Most of this is being written on the plane.
I flew into Washington DC on Monday night. While I was checking in I ran into CDR Wells, so we decided to meet on he would brief me on Mondays meeting.
We started Tuesday morning meeting in the lobby to go over to the Metro to ride to Capitol Hill. Now you must know I am in a Wheelchair that I'm using the first time. It only took a few minutes before I tried to take someone out.
Good Morning Shipmates,
Several members have been asking, and instead of writing to each one Ill address this publicly.
Dues will be used to pay for cost of a website, access to specific email domains, legal fees for taking case before the Supreme Court, administrative cost, some man hours, postage, and other items that may pop up. These expenses won’t be used without a vote from the board, but the ED will have discretionary use when it comes to paying certain items.
Currently there is no Constitution or By-Laws and the Board has no power based on the Articles of Incorporation. That is being changed to put the power in the hands of the Board and Elected Officers, ultimately giving the power to the members.
Many people are accusing me of running this like a dictatorship....I’m not sure how since we are keeping everyone up to date on the changes being made and also ran a member survey that almost a thousand of you responded to. I hope my post show that we are keeping the members informed and quarterly you will be seeing a financial report on the website. Nothing to hide here.
It is correct that dues are currently not mandatory, because we are a c3, but that dynamic is changing since we will be filing for a c19 status, Veteran Service Organization. This will allow us to file for VSO status within the VA and be recognized Nationally.
A lot of hard work has gone into the setting up of this association, and it’s time to take it into the next century of its existence. We currently have 2,439 members of BWNVVA and Blue Water Navy Awareness has over two thousand also. As we merge the two organizations membership (Facebook sites won’t go away, they do each offer something significant), this site offers official statements and the BWNA sites is more of a public forum, it will help our numbers as we take on other issues, and as we start to expand to other areas as well.
Change comes with all types of controversy, I am well aware most people are going to say “Well it wasn’t like that before”, that’s how organizations come to die. We need to be thinking outside the box and push this organization into a life that will exceed the vision of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association.
Blue Water Navy will always be our #1 priority and the top source of where we spend time, resources and energy, but we also must start expanding our talking points to attract newer members.
Bring me your Time, Talent, Treasures and Resources, and together we will thrive for the greater good of our Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Veterans!
Michael J. Little
1.) Out of all respondents of our survey, 67% are willing to pay between $15-$25 yearly for a membership with Blue Water Navy. The majority of members would be willing to pay $25-- Few individuals are willing to pay $100 for a lifetime membership. Because the results were so close, we will be charging $20 annual dues for membership that runs between January 1 to December 31. Because of the complications of running a life membership, we will not be looking at that option at this time. However, if you wish to pay more than one year at a time, your dues will be reflected as such.
2.) Members would primarily like to receive updates, with approximately 17 individuals who would be interested in volunteering with Blue Water Navy.
3.) In addition to advocating for Agent Orange exposure(s), members would like reinstated benefits, information on Blue Water vets benefits, information on HR 299, continuing lobbying in Congress and the VA, BWN Healthcare, Reacquisition of presumption rights pursuant to the 1991 Act, VA benefits, and information on passage of bills to reinstate rights VSO’s to help with claims.
4.) Members would first and foremost like BWN to advocate for Agent Orange, then other toxic exposures. Navy specific issues and continuing to advocate for veterans in Congress also should be a top priority.
We will run a member survey every November
I want to thank those of you who took the time to fill out our survey. While I wish it was more, it was enough to get the data we needed to move this ship full steam ahead. This week you will see alot of big changes happening in the wake of the recent court decision. While I am sure many of these efforts will seem reactionary, I want to assure you they have been in work since I took over almost 45 days ago.
The results of the Survey will be posted in a separate post, but we have decided to have a yearly dues system that will pay administrative cost, operations cost, and legal fees. We will also take donations throughout the year for anyone who wants to contribute more.
We need to come up with at least $20,000 in our legal fund to ensure we have what it takes to see this court case go before the Supreme Court. While a few organizations are thinking about supporting, I feel like it is the charge of this organization to ensure the case is properly funded.
We will start the fundraiser for this next week. My plan is to sell off what is left of the shirts I was turned over, and start a challenge coin and lapel fundraiser. Also this week you will see a brand new website launched. A lot of the data from the old site will not be up right away, but you will see it return over the next few months.
Mike Yates, will be interviewing those who wanted to volunteer and finding a place for each of you. While we dont have alot of positions on the board, we will find somewhere for each of you to contribute.
Thanks for all your support during this time.
Michael J. Little
Here is a joint letter from The American Legion National Headquarters, Military Order of the Purple Heart, USA, Fleet Reserve Association National Headquarters, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc., Disabled American Veterans, National Association of County Veterans Service Officers and Association of the United States Navy. This is the first letter that has been signed by your first National Commander Mike Yates.
Feel free to share this letter with Donald J. Trump, when you are asking him to step in help restore your benefits that were so wrongly removed from you.
Michael J. Little
Thank you for being a valued member of Blue Water Navy Association. We appreciate your support and feedback as we determine what issues are most important for us to cover.
Enclosed is a brief survey that we have designed in order to see what you'd like from the association and how we can improve.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.
Michael J. Little
This Saturday is Veterans Day, a day we pay tribute to all American veterans—living or
dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans are also Veterans, but in some cases we are being treated different that other Vietnam Veterans. There are studies that we were exposed to Agent Orange by way of the Water used on board the ships we served on. It has also been proved that the water going through the distillation plants on board the ships actually enhanced the Dioxins in the water causing the Blue Water Navy Veterans to be exposed up to ten(10) times the amount as A Veterans with Boots On The Ground.
In 1991 Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991(Public Law No: 102-4) and was signed into law by the President George H.W. Bush and were granted benefits. but in 2002 the General Consul Mary Lou Keener of the Veterans Administration decided to remove these Veterans from being cover despite the sprit of the Public Law No: 102-4.
The COB has estimated that the total cost to cover these Veterans is around 1.1 Billion over ten (10) years. Now one interesting FACT from www. Foreignassistance. gov is that from 2009 until 2018 the amount of Foreign Assistance given to Vietnam is around 1.1 Billion. Now this does include fund that are being used to CLEAN UP Agent Orange in Vietnam. Our Government can find money to Clean Up Vietnam but not to provide Benefits for our Veterans. So Vietnam is worth more than our own Veterans. This is very sad.
I have attached a video that I found last year and posted. I am againing going to share it. Please remember Share this video and help other remember other Veterans.
Good morning Shipmates!
I am pleased to announce that we held our first Board of Directors meeting last night. The Board has given my staff and I a green light for the new initiatives. First, and foremost, I want to announce that Mike Yates has been selected to become the first National Commander of the Association. Mike will be posting his official comments on the page and website. We are currently redesigning the website and making it user-friendly, as well as, transitioning the new staff to help with deck log research. I look forward to his leadership and hope you're excited about the changes coming!
Michael J. Little
I want to thank Mike Little and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans
Association Board of Directors for this opportunity. I look forward to
working with them.
The BWNVVA has been around for many years doing some very good work for
Blue Water Navy Veterans. I hope to continue to do this type of work and
help to bring the BWNVVA to be an even stronger group than it already is.
We need to be able stand up with other Veterans Organizations with our
heads held up high and continue the fight. We need to be able to go up to
any Member of Congress and when they hear we are from BWNVVA they will
respect us and be willing to work with us.
One thing I want to make clear. BWNVVA is working hard with Blue Water Navy
Vietnam Veterans, BWNVVA is not only for them but for all Navy Veterans,
Marine Veterans, and Fleet Marine Veterans, Active Duty Members, and all
other Veterans. We all can work together and help each others
What does this mean for the BWNVVA. It means in the next year I am going to
be busy. There is a lot of planning to do in setting the direction of the
BWNVVA, I need to define and fill some other position and I need to do this
while working on H.R. 299, S. 422, H.R.809 and any other Bills that we need
to work on.
For those of you on the Blue Water Navy Awareness Facebook page, you may
ask what does this mean for Blue Water Navy Awareness, I want to bring BWNA
and BWNVVA closer together so we are all working together. Both pages will
stay as they are. I would like to suggest that if you are on one but not
the other you may want to make sure you are signed up for both just in case
one has more information than the other.
For those who don’t know me. I will tell you a little about myself. I am a
Blue Water Navy Veterans. I served on the USS Bainbridge DLG(N)25 as a
Sonar Tech. I spent many years in the San Francisco Bay Area and worked as
a Senior Test Engineer before being retired in 2012. In 2013 I was
diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and in 2014 I was diagnosed with Thyroid
Cancer. To top that off this year I have been diagnosed with Heart Problem,
receiving a stent a few months ago. I have had many people ask me how I can
keep a positive outlook while having these problems. I tell them two
things, first I have Cancer, Cancer doesn’t have me and second. I am too
busy with working on the Blue Water Navy Agent Orange issue to worry about
it. I let my doctors do the worrying and I listen to them.
If you have any questions or any ideas that are going to help us please
feel free to ask.
Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association
As you may have heard, I have stepped down to a position of Deputy Director and Mike Little is now the Executive Director of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association. Mike brings an amazing background of skills and experience to the organization and I expect things to flourish and grow. There will be some changes, beginning with a new Website which he and his Team are developing. It will have most of the same content, but in a format and presentation that should be more easily navigated.Mike is currently the Director of Legislative Affairs and Government Relations for the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and brings to the table over seven years' experience in Congressional advocacy work. He is also a Certified Veteran Service Officer who currently serves in the Naval Reserves as a second class Petty Officer. He works in Washington, DC and will be able to spend time with and have access to people and resources that I have not had access to since I live in Colorado.
I have no doubt that Mike's leadership will bring improvements to this Association in many ways, and I will be around as his second in command to continue my efforts in assisting veterans of all branches of service and to continue pushing for the resolution of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam veteran's problems. This is an extremely positive move for the Association and I think you will all be pleased with the results of this change.
Hopefully, a few of you will step forward to assist with work that needs to get done in making the Blue Water Navy Association even better than it now is. We are in a strong position as a growing organization to make a significant and meaningful difference in the lives of all veterans. Please continue showing your support with much needed donations to keep us solvent. I'm asking everyone to stick around and ride this new wave of opportunity as we achieve greater things in the very near future.
John Rossie, Deputy Director