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Mar-13-2010 19:05printcomments

So Simple It Hurts

The DVA must be stopped from implementing regulations and procedures that fracture the unity and solidarity that is the shared bond of brothers in arms.

U.S. aircraft spraying Agent Orange during the Vietnam War
U.S. aircraft spraying Agent Orange during the Vietnam War

(LITTLETON, Co.) - It might be too late to believe that a magical duct tape can be found to fix the problems of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and hold its structure together. But if it weren't, I would be happy to report that there are only four things that need to be done to cure its ills and save its very existence.

- There needs to be a consistency of ruling that is shared not only among the 57 Regional Offices, but by the Board of Veteran Appeals.

- There needs to be a shift over to Precedent Standards, replacing the idea that each and every claim has to be treated as a new and unique entity. The use of precedent provides an ability to draw upon previous rulings as guidance in standardizing the results of nearly identical claims, of which there are many.

- The concept of auditing needs to be instituted so that the standardization and categorization of claims can move along without believing each claim submission is from some low-life bastard attempting to rip off the system. Auditing spot-checks can verify not only the veracity of a claim, but can provide verification on the application of standards with the goal of perfecting them in order to gain more confidence in them.

- The DVA must be stopped from implementing regulations and procedures that fracture the unity and solidarity that is the shared bond of brothers in arms.

If these four items were implemented, the underlying structure that supports the compensation claims process would operate efficiently and effectively, and would fulfill the purpose of the DVA's mission as a support to veterans and their families. Implementation of these four changes would prevent backlogs and maintain a swift and judicious operation where veterans would see justice, predictability, and validation of their sacrifices given in the name of patriotism to this country. Without an immediate application of these elements, the DVA will continue on its path to hell and ruination that has the potential of pulling down with it several other sick, broken and corrupt government agencies that need the same or similar revamping in order to survive the next several years.

A good place to start reassuring veterans of this country -- past, present and future, that America still honors and cares for a veteran and their family -- is to put the Agent Orange Equity Act into place and deny the DVA the right to isolate a specific group of veterans simply to deny them the benefits intended for all. House Bill 2254 and its Senate companion S-1939 need to be codified as federal law to hold the DVA's feet to the fire to avoid its move to fragment the ranks of veterans. With that law enacted and those claims processing procedures in place, the DVA might have a chance of survival. If any one of them is missed, the DVA will continue its half-assed antics leading to its deterioration and the total loss of confidence and support of every American veteran.

John Rossie (left) &
Congressman Filner.

John Paul Rossie, Executive Director of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, served aboard the USS Radford (DD-446), a Fletcher-class Destroyer out of Pearl Harbor, from August 1968 until her decommissioning in December, 1969. He was on board for the 1969 WESTPAC Cruise and was part of the crew that stayed aboard to salvage the equipment from RADFORD prior to committing her to the moth balled fleet at Vallejo, CA. He finished his tour in June, 1970, aboard the USS Piedmont (AD-17) in San Diego, CA.

Today he stays busy advocating for American veterans through his role with the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.

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George Mitchell March 15, 2010 11:51 am (Pacific time)

I concur with Mr. Moore. I too am a BWN vet. Made Westpacs in '69, '70 and '71. Plus a few others later years. I have Al Amyloidosis, which I believe to be a result of AO exposure. Let's all keep fighting til the end. Thank you all Veterans.

Lee Roy Moore March 14, 2010 2:08 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you for running this article. I am a Navy veteran with two full cruises in the 60s off Vietnam. I have developed three types of cancer in which I have been"dealing" with the VA for four years. Their aim is to stall until most ,if not all, are dead. Good luck to all Veterans and thank you for your service.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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