It’s not often you get to see archival footage of contemporary events from the Vietnam Boundary dispute. One notable event, the dispersion of Agent Orange, is often depicted as being a process akin to crop spraying with C-123s. This footage demonstrates an entirely different facet utilized by Brown water Navy sailors. It is only one of the many ways it was dispersed.
Perhaps the saddest recollection of this was watching young Meo (Hmong) tribesman between the ages of seven to eleven using cut off Clorox Beach bottles scooping it out of 50 gallon barrels to spread it along the taxiways and the active runway at Long Tieng. Royal Laotian Air Force (RLAF) recruits were required to do this every two months up at Luang Prabang (L-54) and even more frequently during monsoons. At the time, I had no idea of the future consequences. Every time a chopper came in to land, it stirred up the red clay and we all inhaled it, too.
Once Hmong ‘children’ reached twelve they were officially conscripted into General Vang Pao’s army and were not required to do such mundane tasks. I have often wondered how many survived the war only to have the horrendous side effects as my generation of Veterans has. Keep in mind, they didn’t even dilute the Orange or Blue in the normal 1:1 mixture with a petroleum product such as kerosene but rather used it at full strength. Afterwards, they would retire to the stream below the village and wash off. Some, but not all of the villagers, used our well for drinking water. As hepatitis A and B were rampant, it was fairly obvious that normal sanitary precautions were not observed.
A warm thank you to member Sam for finding this and sharing it with us.
We sprayed AO on our allies. We sprayed it in S. Vietnam on friend and foe without discrimination. Our veterans are dying from it, and I am sure those in Laos, Cambodia and S. Vietnam who were sprayed, or came into contact with all those agents are dying as well. I think we owe them reparations. The NVA and VC had nothing to do with spraying AO. That would be under the concept of “friendly fire” for all those who suffer today from its effects. The legal deal that allowed DOW to settle all future and present AO claims for a couple of thousand dollars per claimant is a scandal. They probably knew in advance that findings would be coming out that would tie AO to many other deadly diseases like DMII,PD,CAD and a host of cancers. I think they did the deal in the early 1990’s. when there were just a few presumptive AO conditions. Now we want Vietnam as an ally against Chinese expansion in S. China Sea. We need to clean up our mess in Vietnam that we left behind.
Hey Cuz…..I’m confused. (I know, I know…I’m blonde..😉 ) I have labored with the thought that the enemy were responsible for introducing agent orange into the battle. From the looks of this video we were pretty active in the dispersion ourselves. Can you enlighten me??
Certainly. We (Dow Chemical Co.) invented it in 1958. They knew it was carcinogenic within 4 years and yet they continued to market it. Vietnam was the perfect place to kill vegetation. Dow made millions on it. The whole country was poisoned as well as Laos. The bad guys didn’t spread it. We did.