November 15, 1969. Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division are briefed at Phu Loi on the details of their impending departure from Vietnam under President Nixon’s withdrawal plan. These men had just finished a combat patrol. Other members of the Division are standing by in Washington D.C. during the Vietnam Moratorium demonstration.
Operation Ranch Hand was a U.S. military operation during the Vietnam War, lasting from 1962 until 1971. Ranch Hand involved spraying an estimated 20 million U.S. gallons of defoliants and herbicides over rural areas of South Vietnam in an attempt to deprive the Viet Cong of food and vegetation cover. Areas of Laos and Cambodia were also sprayed to a lesser extent. Nearly 20,000 sorties were flown between 1961 and 1971. The Vietnamese government estimates that 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of this spraying of what were called by the Americans ‘rainbow herbicides’.
The “Ranch Handers” motto was “Only you can prevent a forest” – a take on the popular U.S. Forest Service poster slogan of Smokey Bear. During the ten years of spraying, over 5 million acres of forest and 500,000 acres of crops were heavily damaged or destroyed. Around 20% of the forests of South Vietnam were sprayed at least once.
The herbicides were sprayed by the U.S. Air Force flying C-123s using the call sign “Hades”. The planes were fitted with specially developed spray tanks with a capacity of 1,000 U.S. gallons of herbicides. A plane sprayed a swath of land that was 80 meters wide and 10 miles long in about 4½ minutes, at a rate of about 3 U.S. gallons per acre. Sorties usually consisted of three to five airplanes flying side by side. 95% of the herbicides and defoliants used in the war were sprayed by the U.S. Air Force as part of Operation Ranch Hand. The remaining 5% were sprayed by the U.S. Chemical Corps, other military branches, and the Republic of Vietnam using hand sprayers, spray trucks, helicopters and boats, primarily around U.S. military installations.
Please click “Comments” (below Smokey’s picture) to read or post your experiences with Agent Orange.
Click on the links below to read/download the official documents.
SP5 Ralph Mears is honored on Panel 23W, Row 22 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. A native of Norfolk, VA, he was born on April 29, 1949, the son of Norfolk homicide detective Ralph J. Mears, Sr. Juddy was a member of the Tidewater Council Boy Scout Troop 44 and received his rank of Eagle on May 13, 1964. “Baby-San” was 21 years old when he was killed in action during a mortar attack on May 30, 1969 in the province of Hua Nghia while serving as Senior Medic with C 1/505th PIR.
Hendrix’s Army records indicate he was discharged for “homosexual tendencies,” not a broken ankle as he had claimed publicly.
Jimi Hendrix might have stayed in the Army. He might have been sent to Vietnam. Instead, he pretended he was gay. And with that, he was discharged from the 101st Airborne in 1962, launching a musical career that would redefine the guitar, leave other rock heroes of the day speechless and culminate with his headlining performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969.
Hendrix’s subterfuge, contained in his military medical records, is revealed for the first time in Charles R. Cross’ new biography, “Room Full of Mirrors.” Publicly, Hendrix always claimed he was discharged after breaking his ankle on a parachute jump, but his medical records do not mention such an injury.
In regular visits to the base psychiatrist at Fort Campbell, Ky., in spring 1962, (more…)
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Golden Brigade members Paddy Barry, Rich O’Hare, and Don Thieme, and Museum staff James Hallis and John Aarsen, and others, 36 long-missing names were added to the memorial.
Carlton Walls is helped to the 82nd Airborne Division’s Vietnam War memorial by James Kiser. Veterans Walls, Kiser and Richard Davidson, who served with the Golden Brigade, laid a wreath at the memorial Wednesday at Fort Bragg. US Army photo by Maj. Fred Hair.
Emmy-award winning 1987 documentary film featuring real-life letters written by American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the Vietnam War to their families and friends back home. Film footage and news coverage augment the first-person “narrative” by men and women who were there. Based on the book of the same name. (more…)
Looking for buddies from nam. I served in Recon 2/505 from Feb 68 to Feb 69. I’d like to contact as many as possible. Rosas, Rivera, Rosario, Vega, Montes, Cruz from Puerto Rico. Fayetteville, Scott, Lt.Alvarado, SSG Fountain, Price, Davis, Pena, SSG McConnell and anyone from Recon or the line companies we worked with, hey lets get in touch. I’ll be glad to hear from you.
firstname.lastname@example.org or, at ph# (956) 724-3976 in Laredo,Tx.
The 75th Anniversary of the United States Army and Special Operations will be celebrated on the evening of 12 August 2015 at the Rosen Center in Orlando, Florida. The 82nd Airborne Division Association Convention begins the following day. We have a splendid cross-section of Airborne and Special Operations Veterans on our Executive committee and Board of Directors. (more…)