Assembly Passes Legislation to Ensure that All Vietnam War Veterans are Recognized

Speaker Carl Heastie and Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Didi Barrett today announced the passage of legislation that would change the beginning date of the Vietnam War from February 28, 1961 to November 1, 1955, to coincide with the date used by the federal government (A.7388-B, Barrett). This change would ensure that veterans that served in the Vietnam War before 1961 are recognized as such and have access to critical veterans’ services.

“The brave and selfless men and women who serve our country deserve to be recognized for their service,” said Speaker Heastie. “Changing the start date of the Vietnam War in New York to conform to federal standards will ensure that these men and women will be recognized as veterans, and that they have access to critical resources provided to veterans in New York.”

“The federal government has acknowledged that the brave service men and women in Vietnam before 1961 should be recognized as Vietnam War veterans,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “This legislation will allow for consistency with federal law and ensure that Americans serving in Vietnam beginning on November 1, 1955 will be similarly recognized in New York State.”

The federal government recognizes that there was a significant American military presence in Vietnam before February 28, 1961, the date previously accepted as the beginning of the Vietnam War by the federal government and by New York State. This bill would conform the definition of a veteran serving in the Vietnam War to include any active duty service in the Republic of Vietnam that occurred between November 1, 1955 to May 7, 1975.