Our government has spent 20 years denying benefits to Vietnam Veterans who served our country in the United States Navy.

The government has been denying benefits for  illness associated with the veterans exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange is a herbicide and defoliant chemical, one of the “tactical use” Rainbow Herbicides. It is widely known for its use by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971.

This defoliant was applied in a reckless manner and not applied in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Our Army and Marines troops on the ground are eligible for benefits when the present service records verifying in country service. It is time for the blue water veterans of the Navy to have the same benefits.

The rub here dates back to 1991 when Congress approved The Agent Orange Act. Our all-knowing Congress intentionally left out Navy veterans if they patrolled territorial seas off Vietnam.

Naval veterans should be encouraged that the Court of Appeals, in a January 2019 decision, ruled 9-2 that a prior case was decided improperly. This was a major victory.

It took a great argument to sway the court. The argument has swayed the court. Now it is time for President Trump and his administration to accept this decision and not appeal it to the Supreme Court.  We should also ask Congressman Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee to support the Appeals Court  ruling as well.

This President ran on supporting Veterans and rebuilding our military. This is an opportunity for the Commander in Chief to stand with 70,000 aging Naval veterans who served in harms way for this country and care for those who were harmed. Stop denying benefits.

A President is duty bound to care for his military and this nation’s Veterans. Allowing Naval personnel who served in Vietnam these benefits is the honorable thing to do.

Image Sources

  • Veteran Benefits: Shutterstock