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Project Ignition Switch

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E-4 Ken


In1969 - 1971 while being in the Army stationed at Fort Benning Ga. I was assigned temporary duty at Eglin AFB Florida. I made 4 or 5 different trips to Eglin for support to the Ranger School. We were the aggressors for the Ranger students. At times we had to eat and sleep in areas that had a very strong smell of fuel oil. In these areas there was nothing living vegetation or insects. I remember times of us talking about it could not be good for us to be in these areas for a day or two. When we left these areas our clothes would be oily all over.

In mid to late July until late October 1970. I was sent TDY to Eglin AFB main base assigned to Project Ignition Switch. Our job had us us in many places of Eglin. Seven to ten days of this time was spent working around the Greenville and Anderson S.C. area.

Thirty five years or so later while helping a Vietnam vet friend of mine. In getting information regarding Agent Orange used in Vietnam. To my surprise I found out that the spraying equipment was developed and tested at Eglin AFB.

I have a claim in for diabetes from Agent Orange exposure. I am waiting on a BVA review. I was told that VA and DOD both agree that AO was used at Eglin. I will have to prove that I was exposed.

I have my personnel records. They only show that I was at Eglin assigned to the ranger school 1 time. There is no mention in my records of Project Ignition Switch. All of us assigned to Project Ignition Switch. Had to have a security clearance of Confidential or higher.

Can anyone help me with some places to look to find my records? Maybe someone else that was there has their records. I have already sent a request to the Freedom of Information Act site. They stated that they had no record of Project Ignition Switch.

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Air Force Admits Agent Orange Spraying In Florida In 1962-70

By Barbara T. Dreyfuss

In the 1960s, Ernie Rivers taught Navy flight students at the Pensacola Naval Air Station how to live off the land if their plane was downed. He was the officer in charge of the survival unit, overseeing 30 to 35 instructors, who taught more than 100 men a week how to survive with only a compass, map, and a hunting knife. Every week groups of students would camp for three days, using different sites on Eglin Air Force Base Reservation in Florida.

When the winds and clouds were right, Rivers and his men would watch planes pass overhead, clouds of spray coming from them. Several times he and his men were sprayed. "I'd say, 'At least we don't have to use bug repellant,'" he noted, laughing, during an interview. That was a big plus, they thought, for them as well as Army Rangers who were also training out in the bayous of the Florida panhandle, where mosquitoes and other bugs could make life miserable.

Rivers and the students thought they were watching the Air Force spray DDT to kill mosquitoes. What was actually being sprayed, he said, was Agent Orange. Documents show that gallons of the defoliants Agent Orange, Agent Purple, and Agent White were sprayed at Eglin. In fact, according to officials overseeing the program, the Air Force sprayed a test area on the base with more dioxin than any similar area in Vietnam. The fact that Agent Orange was sprayed in Florida for eight years was not widely known then or even today. Only in the last several years has the documentation on the spraying been made publicly available by Alvin Young, an Air Force scientist for more than 15 years at Eglin. Young oversaw a huge research project evaluating how massive spraying of Agent Orange at the Florida air force base affected its soil, water, plants, fish, and animals.

In Vietnam during the war, a typical mission disseminated 14.8 kg of Agent Orange per hectare, according to Young. Most of the Agent Orange in Vietnam was intercepted by forest canopy, and some of it was destroyed by the sunlight. But at Eglin, where the spray rate was 876 kg per hectare, the trees and bushes already had been removed from the spray area. Young recently wrote that each hectare at Eglin received at least 1,300 times more dioxin than a hectare sprayed in Vietnam. The spraying went on from 1962 to 1970. The test area was three kilometers square.

Eglin was one of several key military installations involved with Operation Ranch Hand and posters plastering its buildings made that clear. Pictures of Smokey the Bear, the unofficial Operation Ranch Hand mascot, proclaimed, "Only you can prevent a forest." Eglin had responsibility for training the aircrews, fitting aircraft with spray equipment, and testing the spray systems and spray patterns.


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Thank you very much for the quick reply. This is a big help. Now I just have to prove that I was there. I just remember what they told us the project was. On the side of the trucks we used had Project Ignition Switch. I remember before being assigned to the project. I was at Field 5 or 6 at Eglin for Ranger school. With Co. D 1/29 Infantry the company I was assigned to at Fort Benning. We saw this trucks at different places with Project Ignition Switch on them.

I just hope I can find some information that will help someone else. No one respects the Vietnam vet any more than i. So so many are sick from AO and other things. The trouble with AO. Is that a person has the same sicknesses regardless where on the map their exposed.

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Ken E-4

"Location: Elgiin Air Force Base, FL

Dates: 11/1952 - 12/1952

Project Description: Two trials: Chemical Corps- concerned with basic fundamental work, using 2,4-D, Air Force-concerned with evaluating prototype large capacity spray system for aircraft installation using 2,4,5-T, primarily. Used 3 atomizing nozzles: Bete Fog Nozzles, Whirljet Spray Nozzles, and Fogjet 1.5F50.

Agents: 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T: 143 and 974, respectively

DoD Involvement: Yes "


However the PDF at the VA site shows this info:

"Eglin AFB, FL, C-52A test area


Orange (1962-68), Purple (1962-68), White (1967-70), Blue (1968-70)

CPT John Hunter discussed vegetation changes and ecological studies of the 2 square mile test area which had been sprayed with herbicides over the period 1962-70.

Yes "

There are two CONUS AO vets I know of so far and many Thailand AO vets due to the efforts of one of ur members here- the first AO Thailand awarded veteran.

The key is using every bit of documentation available and then by virtue of your MOS, proving you were exactly where they tested or sprayed AO.


GRADUATE ! Nov 2nd 2007 American Military University !

When thousands of Americans faced annihilation in the 1800s Chief

Osceola's response to his people, the Seminoles, was

simply "They(the US Army)have guns, but so do we."

Sameo to us -They (VA) have 38 CFR ,38 USC, and M21-1- but so do we.

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The proof that you seek may well be found in your pay records. When your went TDY you wouldl have received per diem. Ask for an audit of your pay records. Follow the money.

"Don't give up. Don't ever give up." Jimmy V

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The proof that you seek may well be found in your pay records. When your went TDY you wouldl have received per diem. Ask for an audit of your pay records. Follow the money.

Sharon, you are one smart cookie!

Let us be kind, one to another, for we are each of us together in our pain.

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