VVA applauds introduction of new Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act

BWVVA Member: JOHN McKechnie USN

“For over a decade, Vietnam Veterans of America has sought legislation to restore presumptive Agent Orange exposure status to members of the Armed Forces who served in the territorial waters of Vietnam,” said John Rowan, VVA National President. “We applaud Congressman David Valadao (R-CA-21) and the original cosponsors of H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, and we will work with them to pass this much-needed bill.

“We could not agree more with Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL-15), that ‘there is absolutely no reason those veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam and currently suffer from diseases related to Agent Orange exposure should not qualify for current VA care,’” Rowan said.

“Presumption of service connection exists for Vietnam veterans who served in-country, on land and inland waterways. Enactment of H.R. 299 will bring a modicum of justice to several thousand Navy personnel who have been denied service connection by the VA since 2002. They no longer will have to prove direct exposure to Agent Orange, and they will receive expedited consideration for VA benefits if they are afflicted with any of the health conditions associated with exposure to this defoliant,” Rowan said.

“VVA fully endorses the sentiments expressed by Congressman Tim Walz (DMN

1): ‘When Congress allowed the Agent Orange Act of 1991 to expire, the need for this legislation became absolutely critical. Our nation must exhaust every effort to identify, prevent, and heal the injuries, illnesses, and wounds our military service personnel received during their service.’”


USS Oriskany off Vietnam 1969. We were there for you.

RG Melninkaitis

111 Highland Ave

Beacon Falls, CT 06403


A Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veteran





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Information compliments of Neil Baliber ETN3 '59 - '63

URGENT! BWN Vets Needed for Senate Press Conference



RADM Byron B. Newell, USN (Ret.)

Subject: Hand Salute


Hand Salute

Last January, the National Defense Authorization Act, Section 594, was passed, allowing members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform during the hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag to render the military salute.

Already, a change has been made, sponsored by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), an Army veteran and minority member of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. In addition to saluting the flag, veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel are now also allowed to hand-salute during the national anthem. This provision was included in the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, signed by President Bush on 14 October 2008.

To read more, go to the Library of Congress's "Thomas" web site at (S.3001; the provision is Subtitle E--Joint and Multiservice Matters, Sec. 595), or for the final version in its entirety.


Definition of a VN Veteran


Subject: Definition of VN Veteran Department of Veterans Affairs Prepares to Strip John McCain of Vietnam Veteran Title By the implementation of changes as set forth in the Federal Register, April 16, 2008, regarding "Definition of Service in the Republic of Vietnam," for the purpose of clarifying eligibility for presumption of exposure to herbicides status, the DVA very clearly states and reiterates its stance that "38 CFR 2.307(e)(6)(iii) does not provide a presumption of herbicide exposure to a Vietnam Era veteran who never set foot on land in the Republic of Vietnam and did not service on its inland waterways." What this action accomplishes, in addition to the relationship to herbicide exposure, is a re-designation of all veterans into two clearly distinct categories: Vietnam War veterans and Vietnam Era veterans. The VA is careful to keep this distinction of Vietnam Era veterans when referring to veterans who "never set foot on land in the Republic of Vietnam."


This re-writing of history began at least 4 years ago and can be seen quite clearly in a presentation made by Dan Brown, Director of the Environmental Agents Service, in November, 2004 in the "Science for Judges" Symposium, held annually at Brooklyn Law School. In that presentation, Brown says that those veterans not covered by the Agent Orange Act of 1991 are "non-Vietnam veterans" and "non-Vietnam War veterans." These are not typographical errors on the part of the VA. They are well thought out titles developed in their new emphasis on who is covered by the Agent Orange Act and who is not. They are titles meant to separate "boots-on-the-ground veterans" (often referred to as in-country veterans) from all other Armed Forces participants in that Southeast Asian War. Read this carefully. It is the creation of a very well-defined rift, a division, within the ranks of Vietnam War veterans. It is part of a campaign to "divide and conquer" which will have immense negative impact on these veterans as well as all present and future veterans. It gives the DVA the power to segment groups of veterans for the purpose of withholding or bestowing VA benefits on selected groups from any current or future armed conflict.


All aircraft pilots who flew off aircraft carriers during the time of the Vietnam War, as stipulated by the DVA to be January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975, are therefore Vietnam Era veterans, as they are all Blue Water Navy veterans. They are also non-Vietnam War veterans. All jet fighter pilots who may have flown in the "airspace above" the Republic of Vietnam, or above North Vietnam or any of the surrounding countries, are also exempt from herbicide coverage and therefore are titled Vietnam Era veterans. Furthermore, all US Navy pilots who were shot down over North Vietnam, who landed by parachute in North Vietnam, and were not fortunate to have landed in the Republic of Vietnam, fall under this re-written definition of Vietnam Era veterans. A pilot from an aircraft carrier who became a POW and was kept in captivity anywhere but on the soil of the Republic of Vietnam, is now officially referred to as non-Vietnam War veterans. All POWs who spent time in the prison called the Hanoi Hilton, or any other place not located in South Vietnam, receive this new title as well.


John McCain, Jim Stockdale and all others in this predicament have been re-classified by the Department of Veterans Affairs as Vietnam Era veterans. Public reference to them as Vietnam War veterans is incorrect, per the new re-written history presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our Presidential Candidate should no longer refer to himself as a veteran of the Vietnam War. This title is being stripped from him by the DVA. And just imagine the embarrassment of having to remove names chiseled in the stone the Vietnam Memorial Wall.


Blue Water Navy Association PO Box 1035


303-762-9540 <>

Littleton, CO 80160

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Information compliments of Nick Dimel SM2 '59 - '62