I joined the Navy in August 1953 during the Korean War, served a tour in Vietnam in 1968-69 and retired in December 1978.

I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in February of this year.

I saw reports that I may have contacted CLL because of my exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Therefore, I went to the Veterans Affairs in Charleston. I was told in a very empathetic manner that I didn’t rate any VA benefits because I make too much money.

I then asked about my exposure to Agent Orange. They said my DD-214 did not specifically state that I served in Vietnam. It only stated that I was in Southeast Asia after 1964. Therefore, according to the VA, I wasn’t in Vietnam. I was told to request a new DD-214 to identify positively that I served in Vietnam.

As an 81-year-old man with other medical problems that may be associated with CLL, I will probably die before I receive a new DD-214.

According to the VA office, my case is closed until I receive a new DD-214 that informs the VA that the only war fought in Southeast Asia after 1964 was the Vietnam War.

Terry Blankenship

U.S. Navy (Retired)

Fort Lamar Road

Charleston