The Akaka Bill S-2026

On Thursday, Sept 6, 2007, Sen. Daniel Akaka [D-HI] introduced a bill to the Senate which would specifically exclude Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans from receiving any presumptive Agent Orange compensation from the VA. The bill specifies these benefits "applies only to veterans who served in Vietnam on land or on Vietnam's inland waterways and not to those who served only in waters offshore or in airspace above."

The current wording of S-2026 is located HERE.

Senator Akaka acted on the traditional "By Request" sponsorship, and we have his "official statement" regarding this tradition and his current "no position" stance on this issue. Please understand the "process" of submission of legislation, and realize that this bill S-1026 originated in the White House, whether directly from President Bush or from the Department of Veterans Affairs through some White House channels. Senator Akaka's statement on the floor of the Senate on September 12, provides a full explanation.

However, because this matter of committment to veteran advocacy is so important, we urge everyone to continue contacting the Congress and their own representatives regarding our feelings about it. We would like to make this a CAMPAIGN ISSUE for 2008.

Thoughts on the "By Request" Tradition


You can keep an always-up-to-date tracking on S-2026 at these two sites:
The Library of Congress Thomas site at at

All members of Congress must be alerted to our opposition of this bill and especially those members of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. PLEASE REMEMBER that your contacts with these individuals must be tempered, polite, and provide as much factual data as possible.

Attorney John Wells (who filed the Amicus Brief on our behalf in the Haas Case) has provided these words of wisdom in writing to the members of Congress:

Here are some excerpts from various studies which specifically address the preponderance of evidence showing Naval personnel suffered an extremely high rate of risk and exposure to Agent Orange. Give them facts.

Here are some quotable FACTS. They are statistical, and might be said to be "taken out of context." But the source of each quote is also provided so the information can be verified and seen "in context" as required. But I believe the statements speak for themselves. These are statements of facts by reputable research institutions, and to believe otherwise is blatantly ignoring the facts.

We will be adding more as we review the research and literature. If you've got any significant statements like these not listed here, please contact us. There is no stronger truth than the facts.

We suggest that you incorporate these statements into your letters. You are presenting proof that the Akaka Senate Bill 2026 "flies in the face of reason" and you have the facts to prove it.

Navy veterans had the highest rate of cancer, higher than expected by 22-26%... 1997 Mortality of Vietnam Veterans: The Veteran Cohort Study-- (Australian Study #1 Summary)

Specifically, Navy veterans had a higher than expected mortality from lung cancer (39%) and melanoma (56%), whereas mortality from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was 48% lower than expected. Also mortality from mesothelioma was higher than expected based on small numbers. (1997 Mortality of Vietnam Veterans: The Veteran Cohort Study -- Australian Study #2 Summary)

National Service veterans experienced a 23% higher overall mortality than non-veterans, RR = 1.23 (95% CI 1.13, 1.34).( 1997 Mortality of Vietnam Veterans: The Veteran Cohort Study -- Australian Study #3 Summary)

The estimated relative risk for blue-water Navy Vietnam veterans is from the "Selected Cancers Study" conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and published in 1990. It is indeed among the highest risks listed for studies of veterans. On page 542, the 1994 report comments on this subgroup of the 32 cases noted for the Navy overall (RR=1.9, 95% CI 1.1-1.32): "No cases occurred among naval personnel stationed on river and near-shore ships, and only four among shore personnel. No explanation is known for the high blue water Navy odds ratio (OR=2.2, CI 1.2-3.9) [for the other 28 cases]. The study's authors feel that it is unlikely to be the result of occupational exposures aboard ship." ((This explanation could well be 'exposure to Agent Orange' through the ships fresh water supply.)).

Only Navy veterans had a statistically significant increased risk of testicular cancer (odds ratio (OR) = 2.60; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.08 to 6.24). 1994 Risk of testicular cancer associated with surrogate measures of Agent Orange exposure among Vietnam veterans on the Agent Orange Registry.)

The highest elevation in mortality was among veterans of the Royal Australian Navy, rather than the land and air forces (Crane et al., 1997a). Dec. 2002, Examination of the Potential Exposure of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Personnel to Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins and Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans Via Drinking Water.

As part of a series of investigations into the health of Vietnam veterans, we conducted a population-based, case-control study of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma between 1984 and 1988. All men born between 1929 and 1953 and diagnosed as having non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in an area covered by eight cancer registries were considered eligible. Control subjects were identified by random-digit dialing from these same regions and were frequency-matched to men with lymphoma by age. Analyses of 1157 men with pathologically confirmed lymphomas and 1776 control subjects showed that the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was approximately 50% higher among Vietnam veterans (odds ratio, 1.47; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 2.0) compared with men who did not serve in Vietnam. Vietnam veterans were also at higher risk relative to (1) men who had not served in the military, (2) other veterans, and (3) other veterans who served between 1964 and 1972. An analysis of the military histories of the 232 Vietnam veterans suggested that the relative risk (1) increased with length of service in Vietnam (P = .10), and (2) was higher among men in the sea-based Navy than among other veterans (P = .11). Little difference in risk, however, was noted according to dates of service, type of unit, military region, or any other characteristics that may have been associated with the use of Agent Orange. Although the cause remains uncertain, results of this study indicate that the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is higher among Vietnam veterans than among other men. The association of selected cancers with service in the US military in Vietnam. I. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Selected Cancers Cooperative Study Group - Center for Disease Control.

Summary from the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia "Current issues involving the Association include the recently released results of the Vietnam Veterans’ Mortality Study, (commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs) and following through on the self-reported issues revealed in the long-delayed Vietnam Veterans’ Health Study, including spouses and children. The Mortality Study revealed that Vietnam veterans have a death rate 7% higher than the general male population, with deaths from cancer 21% higher, prostate cancer 53% higher, lung cancer 29%, ischaemic heart disease 10% and suicides 21% above the general male population."

PLEASE READ The Blue Water Navy Alternative Legislation Bill submitted to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and other Congress Members for introduction "by Request" of the veterans of a bill specifying Blue Water Navy as "service in Vietnam."

Read about PREVIOUS LEGISLATION attempts on behalf of the blue water navy by the American Legion in 2002 and 2006.

Here is the Congressional Email List

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