AUSN

FALL 2018

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

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AUSN Legislation Hub 12 Navy | Fall 2018 MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST SEAMAN KALEB SARTEN Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR 299) What does this bill do? T he Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act (HR 299) would extend disability bene•ts to Vietnam War veterans who served aboard ships in territorial waters o• Vietnam during the war and may have been exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange. Agent Orange was used during the Vietnam War to destroy forest cover and crops for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. However, Agent Orange has a powerful e•ect on the human body as well, damaging genes and causing deformities and illnesses to those exposed. How is it relevant to sailors/veterans? Up to 90,000 "blue water" Navy veterans may have been exposed to Agent Orange. †e chemical has been linked to diseases like soˆ tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin disease, and leukemia. †ere is evidence a number of other cancers are also caused by Agent Orange. Under this bill, these veterans would receive disability bene•ts so they can •ght these illnesses that they contracted while serving their country. What is AUSN's position on it? †e Department of Veterans A•airs opposes this bill on the basis that U.S. forces did not draw water within 12 miles of the Vietnam shoreline, but we believe the facts are clear that sailors frequently drew water within that distance, and a 2002 Australian study found that this resulted in exposure to sailors. For more on our position, turn to page 30 of this issue. Where does the bill stand now? In June, the House voted unanimously (382-0) to pass the bill. It enjoys strong support in the Senate as well, but the Senate Veterans A•airs Committee is refusing to release the bill from committee so the full Senate can vote on it. Some on the committee appear to be uncertain about the bill because of the VA's objections. AUSN is working with †e Military Coalition to push for the bill's release from committee when Congress gets back in session in November. The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 6, 2018. George H.W. Bush is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting routine training exercises to maintain carrier readiness.

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