IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 10, 2000
VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA URGES PRESIDENT TO
ADDRESS THE WOUNDS OF WAR
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) National
President George C. Duggins, in response to news of the departure of
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo D. West, Jr. said, “On behalf of
all of our members we wish the best to the him and his family as he
embarks on new endeavors.” Duggins
went on, “We urge the President and Vice President Gore to work with
Acting Secretary Hershel Gober to clear the log jams on numerous issues
of vital concern to veterans and their families, and to take bold and
swift action on key fronts.
Among the pressing issues is the establishment of
presumptive service-connected disability compensation for Hepatitis C in
veterans. Duggins noted,
“VVA filed a formal petition with the Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) asking for presumptive service connection for Hepatitis C on March
23, 1999. Some fifteen
months later, longer than a tour of duty in Vietnam, VVA has yet to have
an answer from the Secretary. VVA
asks that Acting Secretary Gober move to grant VVA’s petition and
immediately publish regulations to establish presumptive service
VVA again calls upon the President to ensure that
the petition filed on April 27, 2000 in regard to “in-country
effect” -- the overall negative health effects on those veterans who
served in Vietnam -- receives a thorough hearing and immediate
On a related track, Duggins urged the President
to expedite movement toward Agent Orange and hazardous chemical research
in Vietnam, as well as to initiate research projects in the United
States on American veterans of Vietnam, and their families, as required
by the “Agent Orange Act of 1991”.
“It is vital that the President and Vice
President actively support and encourage Acting Secretary Gober to move
quickly and boldly to re-establish a positive momentum at the VA.
Only effective leadership will result in obtaining more adequate
funding for veterans health care, benefits and services.
Without that assertive leadership, the VA will be condemned to
the same unfortunate pattern of decline veterans have experienced in
recent years,” Duggins said.
VVA’s point of contact for additional
information is Scott D. Campbell at (301) 585-4000 ext. 158.
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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