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january/february 2007

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On Fact-finding Trip in Puerto Rico, Rowan Sees Pride, Problems & Promises

At the behest of Puerto Rico State Council President Jorge Pedroza, President John Rowan visited the island commonwealth in early December on a fact-finding mission. Rowan said he needed to hear first-hand about the issues and problems of VVA members there. He wanted to seek answers to several questions: Is the VA Medical Center that serves the 200,000 veterans who live on the island and on neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands adequate? Will the national cemetery in Bayamon run out of burial space before new land is designated and prepped to expand its capacity? [read complete article]

LAOS: The Geneva Protocol And the Not-So-Secret War

The agreement reached in Geneva in July 1962 represented an attempt to return Laos, a nation that President Dwight D. Eisenhower once considered the cornerstone of Southeast Asia, to its former status as a neutral nation. That did not happen.[read complete article]

Reaching The Unreached In Alaska

In the course of his 20-year Army career, Maurice Bailey, president of VVA Chapter 903 in Mat-Su, Alaska, pulled two tours in Vietnam and one in Alaska. He thought Alaska was a “cool place” and went back there to live. It was different from anything he’d known, and he liked things that were different. Since 1980, the mechanic-turned-pilot has flown small, fixed-wing aircraft around the state. With a handful of other veteran-pilots, he’s hoping to turn those long years of experience in the air into something that will help Alaska’s aging veteran population.[read complete article]

The Elizabeth, New Jersey, Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The Right Thing To Do

It was a sunny morning in September in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when more than 300 people gathered to dedicate a memorial to the 29 men who gave their lives in Vietnam 35 years ago, thus marking the culmination of a nearly ten-year effort by the members of Eastern New Jersey Chapter 779. [read complete article]

The Courts Will Decide On Off-Shore Agent Orange Service Connection

In the recent Haas v. Nicholson decision, the VA’s Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims held that veterans who served in the waters offshore of Vietnam and received the Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) are eligible to have their disabilities presumptively service-connected due to exposure to Agent Orange. This also applied to veterans for whom receipt of the VSM is the only evidence of exposure to Agent Orange. In September 2006, the Office of the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, per the instructions of the VA Secretary, ordered the Board to delay reviewing all cases involving blue-water veterans and presumptive service connection for Agent Orange exposure in which the veterans did not set foot, or have their “boots on the ground,” in the Republic of Vietnam.[read complete article]



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