Doug DeWitt served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, but now he feels abandoned by the nation for which he fought.
"I think the way the VA is looking at us (is) they're just waiting for us to die off so they don't have to pay us," he said.
DeWitt is one of potentially thousands of so-called "blue water" Navy veterans who have been excluded from easy approval of their Agent Orange-related disability compensation claims by the Veterans Affairs Department. He's in a group of veterans who served on deep-water ships off the coast of Vietnam but didn't touch land or serve on waterways inside the country.
In recent years, Australia and New Zealand have begun to provide benefits for the Agent Orange-related claims of their blue water veterans.
The blue water veterans say they were exposed to Agent Orange primarily through the water they drank on ships, which often was distilled from water taken from the sea or from harbors when ships were anchored close to shore. Potentially toxic runoff from rivers flowed into that sea and harbor water.
See Legislation for 2011 - H.R. 812