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  • Statement by John Rowan, VVA National President On “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”
    America s longest war it is appreciated For far too long citizens of all political persuasions blamed those who served for the failures of those led those officials whose military as well as political policies failed Returning veterans were not welcomed into the bosom of a grateful nation instead many were ignored at best scorned at worst The psychological issues faced by many Vietnam vets can be traced not simply to what they experienced in Vietnam but to this unwelcome home Perhaps America has grown up Today Americans embrace those who have volunteered for military service and have placed themselves in harm s way whether they agree or disagree with the mission in Iraq or Afghanistan These newly minted veterans and those who continue to serve despite deployment after deployment are offered a variety of opportunities and events across the nation by Americans who want to say in some way Welcome Home and Thank You for Your Service Americans belatedly embrace Vietnam veterans as well having come to the realization that those who served fought as well as their fathers and uncles did in World War II and in Korea As we approach 50 years since the beginning of that

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2011/pr11-003.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Untitled Document
    stored these chemicals in several bases both in the continental United States and in other countries Twenty one states have documented such sites including Ft Detrick Ft Richie Poole s Island and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland The known sites are documented and listed at the VA s web site www publichealth va gov exposures agentorange outside Vietnam usa asp VVA will work with Congress to introduce and enact legislation to study the impact of chemical and biological exposures on veterans of all eras and on their offspring Rowan said Research enabled by this legislation will benefit all exposed to these chemical and biological agents A second bill would provide for the treatment of the children and grandchildren of exposed veterans who have suffered birth defects Cancers immune system damage learning disabilities and a host of other health conditions attributed to a veteran s exposure For far too long the Army s Chemical Biological Command at Ft Detrick has denied obfuscated confused and ignored calls to provide complete and truthful information about the possible health effects from toxic exposures the military s toxic exposures Rowan said It s time to put an end to this lack of transparency and outright dissemination of misinformation Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation s only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam era veterans and our families VVA s founding principle is Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another Peaceful Protest from Agent Orange Exposure and RAB Meeting Demonstration Vietnam Veterans and The Kristen Renee Foundation Fighting for Frederick ask you to join us in a Peaceful Protest in Support of Vietnam Era U S Veterans Victims Who Suffered from Tactical Agent Orange Exposure Created and Implemented by Fort Detrick and a Community Demonstration prior to Ft

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2011/pr11-002.html (2016-02-15)
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  • VVA Applauds the Defense Department's Announcement of the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration
    fulfill the intent of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act and support a full range of events to achieve the objectives outlined in the legislation These include Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non governmental organizations that served with or in support of the armed forces Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War and Highlight the advances in technology science and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War There are more than 58 000 names engraved on The Wall the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall in our Nation s capital They are the fathers and brothers sisters daughters and sons who made the ultimate sacrifice The commemoration will acknowledge and honor their contributions and their memory Rowan said But those veterans who have

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2011/pr11-001.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Defense Department Wrongfully Discharges Nearly 26,000 Veterans
    Global War on Terrorism DoD has systematically discharged nearly 26 000 veterans wrongfully classified as suffering from Personality Disorder a characterization that renders the service member ineligible for receiving rightful benefits Personality Disorder is a disability that begins in adolescence or early adulthood and can present with symptoms which may mimic Post traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD DoD s Personality Disorder designation prevents thousands of wounded veterans from accessing service connected disability compensation or health care said VVA National President John Rowan In 2007 the Veterans Affairs Committee in the U S House of Representatives charged DoD with deliberately misusing personality disorder diagnoses in order to reduce to the cost of health care and disability compensation by at least 12 5 billion Since then DoD has dramatically decreased the number of soldiers it has discharged on the basis of Personality Disorder After discharging an average of 3 750 service members per year for Personality Disorder between 2001 and 2007 DoD has discharged only 960 service members in 2008 1 426 in 2009 and 650 to date in 2010 However rather than repairing the harm it has caused to the veterans it misdiagnosed DoD is refusing to admit that veterans were inappropriately discharged with Personality Disorder before 2008 While DoD protects its reputation and its pocketbook veterans with Post traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury continue to be denied the benefits and medical care they are due said Dr Thomas Berger Executive Director of VVA s Veterans Health Council Since 2007 VVA has publically criticized DoD s systematic misuse of Personality Disorder discharges in correspondence to DoD Secretary Gates and in testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee with the intent of curbing the wrongful discharge practice and assisting those wrongfully discharged veterans in receiving the benefits to which they are

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2010/pr10-024.html (2016-02-15)
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  • VVA Press Release: Dennis Koehler Awarded Vietnam Veterans of America’s Highest Award, the VVA Commendation Medal
    years He served on the first National Board of Directors and he has continuously provided guidance and legal counsel to the Florida state council to his chapter and to any veteran in need Koehler serves as the Vice President of the Friend s of Fisher House Inc A founding member of the Palm Beach County Veterans Committee Koehler has raised thousands of dollars and contributed countless hours for local Memorial Day ceremonies and Veterans Day parades As chair of the Florida State Council Government Affairs Committee Koehler was an early champion of what later came to be known as Advanced Funding for VA Health Care His tireless advocacy contributed to this important legislation becoming the top priority of VVA s national legislative agenda Koehler recently received a call from a local Congressional office to assist a disabled veteran The veteran s non service disability pension was stopped because he had received a settlement from an insurance company Koehler s actions on behalf of the veteran restored the veteran s pension keeping him off the streets and has led to the introduction of the Veterans Pension Protection Act of 2010 Koehler s advocacy has also resulted in the establishment of the

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2010/pr10-018.html (2016-02-15)
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  • VVa Press Release: Vietnam Veterans of America Disputes California Court Finding That Stolen Valor Act is Unconstitutional
    Court We hope that the court will agree with those legal experts who hold that the Constitution of the United States does not protect egregious false statements of fact In a 2 1 ruling on August 17 the appeals court found the Stolen Valor Act a 2006 federal law that prohibits falsely claiming to have won a military decoration making it a crime to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor and other military decoration unconstitutional throwing out the conviction of Xavier Alvarez an elected member of a California water district board who on several occasions falsely claimed to be a recipient of the Medal of Honor The right to speak and write whatever one chooses including to some degree worthless offensive and demonstrable untruths without cowering in fear of a powerful government is in our view an essential component of the protection afforded by the First Amendment Judge Milan Smith said in the majority opinion Said Rowan While we embrace the right of any American citizen to express opinions freely lying about one s alleged military accomplishments in order to gain future prospects for advancement is simply wrong This ruling degrades the honor that has been earned by our

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2010/pr10-021.html (2016-02-15)
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  • VVA Press Release: VVA to Simpson: Don’t TargetBenefits Veterans Have Earned
    America VVA Simpson the Republican co chair of the President s Deficit Commission who at one time chaired the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee complained in an interview that veterans receiving disability payments for illnesses associated with their exposure to Agent Orange during their service in the Vietnam War run contrary to efforts to control federal spending His comments came a day after The Associated Press reported that diabetes has become the most frequently compensated ailment among Vietnam veterans even though the AP report noted decades of research have failed to find more than a possible link between diabetes mellitus and the defoliant Agent Orange The system doesn t automatically award disability benefits to veterans Rowan said The VA has far too often been the adversary rather than the advocate for the veterans it serves If an in country veteran who is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange to dioxin one of the most toxic substances known is afflicted with one of the maladies deemed service connected by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that veteran has earned whatever benefits he or she is awarded While we agree with Senator Simpson that common sense is the most uncommon thing in

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2010/pr10-020.html (2016-02-15)
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  • VVA Press Release: Vietnam Veterans of America Applauds Publication of the Final Rules on Agent Orange New Presumptive Diseases
    Agent Orange exposed veterans suffering from any of these diseases will get the help they need and have earned noted Rowan The published rules state Parkinson s disease is covered however the rules do not include parkinsonian syndromes and or parkinsonism as well as multiple systems atrophy MSA progressive supranuclear palsy PSP and other parkinsonism caused by stroke encephalitis meningitis cortibosasal degeneration certain antipsychotic and metoclopramide medications other toxins and head trauma The rules add all chronic B Cell leukemias to the presumptive list including 14 kinds of lymphomas involving B cell leukemias B Cell leukemias include B Cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia small lymphocytic lymphoma Acute lymphoblastic leukemia mature B cell type B cell prolymphocytic leukemia Precursor B lymphoblastic leukemia and Hairy cell leukemia For Ischemic Heart Disease IHD the rules outline what the VA will and will not recognize According to the published rules the VA interprets IHD for purposes of service connection to encompass any atherosclerotic heart disease resulting in clinically significant ischemia or requiring coronary revascularization In the notice of proposed rulemaking we explained that the term ischemic heart disease does not encompass hypertension or peripheral manifestations of arteriosclerotic heart disease such as peripheral vascular disease or stroke VA points out that IHD includes Prinzmetal s Angina and Stable and Unstable Angina Veterans exposed to Agent Orange herbicides and who suffer from one of these diseases should file a claim immediately and may apply on line at http vabenefits vba va gov vonapp main asp Exposed veterans who filed a claim prior to August 31 2010 may be covered under a court class ruling Nehmer v Department of Veterans Affairs Nehmer which in most cases provides for payment back to the date of the original claim filing date Nehmer also allows payment of back benefits to the

    Original URL path: http://vva.org/PressReleases/2010/pr10-019.html (2016-02-15)
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