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Vietnam Veterans of America Applauds Inclusion of
Fairness for Veterans Provision in the NDAA

(Washington, D.C.)– “We are heartened to learn that the ‘Fairness for Veterans’ provision was included in the conferenced version of the NDAA,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America. “This is one small step towards the much-needed reforms of the Department of Defense’s Discharge Review Boards.”

The Fairness for Veterans Act (S.1567/HR.4683) has the support of a bipartisan coalition, including many veterans elected to Congress. This bill, if enacted, would codify into law the 2014 “Hagel Memo,” issued by former Secretary of Defense and Vietnam veteran Chuck Hagel. The Hagel Memo calls for the Boards for Corrections of Military Records to apply “liberal consideration” in favor of Vietnam veterans, contending that PTSD was a contributing factor in circumstances surrounding other-than-honorable discharges. While the Hagel Memo was interpreted narrowly by the military’s review board agencies, it did impact a handful of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. The Fairness for Veterans Act clarifies and strengthens the spirit of the Hagel Memo by applying it more broadly to Post-9/11 veterans with less-than-honorable discharges.

“VVA is particularly thankful to those Members of Congress who have put considerable time into this effort, including Senators Peters, Tillis, Gillibrand, and McCain – and Representatives Coffman, Walz, Zeldin, and Moulton. These Members crossed party lines and worked on common-sense legislation to protect our country’s most vulnerable veterans. For that, we are exceedingly grateful.”

“This is a fight that VVA has lead for four decades, and we’re glad to see broad, bipartisan support for the Fairness for Veterans provision,” continued Rowan. “We are cautiously optimistic to see the Fairness for Veterans provision make it this far. If this Congress does not pass this version of the NDAA before the end of the year, we’ll continue to push for this bill as a stand-alone. Veterans cannot wait any longer for Fairness to become law.”

Vietnam Veterans of America is the nation’s only congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA’s founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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