navy & AO Click Here To Read A Letter
Probably the most divided group of veterans in the history of America is the beleaguered Vietnam veteran. This group of veterans were generally rejected by the American people early in the war that none of them started. Most of those serving in Vietnam from 1959 through the literal end of the war were patriotic young people who desired to defend the United States from her enemies. Sometimes the young veteran would have a problem of sorting out just who was the enemy. In Vietnam, the natives who worked during the day turned into the guerilla at night.
We also had the enemy at home. Those who protested the war for one reason or another.
Many of those were prominent politicians, actors and education leaders. There positions were well choreographed to make those serving look as they were interfering with the chosen lifestyle of the Vietnamese people. When in reality the Vietnamese people were being terrorized by their Communist brethren.
We also have the problem of those veterans who separate themselves as 'in-country' and those called 'Era vets' a situation not seen during WWII or the Korean war. In the years I have worked with veterans this one issue of were you 'in-country' has caused a great schism in the ranks of those who served from 1959 to 1975.
When the Vietnam veteran returned home they discovered many health problems those who did not go to Vietnam did not suffer. These veterans went to the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) and made attempts to discover the common link to those problems. It was not long before herbicide exposure was the culprit. For reasons never fully explained the VA rejected nearly every idea put forth from this group of veterans. Even their fellow veterans from other conflicts rejected their quest for answers.
Over two decades we sought information to link herbicide exposure and the health problems which were taking lives at early ages in this select group. It appeared the more research by the supporters of the Vietnam veterans, the more resistance by the government and some of the veterans of prior conflicts. It was not until the San Francisco District Court Of Appeals ruling in which Agent Orange went to trial in San Francisco and was found guilty. On May 3, 1989 in the U.S. District Court, the Honorable Thelton E. Henderson held that former Veterans Administration head, Thomas K. Turnage had imposed "an impermissibly demanding test" for determining whether an ailment could be linked to dioxin. A position many of us had stated for over a decade.
The ruling was not appealed by the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. This has opened the doors for new opportunities for those who have been maimed by this, the deadliest of man made synthetic chemical compounds, TCDD or as we know it Agent Orange. Multiple Thousands of claims nearly 34,000, at that time had been denied over the years. So in the next decade the VA established regulations concerning diseases and exposure. The regulations have been changed as new diseases were recognized. In the early 1990's those who were in the adjacent waters to Vietnam were presumed exposed. When diabetes type 2 was recognized in November of 2000, the regulations were revisited by those in the legal departments of the VA. The presumption of exposure to herbicides was changed by the VA..
The VA has denied many claims since mid 2001, stating the veteran was not exposed due to the fact he did not go ashore. This is an incorrect assumption based on economics and not fact. The current Agent Orange exposure in-country regulation: "(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1112)
(6) Diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents. (i) For the purposes of this section, the term ``herbicide agent'' means a chemical in an herbicide used in support of the United States and allied military operations in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, specifically: 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T and its contaminant TCDD; cacodylic acid; and picloram. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1116(a)(4))
(ii) The diseases listed at Sec. 3.309(e) shall have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more at any time after service, except that chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy shall have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more within a year after the last date on which the veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service.
(iii) A veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, shall be presumed to have been exposed during such service to an herbicide agent, unless there is affirmative evidence to establish that the veteran was not exposed to any such agent during that service.
The last date on which such a veteran shall be presumed to have been exposed to an herbicide agent shall be the last date on which he or she served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975.
'Service in the Republic of Vietnam' includes service in the waters offshore and service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam."
When a person is within the geographical or territorial limits of the land mass, that person is considered by international law within the nation.
There are recorded incidents of U.S. warships being seized (USS Pueblo 1968) and U.S. fishing vessels (Peru 1964), as well as the US Navy boarding Russian vessels (Cuba 1962).
Thus my position has been accepted as law, by the Executive Branch of the United States of America. There are no provisions in Title 38 of the United States Code, for any department, agency or division to deny due process under accepted treaty, law or regulations of the United States of America.