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The Vietnam Veteran Health And Benefits Campaign

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BlueWater Navy Vietnam Veterans Association


For Immediate Release - October 28, 2008

Contact: John Rossie



The Vietnam Veteran Health and Benefits Campaign

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association joins the Order of the Silver Rose in a Health and

Benefits Campaign to assist veterans of the Vietnam War.

This campaign will have three specific areas to target. The first target area is the health of the veterans.

The word we are desperately trying to get out is for veterans of the Vietnam War to get yearly medical

checkups which include CAT scans, because of its capability to spot new cancerous areas within the

body. Veterans should also have annual PSA tests.

This intense medical scrutiny is not only because the typical Vietnam veteran is now in an age range of

58 to 65 when these types of problems should be looked into anyway. What is more important to a

Vietnam veteran is the fact that, in many cases, those who were exposed to dioxin through Agent

Orange contamination may at this time of their lives begin showing symptoms of that dioxin poisoning

if those symptoms have not yet occurred. This simple routine of yearly examinations can save

thousands of lives, and can extend the lifetime of Vietnam veterans by as much as ten years or more.

Our studies have shown that an average life span of a Vietnam veteran is 64 or 65 years, while the

national average of male, non-veterans is 76 years.

Research has found that dioxin absorbed by the body can lay dormant for 30 or 40 years and then

become active. The Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), in conjunction with Institute of Medicine

(IOM), has now identified well over 40 unique cancers accepted in the "presumption of exposure"

category. This means that Vietnam veterans (with a few exceptions) who display any of these cancers

and related illnesses are automatically presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange (dioxin) and

are automatically rated as service connected for health conditions, which makes them eligible for

priority health care within the VA Medical system.

We are also concerned that there are still many veterans who are not aware of numerous benefits they

are eligible for. This is target area two. The most important of these is the health care provided at VA

facilities. However, many other benefits should be looked into, including life insurance, pensions,

burial and Memorial benefits, and, in some cases, benefits available to their dependents and survivors

upon their death.

The third area involves the family and specifically the spouse of the contaminated veteran. There hasn't

been much fanfare given to these individuals, but they have often been the most loyal and dedicated

friend Vietnam veterans ever have. They have stuck by their veteran through the various phases of

health decline, and have generally been the one to 'take action,' whether in gathering information or

providing simple tasks like transportation. There has not been enough recognition given to these



individuals, and we want to make a special effort in briefly turning the spot light on them. These are

often the true 'unsung heroes' that deserve our acknowledgment and thanks.

Anyone who currently has a disease or disability caused by Agent Orange (dioxin) is urged to do three


be sure to get an annual medical examination, with CAT scans, so that cancerous areas can be

detected at their earliest possible stage. Get a yearly blood test to check liver function, A1C

levels (diabetes), triglycerides and cholesterol, because dioxin stores itself in “fatty tissues”

where it can become invasive to other tissue.

become familiar with the various DVA benefits for their own care and for possible benefits

available to their surviving family;

use the cover form provided at

http://bluewaternavy.org/Application Cover.pdf to submit the

required documentation as application for a Silver Rose award. Key documents needed is a

copy of the veteran's DD 214 and one of the following:

a death certificate in the case of veterans who have died


a medical diagnosis showing disease caused by exposure to Agent Orange (dioxin) for

those veterans still living.

The Order of the Silver Rose (

http://www.silverrose.org) was established in 1996 to acknowledge and

honor the courage, heroism, and contributions of American service personnel found to have been

exposed to Agent Orange during the time of the Vietnam War and whose lethal exposure to Agent

Orange has resulted in internal, invisible wounds, which are revealed only by the passage of time.

Nearly 4,000 Silver Rose awards have been made to veterans both living and dead.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association (BWNVVA -

http://www.bluewaternavy.org ) is

a veteran advocate organization, available to help veterans of all branches of Service. Because of

recent DVA rule changes and subsequent court proceedings, BWNVVA is currently focused on reinstating

presumptive exposure benefits of health care and compensation for personnel who served

offshore Vietnam. These individuals were originally included in the Agent Orange Act of 1991 (Public

Law 102-4). Additionally, in many other areas such as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, veterans were

exposed to and contaminated by Agent Orange at their military bases or on combat and support

activities for the Vietnam War.

# # # #

"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:


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