No. 001-00  
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             January 3, 2000                           (202) 628-2700 Ext. 158 


Washington, D.C--Vietnam Veterans of America’s national president, George C. Duggins, expressed the views of veterans throughout the country as he honored the memory of Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., the retired U.S. Navy admiral who commanded U.S. naval forces in the Vietnam War and later became Chief of Naval Operations. Admiral Zumwalt died January 2.

“Admiral Zumwalt was much beloved by those who served under him,” Duggins said. “And he proved to be a genuine and forceful advocate for Vietnam veterans after the war, especially on the all-important issue of the health effects of Agent Orange.”

From 1968-1970, the height of the Vietnam War, Admiral Zumwalt, a World War II and Korean War veteran, commanded what was known as the Brown Water Navy, the American naval river boats that patrolled South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. He developed the successful strategy of cutting riverine supplies from Cambodia to the Vietcong guerrillas and ordered the spraying of Agent Orange defoliant over the Delta.

As Chief of Naval Operations from 1970-74, Admiral Zumwalt was responsible for instituting many important changes in procedures, along with a large shipbuilding program. During his tenure as CNO, Admiral Zumwalt was credited with bolstering morale and with significantly bettering the Navy’s treatment of women and minorities.

Admiral Zumwalt began speaking out on the health effects of Agent Orange after his son, former U.S. Navy Lt. Elmo R. Zumwalt III, who had commanded a Navy river boat in Vietnam, was diagnosed with cancer in 1983. He died in 1988.

“Admiral Zumwalt worked tirelessly on the Agent Orange issue,” Duggins said. “He helped us enormously in our crusade to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow compensation for more than a dozen health problems caused by exposure to the extremely toxic herbicide in Vietnam. He was an extraordinary leader in war, accomplishing the mission while always taking care of the troops. Similarly, in peace, Admiral Zumwalt showed that same dynamic leadership and moral authority, advancing the mission of healing the nation and our 
veterans from the wounds of war. All of us in the veterans community will miss him greatly.”
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VVA’s point of contact for additional information is Mokie Porter at (202) 628-2700 Ext. 146.


Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is 
"Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another." 

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