Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Robert Gray | Michael Hill | Vietnam | Agent Orange

Sailor Fights for Benefits for Vietnam Agent Orange Exposure

Monday, 27 Apr 2015 02:54 PM

As the world remembers the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon this week, one Vietnam veteran is still trying to get the government to cover the side effects of his exposure to Agent Orange.

Retired Navy sailor Robert Gray told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Monday that he's been denied benefits because he "had no boots on the ground" and he "never touched land."

However, Gray thinks he will end up getting the needed benefits because "there's too much science that shows that we were exposed."

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Attorney Michael Hill, who is representing Gray in his fight against the Veterans Affairs Administration to obtain benefits, told Newsmax TV that even though Gray and other sailors were never on land where the toxic herbicide was used, he was in fact exposed to it.

"Mr. Gray and many others were aboard ships that were in harbors such as Danang Harbor, and we believe that those harbors are considered to be inland waterways," Hill explained.

Those who rode in "swift boats . . . are granted Agent Orange exposure because they were in inland waterways, and our argument is that a harbor is an inland [waterway]" as well.

"That's been recognized by the United States and really everybody except the Department of Veterans Affairs," he said.

However, retired Navy Commander J.B. Wells joined Gray and Hill on "America's Forum" and said there were other ways in which sailors were exposed to Agent Orange as well.

"What would happen is the Agent Orange mixed with the petroleum that would float out to sea, then be taken into the ship aboard the distillation system to produce potable water, and these guys were getting a straight shot of Agent Orange into their potable water," which was used "for drinking, clothes washing, all the things that you use potable water for," Wells explained.

In addition to litigation against the VA that is under way to grant benefits to sailors like Gray who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Wells said that there is also legislation being proposed in Congress that is "looking at the entire VA interpretation of the regulations."

"We currently have legislation in the House, HR-969, with 214 cosponsors and a companion bill in the Senate, and we're very hopeful that if the VA does not act — and I hope they do act — to correct this injustice, that Congress will act," he said.

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As the world remembers the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon this week, one Vietnam veteran is still trying to get the government to cover the side effects of his exposure to Agent Orange.
Robert Gray, Michael Hill, Vietnam, Agent Orange
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2015-54-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 02:54 PM
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