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Press Realease 10/17/2017 posted by on 2017-10-17 10:30:38 EDT

Press Release 10/3/2017 posted by on 2017-10-03 12:59:06 EDT

Press Release 9/19/2017 posted by on 2017-09-19 15:46:27 EDT

Texas Relief posted by on 2017-08-29 15:48:12 EDT

Press Release 8-29-17 posted by on 2017-08-29 15:42:07 EDT



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Press Realease 10/17/2017

Posted by on 2017-10-17 10:30:38 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 16, 2017 No. 16-51

Contact: Mokie Porter 301-585-4000, Ext. 146

VVA’s Veterans Health Council Calls on Senate to Oppose Importation of Medicines Washington, D.C.–

Dr. Tom Berger, Executive Director of Vietnam Veterans of America’s Veterans Health Council, released the following statement today, urging the Senate to oppose any consideration of putting the American drug supply at risk by importing drugs from other countries:

“For many years, the Council has stood in opposition to the importation of medicines. Once again, the time has come to affirm our position on this issue We are deeply disappointed to hear that the Senate might be considering legislation for the importation of prescription medicines from overseas for whom the FDA has no jurisdiction.

Framed as a cost-cutting measure, this could serve as a serious threat to our national security. It needlessly exposes millions of American patients, many of whom are veterans and family members of veterans, to medicines the U.S. simply cannot guarantee to be safe or effective

." Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation’s only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” --30--



Press Release 10/3/2017

Posted by on 2017-10-03 12:59:06 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 3, 2017 No. 17-50 Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; mporter@vva.org

Veterans Sickened by Plutonium After Hydrogen Bombs Dropped at Palomares, Spain, Sue Pentagon for Records (Washington, D.C.)--

Today, Vietnam Veterans of America and the VVA Connecticut State Council filed suit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to compel the Department of Defense to release records related to U.S. airmen’s exposure to ionizing radiation while responding to a January 17, 1966, hydrogen bomb accident near Palomares, Spain.

“The Department of Defense has withheld access to critical health information, including the results of medical testing by military doctors, from Palomares veterans for over fifty years,” said John Rowan, President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“Without key information about the extent of their exposure, these veterans have been unable to pursue the disability benefits that many desperately need.” In one of the worst nuclear accidents in U.S. history, a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber collided with a KC-135 tanker aircraft, releasing four hydrogen bombs. The Palomares “Broken Arrow” incident irradiated large swathes of the Spanish countryside after two of the bombs broke open upon impact. In an effort to recover the weapons, the U.S. Air Force ordered approximately 1,600 airmen to the site of the accident, where they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation daily, for weeks or months at a time.

The Air Force failed to provide the airmen with adequate protection, however, and did not warn them of the danger of their assignment. Many of the veterans who participated in the Palomares cleanup operation have sought veterans’ disability benefits for illnesses and health conditions related to exposure to ionizing radiation, but have been denied.

“Palomares veterans have waited decades for even basic information about the medical risks that prolonged exposure to radioactive plutonium dust carries,” said Vietnam veteran Patti Dumin, President of the VVA Connecticut State Council. “They cannot wait any longer – the Pentagon owes them answers.”

The lawsuit asks the court to compel the Department of Defense to conduct a reasonable search and immediately produce the wrongfully withheld records under the Freedom of Information Act. Jacob Bennett, a law student intern with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, said, “Palomares veterans and the American public are entitled to know the full extent of the damage that this Broken Arrow disaster inflicted on young service members’ health. We intend to vindicate our clients’ FOIA rights to help Palomares veterans access the benefits they deserve.”

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



Press Release 9/19/2017

Posted by on 2017-09-19 15:46:27 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 19, 2017 No. 17-48

Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; mporter@vva.org

RAND Study Finds ACA Repeal Will Strain VA; Any ACA Repeal Must Invest in VA Infrastructure (Washington, D.C.)—

“Last week, RAND Corporation, a widely respected, nonpartisan research institution, released the report, Veterans Health Insurance Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act and Implications of Repeal for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said John Rowan, President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“The study released by RAND Corporation adds weight to this argument that we've been making to Congress through countless meetings and hearings.” The report found that efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act would result in the VA being flooded with older, lower income, and less-healthy nonelderly veterans. This additional patient load would be caused by the end of ACA insurance plans that formerly uninsured veterans have opted to use.

“We’re at a time when demand at the VA is increasing because the Vietnam generation is aging, and new veterans are starting to deal with health issues related to their recent deployments,” Rowan continued.

“VVA urges in the strongest possible terms that any ACA repeal must be tied to an increase in funding for the Veterans Health Administration to offset any influx of new VA patients. Our veterans shouldn't be an after-thought.

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



Texas Relief

Posted by on 2017-08-29 15:48:12 EDT

The VVA Texas State Council is undertaking a relief effort to assist our VVA members in Texas who have been victimized by Hurricane Harvey.

The storm has been nothing less than devastating, and as I am writing this, it will likely be two more days at least before the storm leaves Texas. We have received a number of inquiries from state councils and chapters around the country wanting to know how to help, and this is what we have decided.

It will take a few additional days after the storm finally leaves, before the victims can realistically assess what their needs might be. Other relief organizations, including governmental bodies, will be covering some of those needs.

Until we can get a better handle on the situation, we are accepting monetary donations only. For purposes of expediency, please make all checks payable to my chapter, VVA Ch. 292, and designate them for "Harvey Relief"; mail them to VVA Ch 292. at P.O. Box 1071, Beaumont, TX 77704-1071.

Only I and my chapter Treasurer have keys to that post office box. Checks payable to the VVA Texas State Council are fine, but please note that there will be a delay of several days before your donation can be applied to assistance, due to the need to mail them off for processing through TSC.

My chapter has had experience at mounting relief efforts for VVA chapters in distress, and we will be good stewards of your donation s. If anyone has questions, please feel free to contact me at KStone@vva.org, or on my cell phone at 409-363-3891.

Please note that we in the Beaumont area are still flooded in, and it will be at least two more days before we can gather and get a good start on this. Stephen Brady in Katy (Houston area) has been a good contact person for these chapters in distress, and we are hoping that he and his family escape enough of the flood damage to be able to assist us with this relief effort.

Thank you for your generosity. Brothers and Sisters forever! Kerwin Stone President, VVA Ch. 292 Vice President, VVA Texas State Council VVA National Director At-Large



Press Release 8-29-17

Posted by on 2017-08-29 15:42:07 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 29, 2017 No. 17-46 Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; mporter@vva.org

VVA Applauds DoD’s Progress on Bad-Paper Policy; Renews Call for Presidential Action (Washington, D.C.)—

“Years after Vietnam Veterans of America and Yale’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic sued the Pentagon for its mistreatment of veterans with bad-paper, we’re finally beginning to see specifics on how they’re planning to make things right for some veterans with bad-paper,” said John Rowan, President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“Words matter, and for a long time, veterans and the military review board agencies have been unsure of what ‘liberal consideration’ actually means.

” On September 3, 2014, then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued a memorandum to the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force as a response to VVA and Yale's class-action lawsuit, Monk v. Mabus. The memo directs the Boards to give “liberal consideration” to applications that raise PTSD and to various types of evidence related to PTSD.

However, advocates have found that the “liberal consideration” policy has been applied unevenly across the services, as well as to veterans of different generations. “This clarification is a step in the right direction, establishing rules that should be used now and in the future, but it’s nowhere near enough,” continued Rowan.

“Countless veterans who have suffered from PTSD, TBI, and MST have been issued bad-paper and unfairly denied access to critical services and benefits. For too many, this has caused their symptoms to fester and become worse -- and it's caused more suicides than we'll ever know.” Veterans with bad-paper discharges are more likely to struggle from untreated physical and mental illnesses, be without employment, to struggle with substance-abuse disorders, to have interactions with the criminal justice system, and to die by suicide.

“We can’t afford to keep forcing veterans into a discharge-upgrade process that takes years to navigate through when they’re desperate for immediate help. That's why VVA is renewing our request to President Trump that he immediately issue pardons to veterans who have been unfairly denied critical veterans benefits without having the due process rights of courts martial. We hope that President Trump will be the first Commander-in-Chief in modern history who doesn't ignore these often-forgotten veterans.”

“The danger is that this memo, like past guidance, will fail to alter the historic hostility of the military’s review boards toward veterans with bad paper,” said Michael Wishnie, a professor at Yale Law School who, with his students, has represented VVA in several recent lawsuits on behalf of veterans with bad paper.

“The key now is meaningful outreach to veterans and rigorous oversight of board implementation, or better still, an immediate pardon by the President.”

“If Sheriff Joe Arpaio deserves a pardon, then why not wounded warriors who are suffering from PTSD, TBI, or sexual violence?” said Michael Wishnie, a professor at Yale Law School who, with his students, has represented VVA in several recent lawsuits on behalf of veterans with bad paper.

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



Press Release 8/14

Posted by on 2017-08-14 11:59:38 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 14, 2017 No. 17-41 Mokie Porter 301-996-0901 mporter@vva.org -

Vietnam Veterans of America Condemns Neo-Nazis (Washington, DC) –

Vietnam Veterans of America vociferously condemns neo-nazis, white supremacists, and wanna-be KKKers, whose violent, anti-American tendencies resulted in the death of Ms. Heather Heyer, who was exercising her legitimate Constitutional rights to free speech. It also resulted in the death of Trooper Berke M. M. Bates and Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Virginia State Troopers, who were trying to protect everyone's rights.

"Our parents did not sacrifice during World War II to defeat Nazism in Europe, only to have it return on our shores. When so-called protesters show up in helmets and flack jackets, carrying shields and clubs, they clearly are not planning to peacefully exercise their rights. They are trying to intimidate America, and their bigoted ideology must be resisted by all true patriots," said John Rowan, VVA National President.

"If there are any VVA members who harbor any of these bigoted ideologies, they are encouraged to turn in their membership cards. We did not don the uniform and serve our country to enable the acceptance of intolerance," said Rowan.

Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation’s only congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.

VVA’s founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.” Copyright © 2016 Vietnam Veterans of America, All rights reserved. Our mailing address is: Vietnam Veterans of America, 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 www.vva.org Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list



Press Release 8/1/2017

Posted by on 2017-08-01 13:32:31 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 1, 2017 No. 17-33 Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; 301-585- 4000, Ext. 146

VVA Lawsuit Challenges DoD’s Leaking of Personal Information Belonging to Active Duty and Veterans (Washington, DC) –

Vietnam Veterans of America filed a federal lawsuit today, in order to end the Department of Defense’s systematic violation of veterans’ and service members’ privacy rights. DoD operates a website that reveals details pertaining to the military service of millions of veterans and service members to anybody at all, anonymously, for any purpose.

The website discloses sensitive details, including exact dates of active-duty service, future dates of call-up to active duty, and branch and unit of service. “Veterans and active duty military are disproportionately targeted by scammers and identity thieves,” said John Rowan, President of VVA.

“DoD is fueling the problem by leaving personal and private information easily accessible on the internet, and DoD has refused to properly secure this information,” noted Rowan. “We are asking a court to order them to do so

.” The case was filed in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y., by Vietnam Veterans of America, the VVA New York State Council, VVA Chapter 77, and VVA member Thomas Barden.

Thomas Barden, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, was defrauded by scammers who gained his trust through the use of private details accessible on the DoD website. “We expect the military to protect our private information,” said Barden. “The government should not be giving con artists and scammers easy access to information they can use to rip-off veterans like me.” The DoD website allows anybody to search for an individual’s record, simply by inputting a last name and birthdate (or social security number).

“Veterans and service members face a multitude of challenges when they return home. Many veterans want control over who learns details about their service in order to avoid stereotypes, prejudice, or worse,” said Mike Walker, President of VVA Chapter 77, in Tonawanda, NY.

“The government is taking that decision out of our hands by operating this unsecured online database.”

“The site, which receives 2.3 billion queries every year, is intended for the exclusive use of banks and other regulated institutions to verify whether an individual is on active duty and, therefore, entitled to certain legal protections, but DoD does not limit access in any way and has no idea how many of those searches are illegitimate,” said Jonathan Manes, supervising attorney at the Civil Liberties and Transparency Clinic of the University at Buffalo School of Law, which represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Plaintiffs are represented by student attorneys Jessica Gill, Arthur Heberle, and Thora Knight of the UB School of Law under the supervision of Assistant Clinical Professor Manes.



Press Release 7/21/2017

Posted by on 2017-07-22 11:38:01 EDT

PRESS RELEASE Vietnam Veterans of America IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 20, 2017 No. 17-29 Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; 301-585-4000, Ext. 146

VVA Praises Senator McCain; Wishes Him Well in His Battle Against Brain Cancer (Washington, DC) --

"John McCain is a fighter who endured brutal treatment as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and we know he'll be a fighter now in his battle against brain cancer," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

"On behalf of the members of VVA, and our families, we offer our prayers and sincere wishes to Senator McCain for as complete a recovery as medical science deems possible," Rowan said.

"His fighting spirit will serve him well now, as it did forty-five years ago in the Hanoi Hilton and other hell holes. "We are saddened to learn that yet another Vietnam veteran has been diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer. Vietnam veterans are all too familiar with glioblastoma, which seems to visit our brothers and sisters at a far greater rate than our non-veteran peers. For years, we have suspected that our exposures during our military service have caused this cancer cluster. Unfortunately, brain cancer is not on the presumptive list for exposure to Agent Orange, despite the efforts of our fellow veterans and their family members.

"The Senator's integrity and determination to do the right thing for America, as well as for his constituents, has been the hallmark of his more than thirty years as a legislator," Rowan said.

"And we hope that he'll be able to return to his office and continue his service to America."

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



Press Release 7/14/2017

Posted by on 2017-07-14 10:01:28 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 13, 2017 No. 17-26 Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; 301-585- 4000, Ext. 146

VVA Applauds Roe, Walz, Veterans Community for Support of Forever GI Bill (Washington, DC) –

“The Forever GI bill will make the GI Bill a lifetime benefit, so that veterans can go to school when it’s right for them -- not when the government tells them to,” said John Rowan, President of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“Vietnam Veterans of America has long advocated for improvements to the GI Bill to allow veterans greater flexibility in accessing their educational and vocational benefits. We are glad that veterans will no longer be forfeiting their educational benefits because their timing didn’t fit the government’s random guidelines.”

The removal of the arbitrary, 15-year time limit will benefit veterans on two ends of the employment continuum: • In many cases, veterans are unable to use the GI Bill because health and family have to be their main priorities when they transition out of the service. • For others, a successful transition may mean beginning a career as soon as they leave the service. However, if unforeseen economic and technological changes end that career, a veteran would under current rules have lost their eligibility to retrain under the GI Bill.

“We are thankful to Chairman Roe, Ranking Member Walz, and the members of the ‘Forever GI Bill Coalition’ for fighting with us to ensure that future veterans have an improved, lifetime GI Bill,” said Rowan.

“We will continue to fight for those left ineligible for the GI Bill benefits due to unfair administrative discharges.

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



Press Release 6/28/17

Posted by on 2017-06-28 10:33:17 EDT

IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 20, 2017 No. 17-23 Contact: Mokie Porter 301-996-0901; 301-585- 4000, Ext. 146

VVA Lauds VA Sec. Shulkin for leading on OTH, Urges Support of Congress (Washington, D.C.)--

“VA Secretary Shulkin leads with the heart of a physician, and takes seriously his oath to ‘do no harm,’ ” said John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America. “That’s why he’s working to correct the VA’s self-imposed policies, which have denied care to our most vulnerable veterans for decades. We are heartened that as of July 5, every VA emergency room will be prepared to receive veterans with a ‘bad paper,’ OTH administrative discharge, who are experiencing a mental health crisis, and that they are now eligible to be treated for an initial period of up to 90 days, which can include inpatient, residential, or outpatient care.”

Previous VA Secretaries have allowed the problem of denying healthcare to veterans with so-called “bad-paper” discharges fester. By law, the term “veteran” is a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. By VA regulation alone, the VA has denied access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of veterans who meet the definition of “veteran.” A Brown University Study, released June 20, “‘Bad Papers’:

The Invisible and Increasing Costs of War for Excluded Veterans,” by Ali R. Tayyeb and Jennifer Greenburg, finds, “one of the most invisible and devastating costs of the post-9/11 wars for our nation’s veterans is the denial of benefits and services to a growing portion of former service members who are most in need of support … six percent of the entire veteran population of this era…. And that most of these military discharges result from minor disciplinary infractions which are actually symptomatic of trauma sustained during military service.

” VVA, in partnership with Swords to Plowshares and the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Harvard Law, have developed a legislative proposal called the Leave No Veteran Behind Act to ensure that Secretary Shulkin's initiative is as successful as possible. “Secretary Shulkin can’t solve this problem alone,” said Rowan. “That’s why VVA is calling on Congress to introduce and pass the Leave No Veteran Behind Act.



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