The recent Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) decision opened the door for more “blue water” Navy veterans to receive service-connections for disorders related to Agent Orange exposure. However, there have been some recent developments that might open that door even wider. News reports are now suggesting that more Navy veterans might have been exposed through the distilled water onboard ships, since patrolling Navy vessels sucked in potentially contaminated sea water and distilled it for use. The distillation process would have only concentrated the toxin. A 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine used a theoretical model that found the distillation process, if it used contaminated water, would have concentrated the toxin.
Currently, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia have joined the push to ensure that “blue water” Navy veterans are compensated. We will be sure to keep you updated on the results of that push for new legislation.
In the meantime, if you are a “blue water” veteran, and you did not serve on a vessel that has been recognized as showing Agent Orange exposure, you can still get compensation. You will need to show that you had “boots on ground,” or that you came close to shore. Pictures, buddy statements, and deck logs can all be helpful. If you need assistance with your VA claim, call (402) 817-6550 for a free consultation.