Washington DC Trip Report:
For the first time taking a Wheelchair with my Southwest took extra good care of it. They made sure nothing happened to it. Thank you Southwest.
We started out Monday morning with a breakfast meeting between MVA and BWNA discussing the future and we feel we have a good plan set up and more of that will be coming out in the future.
The week was set up with a lot of meetings, with both Staff Members of the House and Senate and with some of the VSOs that would meet with us. .A few just couldn’t “find the time” to meet with us, but the one that did we had some very good meetings.
Monday and Tuesday was spent mostly meeting with House and Senate Offices. These meetings we let them know our displeasure of the Passing of HR299 and why we felt it was wrong. We also voices our feeling about the Stay and we requested that they check into it and see what they can do. We also explained what we would be focusing on in the future. These items include the following:
HR1713 The Lonnie Kilpatrick Central Pacific Islands Relief Act
HR 2201/S1381 Modify the presumption of service connection for Veterans who were exposed to herbicide agents while serving in the Armed Forces in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.
S408 Veterans Disability Compensation Automatic COLA Act of 2019
HR 1005 Burn Pit Veterans Revision Act
HR 1377 Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act
HR1628 Enewetak Atoll Cleanup Radiations Study Act
HR1001/S554 Family Members Access to Burn Pit Registry Act
House version of the NDAA to repeal windows tax and the Feres doctrine
We also discussed future Legislation as follows:
Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Act
Funding of Veterans Programs
Study of Incarcerated Combat Veterans on Opioid Prescriptions
We did explain the reason behind our filing the suit to Review the Blue Water Navy Stay..
Some of the VSO would meet with us, these included VFW, ROA, AL, PVA, AMVETS, VVA, Blind Vets, FRA, and AUSN. A few of these meetings were very interesting since they seem to have a problem with us and the way we have been talking about them. Rob did a fantastic job of taking control of the meeting and telling them that we all need to start working on the future and let the past stay in the past and let them know that both BWNA and MVA were not in this to take credit for what we are doing, we are here to help the Veterans. I personally feel that we need to make sure as many people give the credit to the Big 6 VSOs for HR299 and along with that all the problems it is and will be causing in the future. They didn’t want to listen to us in the past, maybe they will think twice about listening to us in the future.
One of the brightest moments that Mike K, Ed Ball, and we had was one evening after the meetings we decide to go to Vietnam Veterans Wall. I can’t tell you the feeling that gives you being there.
One of the things I found interesting while visiting the VSOs office. While they may have been in ADA compliance, it was just barely. I even had one admit to me they didn’t feel they were in compliance. You have no idea the challenges I, excuse me WE have when we are going into some of the House Offices with a WheelChair. These buildings were not made for a Wheelchair. There is one bad spot where we have to go a half a floor, we end up taking this elevator to do it. If it wasn’t for the Wheelchair we could walk up these steps. Another bad place is when we go between two buildings and there is a tram. I can’t get into the tram so I just speed away and meet everyone on the other side. Sometimes they will say they walk and I to insist they get in the tram. I keep telling everyone to make it easy and themselves but they all make sure we stay together. Now that is a team.
One thing we did differently on this trip came after one of the post from one of our Members who had lost her husband the day before. We started talking more about Blue Water Navy Veterans dying daily and how many would die between now and January 1, 2020. That seem to hit home more. To me it seemed that we were again telling them something they didn’t know about, didn’t care about, or just wanted to not think about it. We think about it daily since we are listening to the people who view our pages. Maybe the Large VSOs, Members of Congress, and the VA should do more of that. Instead of putting a number to the person, put a Name to them, maybe, just maybe it would wake them up.
On our team we have the Air Force, the Marines, and the Navy. We have enlisted, officers, and even an enlisted that became an officer. When we are on the hill we all work together as if we are all the same. We all need to do what we can to help. So don’t wait for us to ask you to make those calls, don’t wait for us to ask you to email Congress, The VA, Or the President. Do it on your own, tell YOUR story, and by any way you can SHARE our sites, our Post and try to raise the number of Members we have. We are on a quest to become a VSO and the need 900 new members and we need to keep our membership numbers up over 2000. Please, when you are on other Veterans Pages please recommend us. Refer them to https://www.bwnvva.org/store/p2/dues.html
On one other note, please don’t forget we have items we give for donations. We have various items and we will be offering specials. These items are used to Spread the Word about our Association. We have Hats, Yard Flags, Mouse Pads, and other items. You can go to https://www.bwnvva.org/items.html to see the items. You can share this link also ( as long as the site you are doing it on allows it).
Blue Water Navy Association