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november/december 2009

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Veterans Day Advancements


Veterans Day will be over by the time you read this. The flags will be back in their cases, the marchers’ sore feet will have recovered, and Christmas shopping will have begun. As we go into the holiday season, Vietnam veterans can give thanks for some of the actions taken by Congress and the President.

I had the privilege of attending the bill-signing ceremony at the White House (see photo, page 7) for the VA Advanced Appropriations legislation that VVA and the other veterans service organizations worked so tirelessly to enact. This legislation will enable VA administrators to plan in advance for the hiring and procurement they need to keep their health facilities operating at an optimal level.

In another important development, VA Secretary Shinseki approved the addition of Parkinson’s disease, hairy-cell leukemia, and ischemic heart conditions to the presumptive list, as was recommended by the Institute of Medicine. We are very grateful for the Secretary’s prompt action on these items. We also look forward to the Secretary’s final regulations that will ease the need to identify a specific stressor for PTSD claims. This is something that Rep. John Hall of New York has called for in legislation. When it is enacted, our Service Reps will have to review old claims to see if they can resubmit any that were initially denied.


When I first saw this was a topic of a feature article in The Veteran, I thought it might be about me. But this is actually a story common to many Vietnam veterans, whether they were grunts or REMFs—namely, the battle with illnesses caused by Agent Orange. It is another example of why it is so important to get the word out about our web site,, which contains information on service-connected illnesses.

THE 11th CAV

We congratulate those members of the 11th Cavalry who finally received their well-earned Presidential Unit Citation. It took a long time, but it was worth the wait.


The Officers, Directors, and our families want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, a joyous Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, and Kwanza, depending on your religious persuasion. Whatever your celebration, we wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season and a joyous New Year.



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