Member Frank of Vermont maple syrup fame sends us this.Once again with tongue in cheek, the US military is forced to lie through their teeth. Every time something like this pops up, everyone starts examining their shoelaces and noticing they need a shoeshine. “We’ll get back to you” is the general rejoinder like a poor VA ex parte joke. An excuse is promptly formulated and everyone is briefed on the new game plan.
Here, the references to Okinawa and AO are old hat. Veterans who witnessed this were denigrated and cast as being untrustworthy. One notices that they also suffered documented AO diseases but this was simply one of those coincidences that pop up around Regional Offices. Anyone who files for it with VA is lying because they have a monetary interest at heart. What is so subtly overlooked is the medical interest- as in “Gee. I’m dying from some chemical ingestion. I wonder what it was?”
With the disclosure that Johnston Atoll is also similarly drenched with the AO “relocated” from Kadena (and probably Naha AB as well), all is well. Notice that there is mention (finally) of AO storage and presumed use in Thailand expressly violating the King’s edict on it. Shoot, bubba. How do you think all the AO Air America was spraying out of their two PC 6 Porters got to 20 Alternate? They brought it in to Sattahip and trucked it up country to Udorn. From there, it went over the fence in 123’s. I’m sure a good chunk of it was used around the base perimeter as well.
Lying about this in the 70s and 80s was all for political politeness. We said we didn’t and our allies took us at our word. Now that the cat is out of the bag, the US would have us (and SEA countries) believe it’s merely a typo and uncorroborated by anything other than a passing mention in some CHECO reports.
Why hasn’t anyone gone down to Kadena and scooped up some dirt? A simple lab test is still going to show residuals of 2,4,5 T. For that matter, what about Udorn? You can’t erase that stuff for many years-even decades. It acts like any heavy metal and sinks below the surface but never completely dissipates. Finding this stuff in the soil isn’t all that complicated. Either it’s there or it isn’t. Bending over to tie your shoelaces and ignoring the question is not going to make it go away nor will forty years of monsoons.
The VA has to take it’s lead from the military and accept what they proffer as the unvarnished truth. The reality is there isn’t enough money in the world to remunerate Veterans for this boondoggle-hence the short list of approved diseases. Most scientists will tell you the panoply of autoimmune disorders is almost a given for AO due to warped genes. If you lie down with fleas, do not be surprised to be scratching by morning.
Let’s just pretend for a moment that some made it into Okinawa but it was never used. Next theory? How about Thailand when everyone was dumping it all over the trail in Laos, Cambodia and the DRV? Nope. Nosireee, Bob. The King forbade us to use it in-country and we obeyed his wishes. We opted for “Roundup” and Malathion so as to obey his desires.
The real shoe has not dropped yet. When will the governments of Cambodia and Laos join the gravy train that Hanoi is demanding ( EPA mitigation in the billions)? This story has not even begun to be told and here we only have (putatively) a mere 867,000 documented Vets exposed still left alive.
Off hand, I’d say a lot of Lima sites are toxic waste zones from spraying, not to mention Route 7 up near the northern edge of the Plain of Jars. Lima 108 ( Ban Muong Soui ) was one of the most heavily sprayed areas I can remember. Ban Khang Khay (LS 8) and Xieng Kouang (L22) weren’t far behind. I’d suggest finding the AirAm PICs (pilot in charge) who were assigned to the Porters equipped with spray tanks but I severely doubt they’re still alive. You don’t live to a ripe old age being around this stuff apparently.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio Texas, has a large operation on Johnston Atoll. SwRI is a government contractor, and was burning AO on Johnston Atoll to dispose of it. SwRI used Johnston Atoll for other “research” that was illegal to conduct in the US as well. I was employed as a computer programmer in the finance and accounting department at SwRI. SwRI triple bills the government and cooks the books.