Date: Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 2:40 PM Subject: Batcat update - Agent Orange at Korat RTAFB
This Batcat updates applies to ALL Batcats, and deals specifically with the use of Agent Orange at Korat RTAFB. Over the past 18 months the most frequent question I receive is about the use of Agent Orange at Korat. Until very recently my reply to each request was I am unaware of the use of Agent Orange at Korat. Recently declassified documents indicate otherwise.
Late in July Batcat Gil Jennings sent me a "Checko" report. This was the first I'd heard of the use of herbicides to control vegetation at Thai air bases for security purposes. My initial research source was the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing histories, which don't have any mention of herbicides, at least that I found.
However the primary unit at Korat RTAFB, while the 553rd was based there, was the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. Base security fell to the 388th's responsibility, hence the Air Police squadron was the 388th Air Police. The 388th Air Police activities aren’t covered in the 553rd’s histories.
An attorney and I exchanged emails about Agent Orange, and from this was a FOIA request for the 388th TFW histories. Those histories were still classified, but with the FOIA request those histories were declassified in late July. The attorney sent me copies of a few of the 388th’s history pages. In those pages is a 388th wing request for the 388th Air Police squadron to control perimeter vegetation for security purposes. The 388th Air Police then requested the vegetation control through the U.S. Army at Camp Friendship.
Further checking reveals that the Veterans Administration now accepts that herbicides were used in Thailand for security purposes. The VA homepage now states “Vietnam-era Veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand anytime between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975 may have been exposed to herbicides and may qualify for VA benefits.”
Today there is considerable difference between what has been a requirement for “boots on the ground” in Vietnam, and how it is now extended to those who were “on or near the base perimeter at Korat RTAFB.” The link on my Veterans Benefit page to the VA page shows other Thai bases are also affected.
While Agent Orange is well known, there were in fact a group of different herbicides. They were color coded as Orange, White, Blue, Purple, and others. Together these were known as the “Rainbow Herbicides.”
Hopefully you don’t suffer from any medical issues, and are in good health. If you do suffer from a medical condition, which may have originated because of exposure to a herbicide, then this information may be of help to you.