Recent News​

Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense released 37 hectares at Bien Hoa Airport to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a dioxin cleanup drive Thursday.

 

Around 500,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with the deadly chemical dioxin at the airport in Dong Nai Province, an hour’s drive from downtown Ho Chi Minh City, will be processed with expert assistance.

Le Thi Mit isn’t sure what caused the severe physical and cognitive disabilities of her three youngest sons, who were born in the wake of the “American War.” She doesn’t know what caused the uncannily similar conditions of the children of her closest neighbor, either. But she remembers watching U.S. planes spraying clouds of white defoliant and red napalm over the forest near her property in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, and she clearly recalls the destruction that came in their wake. 

 

After a federal court declined to lift a delay on Blue Water Navy disability claims imposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, claims processing is expected to begin Jan. 1, 2020. 

 

Veterans can file their claims now, though, VA told Connecting Vets, and any Blue Water veterans previously denied for Agent Orange presumption should send in new claims. Veterans and their families do not have to wait for Jan. 1 to begin filing their claims.

24 July 2019

Generations later, people in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos still feel the health effects of Agent Orange, the defoliant used by the US military in the Vietnam War. The World’s host Marco Werman speaks with Susan Hammond with the War Legacies Project.

20 July 2019

Washington has admitted to the long-lasting effects of dioxin use in Vietnam, but has largely sidestepped the issue in neighboring Cambodia and Laos.

9 July 2019

For Sen. Patrick Leahy, the effects of war don’t end when the bullets stop flying.

 

That’s why the longtime senator has fought for humanitarian causes long after the conflict is over — work that has resulted in the clearing of landmines in Laos, the deliverance of grievance payments to victims of the war in Iraq, and the easing of tensions with Cuba.

Military Times. Leo Shane III

 

Thousands of veterans already waiting for years for their disability benefits will have to wait a few months longer after Veterans Affairs officials announced they won’t start processing “blue water” Vietnam veterans claims until next year.

 

In an announcement late last week, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the delay is designed to “ensure that we have the proper resources in place to meet the needs of our Blue Water Veteran community and minimize the impact on all veterans filing for disability compensation.”

Order of Friendship conferred to War Legacies Project Founder

18 April 2019

Vietnam Union of Friendship.

The Friendship Order of the State President is a noble award to honor individual and group with significant contribution to the development of Vietnam and other countries’ friendship.

In recognition for WLP’s dedication to helping with postwar relief endeavors, the Order of Friendship was recently awarded to Susan Hammond, founder and executive director of WLP on April 16.

Nancy Feldman - A Life-Changing Legacy

Minnesota PBS

Bob Feldman was an engineer and he was drafted into the Vietnam War. “Neither of us supported the war, but he felt a sense of duty,” says his wife, Nancy Feldman, the retired CEO of UCare for 20 years.

 

He felt that if he went, then his bothers wouldn’t have to. He was fairly behind-the-scenes stationed at and Army base in Bien How near Saigon.

 

“When he came home from the war, we thought that it was behind him… Until he got sick in spring of 2002.”

27 March 2019

NPR.

The U.S. Institute of Peace brings together experts from Vietnam and the U.S. For the U.S., it has meant hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning up former air bases where agent orange was stored.

How Vietnam, US heal wounds of war to build up comprehensive partnership?

3 April 2019

Vietnam Net.

Vietnam and the US have together marked the transformation from enemies to partners since the end of the war in 1975 by overcoming war legacies, among priorities in the bilateral ties. 

 

Tackling war legacies has required both time and efforts that neither Hanoi nor Washington have been reluctant to do over the past decades, making the relationship a case study of foe-turned-friend. 

Northern California Public Media.

During the Vietnam War the U.S. military defoliated large swaths of Vietnam with Agent Orange to deprive enemy forces of jungle cover. In the process it exposed American soldiers to this toxic chemical as well.

 

Our own civilians back in the U.S. were also exposed to Agent Orange, along with other herbicides. They were involved in testing herbicides at an Air Force base in Florida throughout the 1960s. Dozens of civilians involved in the testing at the base say that more than 40 years after their exposure, they are ill and dying. (Billy McLean (L) and Von Jones pictured. Credit: Jon Kalish)

26 February 2019

PBS News Hour.

In Vietnam, President Trump is preparing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- and the summit's location isn't a mere coincidence. Indeed, U.S. officials are touting the rapprochement and economic ties that now exist between the U.S. and Vietnam, only decades after brutal warfare divided them. Nick Schifrin reports on whether U.S.-Vietnam relations can serve as a model for North Korea.

26 February 2019

Ylan Vo visits A Luoi Valley to understand the long-term impacts of the United States Army's use of Agent Orange in the region during the Vietnam War.

 

 

21 February 2019

BBC.

How millions suffered from exposure to toxic chemicals sprayed by US forces during the Vietnam war.

In Vietnam, Agent Orange is still causing birth defects generations after the war ended #tictocnews Warning: This video contains sensitive images (Source: Bloomberg)

Talk Vietnam: Từ kẻ thù đến đối tác - Việt Nam, Hoa Kỳ và chất da cam

November 2018

VTV4

Dr. Le Ke Son and Dr. Charles Bailey talk about their new book "From Enemies to Partners: Vietnam, the US and Agent Orange" on VTV4 Talk Vietnam (in Vietnamese and English).

Vermont Digger, by Kit Norton

The top Pentagon official is visiting the last and largest site in Vietnam to be contaminated by Agent Orange, thanks in part to some prompting from Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

 

Leahy has been pushing for years for the U.S. to clean up sites in Vietnam where it used the chemical herbicide, which has been linked to a range of human health problems.

17 October 2018

Reuters. Phil Stewart

BIEN HOA AIR BASE, Vietnam (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday visited a former American air base in southern Vietnam that will soon become the biggest-ever U.S. cleanup site for contamination left by the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

AFP

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis toured a former Agent Orange storage site in southern Vietnam on Wednesday, revisiting one of the war's darkest chapters that lives on among a million Vietnamese with severe birth defects, cancers and disabilities linked to the toxic defoliant.

An open letter to Monsanto makes an impassioned plea for justice. Deny Agent Orange victims, and humanity is denied.

HÀ NỘI — Susan Hammond, an American, first set foot in Việt Nam 27 years ago, on a vacation she had planned with the hope of learning more about the country where her father spent time during the war.

28 May 2018

Forbes. Nicole Fisher

While honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice during war, Memorial Day also presents an opportunity for Americans to reflect upon the loss of life because of war. Memorial Day (unlike Veteran’s Day which honors those who served) pays tribute to those who died on the battlefield for our country. Sadly though, as time goes by we are finding that those who made it home oftentimes brought the deadly echoes of war home with them.

19 May 2018

MetroFocus - Thirteen

We take a look back at the Vietnam War, Agent Orange, and its impact 50 years after the Tet Offensive. Charles Bailey, author of “From Enemies To Partners: Vietnam, The U.S. And Agent Orange,” joins us with the details on how dioxin, a chemical compound in Agent Orange, is still causing casualties in Vietnam and what our nations are doing to solve the problem that the war left behind.

26 April 2018

Filmmaker Courtney Marsh first met Chau at the Lang Hoa Binh Agent Orange Camp in Vietnam, where the fifteen-year-old was being raised by nurses who hoped to prepare him for life as a disabled adult. Marsh’s inspiring documentary, Chau, Beyond the Lines, follows the teenager for eight years as he relentlessly pursues his ambition of becoming an artist. At every juncture, the idealistic and indefatigable Chau fights the limitations of his body—and the words of naysayers—to achieve self-actualization. In the end, he becomes the narrator of his own life’s story.

19 April 2018

National Catholic Reporter - Mary Ann McGivern

I spent a portion of tax day collecting signatures to cut military spending. The Peace Economy Project will deliver them to Congress in early June. The War Resisters League figures out each year just how much we are spending on war, including the costs of troops and weapons, in the Department of Defense budget; the price of stockpiled nukes and operation of the nuclear weapons labs in the Department of Energy budget; the cost of past wars within our national debt; the funds needed to care for veterans in the Veterans Administration.

24 February 2018

I first went to Vietnam in 1997, three decades after I graduated from college, volunteered for the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach high school in a remote village in Nepal.

 

One day the students asked me why we Americans were destroying the forests in Vietnam. I couldn’t answer them. But when I arrived in Vietnam as the head of the Ford Foundation office there, I found their assertion to be distressingly true.

 

22 March 2018

VA Secretary David Shulkin suggests he favors expansion of Agent Orange-related health care and disability compensation to new categories of ailing veterans but that factors like cost, medical science and politics still stand in the way.

U.S. sailors visit Vietnamese shelter for victims of Agent Orange

March 7, 2018

DANANG, Vietnam (Reuters) - Sailors from a U.S. aircraft carrier on Wednesday visited a Vietnamese shelter for people suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, a chemical used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to destroy foliage.

As a part of the war in Vietnam, the United States military sprayed millions of gallons of herbicides and defoliants between 1962 and 1971 under Operation Ranch Hand.

 

US government records from Operation Ranch Hand show that Cambodia was also targeted with Agent Orange in Svay Rieng province, where an herbicide spraying mission crossed over the border from Vietnam.

Phnom Penh Post. Mech Dara and Andrew Nachemson

A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Cambodia Sunday night, with officials saying they will investigate chemical weapons dropped by the United States during the Vietnam War.

 

Cambodian officials first appealed in October to the OPCW, which is the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, complaining about non-lethal CS tear gas bombs found in Svay Rieng.

24 November 2017

David Biggs - New York Times

Just before dawn on Nov. 18, 1967, the men of the Army’s 266th Chemical Platoon awoke to reveille and assembled in formation. The platoon was attached to the First Infantry Division, and the men were stationed at the division’s base, deep in the red-clay hills north of Saigon.

12 November 2017

WASHINGTON — Air Force One touched down at 12:15 p.m. local time in Danang, Vietnam, on Friday, where President Donald Trump was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

 

Just a few years ago, the runway where Trump and other world leaders arrived was heavily contaminated with a highly toxic chemical the United States had used during the Vietnam War.

 

Now, thanks to a years-long transnational cleanup effort advanced by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the soil around the airport is on track to be decontaminated within a few months.

10 November 2017

Vietnam's Da Nang International Airport was less than a year ago one of the most toxic Agent Orange sites in the world. In advance of President Trump's arrival for the APEC Summit, the USAID marked the completion of the first and only American reclamation of a major Dioxin contamination site in that country. What is the American obligation Special correspondent Mike Cerre reports.

November 10, 2017

The project at the airport is the U.S.’s first direct involvement in the dioxin cleanup efforts in Vietnam.

 

Vietnam and the U.S. on Thursday marked the completion of a massive dioxin cleanup campaign at Da Nang International Airport in Vietnam’s central city, where the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit is taking place between November 6 and 11.

In Danang, Vietnam, Trump Makes a Friendlier American Landing

9 November 2017

New York Times

HANOI, Vietnam — Visiting Vietnam for the first time, President Trump arrived for an economic summit meeting on Friday in a country still grappling with the legacy of its war with the United States two generations ago — land mines and Agent Orange, and some three million people killed.

Phnom Penh Post. Andrew Nachemson and Phak Seangly

Defence Minister Tea Banh, Health Minister Mam Bunheng and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son Hun Manith all visited Svay Rieng’s Koki commune last week, calling on the US to take responsibility for chemical weapons found there and blaming US chemical bombs for causing deformities in villagers.

When Va Savorn was around 10 years old, he stepped outside of his home and watched three planes swoop low over the flatlands of Svay Rieng province, leaving behind a trail of white dust.

 

“The land around my house was very flat so I could see very far and very clearly,” Savorn recalled recently, adding that the planes were about 20 kilometres away

10 July 2017

The US chemical company's environmental, health and business record goes under the French-Venezuelan photographer's lens.

 

“On s’engage, on va le faire” – that is, “We’re in, we’ll do it”. The New York-based, French-Venezuelan photographer Mathieu Asselin goes back and forth from Spanish to English to French as he recalls how Sam Stourdzé, the director of the Rencontres d’Arles, enthusiastically agreed to exhibit his five-year long, research-intensive project about the US chemical corporation Monsanto.

Documentary on Vietnamese AO victim screened at US Senate

30 June 2017

VNA

Washington D.C (VNA) – A 35-minute documentary about a Vietnamese teenage victim of Agent Orange (AO) was screened at the US Senate headquarters in Washington DC on June 28.

The event was held by the War Legacies Project (WLP), US Senate and the Vietnamese Embassy in the US.

Agent Orange and Us

27 June 2017

During the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed some 20 million gallons of the defoliant known as Agent Orange over South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Nearly four million people were exposed to the chemical, which the government claimed was non-toxic. The government was wrong: Fifty years later, approximately one million people in Asia and the United States suffer from a range of disorders, including multiple forms of cancer, that have been linked to Agent Orange exposure.

 

I recently had the chance to speak with two veterans, Mike Morris and Dick Pirozzolo, who were exposed to Agent Orange and later suffered from related maladies.

 

12 June 2017

At a meeting in March, a lead analyst in the VA’s compensation service was critical of the media, scientists and the VA’s own administrative tribunal for taking positions that differ from his. The VA said his comments “did not fully or accurately reflect VA’s position” but also said his quotes were being taken out of context.

4 April 2017

Independent

The Vietnam War may have ended in 1975 – but 42 years later, countless families are still battling with the insidious effects of Agent Orange. Photographer Damir Sagolj gives a glimpse into the lives of those left physically and mentally disabled by the deadly chemical.

9 March 2017

The Daily Mail

A million Vietnamese people are still affected by America's use of chemical weapons in the 1960s which has left babies suffering painful deformities and mental illness. 

 

6 Mar 2017

Stars and Stripes

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa -- There have long been rumors that Agent Orange was stored or used on Okinawa, but no one has been able to find proof.

 

Now two servicemembers who served on the Japanese island during the Vietnam War era have won court cases claiming they developed ailments from exposure to the toxic defoliant.

ProPublica

Series of over 30 articles by ProPublica about the impacts of Agent Orange on veterans and their families. 

by Charles Ornstein, ProPublica and Mike Hixenbaugh, The Virginian-Pilot

For decades, the military and the VA have repeatedly turned to one man to guide decisions on whether Agent Orange harmed vets in Vietnam and elsewhere. His reliable answer: No.

October 26, 2016

For nearly 50 years, the U.S. government has relied heavily on Alvin Young to advise it on herbicides, including most famously Agent Orange, used to destroy dense foliage thought to hide enemy troops during the Vietnam War. His reports have helped determine whether vets were exposed to the toxic herbicide and are due benefits for related illnesses. Some of Young’s conclusions have been criticized by other scientists and government officials.  

October 26, 2016

After the VA rejects his claim for benefits, an Air Force veteran challenges the findings of the government’s go-to Agent Orange consultant. Six years later he emerges the rare victor.

US bombs dropped decades ago in Laos still killing locals

September 5, 2016

CBS News

XIENG KHOUANG PROVINCE, Laos -- A U.S. secret operation in Laos that ended 43 years ago is still creating fresh wounds. 

 

Eight-year-old Brong Yang has shrapnel in his side. In July, he made the mistake of playing with what he thought was a ball. Instead, it exploded.

Obama to Make, and Face, History in Laos

September 2, 2016

Radio Free Asia

When President Barack Obama sets foot in Laos next week he will mark a new experience for an American president, but he will also come face-to-face with some old problems.

 

Obama will become the first president to visit Laos when he attends a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the capital Vientiane.