The two main organizations set the qualifications for Vietnam veteran status. These are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
The VA offers benefits to members of the military and discharged service personnel. Veterans' dependents as well as deceased veterans' spouses and children are also covered. The VVA recognizes former members of the military who served during the Vietnam War era as eligible for membership in the organization.
The VVA considers Feb. 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, as the Vietnam War period. Military veterans who served during that time can join the organization. The VA recognizes the same time frame.
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To be considered for VVA membership, veterans must have served in what is now the Republic of Vietnam. Presumably to cover those who served in nearby countries and in support roles elsewhere, the VVA states that having served in any duty location starting Aug. 5, 1964, and ending May 7, 1975, grants eligibility.
Only Vietnam veterans who were active-duty members of the military can join the VVA. However, this definition is broad and includes anyone who was in-country for any reason other than training.
The VA offers counseling programs for Vietnam veterans who were active-duty members of the military between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975.
The VA and VVA focus on U.S. veterans. Australia is an example of an allied nation that recognizes its Vietnam veterans. It uses the time frame May 23, 1962, to April 29, 1975.
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