In past episodes the topic of the problems facing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans has been featured. Of the three military populations of interest to the VA (ground forces, brown water and blue water sailors) only the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans have been excluded by the VA from receiving benefits for illnesses and diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. This action is puzzling because an Institute of Medicine committee recommended that veterans of the Blue Water Navy not be excluded from the presumption of Agent Orange exposure and consequently receive benefits.
The VA has been unresponsive to repeated requests from the Blue Water Navy for equity of benefits for Agent Orange afflictions among all three Vietnam Era military populations of interest. As a result, actions have been taken in both the judicial and legislative arenas of our government to correct the inequity of Agent Orange Benefits.
The Blue Water Navy is a term applied to all the personnel who served on the ships off shore from Vietnam participating in the conflict. In this episode the story of Patrick Mackin, a member of the Blue Water Navy will be featured to illustrate the valuable service that “military population” provided to our efforts in the Vietnam War. Mackin’s story is told in an article found in The Globe Gazette of Mason, Kansas titled: They Served With Honor: Patrick Mackin, Osage by Courtney Fiorini firstname.lastname@example.org. It tells about his service aboard the U.S.S. Long Beach, a nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser as a nuclear propulsion specialist. He served on three deployments on the ship in the Gulf of Tonkin.
All are encouraged to contact your Congressperson and Senators and urge them to support bill HR-969 in the House of Representatives and bill S-681 in the Senate. All you have to do is Google the name and contact information of the individual in Congress and contact their Washington office.