Justice is Served
On June 25, the president signed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, into law. This is a huge victory for roughly 90,000 Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans that, effective January 1, 2020, puts the following provisions into place:
• Veterans will be presumed exposed to Agent Orange if they served in the waters offshore Vietnam based on grid coordinates that are at least 12 nautical miles from the shoreline; in some locations it will be over 90 nautical miles from the shoreline.
• The dates for veterans presumed exposed to Agent Orange while serving on or near the Korean DMZ will be expanded to September 1, 1967, and to August 31, 1971.
• Children of veterans who served in Thailand and were exposed to Agent Orange will be eligible for benefits for spina bifida.
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See DAV National Commander Dennis Nixon’s official statement below.
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act becomes law
After years of fighting to correct an injustice for disabled Vietnam veterans, DAV takes great pride in announcing that the president has signed in to law H.R. 299—the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act.
Passage of this law is a pivotal victory for Vietnam veterans who have not only suffered for decades from illnesses and diseases linked to exposure to Agent Orange, but who also felt that their service and suffering had long gone unacknowledged by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
DAV is thankful for the leadership of House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking Member Phil Roe; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson and Ranking Member Jon Tester; and Senate Bill sponsors Kirsten Gillibrand and Steve Daines, who all worked in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to finally get this legislation through Congress.
Mostly, we are grateful to the Vietnam veterans, their families and survivors, all our members and supporters who have stood with us over the years to advocate for this legislation and who have been so crucial to getting it across the finish line. I regret that many Vietnam veterans will have succumbed to illness before this victory could be realized, but rejoice knowing that countless others will finally be able to access the benefits they need and have rightly earned.
Fellow Vietnam veterans, I am proud to share this triumph with you. Congratulations, and welcome home.