Jim I've had claims at the VA and been denied a couple of times. The last was at the appeal as the next step but not having any support and not being a lawyer I didn't follow thru let it drop.
With HR 299 should I file again it's for AO exposure, moved barrels in PI and off the coast VN all of 72 on an AOR.
You've answered your own question: "not being a lawyer". Once you've had a denial the only reasonable step to take is to speak with an accredited veterans law attorney. The VA employs and contracts hundreds of lawyers and if you don't have your own, you're at a huge disadvantage. There is no out of pocket expense for anything and unless and until you prevail, there is no cost at all. I provide a lot of intel about how to retain a veterans law attorney as well as some of the lawyers I trust here https://www.vawatchdog.org/how-to-hire-a-veterans-law-attorney.html