By Bob Hanafin, Staff Writer
A "Vietnam Era" Veteran is defined as any Veteran who served during the official time frame of the Vietnam War anywhere in the world as defined by Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
I would assume that even National Guard members who have achieved official Veterans status as defined by the VA would be considered Vietnam Era Veterans.
I’m basically familiar with this, because most of the VA benefits I applied for and got when I served during the war were because I was a Vietnam Era Vet. However, I know that Congress passed a law in 1996 just after I retired from the Pentagon that changed the definition as it applied to those who served in-country Vietnam proper, and those Veterans who served elsewhere. The time frames are different.
Those who served in-country Vietnam have a longer period of time in which they qualify to be a Vietnam Era Veteran (from 1961 to 1975) while those who did not serve in-country havOfficial Definition of a Vietnam Era Veteran – Google Searche a shorter timeframe in which they can be considered Vietnam Era Veterans (from 1964 to 1975).
The Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 1996, Public Law (P.L.) 104-275, Section 505, enacted October 9, 1996. REFERENCES: Title 38, U.S.C., Chapter 1, Section 101 (29) and Chapters 41 & 42, Sections 4101, 4211 and 4212.
BACKGROUND: P.L. 104-275 incorporates provisions from a multitude of different bills resulting from compromise agreements between the United States House of Representatives and Senate. This letter amends the definition of the Vietnam era for certain veterans.
Section 505 states:
(a) In General — Paragraph (29) of section 101 (of Title 38) is amended to read as follows:
(29) The term `Vietnam era’ means the following:
(A) The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.
(B) The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, in all other cases.".
The definition also has legal meanings as well as determining access to Veterans benefits. Even the Department of Labor has an official, legal definition of Vietnam Era Veteran that goes something like this:
There may be quite a few Veterans out there who served between 1961 and 1964 who were once not considered Vietnam Era Veterans who are NOW. They of course had to serve within the Republic of Vietnam.
Not sure quite how this impacts the Blue Water Navy of Air Force Units that were flying over Vietnam (and of course North Vietnam) but did not have bases in-country. They flew missions from Thailand, Okinawa. maybe Taiwan??? and of course off Aircraft Carriers.