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Bob Ford

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Bob Ford “has spent his life trying to make a difference where he could. He was a Marine infantryman, serving as clerk, radio operator and machine gunner. While a student under the GI Bill, he started a volunteer counseling program, by veterans for veterans, to help other veterans get into college. In 1971, Ford was appointed by President Nixon to replace Brigadier General Henry Gross as Pennsylvania State Director of the Selective Service System, becoming, at age 31, the youngest Draft Director in the history of the United States, where he supervised the second largest operation in the Selective Service System. War Against the US Navy is his newest project. It is written in the hope of convincing the President of the United States to restore equality and benefits to those sailors and Marines who served their nation honorably in the Vietnam War.”  Bob Ford is the author of War Against The US Navy.

According to the book description of War Against The US Navy, “The story you are about to read involves a particular group of American citizens who, like generations before them, volunteered to go off to war, and now find that their real enemy is their own government, specifically, entrenched government bureaucrats who wield the power of life and death over our country’s veterans, and in this case, have chosen death. These men get no benefits at all for their service-connected disabilities, and, in perhaps the greatest irony of this whole story, the disabilities from which they are now suffering, and dying, were inflicted upon them by their own government in the first place!

Agent Orange is the term used to describe a combination of deadly dioxins which were repeatedly sprayed over Vietnam for the purpose of defoliating the jungles below as hiding places for enemy soldiers. The term originated from the Orange stripe around the barrels of chemicals that were used in this ill-fated experiment. Most of this deadly stuff was flown out of the large base at Da Nang, Vietnam, under the mission term of Operation Ranch Hand.

It was literally dumped by the tons from the skies from large multi-engine aircraft, often three and four abreast, and it did indeed transform much of Vietnam into a deadly wasteland. It also exposed American servicemen and women to the origins of numerous cancers that now have them dying at a rate of 13 years earlier than their counterparts who did not serve in Vietnam. When all this was taking place, the military was told there was nothing to fear from Agent Orange.

After years of denial in a prolonged battle by Vietnam veterans, the government finally acknowledged the disabilities caused by Agent Orange, and a system was established to process claims for those who now have one or more of the related diseases recognized by VA as caused by exposure to these chemicals. The legislation was clear in that anyone who served, whether on land or sea, was presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. Obviously, the one claim no veteran would ever hope to file with VA would be for Agent Orange benefits. The stark reality is that you must already have cancer to qualify.

For many, it was too late, including Elmo R. Zumwalt III, the son of then Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr, Commander of Naval Forces, Vietnam. The younger Zumwalt was a swift-boat skipper who died of cancer in 1988 at the age of 42. It was also too late for my friend, Captain Robert B. Scholl, USMC, whom I had talked into joining up with me in 1958. Bob flew 324 combat missions out of Da Nang during two tours, one in F4 Phantoms, the second as a helicopter gunship pilot. He would die of cancer at the age of 52. His younger brother Jim would follow him into the Marines, into Da Nang, and into the grave, from cancer.

The main conclusion of this story is there is a controlling group of senior bureaucrats within the United States Department of Veterans Affairs who are relentlessly determined to prevent United States Navy veterans of the Vietnam War from receiving benefits that are automatically granted to all other Vietnam veterans.”

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