Accession Number : ADA121709

Title :   OPERATION RANCH HAND. The Air Force and Herbicides in Southeast Asia, 1961-1971

Corporate Author : OFFICE OF AIR FORCE HISTORY WASHINGTON DC

Personal Author(s) : Buckingham, Jr, William A.

PDF Url : ADA121709

Report Date : 1982

Pagination or Media Count : 257

Abstract : One of aviation's more unusual military applications occurred in Southeast Asia, where American and Vietnamese planes sprayed large areas of Vietnam and Laos with herbicides in an effort to deny covery and concealment to the enemy, and to destroy his food supply. This book is a model study of the process by which military policy was made in the Southeast Asia War. Major Buckingham relates the intense controversy, both within the government and among the public, over the military, political, and ecological effects of the program. He connects policy to the operations, showing how pressure from scientists and disagreements among government policymakers and military leaders imposed limitations on the spraying program. He explores the technical difficulties in using herbicides: the right chemical agents had to be delivered in sufficient quantity at the optimal time of the growing season, only against certain crops and categories of vegetation, and only in areas where the destruction provided harm to the enemy and no danger to friendly or neutral populations. In April 1975, President Ford formally renounced the first use of herbicides by the United States in future wars. As long as this policy stands Major Buckingham writes, no operation like Ranch Hand could happen again.

Descriptors :   *CHEMICAL WARFARE, *AIR FORCE OPERATIONS, *HERBICIDES, CONTROL, POLICIES, CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION, SUPPLIES, FOOD, PUBLIC OPINION, FORESTS, SOUTH VIETNAM, LAOS, DEFOLIATION, FARM CROPS, CONCEALMENT, ECOLOGY, AERIAL DELIVERY, SPRAYS, DECEPTION, VEGETATION, JUNGLES, DESTRUCTION, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Subject Categories : Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE