Topic

veterans affairs

29 petitions

Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to President of the United States, Mike Pence

Help get Leonard Blake, WWII Merchant Marine Veteran the Purple Heart that he Deserves!

Leonard Blake, 89 is a WWII Veteran of Whittier CA. At age 15 he was told by the Navy that he was too young and they told him to go sign up for the US Merchant Marine. His first ship was the SS Mary A. Livermore. While anchored in Okinawa, May 27th 1945 a kamikaze plane hit the ship. Eleven men died and seven were severely injured, including Leonard Blake. His legs were completely shattered and part of his foot was missing. He begged them not to amputate his legs so they did not. Today he walks with a limp and a cane. These photos & several others, were sent by the US Navy to Leonard's daughter. Leonard remembers being carried off the ship next to the US Navy Armed Guard gunner who apologized to Leonard for not firing at the plane. Leonard was transferred to 3 military hospitals and eventually turned over to a city hospital in California due to the fact that Merchant Seaman were  considered civilians at the time.  It was 43 years later in 1989 that the USMM of WWII received Combat Veteran status but the Purple Heart was never given to Leonard. It is on record that several USMMWWII Veterans have received the Purple Heart in the past and as recently as last year, several civilian WWII weathermen have received a Purple Heart for being wounded. Several other civilians including reporters injured while in war time have also been bestowed this prestigious award. As recently as this year, his congressman was contacted and she turned it over to the US Coast Guard. They advised him he was not eligible for the Purple Heart because he was “a civilian” at the time. Let's get this man the medal that he wants so badly as his wish is to be buried in the Purple Heart section of a military cemetery.  Thank you in advance.

Sheila M. Sova
322 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Paul Ryan, Johnny Isakson, Orrin Hatch, VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, President of the United States, Philip Roe, Elizabeth Esty

Give the Vietnam Blue Water Navy Veterans their presumptive rights.

In 1977, the first claims of Agent Orange exposure came flooding into the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But it took 14 years for Congress to actually listen, take action and give our Vietnam veterans the benefits they deserved. The Agent Orange Act of 1991 was implemented to provide much-needed care to veterans who were exposed to the harmful chemical cocktail Agent Orange. Many of us thought the fight to get the medical attention we deserved was over, but that wasn’t the case. In 2002, the VA amended its initial plan and excluded thousands of “Blue Water” Navy vets -- vets who served right off the coast -- from receiving  our rightful benefits. Because we hadn’t served on land, the VA tried to say we were unlikely to suffer the effects of Agent Orange poisoning. Even though we didn’t serve on Vietnamese soil, we were still exposed to Agent Orange. In fact, a 2011 study by the National Institute of Medicine found that Blue Water veterans could have been exposed in multiple ways, including via the ships’ water distillation system and through the air. The National Institute of Medicine also stated, “Given the available evidence, the committee recommends that members of the Blue Water Navy should not be excluded from the set of Vietnam-era veterans with presumed herbicide exposure.” We are asking for your help in urging Congress to pass legislation (House Bill H 299 and Senate Bill S 422)  that will reinstate our right as Vietnam Navy veterans to receive the benefits we deserve for being exposed to this terrible chemical. Nearly 90,000 Blue Water vets are depending on you. We are dealing with serious health issues that range from cancer to diabetes, and from Parkinson’s to heart disease. Many of these diseases have made it nearly impossible for some of us to get steady work. Last year, the VA finally extended benefits to Air Force crew members who flew in C-123s after they had been used in Vietnam to spray the toxic cocktail. The VA came to the realization that even the slightest exposure to this chemical had serious effects on a soldier's health. So why are the Navy vets’ pleas being ignored? We breathed the Agent Orange-polluted air that drifted from the coast and drank water sprinkled with the herbicide, and now our bodies are paying the cost. We ask you to stand with us, and with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. David Valadao, and demand that the VA assume responsibility for the effects of Agent Orange on Blue Water vets. Please sign our petition asking Congress to pass House Bill HR 299 and Senate Bill S 422 and give us our benefits. 

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
86,476 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Chris Christie, Frank Lobiondo

Remove the combat zone requirement for Disabled NJ Veterans tax exemption

In the Great State of New Jersey, the government saw fit to exempt 100% disabled veterans from property tax in 1946 by enacting N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.30.  This statute exempted all veterans from personal property tax providing that they were: 1. 100% disabled as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs 2. Discharged honorably 3. Residents of the state of NJ 4. Served during a time of war 5. Requested an exception on their primary residence Since that time, the statute has been progressively narrowed until the current prevailing interpretation is that a veteran must have served 14 days in an actual combat zone, and further that operations post 9/11 are considered to be "peace keeping missions". This petition calls for the government of the State of New Jersey to apply the tax exemption to ALL 100% disabled veterans who served during time of active conflict equally, in accordance with the actual language of the State Constitution and Statute.  Neither the Constitution nor the Statute have wording requiring the 14 day combat zone period, nor do they term post 9/11 operations as peace keeping missions.  The statue also clearly states that such disability may be the result of enemy action, accident, or disease - yet municipalities in New Jersey are continuing to deny veterans who do not have this arbitrarily required combat zone time. Though combat veterans deserve our admiration, respect, and thanks it should not be that those who served our nation with honor but, through no fault of their own, did not fight in war are forgotten.  Indeed all veterans who find themselves disabled and unable to work also find themselves dealing with similar financial difficulty, and the original intent of the legislation was to provide relief to veterans who served honorably and are disabled. Each veteran who served in a time of active combat operations had no choice in whether or not they were ordered into combat, but all volunteered regardless of the possibility that they might. Given that the number of Veterans claiming ANY form of VA benefits constitutes less than one percent of the total population of the state of New Jersey (per the most recent state census and Dept. Of Veterans Affairs State by State summary), it is clear that applying this exemption across the board for all 100% disabled veterans who served honorably during a time of active combat operations, is not in any way burdensome on the state. This petition calls for the removal of the unnecessary and unilateral requirement of combat zone duty for the disabled veterans personal property tax exemption in the State of New Jersey.

Christopher Johnson
1,643 supporters