Vietnam Veterans of America 
Chapter 1057 - Brandon, MS  


Recognizing Brandon Public Library for their allowing us to have our meetings here
with momentos of the Chapter for their archives. Thank You Brandon Mayor, Aldermen, Library Board and Parks and Recreation!

We Meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 11:00AM
At The Brandon Public Library! Highway 80 in Brandon MS

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Video Links to Vietnam Tributes - These may be intense & Emotional but

Vietnam War Tribute Video  - Made as a tribute to all of my brothers who served in Vietnam.

Walking Heavy: A Vietnam War Tribute
Roberts HHC 1/509 Abn Recon, 5th SF, 75th Rangers, 75th Rangers, Mountain Ranger Camp, 2/75 RGR Bn. "Walking Heavy"



Who We Are

Founded in 1978, Vietnam Veterans of America is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families.
VVA is organized as a not-for-profit corporation and is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.  VVA's goals are to promote and support the full range of issues important to Vietnam veterans, to create a new identity for this generation of veterans, and to change public perception of Vietnam veterans.

VA to Expedite Claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. Effective April 19, the VA will begin to make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. This initiative provides a one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available and protects the Veteran’s right to appeal the decision.

 For the oldest claims, VA will make a provisional rating based on all current evidence associated with the claim.  

  • When benefits are awarded in the provisional decision, the Veteran will begin receiving compensation immediately.
  • These will be decisions based on all evidence VA has received to date and during the time the claim has been pending.
  • Provisional rating notices will note the evidence on which the decision was based and list any documentation that has not been provided or VA has been unable to obtain.
  • Exams will be provided by VHA in an expedited manner if they are required for a rating.


The Veteran has a safety net – up to one year to submit additional evidence or request VA obtain additional evidence to change the provisional decision.

Any awarded benefits will be retroactive to the original date the claim was submitted.

  • If no additional evidence is obtained, the provisional decision will become final after one year (or earlier if the Veteran requests), at which time a final decision and appeal rights will go into effect.
  • These Veterans then will have the standard year to appeal the decision, effectively extending the current appeal window, while also providing them with near-term decisions and benefits, if eligible, based on the evidence in the claims file.

    As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuationsAverage Days to Complete (ADC) – the average amount of time it takes VA to process a claim – will rise significantly in the near term as the oldest claims are completed.

    • Average Days Pending (ADP) – the average age of a claim in the inventory – will decrease since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory.

  • The most vulnerable Veterans will continue to be fast tracked.

  • Wounded, Ill and Injured Veterans from the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan will continue to have priority through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System.
  • VA will continue to prioritize Veterans who are homeless, terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, and Medal of Honor recipients, those facing financial hardship and our most seriously injured.
  •  Fully Developed Claims will continue to receive priority processing.

Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at  


Veterans Affairs to Relax PTSD Evidence Requirements

 BC News’ Sunlen Miller reports:

Calling post-traumatic stress disorder "traumatic brain injuries the “signature injuries of today’s wars,” President Obama announced in his weekly address that on Monday the Department of Veterans Affairs will make it easier for veterans to get the benefits they need.

“For years, many veterans with PTSD who have tried to seek benefits – veterans of today’s wars and earlier wars – have often found themselves stymied,” the president said.

On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs will announce new regulations that will liberalize and relax PTSD evidence requirements in order to make it easier for veterans to receive benefits.

Noting that the PTSD benefits process has been “long and tenuous” in the past, senior administration officials said the new regulations will help those claiming PTSD immediately.

“It’s really making it a lot easier, because the threshold has been liberalized to the point where it’s much easier to verify,” a senior administration official said in a conference call in advance of next week’s formal announcement.

The new regulations will eliminate the need for veterans to document specific events that caused their PTSD. Veterans now will just be required to show a diagnosis of PTSD and that it was related to service overall, not a specific event.

“We’d look to see that PTSD was the actual diagnosis, then we would also look for the claim in terms of how this diagnosis is related to the service,” the official said. “That nexus is extremely important. And under this new procedure, once the veteran makes that claim of how those two things are related all we’re really looking at is to see … if that claim stressor is consistent with the places types and circumstances of his service.”

They will just need to see that based on the “overall experience” they had in service “that they were in a place where that type of situation would have come up.”

“They’ve been required to produce evidence proving that a specific event caused their PTSD,” President Obama said in his weekly address. “That practice has kept the vast majority of those with PTSD who served in non-combat roles, but who still waged war, from getting the care they need. Well, I don’t think our troops on the battlefield should have to take notes to keep for a claims application. And I’ve met enough veterans to know that you don’t have to engage in a firefight to endure the trauma of war.”

The new process will be streamlined and will result in veterans receiving mare timely decisions on their claims, the administration said.

Under the current regulations governing PTSD claims, unless the veteran is a combat veteran the VA decision makers are required to conduct extensive research to find out whether the veteran actually experience the claimed “in-service stressor.”

The VA no longer will require corroboration of the stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity, eliminating the requirement for the VA to search for records to verify stressor accounts – which they say was “often a very involved and protracted process.“

“As a result, we will be able to more quickly reward veterans suffering with PTSD,” the administration official said. “So what we’re doing here is creating a new process that will be much easier for veterans that will enable us to expedite the processing of their claim. … The purpose of the regulation is to simplify the process and make it easier for veterans to be able to pursue their claims with us.”

The new regulation will potentially benefit all veterans, regardless of their period of their service, and it is not limited to veterans with direct combat experience — such as truck drivers in current combat who “legitimately could have a fear every time they go out on the road that bad things could happen.”

The new regulation acknowledges the nature of military conflicts today and in the past to include: “guerrilla warfare, insurgent activities where stressors may include constant vigilance against unexpected attack, the absence of a defined frontline, the difficulty of distinguishing enemy combatants from civilians, and the ubiquity of improvised explosive devices.”

In his weekly address, President Obama noted that in the past PTSD wasn’t something that was talked about. “And as a result, our troops and their families often felt stigmatized or embarrassed when it came to seeking help,” he said.

The regulations still require that the diagnosis of PTSD to be verified by a VA psychiatrist or a contracted VA clinician.

“This is a long-overdue step that will help veterans not just of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, but generations of their brave predecessors who proudly served and sacrificed in all our wars,” Obama said. “It’s a step that proves America will always be here for our veterans just as they’ve been there for us. We won’t let them down. We take care of our own.”

New Early Lung Cancer Screening Program Seeks To Save Veterans' Lives!!!

As reported by Sandra Basu in the December 17 edition of US Medicine: In late 2005, Thomas J. Murphy, a veteran who served in the Marine Corps during the 1970s, heard a radio advertisement seeking volunteers who were former smokers to participate in a lung cancer early-detection CT screening study. “I heard that ad a number of times during the next few days before I decided to enroll,” he said about the study conducted by the International Early Lung Cancer Assessment Program. At that time, Murphy said he had no lung cancer symptoms but was concerned for several reasons: His father had died from lung cancer, and Murphy was both a former smoker and had possible Agent Orange exposure, for which he was later granted disability status by the VA. Through participation in the screening study, he received an early diagnosis of lung cancer in 2010 and underwent surgery. He credits that for saving his life. “It has been over two years since my surgery,” Murphy said. “I have completed two Army 10-milers, the Ocean City half-marathon, and other events. Most importantly, I got to see my first grandchild.” Murphy told his story recently at an event held at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) for a new program to raise lung cancer awareness among veterans and offer screening. Representatives from Lung Cancer Alliance, Vietnam Veterans America, and Team Draft also attended the gathering. “The state of lung cancer is unacceptable,” said Chris Draft, a former National Football League player who is the force behind Team Draft and the founder of the Chris Draft Family Foundation. Draft’s wife, who was never a smoker, died of Stage IV lung cancer a month after their wedding.

As part of WRNMMC’s new lung cancer screening program, patients at high risk for lung cancer will be offered screening, including the use of low dose computed tomography (CT) scans. WRNMMC is the first DoD facility to offer this type of program for veterans who are at high risk for lung cancer.  “Many of our veterans, folks who are beneficiaries, who served in Vietnam and other theaters of war and the present conflict theaters of Afghanistan and the recent Iraq, are at higher risk than the general population to develop lung cancer,” said Col. Craig Shriver, interim director of the Walter Reed Comprehensive Cancer Center and chief of General Surgery, Bethesda, MD, during a presentation on the new initiative.  More Americans die of lung cancer than any other type of cancer, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and the risk is higher for veterans. According to screening literature provided by WRNMMC, veterans have a 25-30% higher risk of lung cancer than their civilian counterparts, due to not only smoking, but also Agent Orange, radon, asbestos, diesel fuel exhaust, and other battlefield emissions.  Shriver explained that a challenge has been that lung cancer had previously lacked the screening programs and effective strategies for early detection for other types of cancers. New research, however, has changed that.  In 2010, a National Cancer Institute-funded trial found a 20% reduction in deaths from lung cancer among current or former heavy smokers who were screened with low-dose helical CT, versus those screened by chest X-ray.  “That exceeds the ability to reduce death from breast cancer using screening mammography. That is the impressive extent of which this screening can achieve,” Shriver said.

Shriver told U.S. Medicine that the screening program goes beyond only a CT. Patients also sit with a healthcare provider to go through a set of screening questions to determine whether they are in the high-risk group for lung cancer. If determined to be high risk, veterans can undergo annual low-dose CT scanning.  

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