NewsBytes November 5, 2021     

Prostate Cancer Threat to Veterans
VA Extends Gulf War Presumption
Navy Admiral to Be the Next Vice Chairman of JCS
Vets’ Day/FRA 97th Birthday/USMC 246th Birthday/Tomb of Unknowns 100 Years Old

Prostate Cancer Threat to Veterans
FRA, a member of the Toxic Exposures in the American Military (TEAM) Coalition, has signed onto a joint letter supporting, the Veterans’ Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act (H.R.4880). The letter notes that prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Recent studies have reported more than 500,000 veterans are living with prostate cancer and are receiving treatment within VHA. Over 16,000 of those have metastatic disease with more than 15,000 new diagnoses annually. The need to standardize treatment across the VHA by implementing a comprehensive system-wide prostate cancer clinical pathway. 

Studies have shown that prostate cancer develops more frequently in men exposed to Agent Orange. The VHA has established it is a presumptive condition thus qualifying exposed veterans for full disability benefits. New data supports a link between prostate cancer and exposure to jet fuel (JP-8), cadmium, and aircraft component cleaning solvents.

The need to enhance research for this disease is clear as the number of diagnosed veterans continues to rise. The legislation requires the VHA to establish a clinical pathway for prostate cancer and to expand VHA research efforts related to screening, diagnosis and treatment options. The VHA must promote veteran prostate cancer awareness, standardization of diagnosis and treatment, expanded educational resources and continued research.

Members are urged to go to the FRA Action  center to ask their Representative to support this legislation. 

VA Extends Gulf War Presumption
The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the presumptive period to Dec. 31, 2026, for qualifying chronic disabilities rated 10 percent or more, resulting from undiagnosed illnesses in veterans from the Persian Gulf War. This is meant to ensure the benefits established by Congress are fairly administered.

If an extension of the current presumptive period was not implemented, service members whose conditions arise after Dec. 31, 2021, would be substantially disadvantaged compared to service members whose conditions manifested at an earlier date.

Limiting entitlement to benefits due to the expiration of the presumptive period would be premature given that current studies remain inconclusive as to the cause and time of onset of illnesses suffered by Persian Gulf War veterans.

The VA presumes certain medically unexplained illnesses are related to Persian Gulf War service without regard to cause, including, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, functional gastrointestinal disorders. Also included are undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to abnormal weight loss, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.

Persian Gulf War veterans who are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and other unexplained medical issues are encouraged to file a claim.  

President Biden Nominates Navy Admiral to Be the Next Vice Chairman of the JCS
Admiral Christopher Grady has been nominated to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The admiral is currently serving as commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia.  The current Vice Chair, General John Hyten is due to retire November 20, likely leaving a gap on the Joint Chiefs of Staff until the Senate confirms Grady. Previously, Grady served as the commander of Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, deputy commander of United States Naval Forces Europe-Naval Forces Africa, commander of United States Sixth Fleet, and Joint Force Maritime Component Commander Europe. Grady was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and raised in Newport, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Notre Dame University and was commissioned an ensign through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program in 1984. He currently holds the title “Old Salt,” conferred upon the longest-serving surface warfare officer on active duty in the U.S. Navy. 

Vets’ Day/FRA 97th Birthday/USMC 246th Birthday/Tomb of Unknowns 100 Years Old 
This Thursday will mark the 103rd anniversary of the armistice ending the First World War on Nov. 11, 1918, now recognized as Veterans Day. It is a long-standing tradition for many FRA shipmates to participate in Veterans’ Day ceremonies across the country. This November 11th also marks FRA’s 97th anniversary. FRA National President James W. Campbell and LA FRA President Pat Suckow will participate in the ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and the special wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. 

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For the first time in nearly 100 years, and as part of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration, the public will be able to walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza and lay flowers in front of the Tomb on Nov. 9 and 10, 2021.

DLP John Davis and ADLP Theo Lawson have been invited to participate in Mack’s Marines celebration of the 246th Birthday of the Marine Corps. Facing the challenges of COVID and social distancing requirements, this year’s birthday celebration will be a virtual event.

The FRA thanks members for their service in defending our nation, and for their continued membership. Please note the FRA National Headquarters will be closed Thursday, November 11 in observance of Veterans’ Day.

NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you received this through a forward and would like to subscribe, please e-mail us  and include your name and contact information in the body of e-mail. If you are a member of FRA or LA FRA, please include your member number.


Follow FRA on Twitter (; Follow FRA on Instagram ( and "like" FRA on Facebook (use the shortcut of




Connect with Us