Agent Orange


Used to Clear the Dense Jungle that Provided Cover for the Enemy

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Agent Orange, named after the color of the stripe on the barrels in which the defoliant sprayed by American forces during the Vietnam War was stored, contained tetrachlorodibenzop dioxin (known as TCDD), one of the most poisonous chemicals ever made by man.

Agent Orange has caused reproductive problems, birth defects, cancer and other diseases in affected people on both sides of the war.

Between 1961 and 1971, the US Army sprayed some 80 million liters of the defoliant, containing 366 kilograms of the highly toxic dioxin, over 30,000 square miles of Southern Vietnam.

C Troop 1/9th operated in many areas of the jungle that was sprayed by Agent Orange. At the time we had no idea how serious being exposed to it could be.

In the early seventies, I decided to get tested for Agent Orange exposure. I drove down to the VA Hospital in Omaha where they checked my vitals, took an x-ray of my chest and shoved me out the door.

Somewhat of a joke back then but it’s effects are taken much more serious now…

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Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

agent-orange

LZ made with Agent Orange

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10 Comments

Filed under Vietnam War

10 responses to “Agent Orange

  1. Thanks for writing about your journey. My dad was a veteran and passed away from lung cancer that they determined was a direct result to exposure to Agent Orange. People don’t understand that it was a very real, very dangerous chemical that is still killing people to this day. My dad never talked about his time over there and I am left wondering what he had to go through. The pictures and paperwork he left behind from that time astonish me. Keep up the writing, because in some small way it helps me get over the grief of losing my dad 5 years ago.

    Best wishes for a healthy future,
    Jill

  2. I would also like to add that my dad was at Fort Knox, KY at about the same time you were. I was wondering if you would be willing to give me a little feedback about some of the things he did (I am not keen on the lingo of the paperwork)? I guess I am just trying to learn more about my dad that I will never get the chance to otherwise. Thanks again.

    Jill

    • usastruck

      Jill,

      I am so sorry to hear about your father.

      Back when your father returned from the war there seemed to be sort of a cover-up about the effects of Agent Orange exposure.

      Like many war veterans, your father chose to keep his war experiences to himself, and I understand you wanting to know more about what he did in the war.

      If you can tell me what his MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was and perhaps what Unit, he served with in Nam, I could help you understand what he did in Vietnam.

      I have a daughter named Jill, and she is the one that suggested that I write a blog about my Vietnam experiences.

      Once I got started writing I realized it was actually a form of therapy for myself. Thoughts I’ve lived with about Nam for nearly forty years I can express openly in my blog. I just have to be careful how graphic I get.

      Feel free to ask any questions, and I will try to help…

      • Thank you so much for writing me back. I don’t think my dad was in the “field” as it appears you were. From what I can ascertain through the paperwork I do have, he was a Sp5 Transportation Movements Officer 0694. His specialty number was 71N20 and was in Vietnam from 3 Jul 1970 thru 15 Aug 1971. 1 year, 1 month and 13 days. I know I would have always wondered what he would have said if I would have sat down and talked to him about his experience, and in a way you are helping me do that. I would like to say that your ability to be as candid, visual and “graphic” as you are in your blog is commendable. Thank you again.

        Jill

  3. I am not sure how to reply back via email so I will just write you another comment…? When I applied for burial/educational benefits in 2004 shortly after my dad died they originally denied me. I appealed the decision and in November this is what they said, “We are sorry to learn of the death of your father, William J. Knight. He served his country honorably and we greatly appreciate his service. Review of the veteran’s DD-214 indicated that while serving in the Army, he was awarded The Vietnam Campaign Medal and The Vietnam Service Medal. Therefore, exposure to herbicides during the veteran’s military service has been conceded since he had in-country Vietnam service. The veteran’s death certificate indicated that his cause of death was metastatic lung cancer. Since the veteran died of a presumptive disease related to herbicide exposure during military service, entitlement to service connection for the cause of death is granted.” Unfortunately, I do not have many other pictures of his time over there. I wish I did. Thanks- J

    • usastruck

      You may have noticed I deleted an earlier comment in regard to your father’s exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam. When you didn’t reply, I figured you did not want to discuss it so I deleted the question.
      With some keywords you provided, I found this information:
      Presumptive service connection for disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents: AL amyloidosis. Final rule.

      Department of Veterans Affairs.
      This document amends the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adjudication regulations concerning presumptive service connection for a certain disease based on the most recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Institute of Medicine committee report, “Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2006” (Update 2006). This amendment is necessary to implement a decision of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that there is a positive association between exposure to herbicides used in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era and the subsequent development of AL amyloidosis. The intended effect of this amendment is to establish presumptive service connection for AL amyloidosis based on herbicide exposure.
      PMID: 19507326 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

      In my later years, I have developed a worsening skin condition. I am thinking about getting checked out by the VA for Agent Orange exposure again after nearly forty years.

      Thanks…

  4. Oh, I didn’t get the other comment notification in my email so that is why you didn’t receive a reply. You can forward to me again if you’d like. Thanks.

  5. Patrick Bieneman

    Rob,

    This is an excellant site. I agree this could be the best therapy there could be. I plan on reading every page. I hope it is okay if I copy a couple of pictures to put on my DVD of Charlie Troop. I will give you credit for them. I will recommend this site to all Charlie troopers.

    Pat

    • usastruck

      Pat,

      First of all, thank you for the compliment.
      After reading some of your experiences with Charlie Troop Blues, my thirteen months was a cakewalk.
      Feel free to copy any of my pictures as you desire. Being a fellow Blue, I would feel honored if you did so…

      Rob

  6. Linh Huynh

    Hello, I am doing a paper on the effect of the war on The Vietnamese Economy and another paper on the effect of Agent Orange on Vietnam Veterans. So it would be great if you can please give me some feedback on what you might have to endure because of Agent Orange? For example, did you have any medical problems after the war?

    Also, I was wondering if all the pictures were taken by you or how did you get some of the pictures? It would be great if you can answer me back!! I would love to be able to talk to an actual Vietnam Veteran!

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