Agent Orange

Bombardier

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I have heard and read a little about this subject and wondered what our Vietnam Vets thought about it.
Did you come into contact with it?
What were your thoughts of its use at the time, perhaps before you knew of its dangers?
Do you know of anybody who is suffering any illness because of Agent Orange contact?

Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide developed for the military, primarily for use in tropical climates. Although the genesis of the product goes back to the 1940's, serious testing for military applications did not begin until the early 1960's.

The purpose of the product was to deny an enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enmy could hide. The product "Agent Orange" (a code name for the orange band that was used to mark the drums it was stored in, was principally effective against broad-leaf foliage, such as the dense jungle-like terrain found in Southeast Asia.

The product was tested in Vietnam in the early 1960's, and brought into ever widening use during the height of the war (1967-68), though it's use was diminished and eventually discontinued in 1971.

Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of two chemicals, known conventionally as 2,4,D and 2,4,5,T. The combined product was mixed with kerosene or diesel fuel and dispersed by aircraft, vehicle, and hand spraying. An estimated 19 million gallons of Agent Orange were used in South Vietnam during the war.

The earliest health concerns about Agent Orange were about the product's contamination with TCDD, or dioxin. TCDD is one of a family of dioxins, some found in nature, and are cousins of the dibenzofurans and pcb's.

The TCDD found in Agent Orange is thought to be harmful to man. In laboratory tests on animals, TCDD has caused a wide variety of diseases, many of them fatal. TCDD is not found in nature, but rather is a man-made and always unwanted byproduct of the chemical manufacturing process. The Agent Orange used in Vietnam was later found to be extremely contaminated with TCDD.
 
Your research is thorough Bomby, ole boy.

True, some of the Agent Orange was contaminated and could have caused problems. Once upon a time the VA sent me a huge packet of documentation disclosing that I indeed had been in areas where the stuff was sprayed. This was no surprise to me, I had watched the planes go over. They wanted me to make myself available for screening. It was determined that my insanity was hereditary - I got it from my kids (Pegasus can probably relate).

Periodically I receive updates on the stuff from this panel that was set up. One fact that keeps cropping up is that the Air Force guys involved in Operation Ranchhand, the ones who sprayed the stuff, had been set up as a control group for statistical purposes and, lo and behold, a smaller percentage of them have possibly related complaints then the population in general.

Another fallacy about the stuff is that it destroyed much farmland and jungle. I have seen this fact quoted in a text we teach out of. The truth was that it was never used on farmland and it worked wonderfully on jungle - until the next monsoon season. The jungle sprang back in all its glory.

Ready for your next question.

RW
 
Along the DMZ it was used quite a lot. We rode tracks and walked through it. I was glad they sprayed along the roads because it took cover away from the enemy. Today I am fine but know several vets that have developed cancer related to their contact with Agent Orange
 
I read of cases of lukemia which were accounted for as direct contact with the chemical.
 
My brother-in-law was a combat engineer in Vietnam. He died in 1996 of liver cancer at the ripe old age of 53. We always wondered if it was AO related somehow. He never went to the VA for treatment however so all we are left with is the wondering.
 
They are advertising Herbicides and week killer above this thread. Irony
 
Yes it is ironic but its no coincidence, Google are constantly scanning the pages and pick out certain key words that match adds in their database.

:shock: :p :cool:
 
Reading through the "Official" Agent Orange website, they say that to have a dioxin test (the unwanted byproduct of A.O.) would cost around $1500-$2000 per test! Also, in terms of spraying, The III Corps area received the heaviest concentations of spraying, followed by I Corps, II Corps and IV Corps.
I hope our chaps on the site wern't too involved in III Corps. There are so many posts here with so many names I don't know where to start with ID'ing locations.
 
Yeah.I was aware of that.My tour was spent in III Corp.
 
Was anything said about the spraying? Were you issued anything to prevent contamination or suchlike? I guess not, looking at the above statistics! At any rate, were you and your comrades warned that spraying would take place at a given time or was it not important enough to warrant a mention? A lot of questions there but to give a clearer picture concerning this tactic, what was actually told to the blokes on the ground?
 
I went over in Dec. '69.By this time it was pretty well common knowledge that defolients were being used to give the little brown guys fewer places to hide and sneak around.It was also pretty well common knowledge that vet. groups were raising cain about the abnormal numbers of Vietnam vets in their 20's that were being eaten up with cancer and other unusual diseases for young men.Shortly before going over I and the guys with me were shown a short film that talked about how many lives were being saved through the use of defoliants,and stated that not only was exposier to these sprays not harmful to humans,but that there was strong evidence that suggested that people could gain helpful vitamins and minerals from such contact.Knew we were in trouble from that time.

During my tour I gave little thought to the matter.Seeing guys shot or blown up tends to focus your attention on the things that are likely to kill you in the next minute or two rather than decades down the road.There was also a lot of spraying with insectacides.Who knew who was spraying what or why?Instead of looking up at mists that might just kill me later I was looking down trying to avoid stepping on a mine or into a bobby-trap.

Well,I managed to avoid the mines and bobby-traps.The little brown guys never managed to get a good hit on me.Remains to be seen weather AO will get me in the end.It's gotten a lot of good men.My wife's uncle was a Marine all his life.He fought the Japanise during WWII.The North Koreans and Chinesse in Korea.And the NVA in three tours in RSVN.He died from an AO-related cancer.My wife always says that they never made an Asian bad enough to kill him.Took his own government to do the job.
 
My wife always says that they never made an Asian bad enough to kill him.Took his own government to do the job

Yep I can relate to that comment. Our Government pumped us up with Nerve agent pr treatment tabs and a whole cocktail of drugs during the Gulf one, I dont know anybody personally that has suffered any lasting ailments but I have read of a lot. It angers me that our own Governments fill us with so much crap such as "these drugs have been fully tested" "They are perfectly safe" Then pump so much of it into us all in such a small space of time, its probable that the drugs individually were ok but the cocktail was lethal. I dont know eh?. The enemy within :?
 
Bombardier said:
My wife always says that they never made an Asian bad enough to kill him.Took his own government to do the job

Yep I can relate to that comment. Our Government pumped us up with Nerve agent pr treatment tabs and a whole cocktail of drugs during the Gulf one, I dont know anybody personally that has suffered any lasting ailments but I have read of a lot. It angers me that our own Governments fill us with so much crap such as "these drugs have been fully tested" "They are perfectly safe" Then pump so much of it into us all in such a small space of time, its probable that the drugs individually were ok but the cocktail was lethal. I dont know eh?. The enemy within :?

Its a terrible thing that our Goverments would do this, I just hope that something can be done for the boys and girls who are suffering, at the very least that the Govs of the world accept that it is a real condition. :?
 
It was determined that my insanity was hereditary - I got it from my kids (Pegasus can probably relate).

Cheeky Beggar (Y)
 
Bloody hell...how long did it take me to react to that LMFAO !

For those of you who dont know, the member Pegasus is my poppa, he doesnt post much because of his age and that he is a miserbale para W***....but he is a top fella and I love him (Y)
 
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My thoughts is that in the Hurry of warfare, time is very precious. Testing gets by passed in that Hurry. There is a possibility that the damage it(AO) would do in future was not really known. The benefits it would do today was known. Maybe it saved lives at the time. Maybe it saved more than has died from it's ill effects. I guess we will never know.
 
There may be a difference in symptoms resulting from the way in which the Agent Orange was ingested. For instance the airmen who sprayed it have fewer symptoms but the grunts had to drink the contaminated groundwater, bathe in bomb craters, shave with water that drained through the jungle canopy. The Navy is reporting symptoms from guys who served in coastal waters. They are also looking for vets who served near mangrove swamps. I had my Agent Orange examination several months ago. I was sent there by the VA because I have obvious symptoms.
I served in 67/68 I Corps as a heavy weapons gunner (11H20) We fought in the coastal area south of Chu Lai for about 6 months then went North and West toward Laos. I finished my tour at Camp Evans in May 68. You have to tell everywhere you served in Nam at the Agent Orange exam.
I suspect that the Agent Orange WAS tested for safety but that the stuff sprayed was not up to contract specs. The govt has ordered the dioxin level to be very low. Dioxin is hard to remove and expensive to destroy so the military contractors left it in to maximize profits. The Agent Orange became even more lethal when it was mixed with diesel instead of water. The base camps were sprayed with a mix of diesel and agent orange by hand sprayers. That's why there were no weeds at all and why the base camps smelled like diesel all the time.
 
Thanks for your input 106rr, I hope your symptoms do not put you through too much hurt (Y)
 
Interesting, I can relate on issue of being f**ked with chemically by our Government Egg Heads, as a kid (Forces Brat) we all used to run behind the mosquito fogger (DDT) :eek: . Many years later, I and many others were f**ked up on or by Mefloquin (Malaria being your other choice), the Egg Heads, of course, say it's not possible. :mad: .....and then for two years mind bending, life suckking drugs that were surposed to "help" me. Yeah helped me out of the life I loved, the military..........Sorry

Thanks for sharing guys, Bob sal; sal; sal;
 
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A friend who was a Army Medic in RVN, said every group ghets it's turn in the barrel, it was our generation turn in the barrel.

AO was heavily used in the A/O I was in, Quang Tri, 1969. I figure why be all mad over the deal. Anger mainly effects me and my family. I would rather finish my life on a positive note, than to be some old bitter Bas.... setting on a porch cussing at kids having fun and making to much noise.

There is nothing we can do about the past, but we can greatly impact our future. For me I would like to see my kids do much better than me and build a good life along with contributing to our society. So far, I am really proud of my kids.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed watching old movies, what impressed me the most was the Movies of the Thin Red British line. As the dust of several thousand attacking enemy approached the battle line, the old Sergeant would walk behind his troops, saying, "steady boys, steady." Veterans of the line would try to instill boldness in the new troops facing their first horrific attack. Too often today, the line breaks before the enemy is even spotted, the troops panic and harms each other and those they are to protect. Some people can look at RVN as a curse, it can also be said it was a blessing. For those who learned to hold the line, it was a blessing, for those who only broke and ran it was a curse. For me, I learned the true meaning of Semper Fidelis. While the polticos are yelling all is lost, I am sticking with my Gunny, who is saying, "steady boys, Steady".
 
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