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New legislation could help Navy Vietnam veterans receive treatment for Agent Orange-linked illnesses

(WIVB) - Thousands of Vietnam veterans who fought for their country came home to another battle this time with the government.

Their struggle for Agent Orange treatment has lasted more than 50 years.

The "Blue Water" veterans served off the shores of Vietnam in the Navy and the Department of Veterans has insisted they could not have been poisoned by the toxic herbicide Agent Orange.

Now, Congress and the courts are seeing things differently.

The U.S. military sprayed tons of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange over forests and jungles during the Vietnam war to expose enemy denuding thousands of acres of countryside.

It took years for the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize Agent Orange sickened GI's who served on land, and it even affected their children.

But the government would not offer the same medical attention to those in the Navy who later became ill.

This week, Congress approved a measure recognizing those Blue Water veterans, like Dale Strujewski, as Agent Orange victims, too.. and the vote was unanimous. 

Dale told us his arthritis pales in comparison to other "Blue Water" Navy veterans with more severe health issues.

The government estimates there are 90,000 Vietnam veterans that could be helped by the new legislation, although a similar bill was passed by the House of Representatives last year but failed to make it through the Senate.

This time however, the Blue Water Navy legislation passed unanimously. Earlier this year a federal Court of Appeals ruled on behalf of those Navy veterans that they should also be afforded treatment for illnesses linked to Agent Orange.


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