Episode 2566 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a report about the genesis of Agent Orange and the other Agents and defoliation. The featured report comes from a technical report distributed by the Defense Technical Information center – Defense Logistics Agency, Cameron Station, Alexandria, Virginia. Titled: Miscellaneous Publication 33 – Information Manual for Vegetation Control in Southeast Asia. It was compiled by Kent R. Irish, Robert A. Darrow and Charles E. Minarik in 1969.
The report was provided to this podcast by the Merry Band of Retires, led by Professor Kenneth R. Olson. The group is made up of retired academic professionals with a primary interest in soil science.
The purpose of the report is to outline the beginnings of the Defense Department program to study and use synthetic growth-regulating substances. Out of those studies came the realization that chemicals that could eliminate vegetation on the battlefield.
At the time the US was getting more and more involved in the political controversies erupting in Vietnam. Unfortunately due to the fact a communist element was being added to the mix, the US had to step into the conflict to stem the growth of that scourge in Southeast Asia.
One of the challenges of the ongoing conflict in Vietnam was that it was a guerilla war with an unseen adversary. The opposing forces were making good use of the abundant natural vegetation in Vietnam.
The military thinkers of the time figured it would be a good idea to get rid of the pesky vegetation that was providing cover for the opposition. The chemicals being developed at Fort Detrick, Maryland found great favor with the military higher ups as a perfect solution to the challenge of finding the elusive guerillas.
Listen to episode 2566 and discover more about the genesis of Agent Orange and the other Agents and defoliation.