October 30, 2013

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House passes Gibson bill to help Blue Water Navy Vietnam vets

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives has passed a bill sponsored by Congressman Christopher Gibson (R, NY-19)) that would move the ability of Vietnam veterans who were assigned to ships off the coast and were afflicted with Agent Orange to receive benefits.

Military personnel who served on the ground and contracted the disease have been covered automatically, but those onboard ships off the coast of Vietnam have been required to list detailed specifics of how they contracted it, making it almost impossible to gain benefits.

Gibson hopes his legislation, if also approved in the Senate and signed by the President, helps ease the burden somewhat.

“It orders the DoD [Department of Defense] to go through the ship inventory to catalogue those ships that that have served in Vietnam, the timeframes that they are there, so that when we move forward with a case for a constituent, they will be more expeditiously disposed of positively. An important piece here as part of the overall strategy to help these Blue Water Navy veterans,” Gibson said.

The lawmaker said the bill is a first step in getting claims processed quickly “reducing what has become an absolutely unacceptable backlog at the VA.”

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