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Agent Orange Anyone?


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Estate sale find today. Ranch Hand neckerchief with beer can slide. Purple was their trademark.

 

Starting with operation Ranch Hand and morphing to the 12th Air Commando Squadron (Ranch Hand Vietnam), these brave pilots and air crew flew over 19,000 thousand dangerous sorties in old UC-123 aircraft for defoliation efforts from 1962 to 1969, receiving more than 3,500 hits from enemy ground fire.

 

I have not research the individual yet. Any info on him would be much appreciated. Thanks, Al.

post-12790-0-26239300-1367016407.jpg

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Al,

I've never heard about the effects of the defoliant on the aircraft crews. Please pass along what you learn.

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Al,

I've never heard about the effects of the defoliant on the aircraft crews. Please pass along what you learn.

Hi JS. Not sure about the crew, but I know that those GI's on the ground who were exposed had major carcinogenic issues. Thanks, al.

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Al,

I've never heard about the effects of the defoliant on the aircraft crews. Please pass along what you learn.

 

 

Response: Back in the late 1970s, the USAF did a major multiyear study on that--- Bottom line: no significant health effects on the aircrews. We studied that intensively when I was at USAFSAM, and could find no indicators that it was in any way an invalid study. Having looked at numerous studies over the years, I have never seen good evidence that Agent Orange was carcinogenic. There are lots of people who claim they were so affected, but in most cases the exposure was poorly documented, and the actual causation of cancers was not proven. That connection is assumed, but not proven.

 

I know the VA position on the issue, but that is acknowledged to be a political rather than a medical decision. The connection between Agent Orange and cancer is assumed by many to be valid, but that has never been convincingly demonstrated by the medical community.

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Does anyone have pictures of the pilots or air crew wearing the scarves? Thanks, Al.

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I have also read a lot about the question of crew exposure. My understanding was the crews had to chug a large drink of Agent orange as part of their initiation into the squadron, and they were quite often covered in the stuff. But when crew rates of illness and cancer and illness are compared to a control group the results are the same. WHich would indicate no or little hazard.

 

I also understand that Dow (or whoever) settled the case as the final settlement was less that the estimated cost of actually going to court for many years, so it was just cheaper to pay off and be done with it. It ws never proven in court that agent organge was in fat hazardous to hiumans in the average dosages.

 

Of course there is so much poltical issues in these things sometimes the science gets over looked. If you try and get to the bottom of it there is so much distorted info that you can never really be sure.

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I have also read a lot about the question of crew exposure.

That was the crocest of my question. I thought that the rate of cancer would be higher and more severe. Thank you.

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The book STOLEN VALOR covers the issue at length, and states what was posted earlier about the effects; there were none of significance noted. I thought it was a VA study though, and from later than the 1970's though, and that it studied a control group and then a group of Ranch Hand crews and people too.

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ReverendJake

I have also read a lot about the question of crew exposure. My understanding was the crews had to chug a large drink of Agent orange as part of their initiation into the squadron,

Forgive my ignorance, but this IS a joke, yes?

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The Air Force used to have Commander's Calls and they would show a film on what the Air Force is doing. I remember seeing one on Ranch Hand flights and a guy dipped his finger in a barrel of Agent Orange and licked it off and then he said it was harmless.

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  • 1 month later...
Cobrahistorian

Forgive my ignorance, but this IS a joke, yes?

 

Actually no, it isn't. Ranch Hand crews initiated new members by having them become members of the "shot club". It wasn't a large amount, but they did have to drink a shot of it. I've had that confirmed by a few Ranch Handers that I and colleagues of mine interviewed. Many of those interviews are available at Texas Tech University's Vietnam Archives website.

 

Jon

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My Vietnam vet grandpa might have cancer because of agent orange...

Sorry about your grandpa--

 

But to be clear, 1) he may have cancer, and 2) he may have been exposed to agent orange. The two facts are probably not really connected. No study has ever shown a valid medical connection between 1) and 2). Lots of people who were never exposed to agent orange have cancer, and no valid study has shown that exposed people have a higher incidence of cancer of any type. The Ranch Hand studies pretty definitively proved that HIGH exposure levels did not result in a higher than normal risk of cancer.

 

In medicine, we have a basic rule: "Association is not the same as Causation".

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I used to fly with a Army pilot that sprayed the stuff from a helicopter. He wrote a story about it, I will see if I can get a copy of it.

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The VA gave up trying to conclusively prove a DIRECT cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to Agent Orange and rates of cancer in SEA vets. HOWEVER, the so-called "political decision" was based on STATISTICAL analyses that showed much higher rates of several diseases/disorders among SEA vets than in various control groups. IIRC the numbers were noticeably higher among vets of GROUND combat/service, especially in remote areas, than SEA vets who lived/worked on major bases. A USAF guy from Udorn or Da Nang was not likely to be a victim, but a Marine from Khe Sanh or a MACV advisor from East Doodah was.

 

VA says I am 30% disabled due to Agent Orange. There were (when I was diagnosed) five (5) disorders/diseases recognized as de facto "legacies" of Agent Orange. Type 2 diabetes, skin cancers and prostate cancer are among them. I have heard that VA added two more about a year ago. Again on STATISTICAL grounds.

 

In a side note, my wife grew up in a town where Dow (Ansul) was a big employer. During VN, they made Agent Orange. By about 1980, there were spikes in several disorders in the worker population. Sometime in the late 1980's, Dow agreed settle out of court -- pay off claimants. Guess what? By 2000, the number of cases multiplied and Dow said "Sorry, we already paid, and are therefore not liable.". So the State and Feds are stuck with rendering medical care, at taxpayer expense, rather than Dow. Several of wife's classmates have died young.

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You have a really nice relic of one of the tougher experiences of the Vietnam war. There are many of us with a clock ticking inside us that could explode prematurely or we could get lucky and expire much later in life. Aside from the statistics there can be a gallows humor having to do with mailing in our samples {Yes, via USPS. Talk about hazardous waste} or lettin' the doc have a peek every so often. Thankfully, there is a process finally in place that is supposed to benefit the surviving spouse but at the risk of continuing away from the initial posting, very nice piece.

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You have a really nice relic of one of the tougher experiences of the Vietnam war. There are many of us with a clock ticking inside us that could explode prematurely or we could get lucky and expire much later in life. Aside from the statistics there can be a gallows humor having to do with mailing in our samples {Yes, via USPS. Talk about hazardous waste} or lettin' the doc have a peek every so often. Thankfully, there is a process finally in place that is supposed to benefit the surviving spouse but at the risk of continuing away from the initial posting, very nice piece.

Thanks rr01. Al

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rex K. Stoner, Jr. is listed in my 1967 AF Register. He was a Lt Col and a Command Pilot and had a date of rank of 2 Sept 65. He was born in 1924 and entered the service in 1942 so was a WWII vet as well. In my 1972 register he is still listed as a Lt Col with almost 30 years of service. I would bet he was enlisted in WWII. If you PM me I'll give you his exact date of birth and service number.

 

Dave

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In 1987 I worked for a Colonel who flew ranch hand missions. Every year he was tested as part of the research on the effects. Its easy to point fingers at DOW now because we know more now then then. In WW2 we used to spray DDT over the battle fields and troops.

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P.S. I once had a neighbor who was a research biochemist at NIH and we go into a conversation about Agent Orange. This was in the late 1980s or early 1990s, while VA was plotting "freckle chart" maps of SEA showing areas of provable high concentrations.

 

He was not working on The Problem but knew people who were. He said the "great imponderable" that deflected efforts to confirm or deny a direct link between Agent Orange and various later-in-life disorders was that laboratories could not replicate what may have happened to the agent AFTER it was dispensed into the jungles and forests and waters of SEA. The agent itself, as it left the factory or left the airplane headed earthward, might have been relatively benign, but how did it change due to being burned by napalm or blow up by explosive bombs or just burned when the withered foliage burned? Or due to monsoons rains and extreme heat and humidity?

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  • 4 months later...

I am part of a large family. I have 18 Aunts and Uncles, more than 50 1st Cousins. I am the only one who has had a heart attack. None of those 68 relatives have any kind of heart disease. My first one was at age 42. I am also the only one to go to Viet-Nam. I watched them spray the perimeter while on guard duty at Phu Loi.

 

I cannot help but believe that the causality between my Ischemic heart disease and OA is real.

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I am part of a large family. I have 18 Aunts and Uncles, more than 50 1st Cousins. I am the only one who has had a heart attack. None of those 68 relatives have any kind of heart disease. My first one was at age 42. I am also the only one to go to Viet-Nam. I watched them spray the perimeter while on guard duty at Phu Loi.

 

I cannot help but believe that the causality between my Ischemic heart disease and OA is real.

 

 

I have a buddy that was a Marine in Vietnam.He was just diagnosed with a heart condition.The doctor told him it's service connected because this particular is ONLY caused by exposure to Agent Orange.He was service connected before because of gsw's he received now they upped his service connection to around 90%.You may want to check with your VA.

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I have a buddy that was a Marine in Vietnam.He was just diagnosed with a heart condition.The doctor told him it's service connected because this particular is ONLY caused by exposure to Agent Orange.He was service connected before because of gsw's he received now they upped his service connection to around 90%.You may want to check with your VA.

 

Oh, it took 2 years but I finally got 60%, and then bumped to 100% due to unemployability. I heard about the IHD addition about a month before it took effect and filed on 9/1/2010 when I became eligible. Thanks.

 

I am also thinking about applying forThe Order of the Silver Rose that I read about just yesterday.

 

web site: http://tobaysvetsbook3.blogspot.com/

 

I am wondering if the statistics of the number of these awards issued will send a message to congress and the president that the use of chemical in a war zone does not necessarily JUST hurt the enemy. Chemicals CANNOT be controlled like a bullet can.

 

Please check out that site and tell your buddies about it.

 

Thanks

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