Here are a couple items of import to Veterans. The VA has added several ships to its list of Agent Orange exposure. Hard to imagine that these findings are released in such a piecemeal fashion over the past 40 years. The following is a list of the vessels whose crew members may qualify for health care and compensation for conditions that are linked to the exposure of Agent Orange. There are currently 344 ships on this list.
These additional vessels are known as “brown water” Navy vessels that served on the inland waters of Vietnam.
USS Sheldrake: USS Towhee: USS Okanogan:USS Chantcleer: USS Frank Know: USS James Kyes: USS General W.A Mann.
Eligibility dates have been expanded for the crew of USS Fechteler and USS Dewey. The USS Pickaway and USS Paul Revere crew may be eligible if they went ashore.
The Blue Water Navy members, those who were at sea, are still not eligible. It is known, however, that many handled the 55 gallons drums of Dioxin. The fight goes on for them.
The next update is the conclusive finding that those who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C. between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to toxic chemicals and are entitled to service-connected claims for compensation. There are 8 conditions that necessitate a diagnosis.
Aplastic anemia or other myelodysplastic syndromes.
This is a pretty big deal, as prior to these revelations, no conditions were considered “presumptive” or eligible for a disability claim. See your local Veteran Service Officer for more detailed filing information.
It is estimated that approximately one million service members, family and civilians were exposed to hazardous materials in the drinking water. The array of chemicals were from cleaning compounds, tanks that were leaking and noted poor disposal protocols.
I am reminded of the huge lawsuit in Tucson, Arizona against Hughes Aircraft for the dumping of TCE, trichlorethylene in the water of nearby residents. What were they thinking? Hidden impunity must be the worst brand.
A VA Fan Club? For real? Well not really, yet there is a very large “de facto” fan base comprised of the battalions of veterans nationwide who are at ease and pleased with the healthcare that the Veterans Administration provides with great equality of delivery. There is a reason that the surveys come back with an approval rating that far exceeds the private sector.We do not hear much from them for obvious reasons. Who wants to be comparing their quality care with a veteran who is struggling with the VA? Most veterans have so much respect for each other, that they avoid the chiming in to the blame game and would prefer to just jump in to help or find someway to advocate for the veteran and family that are at odds with their delivery and aftercare. Does that make one a fan? As I said, not really, but the preference is to stay true to your school. What is the option? The private sector is so maxed out with Doctor/Patient ratios and stockholder quarterly profit reports, that they cannot hold a candle to the VA over the long stretch.
As a combat veteran of the Marine Corps and a client of the VA Medical system for for 31 years, I would not for a moment trust the privatization of this system. Knowing full well that the effort to discredit the VA is funded with tons of dark money being shoveled into a messaging mania that often harms the current clients and plants doubt in the minds of the newly enrolled veterans. How does this help promote holistic health and prevent mental health worries? Rumors are not good for heart or the head.
I am not suggesting that the VA does not have administrative travails, evidenced by the myriad of investigations underway. But are not those investigations a good thing? Is not feedback the breakfast of champions? Name me a Fortune 500 company or a professional sports team that does not have identical internal quagmires, and more frequent turnover of personnel. In my zip-code, the United Health Care Providers just lost doctors who left to go to work for the VA! Go figure.
Does anyone in the Main Stream Media bother to report when the problems are solved? Nope. But they will sure as hell report about the new coach at USC or UofA. Did you know that the mass of those veterans that were on a proverbial waiting list, were deceased for years and not sitting in the wings awaiting appointments? It was a data entry issue. The American Legion covered this update, but not one those politicos that need sensitive talking points to further their self aggrandized campaigns of mis-information. This, at its core is more of a moral travesty than a delayed wait for an appointment. Placing your political ambitions in the rucksack of a veteran is very, very low, particularly when not a one of the current crop has served in the Armed Forces. The age of the Chicken Hawk has returned.
There is a flap in Arizona about doctors leaving the after 6 months of employment. Many interns only serve 6 months and elect to move on to other specialties or to the private sector. Is this not the free market at its best? Choice remains a good thing not a mud-puddle. Doctors at the VA all serve for a bilaterally agreed upon experimental time frame. Did the reporters take the time to discern who left in distaste and who left as part of a normal cycle of service?
Both readers and the veteran population deserve better reporting about the VA problems nationwide. One topic would be to speak of the burden placed upon the VA Health Care system by winter visitors who wait to get their care while in the westerns states, where they camp in their RV’s for 6 months and clog up the appointment schedule of the locals. They do deserve the best of care, and I for one enjoy the company of visitors, but is this the fault of the VA that they are tremendously egalitarian in their care?
A story about the vetting process and the means testing the VA uses would be timely and compelling. The 8 Priority System is not perfect but it is aligned with what all fiscal conservatives want of our Government. No, a stateside veteran of the Air Force who has no service connected disabilities does not get the same level of benefits as the Army Ranger who served in Baghdad and Kabul. Free care and free medications for all was never promised, yet we do hear the complaints to the contrary. Were this true, Socialism would be underway. Means testing is a good thing for all.
Lets here more about how the VA gets advance funding and how they project their needs. Can you imagine an internal bean counter with the VA in, say, 2003, projecting the need to take care of a 400% increase of Traumatic Brain Injury,TBI, and Post Traumatic Stress and military rape in the ranks of 4-7 tour troops over a 15 year time span? The Tea Party did not exist then, but I can hear the siren squawking….50 billion more for 15 more years! The point being, who planned or would plan for 15 continuous years of war? And how do you fit the delivery and budgeting into an approval process that slogs along one year at time? Should we be priming ourselves now for another 20 years of war? And who will pay for it? Mexico?
There is a strong case to be made that no nation can develop a long term fiscal policy for war. That is a good thing.
Be reminded that Afghanistan sent the Russians packing three decades ago, by their tenacity and a strategy of “breaking the bank.” That tactical war strategy remains in place.
The ‘weapons of mass destruction’ may well be TBI veterans sent home one at a time, with a need for lifetime care. How big is the bank?
This prolonged warfare, that is the first of its kind in the history of the Republic is not the fault of the Veterans Administration. They are dancing as fast as they can. God forbid they would ever privatize, as that would only feed an incestuous war machine and unfathomable profiteering. As the late Marine General Smedley Butler, and Medal of Honor recipient, aptly stated, “War is a racket”.
Lets be true to our school and like good Alumni help our VA win the game. Any thing less is falling prey to subliminal programming that is not of our making and lacking in moral probity.
The Memorial Service for Virgil “Vic” Johnson will be held at Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 at 1pm at St Hillary’s Episcopal Church 11305 Hesperia Road Hesperia, Ca.
“To the good man, to die is to gain” St. Ambrose
Vic Johnson was a Marine par excellance and embodied every value and tradition of the United States Marine Corps. For Vic, Honor and Integrity were verbs. He was a founding and Charter member of the Victor Valley Marine Corps League, serving as their Sgt. of Arms from the founding until his passing to the Supreme Commandant.
Vic was a retired Master Sgt and highly decorated Vietnam Veteran. The recipient of the Bronze Star, Two Presidential Unit citations for heroism and two Navy Commendation Medals for valor. He was also a revered Drill Sgt during his 23 year career in the Marine Corps.
The motto Semper Fidelis, (always faithful), often used amongst fellow Marines was sewn into this mans mettle. First to arrive and last to leave at every meeting the local Marine Corps League.
The term Old Breed is applied to so few these days as they are moving on to glory. This writer is adorned with the pride and honor to have called this man friend. Teacher, mentor and sparkling story teller, he will hold a place for eternity in our hearts.
Virgil Johnson is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Johnson, and his son Doug Johnson. Donations would be graciously accepted by the family. Any further information can be gained at 760-550-8083