Courtesy of: delcotimes.com
Published: Friday, January 06, 2012
By JOHN J. BURY
Times Guest Columnist
A veteran’s plea to U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.:
During the Vietnam War era, hundreds of thousands of members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard joined forces to fight in this war. After three-plus years, I ask Sen. Toomey to now join forces with veterans of that war who are sick with diseases.
Nearly all those who served were in-country or at sea and in the air. They were poisoned with Agent Orange dioxin. Agent Orange, a herbicide used in Vietnam, was a defoliant sprayed by hand, tanker truck and aircraft.
Those who served in-country who made claim to the Veterans Administration receive disability compensation for presumptive exposure to Agent Orange, Those who served at sea and in the air do not receive VA disability compensation, because they did not have boots-on-ground in Vietnam.
Some 713 naval ships, designated by the secretary of the Navy, operated in the coastal waters of Vietnam. Sailors and airmen were poisoned by Agent Orange dioxin.
Currently, there is a bill called the Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011 pending in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., sent me a letter stating he is supporting the bill.
“This Act would extend presumptive coverage to certain Vietnam veterans called blue-water veterans who served up to 12 miles offshore,” he wrote. “Presumptive coverage would lift the burden of proving direct exposure to agent orange of our veterans.”
I am asking Toomey to co-sponsor Senate Bill S. 1629 with Casey in bipartisanship.
I further ask citizens of Pennsylvania to write or call or email Sen. Toomey at 215-241-1090 or 202-224-4254. His address is 502 Hart Senate Bldg., Washington, DC 20510; his email is www.toomeysenate.gov Ask him to co-sponsor the bill with Sen. Casey. Continued…