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Agent Orange In Laos


FormerMember

Question

Much has been said about AO use outside of RVN. We have finally seen the recognition of its use and storage on Okinawa, Korea, Guam and finally Thailand. I suppose there will be some realization eventually that it was used at Clark Air base in the PI. Allow me to introduce the subject of Laos.

More AO, A blue and A white was dumped over the fence and particularly in eastern Laos along the Ho Chi Minh trail. That might not seem too obnoxious to US troops as we weren't in the habit of playing on the ground in that area. An exception would be the LRRF folks and Marine long range sniper insertions out of Da Nang.

Of more import, and the reason I write today, is the vast quantities I witnessed stored and used at LS (Lima Site) 98, also known as LS20A or 20 Alternate . Air America employed two PC-6C Porters full time that were outfitted with tanks. I personally watched them spray it at several other Lima Sites or on Route 7 several times. They were stationed at L-08 (Wattey Airport-Vientiane) but refilled their tanks at Long Tieng (LS 98). Many of the personnel over the fence in Laos were either there as "civilians" like me but were in the Army or AF. We worked for USAID or USIA. I worked for them as well as Air America. More herbicides of all flavors were dumped up there than almost anywhere else in Indochina and VA (read the military) has never even so much as blinked about it. I'm rated 40% for PCT probably from two years worth of exposure to it. I was coughing up blood when I came home in 1972. The doctor said it was the Marlboros so I switched to Lights. The blood ceased but the skin went south. With my hepatitis , its pretty obnoxious now.

At some point there will be a reckoning on AO in some of these outlying areas.. Probably when there are few to none of us left alive to be of any consequence. If you served up north, there are witnesses left who remember. Keep in mind that of the 2.3 million of us who set foot in red clay, only 867,000 remain. The attrition rate due to disease and AO is horrific but not very well publicized. If you served in Palace Dog, Operation White Star, Project 404 ( The Steve Canyon program), Detachment 1, 56th Special Operations Wing, or similar operations run out of Udorn RTAFB and Nakom Phanom RTAFB, you were undoubtedly exposed far more than you know. Personnel at 20 Alternate and L-54 Luang Prabang are probably the most affected. I have a list of all the Lima Sites on my website http://asknod.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/lima-sites-from-the-footlocker/ if you think you were exposed or were near LS-08 Khang Khay during the summer of 1970, you probably got hosed. Personnel associated with Operation Leapfrog even more so. One thing's for sure. They weren't using Roundup. The 55 gal. barrels at Long Tieng near the AOC all had orange or blue stripes in them.

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