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Vice President’s Report, March/April 2022 -   -  

Mark Your Calendars

August 9-13, 2022: Hyatt Regency, Downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Make your plans now to attend Vietnam Veterans of America’s National Leadership & Education Conference in Greenville, South Carolina.

VVA has been in Greenville before and it is a great venue for a conference. There are lots of places to enjoy your favorite food, drinks, and shopping. Features of the conference include seminars such as Claims Assistance, Legislative Action, and Member Benefits, as well as the Awards Banquet, guest speakers, and much more. Conference Planning Committee Chair Dan Stenvold and Event Planner Wes Guidry, along with the other members of the Conference Committee, have gone all out to make this a memorable event. If you have a request for a specific seminar, do not hesitate to contact Stenvold or Guidry. Requests will be taken into consideration based on interest and available time slots.


Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has identified addressing toxic exposure as a top priority during the 117th Congress. His bipartisan Honoring Our PACT Act has the support of nine VSOs and 77 cosponsors.

“My bipartisan bill finally provides access to VA to over 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic substances,” Takano said. “It would require that VA presume veterans were exposed to toxic substances, rather than forcing veterans to prove this themselves. It makes crucial improvements to streamline VA’s review process, so that Congress doesn’t have to keep intervening. With the support of veterans service organizations, advocates, and 70 cosponsors, this legislation has the momentum.”

Because of the support in the House, the bill is expected to pass in that body. However, the companion bill in the Senate, S.3003, The Cost of War Act, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), will probably have an uphill battle. It has no cosponsors at this time. The Senate needs to find the will to do what is right. Vietnam veterans have waited more than 40 years for an inclusive Agent Orange benefits law rather than Congress’ piecemeal solutions.

Rep. Takano and Sen. Tester have hit the nail on the head. This legislative effort is long overdue. This has been one of VVA’s hot topics for years. I urge you to contact your members of Congress, especially your senators, and ask them to support these bills. They are vitally important to all veterans. Please do not let this opportunity pass us by.


The National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 authorizes veterans to receive an ID to gain access to military base commissaries, PXs, and other similar facilities. You just have to present your VA card or other proof of service to get the ID. Think about the money you could save on products, especially with the rising cost of everything. Even if you live four or five hours from a military installation it would be worth the trip for the savings on products that we all know can be found on base. This is a tremendous new benefit. Don’t miss this one, guys and gals. My understanding is this applies worldwide, no matter where you live. Santa Claus here.


VVA has not forgotten the veterans of Puerto Rico, nor will we leave your benefits to chance. VA claims decisions and directives should be sent to veterans in Puerto Rico in English and Spanish. We are hearing that the VA has not heeded this court-ordered directive, and many documents are sent in English only.

VVA is not ignoring this situation. The leadership has discussed this issue at length. If necessary, we will return to the federal court to enforce the original directive. You may hear of other issues that we are looking at in the near future.




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