Dennis Franklin’s March 27 letter “Support our Blue Water Veterans” missed the reality of the Agent Orange “exposure” during our Vietnam military presence.
I think most Americans accept the fact that Army and Marine troops in Vietnam plus a smaller number of Navy sailors patrolling inland and coastal waterways were exposed to Agent Orange herbicide. Possibly many or most of them suffered medical problems later. To allow vets to make claims without medical proof the herbicide caused their problem, the Department of Veterans Affairs invented “presumptive exposure.” If a vet was in the exposed area it was presumed his medical problems were caused by that exposure.
I am a Blue Water Veteran. I was aboard and flew from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in 1968. It’s absurd to argue that sailors on a ship 30, 40, or 50 miles offshore were also harmed by chemicals sprayed on tropical foliage so far away. I hope the VA, Congress and vet service groups drop this illogical campaign before the nonveteran voters catch on.