Radio, Radio, Radio!

I've had the opportunity to appear on several radio programs since my book was published.  To date my commentaries have been broadcast on more than 70 radio stations, from Phoenix to Philadelphia, plus across the Internet.  And so far we've had visitors from 10 countries visit this blog, from Russia to the Philippines and from Germany to Australia.  Many thanks to the hosts who have interviewed me as I continue to try to get justice for the Blue Water Navy veterans who served in Vietnam.

Just this weekend I appeared on the Lincoln Radio network of stations across Pennsylvania. Click here to listen to my interview -- and let me know what you think.

Editorial: All Vietnam Navy veterans deserve Agent Orange benefits

On Jan. 5th the Patriot-News of Harrisburg published this editorial in support of my call to restore Agent Orange-related benefits to Blue Water Navy vets from the Vietnam War:

Imagine a scenario where veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars begin developing certain cancers far more often than nonveterans. There would likely be a public outcry to aid them, and rightfully so.

Now imagine that the U.S. government agrees to help the ill veterans, but then reverses its policy several years later to help only certain branches of the military.

This scenario is essentially what happened to U.S. Vietnam Navy veterans.

In 1991, Congress passed the Agent Orange Act to give extra medical help and disability payments to Vietnam veterans who developed certain medical conditions. By then, there was a large body of evidence showing that Vietnam veterans were developing cancers and other diseases at a higher rate than others of their generation. While it is difficult to prove a 100 percent connection, it was clear something in Vietnam played a role, and many experts believe it was probably Agent Orange.

But in 2002, the Bush administration reversed the policy for Navy veterans. Veterans Affairs began to make a distinction between Brown Water veterans, whose ships sailed on inland waterways, and Blue Water veterans, who were aboard ships that mainly stayed on coastal areas. Brown Water veterans qualified for Agent Orange-related benefits; Blue Water veterans suddenly did not.

It appeared to be a move to save money. It’s shameful given how much money our government spends that this is the area it targeted for cost cutting.

As Bob Ford of Marysville said in an extensive commentary on the issue in the Sunday Patriot-News, "there should be no such thing as a Brown Water Navy and a Blue Water Navy. It is a red, white and blue Navy. It is our Navy."

Click here to


The 'extras' in my book -- especially the 132 affected Navy Ships

Thanks so much for the very positive response to the excerpt of my book that appeared in today's Harrisburg Patriot News. Some have asked what's in my book that wasn't in the newspaper excerpt...

1. Alphabetical list of the 132 ships (and compliment) that were in Da Nang Harbor and are not on VA list.

2. Details of the tragic case of Bruce Langston, his widow, Florence Langston, and their 10-year battle for benefits.

3. A Tale of Three Ships -- details of the multiple rulings on Da Nang Harbor by VA which have been ignored since 2004.

4.  The widow who couldn't prove her husband left the ship he was never on.

5. Recommendation for creation of the Department of Common Sense.

6. Atmosphere and attitude at VA during Bush Administration.

7. Ken Olsen articles from American Legion Magazine -- an inspiration for my book

8. Latest VA Release of September, 2011, which only adds to the confusion.

Click here to order my Kindle e-book at Amazon and read more about those important issues.  Thanks.


Luck of the Draw

An excerpt from my new book, War Against The US Navy

The navy veterans who comprise this story; those who are still alive, are all over fifty years old. The average reader will probably not know any of them personally. But think of them as your own father, or grandfather, or husband or uncle. Better yet, think about them as your own sons, or brothers; as when this all happened they were only 19, 20-years old. They manned the decks of the greatest navy in the world, on large ships and small, determined mostly by the luck of the draw.

And it was this “luck of the draw” which has now left the majority of them without benefits for their service, a double-whammy, if you will, as the benefits in question are the ones no Vietnam veteran wants to apply for in the first place. This is their story. It contains some startling revelations, one in particular, you will find hard to believe.

This has to be one of the strangest stories in the history of America’s armed forces. As a nation, from the very days of our revolution, we have always provided some measure of care for those citizens, and their families, that we have sent off to war in defense of our nation, and in particular, those who incurred physical injuries as a result of their service.  It would be difficult to find any American citizen who would not agree that this is simply the right and honorable thing to do.

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.


Bob Ford is a former Marine. In 1971 he was appointed by President Nixon as Pennsylvania State Director of the Selective Service System, becoming, at age 31, the youngest Draft Director in the history of the United States.

A long-time veteran’s advocate, Mr. Ford states,
I have written this story as a direct challenge to the President to use his given power to bring justice in this matter and restore the lost benefits to the United States Navy.
Here’s how you can help:

1. Alert the veterans you know — especially Navy vets — and urge them to visit this blog and read War Against The US Navy, partially excerpted in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.

2. Spread the word among your local veteran’s organizations and support groups.

3. E-mail the President and demand he help Vietnam Navy veterans whose health has been compromised due to Agent Orange exposure.

4. Download my complete e-book  (War Against the US Navy) for your Kindle or Kindle-enabled device today. Don't have a Kindle? Then just download a free Kindle reading app for your desktop, Blackberry, Iphone or other device...and then buy and read my book.

5. Continue the discussion by posting your questions or comments for me here.

6. If you'd like to book me as a guest on a radio or TV program to discuss the VA's mistreatment of Navy vets from Vietnam, or other veterans=related issues, please e-mail me.

(Please note: I will donate a portion of the proceeds from the book to the Wounded Warrior Project.)