Friday, May 8, 2009
Agent Orange Legislation
Here is some proposed legislation in the House of Representatives that will be of interest to all aircrew who flew into Vietnam but were never stationed there. It changes the definition of Vietnam Service to make eligibility for Agent Orange benefits less difficult to obtain. HR2244, The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2009, was introduce by Rep Filner on 5 May 2009. It would clarify the legal presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for veterans who served in the vicinity of Vietnam. Currently, 38 US Code Section 1116, defines a Vietnam veteran as "a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975." The Department of Veterans Affairs uses a conservative interpretation to mean "boots on the ground" which excludes most Navy and Air Force personnel who have Agent Orange related issues but who can not prove "boots on the ground." HR 2244 would clarify this section by redefining a Vietnam veteran as one who, during active military, naval or air service (a) served in the Republic of Vietnam (including the inland waterways, ports and harbors of such Republic, the waters offshore of such Republic and the airspace above such Republic) during the period January 9, 1962 - May 7, 1975: (b) served in Johnston Island during the period April 1, 1972 - September 30, 1977: or (c) received the Vietnam Service Medal of the Vietnam Campaign Medal. This is something important about which to contact your representative.