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)
  1. leeintulsa

    I thought Gulf War Syndrome was more related to all the burning oil wells Saddam left behind..

    May 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ray

    This seems eerily timed with the decision earlier this year by the VA to support Korean vets in Agent Orange claims. No evidence, "Province of Vietnam" (which does not exist) on barrels, etc. I'll believe it when I see it. This is more about VA claims than anything else, and if nothing is found, these people should be sued for damages.

    May 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jinx

    ben there done that:
    I mean no disrespect, sir, but isn't that the same defense the Nazi war criminals used?

    May 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    Your the sickest dog I've ever meet. You really need help

    May 21, 2011 at 3:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ellis

    What's the matter jazzzz you jealous.

    May 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. S

    People are jolking about it, but guys, this is serious. Think about people living around that place. They lived there for such a long time and they didn't know a thing about this toxic herbicide Agent Orange.

    May 22, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. M

    I can see that those who buried those Agent Orange in Korea should be ashamed of themselves.Those who committed such a treacherous crime should be brought to trial and be incarcerated.Agent Orange isn't Korean issue it should be American problem and take those toxic chemicals back to America.

    May 22, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Army Private

    They just released that they are launching the investigation starting on monday. I know that MPs on Camp Carroll have actually found the burial site. I cannot be quoted on that because i am not allowed to speak on behalf of those soldiers

    May 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rich

    Hey people, these guys were on the bottom of the chain of command. They were just following orders, and now they are paying the price.

    May 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hankwill

    it would have helped us viet vets if this person would have opened his mouth 40 years ago,thanks for nothing Steve

    May 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David Apperson

    The 8th Army said Monday that chemicals were buried at Camp Carroll in 1978 but were removed in the following two years, a finding that could back claims made last week by Veterans who said they helped bury Agent Orange there.

    Korean DMZ Veterans and/or their families who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are invited to join with us at 3612 Scruggs Drive Richland Hills Texas on Wednesday 4:00 pm for interview with Korean Television News (CBS).

    Those with photos and evidence of Agent Orange or other Herbicide Exposure in Korea are encouraged to be part of the news program !!!

    David 817.937.5366

    May 23, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Oldeye

    Mr. Anderson,
    If you are indeed correct about the removal, it is a sigh of relief for the Koreans who live near by.
    Agent Orange must be destroyed/disposed safely. My late Father was exposed to it during his tour
    of duty in Vietnam and passed away from AO induced cancer. He did not claim compensation as this
    was in the early 80s. We, as a family suffered his loss. I am very sure there are many like us.
    The untold environmental and human destruction caused by AO can not be quantified and we should
    never allow such things from happening again. I say take full responsibility, Uncle Sam!

    May 24, 2011 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. adam west

    I was just recently stationed at camp carroll and to say it doesn't get farmed is wrong. There's farmers who have their crops right along the gate near the softball field there. If it comes out to be true it would kinda make sense why the water and ground smelt so bad.

    May 24, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Shiloh Owens

    I am a soldier currently stationed here an i haven't seen or heard about anything being done to solve this problem.

    May 25, 2011 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Pointman

    There's no Agent-Orange buried at Camp Mercer in South Korea. I seriously, doubt if there's Agent-Orange buried at any former U.S. military bases in South Korea. The ground water smells bad in South Korea, because human waste is used as fertilizer on the fields in South Korea. I've been to all the places mentioned in this article and in my opinion the stories made up by a "few" veterans about Agent-Orange is all BS. Oh, and before you describe an Agent Orange container you better get the facts correct. I know what Agent Orange containers look like because I spent 3 years in Long Khan Province, Bear-Cat and areas North and North-west of Bien Hoa. The truth is, no Agent Orange was buried at Camp Mercer, or at Waegon/Camp Carroll. As far as the guy living on the DMZ having breating problems. I can tell you this, "I'm alergic to human waste. It makes me sneeze and cough too. In fact, I have to wear a facemask to use the bathroom." The military doesn't guarantee that you breathe clean air free of smell. I've walked patrol on the DMZ and north of the DMZ. The air in that area is a lot cleaner then the air in a lot of other places. I'll guarantee you this, "dig up these bases and you won't find Agent-Orange buried there."

    May 25, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
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