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One Widow's Story



Our recent SVR guest, Carol Olzanecki, of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, asked me to post this email she sent me, as a brief description of her and her husband's ordeal with the VA,here in the DIC forum:

She has been relentless in helping John Rossie push for the Blue Water AO Equity Act.

And also she has been a great claims advocate for many AO widows.

And is also at the BluewaterNavy.org web site.

"Addressed to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives & the U. S. Senate:

Speaking for our dead veterans is something that I have been doing for almost 10 years. It will be 10 years this June that I lost my hero to the ravages of an insidious disease caused by herbicide exposure.


My late husband was diagnosed with type II diabetes in 1979. At that time, we never thought that it was caused by his time in the Navy with presence in Vietnam, as part of the Blue Water Navy. We re-searched his family medical history and found no family history of diabetes in his family.  We were at a loss and just did not know the source or cause of this disease. I took care of him throughout this long-term illness. Over the course of his steady health decline, He had several heart attacks, a triple bypass, an internal defibrillator, and eventually a right leg above the knee amputation. He also suffered congestive heart failure that eventually led to his death.


He was finally able to file a claim in 2001 at the same time he was having his leg amputated. The VA never did anything with that claim (award or deny). I trusted at that time that the VA was very busy and they would take care of him. I found out very differently the day he died as in February of 2002, they changed the rule.


After he passed away I was informed that the claim was now mine. I also found out that I had to show proof that he stepped foot on land. It took the VA only three months to deny me that claim and the fight began. Long story short, two trips before the BVA at my own expense and almost five years later, I won my claim.

This should not have happened this way.


There are many thousands of Navy and Marine Veterans who have passed away without ever getting their benefits that they earned and deserve. These brave men supported and fought for our country and because of a VA-imposed rule change in 2002 for which there was no scientific basis or Congressional consent, they couldn't even die with a little dignity.

You need to think about the pending legislation (S-1629 and H. R. 3612), about the men who are sick and those who have died without the ability to support their families. Don't let what happened to me and many other widows continue.

It is almost certain that you cannot change the heart; but, you can work with us to restrain the heartless."

Carol Olszanecki

A Blue Water Navy widow

Ellenville, New York

Edited by Berta
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