Navy’s Vietnam vets deserve care for Agent Orange

I’m a Vietnam naval veteran who was stationed aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer and did three tours with the Navy supplying naval gun fire support for our troops on the ground during the Vietnam War.

One of the primary responsibilities of the United States government is to ensure those who have fought for our freedom are afforded the care and benefits they deserve upon their return home. Thousands of veterans who served in the territorial seas of Vietnam or “blue water” are now suffering from higher rates of diseases associated with exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange. Despite this, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to deny claims from Blue Water Navy veterans, creating significant hardship for these brave Americans who are suffering from chronic health conditions resulting from their exposure.

I was there and suffer from some of the same issues like those who had “boots on the ground.” The VA, under the current leader ship of Secretary Wilkie, needs to step up to the plate and return the coverage of the 1991 Agent Orange Act so we, the Blue Water Navy, can receive care and compensation like our many brothers and sisters who had boots on the ground.

Rich Alverdes Sr.

Snohomish

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