Contact: Mokie Pratt Porter, Communications Director 202-628-2700 Ext.
VIETNAM VETERAN NAMED ACTING SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 2, 1997) Vietnam Veterans of America, the
nation's only congressionally chartered Vietnam veterans organization,
is proud of President Clinton's December 2 announcement that Togo D. West,
Jr., a veteran who served during the Vietnam War, will be appointed Acting
Secretary of Veterans Affairs effective January 2, 1998.
"The veterans health-care system is at a critical juncture,"
said George C. Duggins, Vietnam Veterans of America's national president,
"because it faces some major reorganizational challenges. Adjudication
of benefits also is in need of major review. We look forward to working
with Mr. West to address these issues."
VVA does extensive work with the VA on issues of special concern to
Vietnam veterans, such as Agent Orange and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
VVA was a leading proponent in initiating a unique program of benefits
for the spina bifida-afflicted children of herbicide-exposed Vietnam veterans.
VA began the program October 1. "We are hopeful that Togo West's extensive
background with the federal government and the military will provide a
good base for administering these programs," Duggins noted. "It
is critical to veterans--both as federal beneficiaries and as taxpayers--that
improvements in VA's effectiveness and efficiency be made."
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is dedicated to the 8.2 million
Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA goals are to promote and support
the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans to assist disabled
and needy veterans of all eras and their dependents, and also the widows
and orphans of deceased veterans. VVA's founding principle is "Never
again will one generation of veterans abandon another."
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