Agent Orange buried in S. Korea, vets say
U.S. soldiers load tanks onto rail cars at Camp Carroll in South Korea. Three veterans say Agent Orange is buried there.
May 20th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

Agent Orange buried in S. Korea, vets say

The U.S. military command in South Korea says it is investigating veterans' claims that they buried barrels of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange at a U.S. facility there in the late 1970s.

Arizona resident Steve House told CNN affiliate KPHO in Phoenix that in 1978, he was ordered to dig a long trench for "disposal" at Camp Carroll, where he was stationed as an Army heavy equipment operator.

He wasn't told what would be buried in the trench, but he says he saw it.

"Fifty-five-gallon drums with bright yellow, some of them bright orange, writing on them," House told KPHO. "And some of the cans said Province of Vietnam, Compound Orange."

The U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange from planes onto jungles in Vietnam to kill vegetation in an effort to expose guerrilla fighters. Exposure to the chemical has been blamed for a wide variety of ailments, including certain forms of cancer and nerve disorders. It also has been linked to birth defects, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The military has always said that all leftover Agent Orange was incinerated at sea, but it is investigating nonetheless.

House's story was supported by Robert Travis, who served with him and now lives in West Virginia, according to the station.

"There was approximately 250 drums, all OD (olive drab) green," Travis told KPHO. "On the barrels it said, 'Chemicals type Agent Orange.' It had a stripe around the barrel dated 1967 for the Republic of Vietnam."

Travis recalled wheeling the barrels out of a warehouse at Camp Carroll, which says is home to the U.S. Army Material Support Center-Korea.  The camp is about 20 miles north of the major South Korean city of Daegu.

"This stuff was just seeping through the barrels," Travis said. "There was a smell ... I couldn't even describe it ... just sickly sweet."

Another former Camp Carroll soldier, Richard Cramer of Decatur, Illinois, told KPHO the same story. All three men report lingering medical problems they attribute to exposure to the chemical.

"I am aware of and concerned with news reports alleging burial of Agent Orange at Camp Carroll," Gen. Walter L. Sharp, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, said in a news release. "Both Americans and Koreans live and work in and around Camp Carroll, and I share the concerns of the government of the Republic of Korea and the Korean people living near the installation. If any substances of concern are found, we will dispose of them properly."

South Korea's Environment Ministry has asked the Pentagon to verify the men's claims, a spokesman told Stars and Stripes. South Korean analysts started examining the Camp Carroll area on Friday and will soon begin collecting soil and water samples, the spokesman said.

House told KPHO he decided to come forward now because he thinks he may die soon.

"If I'm going to check out, I want to do it with a clean slate," he said.

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Filed under: Health • Military • South Korea • Vietnam • War • World
soundoff (37 Responses)

    i need some of that stuff.. i have moles out in my yard and some grub worms..

    May 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Canadian Genius

    Not something I'd want to bathe in necessarily, but there are plenty of things worse than 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T.

    May 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |

    they need to take the "sham-wow" guy over there and use a shamwow on it..

    May 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Leo

    While everyone jokes about it..... that stuff has caused some serious damage to follow Veterans...... That stuff is no joke

    May 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cranky

    So he didn't care all these years, but now that he thinks he's going to die and wants to get into heaven, he's going to clean his slate. Nice.

    May 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cricket

    Clean slate, my ass. What a freaking hypocrite.
    You'd think he would at least say his conscience was bothering him all these years, or something.
    And it IS not a joking matter, but these men could have come forward YEARS ago....
    And before I get pummeled for not supporting our Viet Nam vets, I do.
    I think there is something more to this.....

    May 20, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellis from Panama

    Bad stuff.

    May 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kristine

    Article on Agent Orange

    May 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzzzzzzz

    35 years after the fact, What is the real reason for the investigation now? (Huh).

    May 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jon

    Maybe I'm missing something here. Doesn't this stuff have to be breathed in for it to be a health hazard. If it's buried in an area that isn't farmed how could it cause any health risk? Would love to hear from a chemist who has studied this compound.

    May 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shiloh Owens

      actually there is a ton of farm land all around this base.

      May 25, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. VastlyAmused

    Breathing, skin contact, ingested (as could happen if it leaks into the water table)... I'm not a chemist, but my father was around that crud the whole time he was in Vietnam and is now suffering from some of the long-term effects (like diabetes) that take decades to show up.

    I suspect the man is coming forward because, despite all the promises made to him about his safety, he is now experiencing those same effects and realizes what he was dealing with.

    May 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cricket

    Every Vietnam Vet that I know knew all about Agent Orange and that it was bad for people. Every one. So it really doesn't hold water for me that he is coming forward after all these years because he's experiencing the symptoms *now*. Unless he was born without a brain, he knew that AO was bad when he was burying it.

    May 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ben there done that

    As prior service i can tell you you are trained when someone tells you to do something you do it no questions no thinking you just do what youre told the army im convinced use their troops as guinea pigs im sure of it

    May 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Agent Lemon

    Orange and the idiots who made it suck.

    May 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Agent Orange

    Leave me the hella lone would ya? I'm nothing compared to DU illness/Gulf War Syndrome that the firefighters reponding to the Pentagon fire now suffer. How in the heck does a fireman get exposed to depleted uranium? I could see 'em getting it fighting missile fires in Iraq. But at the Pentagon?

    May 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
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