Dear Senator Blumenthal:
American Veterans (AMVETS), the most inclusive Congressionally chartered veteran service organization in the U.S., strongly supports the effort to ensure those veterans who served during the Vietnam War and now suffer the lifelong effects of Agent Orange exposure are no longer denied the benefits they’d earned and justice they deserve.
Agent Orange was perhaps a necessary evil during a time when service members faced the immediate dangers inherent to jungle warfare. However, our Nation now better appreciates the consequences these environmental toxins have had on the health and progeny of those veterans long after the guns fell silent. Vietnam War veterans have also had to battle the VA claims adjudication system for decades, including procedural red tape and administrative barriers.
By removing the one-year manifestation period required to qualify for presumption for three additional diseases linked to exposure to Agent Orange, our country moves one step closer to achieving a more consistent claims adjudication process and, more importantly, making Vietnam War veterans whole.
We thank you for sponsoring this important legislation and will implore your colleagues in Congress to support the passage of the Agent Orange Exposure Fairness Act.
Joseph R. Chenelly
AMVETS National Executive Director